Pursued by Love: An Inside Look at the 2013 Revolve Tour

Filed under News Your World on Apr 17 13 by
Tiffany Thurston Leading Worship

2013 Revolve Tour: Tiffany Thurston Leading Worship

“After hearing the speakers [at the Revolve Tour], I felt it was really true – that God does pursue us.” – Libby A., age 13

In a culture that equates sex with love and perfection with beauty, the Revolve Tour is a breath of fresh air. In this past year, thousands of young girls have heard the message that they are loved by a God who relentlessly pursues them even if they binge and purge, cut themselves, or act out sexually.

“In our efforts to be loved, we sometimes starve ourselves, we mutilate ourselves. But God loves us. He knows our pains, joys and triumphs and He is wild about us,” said Andi Andrew, the opening speaker for Revolve’s Southern California stop in Pasadena.

Andrew, who co-pastors Liberty Church in New York with her husband, Paul, shared her own story of how she was ruining her life with wild partying and counterfeit love from men. She encouraged the girls to realize that destructive lifestyle is a really a cry that “we all want to be relentlessly pursued by a true, pure love.”

That love is the focus of this year’s tour.

The 2013 Revolve Tour, “This is Love,”  is a day-long event that features  high energy and music that appeals to young ladies, but the message is also pithy and deals with topics not usually discussed in a typical Sunday morning youth group: depression, suicidal thoughts, self-loathing, and abandonment issues. The aim of the tour is to create a safe place where those issues can be discussed, and to help middle school and high school girls realize God looks beyond their physical appearance and their struggles.

Christa Signing2

Christa Black with Tour Participants

Encouragement from Christa Black and Natalie Grant

“When you are binging and cutting and doing the thing that you don’t want anyone to know you do, there is a God who is looking at you saying, ‘I love you.’” said keynote speaker Christa Black,  author of “God Loves Ugly, (& Love Makes Beautiful)” her memoir chronicling her battle with binging, depression, addiction and brokenness.  She is a singer-songwriter whose music has been recorded by Michael W. Smith and Jordin Sparks. She has also toured with Smith and the Jonas Brothers.

Although she was a PK (preacher’s kid) and grew up with love and affection, Black was wounded by an early childhood sexual trauma that left her feeling dirty, shameful and unlovable, and eventually contributed to her eating disorder and addictions.

“We add or subtract to the Scriptures. We say God will love me if I don’t have an eating disorder. God will love me if I don’t have a sexual addiction,” she shared, adding, “You can’t fix it. Give Him permission to love you in the pain of your depression, your shame. That love drowns our fears.”

Black also shared the stage at Pasadena’s Lake Avenue Church with Grammy nominee and five-time Dove Female Vocalist of the Year winner Natalie Grant, who sang several songs including “Your Great Name” to thunderous applause.  Pop group Anthem Lights also took the stage to share a positive message through their music.

Natalie with Participant

Natalie Grant with Tour Participant

In her web message announcing she was joining the Revolve tour, Grant said, “This year we are focusing on the message of “This is love.” we need to tell this generation what real love is. Real love can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

The Tour & The Participants

Now in its ninth year, Revolve is an annual event that tours the country, drawing sold out crowds of young women  to churches in Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington.  Prior year themes have been, “Inside Out” focusing on heart issues, and “All Access,” highlighting Christ as the path to God.

Revolve began in 2005 as an outgrowth of the Texas-based Women of Faith conferences.  Mothers attending WOF events were so uplifted by the messages they wanted the same type of event for their daughters, but in a way that empowered the girls to deal with their own issues.

In addition to the Pasadena speakers and musicians, the national Revolve Tour also includes vocalist Britt Nicole, rap and hip hop artist KJ-52, and dynamic speakers such as Christine Caine, founder of the A21 campaign against human trafficking, and Kramer Rasmussen, popular youth pastor, and others.

Participants (Tevyn and Hope Johnsen, sisters)

Participants (Tevyn and Hope Johnsen, sisters)

The lineup rotates from city to city. For Katie Bremer, 47, and her daughter, Katrya, 15, it was the first time they attended a Revolve event. They came to Pasadena from Orange County and found it uplifting and worth the 50 mile drive.

“I am so glad I brought my daughter. It is hard to raise your teen so they don’t get sucked into the world’s system. There is wisdom here and that’s appealing,” said Katie. Katrya added, “I love the speakers and the music and what they are saying.”

The tour also drew some return participants, such as Patrice 18, (who declined to give her last name) from Huntington Beach, CA. “This is my fourth time coming to Revolve, so obviously I really like it. The second time I came I heard Austin Gutwein, founder of Hoops of Hopes, and that was great,” she said.

After hearing about Gutwein’s work raising money for AIDS orphans, Patricia was inspired to also make a difference. She hopes one day to start her own non-profit or humanitarian outreach.

The tour is also interactive. Besides getting their autographs, the young ladies also had the opportunity at the end of the day to submit their own questions to the panel of speakers and performers, questions about faith, boys, looks, dating, self-esteem, doubts, and depression.

Libbey Arct, 13, was invited by a friend to attend and admitted she was a little reluctant to accept at first, but felt the event struck a chord with her. “After hearing the speakers, I felt it was really true – that God does pursue us,” she shared.

Images from the Tour

Keynotes speaker Christa Black

Keynotes speaker Christa Black

Natalie Grant leading worship at The Revolve Tour

Natalie Grant at The Revolve Tour

Natalie Grant (left) with Volunteer and Participants

Natalie Grant (left) with Volunteer and Participants

Mothers and Daughter Participants

Mother and Daughter Participants

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Maria Cowell
Maria Cowell is the Communications Coordinator at Village Christian School, one of the largest private schools in Southern California. She is also a freelance journalist, and has previously worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Los Angeles and Glendale, Ca. She enjoys life with her husband, three young adult children and two beautiful Siberian Huskies. Catch her on her blog at www.hipmamamedia.com.