Universal Studios in Orlando is gearing up to host Rock the Universe 2023, and John Cooper, the frontman of the multi-platinum Rock Band Skillet, says these types of Christian events can help restore the family dynamic that is crumbling in America.
Rock the Universe is pegged as Florida's biggest Christian music festival, and Skillet is among the listed headliners along with Tauren Wells, Zach Williams and Matthew West for the two-night event on Jan. 27-28, which Cooper described as a "unifying" experience.
"Even in culture right now, even if you were to take the religious aspect out of something like this, you've really only got two events that bring Americans together, which is sports and music,” Cooper said in an interview with The Christian Post. “We can't agree on anything. But you go to a concert or a sporting match, and everybody [is] sort of like, ‘OK, we can at least agree on this. We're here to have fun.’”
In years past, Cooper said it's been an event that non-Christians have attended with their children because they enjoy music, and it's a family-friendly, festive occasion.
“Not that everybody there is a Christian or even religious, but a large percentage of people are, and they're joining together ... because you all agree on something. What we agree on, usually for lots of people, is that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and we want to celebrate that!” he declared.
“We can celebrate that with all kinds of people, whether you're talking about class, ethnicity, whatever that may be or even denomination. So we're coming together to say, we're putting some of our differences aside because we agree that Jesus Christ is Lord. And that's a really wonderful thing.”
For those who are not Christian, Cooper said he's often heard that some families choose to attend the annual event because it's a safe place to go to and enjoy music.
“I've met people who said, ‘I gave my life to Christ at a Christian music event, like Rock the Universe, and now I'm here and I'm bringing my kids at the very place that I gave my life to Christ,’” he explained.
Coming out of the COVID-19 lockdowns that, for some Americans, were ongoing into 2022, highlights the importance of families being able to come together and gather with other believers at a public event.
"There's an awakening happening in America right now, among religious people,= and non-religious people, that we're losing our kids,” Cooper told CP. “What I'm excited about is, I think the Church has the answer to that. The Church has always had the answer to that because God creates a man and a woman to get married and have children and raise their kids in the fear and admonition of the Lord.”
"You're supposed to be a little church of your own, if you're a family, 'You are a little church of your own' is what Charles Spurgeon used to say. So I think people are realizing that,” the musician added.
Skillet has been around for nearly 30 years and is part of Pandora's 'Billionaires" club, launched in 2018 to designate bands and artists that have surpassed more than 1 billion streams. And with each passing decade, Cooper said he's seen changes among their audience.
"As the world gets crazier, what I'm seeing in my concerts anyway, is that a lot of people are coming, bringing their families. Skillet is becoming a family event, even for people who are not into the Jesus part. They're like, 'I'm not into the Jesus stuff, but I can bring my kids here, and I'm running out of places to bring them.' Because even sports are getting inundated with woke culture that even as non-Christians, they're uncomfortable with.’
"So I still think the Church is the answer. God's way always works, and it's going to work in 2023 if we will listen,” Cooper declared.
2023 marks the 25th year Universal Studios has hosted the Christian event. Cooper celebrated Universal's decision to continue to partner with believers despite the secular backlash against Christians and issues surrounding parental rights that the Walt Disney Co. got mired in last year.
"There is a lot of pressure right now for people not to have Christian events, so I think it's a great testimony that places like Universal are still having Rocked the Universe, which is a wonderful event,” he added. “I would say 25 years of doing business together and still wanting to do that business is a really good testimony to the people who run Rock the Universe and to the fans, the people coming to the show, because it means you're treating the property well.
"I still believe it's important that Christians are involved in the world,” Cooper continued. “I know that sometimes we have to go and start our own things because the world doesn't accept us. But I also think when we can, we need to be in the world, rubbing shoulders with the world, being salt and light as the Bible says. Not just creating our own spaces — and I'm OK with creating our own spaces if there are no opportunities. ... But if there are opportunities, we should be in there mixing it up with people, making friends with people that disagree with us, who do not agree with Christ being the Lord of the universe. We should be doing that and being salt and light and showing the love of Christ.”
To get tickets to Rock The Universe 2023, click here.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: email@example.com She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic