‘The Voice’ champ Chris Blue's First Baptist Concord ties told
“I’ve never in my life seen a Vacation Bible School like ConcordQuest,” said Chris Blue Monday morning, June 5. “It’s the most incredible, insane thing I think I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Blue, 27, has been back in his West Knox County home turf for about a week, in a whirlwind of appearances around town after he won “The Voice” Tuesday, May 23, on NBC. Blue won the world’s heart as he told of his Christian faith and praying all night for his girlfriend, Stephanie Dunkley, who had bone cancer. He asked God to heal his girlfriend and promised to try out for “The Voice.” His girlfriend’s scans have come back clear, he said Monday. Now it’s on to music recording and marriage.
“Right now, we’re just continuing to work hard and I’ve been working with my dear friend and mentor Hallerin Hill,” he said. “What’s next is we get ready to go up to New York and we’re going to start the process of working on music and working on an album and it’s just progressing the journey. I call it the lighthouse journey, because that’s my purpose in the world. I want to fill homes with light — not just bodies, but entire homes and families with light.”
Part of Blue’s journey was singing at First Baptist Concord and in the church’s Vacation Bible School called ConcordQuest.
“I did that two years in a row,” Blue said. “We recorded at the church. It was always such a joy for me to do ConcordQuest because anytime you have the opportunity to invest in the next generation’s life, you’re also investing into your life, and so it was always a benefit for me to be part of such an amazing worship experience. It enabled me to pour into some of the most amazing young people I’ve ever met in my life. And to see that you’re investing into their growth and their future only says you’re investing into your future because this is the youth of tomorrow, our leaders for tomorrow.”
“I talked to Chris about a month ago on the phone,” said Tim Paul, instrumental music director and arranger for FBC and executive producer of CQ. “I was sitting in the parking lot at Ingles. We talked about a couple of different things and prayed together.
Paul recalled how Blue became a part of CQ.
“I was here working on CQ,” Paul recalled about the night Blue won. “I got home and saw the end of it. I was very happy for him because I know he’s living out his dream.”
Paul said he recognized Blue’s talent years ago and invited him to be a part of ConcordQuest in 2015.
“He loved it,” Paul said. “He loved hanging out with the kids,” and then added with a smile: “He won’t be available this year for obvious reasons.
“We write an original song each year for CQ,” he added. “We write it and record it here. Two years ago, we were doing a song and we wanted it to have a Bruno Mars sort of feel. I called Chris and asked him if he would come record it.”
As the recording played for a crowd of about 1,800 kids in the sanctuary, Blue was there onstage, singing “Transformed” live and in person. The song was written by Paul, Sarah Mentzer, a praise team member, and Jason Jennings, pastor of children and young families, with Paul writing the instrumental parts. The next summer Blue was back for the next CQ, singing another original recording, “No Other Way.”
“He’s led in worship and was on our invited morning of worship last September,” Paul said. “He sang at Christmas in 2015 and has been here several Sunday mornings. What I love about him is that he’s staying humble and his faith in Jesus.”
“Chris gives his all on every platform God gives him,” said Andrew Osakue, director of connection and engagement at the church, last week. “Chris and I met on a Sunday morning about three years ago at First Baptist Concord. Since then, we have been blessed to minister together on several occasions at FBC and throughout our community.
“He is the living testimony of Matthew 25:21: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,” he said. “You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.’ What I personally appreciate most about Chris is his deep love for Jesus and contagious love for people.”
Will Blue live in England where his fiancée is, or will they live in the United States?
“I’m trying to get my fiancée to come over here,” he laughed.
Did Blue want to give a shout out to First Baptist Concord?
“Yes,” he said, “I want to give a shout out to Pastor John [Avant], Andrew Osakue, my dear friend Tim Paul and Jeff Lawrence.”