February 2007 - Vol. 5


Sing a New Song to the Lord

“Sing a new song to the Lord, play skilfully on the string with loud shouts”
Psalm 33:3

by Ana Teresa Carranza

Jesed Music Ministry performs in Los Angeles

One of the striking features of spiritual renewal movements is the emergence of  Christian music which has strengthened the spiritual life and worship of many Christian communities and churches today.  Jesed Music Ministry, based in Monterrey, Mexico, is devoted to the promotion of Christian music which gives strong witness to the gospel message and renewed life in the Holy Spirit.  Ana Teresa Carranza highlights some of the historical roots for this unique music ministry.
Listen to Audio clips of Jesed Music Ministry songs

Click on the following links to sample some of the audio clips of Jesed Ministry songs:

Play skilfully on the strings - Psalm 33
Music touches the spirit in ways that words cannot communicate. Jesed Music Ministry began with the growth of the charismatic renewal and covenant community movement in the late 1970s and 80s. Jesed music is an outgrowth of the charismatic covenant community which began in Monterrey Mexico in 1979. This ministry has been particularly blessed by a call to serve both within  the charismatic community movement and outside the to the world at large. From the beginning of the community in 1979, the music ministry received a vision of producing quality music of excellence for the Lord, (Psalm 33,3) encouraging its members to develop both spiritually and technically as musicians, furthering their skills and writing new music.

Dedicated to the service of the assembly, the ministry grew with the community, and in 1985 they decided to produce their first album, ‘La Espada del Espiritu,’ (The Sword of the Spirit). This was done not only to serve the members of the community, but also as a way of speaking about the gospel message to others in the wider church and the world at large. They discerned a call from God to create Christian music of good quality to aid Christians in prayer and meditation, and in praise and worship, and as a way of reaching out to those that do not know the Lord. The social realities of Mexico at that time made this service a very important one, answering a need of the Christian people that was not being met.  After the first album, they launched four more between 1990 and 1993, incorporating translations of songs used in communities of The Sword of the Spirit, as well as many new compositions written by members of Jesed.

Concerts of praise and worship
In 1992 the ministry felt that God wanted them to expand their service, and they started giving concerts of praise and worship and although at first their service was focused mainly in the city of Monterrey, by 1994 they were being invited to events in other parts of Mexico, the USA, and the rest of Latin America. In 1997, the ministry released its eighth album, called 'Corazon de Arpa', ('Heart of Harp'), based on the writings and poems of Therese of Lisieux, a young Catholic nun who lived in France at the end of the 19th century. Through this God released a new wave of grace in the music ministry, and with it came new opportunities for growth and expansion; they performed at more than 50 concerts and sold more than a hundred thousand albums of 'Heart of Harp' in a single year.

Birth of a new Christian music company
Some of the members of the ministry decided to found a music company called ‘Corazon de Arpa Producciones’ (CAP) after St. Therese’s works, and was dedicated to the recording, producing and distributing of Christian albums, not only for the music ministry, but also to help other Christian musicians. The company acquired a recording studio in 2002, and quickly developed a national network of distribution with many Christian retailers.

Jesed’s online website has boosted the popularity of the music group throughout Latin America, and through the increased reputation, the call to serve more and more people.  In recent years the members of Jesed Music Ministry have performed concerts and led retreats in Canada, the USA, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain and the Dominican Republic.  Almost every other weekend they travel to a concert or other event, either in the city of Monterrey, or further away.

"As a busy married professional with three teenage boys and a grown up girl," says the leader Federico Carranza (45),  "I am very aware that it has been God and God alone who has made our music ministry so fruitful. Otherwise it cannot be explained: Our lives are so busy lives that we cannot dedicate more than a few hours every other week to practice and serve, in order to do it responsibly and realistically. Considering there is so little time dedicated to this service, the fruits and blessings surpass any human logic and go beyond any expected measure. It is like being a living witness and becoming part of the miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves and two fishes." 

Since 1990 they have released at least one album per year, and in 2006 alone they launched three. In total, Jesed has produced 27 albums, and have sold more than 200,000 copies of these. CAP continues to work in the Christian music industry, not only for the music ministry, but also serving many other groups or individuals who wish to serve God. CAP encourages young Christians to write their own music, produce their albums, providing financial help, and advice, and help with distribution.

The music ministry continues serving both Jesed community and the people they come in contact within their service. Throughout the years, various members of Jesed have been part of the ministry and participated in its many activities. They continue growing in their formation as musicians and worship leaders, receiving teaching, praying together and writing music. The nature of this service provides many people with opportunities to lead worship at the prayer meetings of the various districts in Jesed, its outreach programs, and its general meetings; and to participate in the recording of albums, and serving in concerts, retreats and conferences. Since the work of the ministry is a service, the members of the ministry have to learn to balance this service with their jobs and lives as young students, single professionals or married couples.

Serving God's kingdom in new ways
Jesed's music ministry is continually looking for new ways of serving God’s kingdom using the technology available in our times. Recently, the music ministry developed an online shop for albums and songbooks, and developed a website with many free resources, particularly a three-level course for Christian musicians which covers very practical topics (such as to how to set up a sound system for a prayer meeting or other event) and very spiritual ones (such as training for the role of the leader of the worship ministry). This course has been developed over a period of several years, and has been adapted to serve other Christian ministries as well. The ministry continues working on different projects, sometimes in conjunction with other musicians. Something to look forward to, for example, is the plan to launch an album in English with Daniel Knaggs and some other brothers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA during this year.

You can visit Jesed’s Music Ministry website at www.jesed.org, where you can find the calendar of upcoming events, photos, and other news. To buy music online, (available in CDs and mp3 downloadable files), visit www.jesed.info. Click to visit the website of the record company Corazon de Arpa Producciones (CAP).

[Ana Teresa Carranza, 20 years old, from Jesed Community in Monterrey, Mexico, is currently studying English literature and participates in Koinonia, the university outreach of Antioch Community in London.]

(c) copyright 2007  The Sword of the Spirit
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