This is an article from the July-August 1996 issue: Worship and Missions

Contemporary Music

Artist Steve Green is Using His Music to Bring Reconciliation and the Gospel Message

Contemporary Music

When Christian singer Steve Green was growing up as a missionary kid in Argentina, the last thing he wanted to do was become a missionary/evangelist and reach out to other people from different cultures.

Today, though, Green goes all over the world singing at Billy Graham and Luis Palau Crusades and has even recorded songs to mobilize others to fulfill "The Great Commission" by going to the mission field.

The distance Steve traveled from being a shy/scared child to being an adult who could show God's grace to people from other cultures was a long and winding road.

"Where I grew up, my family and I were the only white people around and going to school wasn't a pleasant experience," said Green.

Steve remembers being ridiculed for having blond hair and blue eyes and being encircled by brown-skinned children who would pull his hair and send him home crying. His parents, Charles and Jo Green, were Baptist church planters among the poor in Argentina, but for a long time he ran away from a calling to Latin America as a place for ministry.

"Because of the persecution I received when I was a kid, I was ashamed of my missionary heritage, and the last thing I wanted to do was spread the gospel in Latin America," said Green. "But God gradually impressed on me what a wonderful thing a family missionary heritage is."

Steve received another lesson from God that has changed his ministry toward Spanish-speaking peoples. Seven years ago in a deteriorating theater crowded with 2,000 people in the center of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Christian singer Steve Green supernaturally learned a lesson in racial reconciliation that changed his ministry and his life.

Many musicians and ministers were lined up on a platform that night to minister to Spanish-speaking Brazilians. "It didn't take long to figure out that the ministry we were doing wasn't going much further than the end of the platform," said Green. "There seemed to be a wall between us and the crowd, and then for an instant Jesus let me feel what the people were feeling and I was no longer a white American."

It brought Steve back to the times when his missionary parents were living among the poor in Argentina, and how insensitive American visitors could be. "They didn't care about blending in, they were the picture of 'the ugly American.' In a flash I felt the offense that Latin people can feel toward Americans who are loud and arrogant. God let me know that I was an offense to the crowd because I was an American. I motioned to a musician to stop playing and chose an interpreter that had a heart for this crowd and then I began to explain what I felt. I apologized to the crowd as God brought to my mind possible ways that they could have been offended by the American church. I asked the senior pastor of the host church to come place his hands on me and pray for me and through me to symbolically pray for the church in America.

"The Brazilian senior pastor, whose church called this theater home, began to weep. The pastor said 'I have to confess before I pray that I have had bitterness in my heart against Americans and this is the first time I have ever heard any American humble himself and apologize.' With many tears, prayers were said.

"When I started singing again the warmth and love I felt from the audience was like a change from night to day," Steve said. "When the evening was finished many people in the crowd came up and confessed their bitterness against their American brothers and a desire to be reconciled."

Growing up in Argentina gives Steve and his brother David a distinct advantage when they sing together to reach Spanish-speaking audiences by singing songs they learned as children, and they actually consider themselves to be part Latin, having grown up immersed in that culture.

Steve has written some stirring songs in the past, particularly on his album, "The Mission," but many people believe he has saved his best work for his latest album, "The Letter." On this album Steve's song, "All Over The World," shares The Great Commission in a nutshell with an exciting Latin musical backdrop.

The chorus says:

"For the glory of the Father/For the honor of His name/For the fullness of His pleasure/ For the radiance of His fame/So let the nations rejoice/let them lift up their voice/And everybody sing His praises/Praise him all over the world."

Dave Geisler is a free-lance writer with many published works in Christian magazines such as Charisma, Focus on the Family, CCM Magazine and others. He also volunteers his time as a writer for the Global Prayer Digest.


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