Opening Night of the "Make A Difference" Tour
NRT contributor David Holzemer shares his experiences and photos from the opening night of one of the biggest tours that recently wrapped featuring Michael W. Smith, Third Day, tobyMac, Jason Gray and Max Lucado.

By dholzemer

David Holzemer: "This was an excellent mix of music and passion that really did make the kids of World Vision the stars of the night."
As Max Lucado entered his 25th year of ministry and writing, he connected with Third Day’s bassist Tai Anderson and together they came up with the Make A Difference worship tour.

“It’s so much more than just music and worship,” says Tai. “We as the church have been called to really make a difference in the world around us. To get outside the four walls of our building and do something, anything.”

And this is just what they did as they gathered the biggest names in Christian music and partnered with World Vision to make a difference. The goal: to support the ministry of World Vision by finding sponsors for 25,000 kids.

Usually on any tour there is only one headlining act with a less well-known band opening the evening, but tonight couldn’t have been more different; there were three headlining acts on this tour. I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with each of the bands before the show, and they showed nothing but mutual respect for one another. There was a genuine sense of humility and honesty as they praised each others’ musical talents with no sense of pride or arrogance. Each of the bands also couldn’t stop talking about the reason they had all come together--to make the kids of World Vision the star of the night. They all seemed to be so excited to be able to be part of what God is doing through this tour.

Jason Gray was the only “newbie” as he came out to open the tour. He didn’t have a band with him but that didn’t seem to faze him as he launched into his set, which included his hit “More Like Falling In Love.” It was a short set, but he didn’t have any problem getting the crowd engaged and singing along. He was very comfortable on stage and he sounded much better than I thought he would in such a big arena.

Exclusive Jason Gray Photo Gallery (8)
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tobyMac and Diverse City stormed the stage next, bringing their normal high intensity, hip-hop, “funky Jesus music.” They covered fan favorites such as “Tonight,” “Lose My Soul,” and “Gone.” Toby took a few minutes to introduce each member of Diverse City and gave them some stage time to show their stuff. Mac Powell of Third Day joined Toby during his “Old School Melody” before Toby ended his set with “Boomin’.”

As the road crew raced to do a set change, the lights came up in the middle of the arena where Michael W. Smith was joined by Third Day’s Mac Powell performing “God of Wonders.” They then led the audience in a number of other worship songs before tobyMac joined them. This was the first time the three of them had ever shared a stage. They finished up their acoustic set and as they left the stage, Max Lucado took their place, speaking to the reasons behind the tour.

“None of else can do everything, but all of us can do something. When we serve the poor, we serve God. Who would want to miss a chance like that?”

By the time Max finished, Third Day was ready to take the stage. It didn’t take them long to kick into high gear. They opened their set with “Otherside,” and performed others including “Call My Name,” “Revelation” and longtime fan favorite, “Thief.” They also performed a couple from the upcoming album Move including “Lift Up Your Face” and “Gone.” Michael W. Smith joined Third Day for “Creed” before Third Day wrapped up their set with “Children of God,” setting the mood quite nicely for Max Lucado to once again take the stage.

Max took some time to speak about his experience with World Vision and the impact they have on so many children around the globe. Because of the amazing work he witnessed firsthand, he found himself burdened by World Vision’s continued need for child sponsors. He has taken upon himself as part of his 25th anniversary in the ministry to set a goal of getting 25,000 children sponsored this year. He also encouraged the audience to do something where they are: “We are not all burdened equally. For some us it’s the inner-city, for others it may be single moms or the lonely. Find that burden that God has laid on your heart and take one single step to do something about it. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” He ended by challenging each member of the audience to sponsor just one child.

After a short intermission, Michael W. Smith took the stage. Though his set was much more worshipful and quiet, it didn’t take away from the evening at all. Being a long time veteran in Christian music, Michael has a myriad of songs to draw from. He did a mix of old and new, even debuting music from his newest album Wonder, including his new song “Save Me From Myself.”

Exclusive tobyMac Live Photo Gallery (31)
Click Here To View More Exclusive Photos From This Concert!

Exclusive Third Day Live Photo Gallery (26)
Click Here To View More Exclusive Photos From This Concert!

Exclusive Michael W. Smith Live Photo Gallery (26)
Click Here To View More Exclusive Photos From This Concert!

These are artists who normally don’t tour together, but there was a common theme that drew them together: that of supporting a ministry that they are all invested in and believe in--World Vision. It was an excellent mix of music and passion that really did make the kids of World Vision the stars of the night.

Posted November 15, 2010 | Lynn and David Holzemer are Christian music fans with a desire to serve God with their talents. With Lynn's passion for writing and David's passion for photography, the two bring great coverage of Christian events to

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