Rush of Fools' first-ever headlining tour is well underway after kicking off last week in Garner, N.C.
But more than just spreading their music, the Christian rock band is challenging Christians everywhere to join a bold movement to break the chains of pornography and sexual addictions in today's culture.
"Man, we're so excited, because this was just a thought months and months ago to do this tour," says Rush of Fools lead vocalist Wes Willis of the Wonder of the World tour presented by anti-porn group Freedom Begins Here.
"People need to hear this stuff, man."
The "stuff" Willis speaks of is the battle against pornography and other sexual addictions, which is prevalent not only in society, but also in the Church.
According to statistics compiled by Freedom Begins Here, sex is the number one keyword that people search for on the internet, 42.7 percent of internet users view pornography, 7 out of 10 lay leaders in the church admitted to visiting adult Web sites at least once a week, and 4 out of 10 pastors said they did the same.
But it's more than statistics, the Arkansas-based group points out. It's people. It's husbands, fathers, mothers, wives. It's children, sons, daughters. It's families, friends, co-workers. It's churches, ministries, the body of Christ.
"Freedom Begins Here was created in response to countless emails and phone calls from pastors and individuals looking for resources to really help with the problem of pornography and sexual addiction," the newly launched group says. "Not just another book to read or a twelve-step program. Not a band-aid to cover the wound or a pill to mask the pain. We need to begin to shine the light of truth on the darkness by honestly talking about the problem, admitting our weaknesses and failings, and walk together in ruthless accountability."
"Our mission is to provide relevant media based resources that will have an eternal impact on people's lives," it adds.
And that's precisely what Freedom Begins Here will be doing throughout the Wonder of the World tour, which features Rush of Fools together with CCM artist Jimmy Needham and special guests Sarah Reeves and Joy Lippard. From Feb. 20 to Apr. 5, the group will be distributing its "Start the Conversation" DVD, which contains stories from each of the artists on tour about their experiences and/or struggles with sex, pornography, and image.
Freedom Begins Here is also spreading its message through a song that appears in Rush of Fools' new album, Wonder of the World, which was written especially for the movement.
"We consider it a privilege to partner with an organization called Freedom Begins Here, whose hope and mission is to attack the epidemic of sexual addiction within the Church, as well as give resources to pastors and churches to assist in the healing process of families affected by this crisis," states Rush of Fools in an endorsement of the group.
"When our manager Andrew Patton challenged us to write a song called 'Freedom Begins Here,' we thought he was pretty crazy," the Christian band recalls. "It's kind of a like asking a fish to swim through dirt. And though our creative sides were expecting a musical disaster, the Lord yet again shocked us by giving us lyrics that hit the root of our wickedness. And though we don't narrow the lyrics down to sexual addiction, we pray that God would use this song to penetrate those struggling in this area to live out the gospel by confessing their sin and repenting to their Savior."
Other resources that Freedom Begins Here is promoting include an "Accountability Pack," "Small Group Pack," and "Church ToolKit" – resources designed for individuals and their friends, small groups, and churches, respectively.
The organization is hoping for people to join the battle against "one of the biggest and most sinister issues in our culture today" by first becoming aware of the issue and getting equipped to address it.
"The Freedom Begins Here project is about challenging the church to be part of the solution. Our hope is that a revolution of freedom would begin to take place in the lives of people everywhere," it states.
The following is the list of tour dates for the "Wonder of the World" tour (subject to change):
Friday, February 20 – Garner NC
Saturday, February 21 – Pigeon Forge, TN
Friday, February 27 – Perry, GA
Saturday, February 28 – Cleveland, GA
Thursday, March 5 - Evans, GA
Friday, March 6 - Columbus, GA
Saturday, March 7 – Boone, NC
Sunday, March 22 – Schaumburg, IL
Thursday, March 26 – Gray, TN
Sunday, March 29 – North Baddock, PA
Monday, March 30 – Mansfield, OH
Wednesday, April 1 - Europa, MS
Thursday, April 2 - Scottsville, KY
Friday, April 3 – Charleston, WV
Saturday, April 4 – Mineral, VA
Sunday, April 5 – Marietta, OH
On the Web:
Freedom Begins Here website at www.freedombeginshere.org