'JJJ Music Tour' Inspires Young Lutherans to Fight Poverty

Hip-hop, musical comedy and contemporary Christian music artists have joined forces on a nationwide music tour aimed at inspiring young Lutherans to fight global poverty and hunger.

Entitled "Jesus Justice Jazz: The Tour," the show is hitting a total of 16 stops where at each location young attendees are hearing testimonies about hunger and being encouraged to donate towards the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's World Hunger fund. The venues are ELCA-affiliated Christian colleges and Lutheran churches.

The colleges are underwriting many of the tour expenses so that money raised can go towards the hunger fund.

More than $20,350 has been raised since the tour began on Sept. 12, according to the ELCA Web site. The goal is to raise over $50,000 to fight world hunger.

"Youth will be challenged to identify how they can live their baptismal call as beloved children of God and how they can live a life of Jesus-centered justice," the JJJ Music Tour Web page reads.

So far, the tour has hit nine cities in eight states, with the next show taking place in Seguin, Texas on Oct. 24.

JJJ Music Tour was organized as a special follow-up to the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans earlier this year. More than 37,000 young Lutherans gathered for the youth event with the theme "Jesus Justice Jazz." Attendees had contributed over $154,000 towards ELCA World Hunger.

The current JJJ tour is made up of some of the artists from the youth gathering who wanted to continue to help raise awareness and money to alleviate global hunger. Featured music artists include Agape, Lost and Found, and Rachel Kurtz.

Among the concert venues thus far, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania collected the most money. Students at the seminary donated $4,000 to the hunger fund.

At some locations, students also donated household necessities and food in addition to money.

According to the U.N. World Food Program, there are currently more than 1 billion people who go hungry every day – a historic high. Due to the global economic crisis, people who were on the brink of hunger were pushed into this category with the lowering of incomes and loss of jobs.

The number of people suffering from chronic hunger is highest in Asia and the Pacific, where the number has reached 642 million people. Sub-Saharan Africa has the second highest number of chronically hungry people at 265 million, while Latin America, the Caribbean, the Near East and North Africa have about 95 million hungry people.

Anti-hunger campaign JJJ will wrap up its tour with a final two-day concert in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Feb. 13-14, 2010.