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Kim Walker-Smith: The Genesis of Jesus Culture

Kim Walker-Smith shares the genesis of Jesus Culture and how this once youth group worship team became a global worship movement. Read Transcript


We're gonna lift you higher, higher.

[INAUDIBLE] burning bright like the fire, fire.

Voices unite make it louder, louder.

Never gonna stop the singing.

KIM WALKER-SMITH: Jesus Culture was the name

of our summer youth conference.

And Chris asked me, Chris Quilala is the other worship

leader, I guess, that people would recognize

in Jesus Culture Band, and him and I

started running the youth worship team.

Honestly, I was mainly just trying

to teach teenage girls how to sing

and how to be part of the team.

That was that the main thing I was doing.

And our summer youth conference one year, we just

decided we really want to help young people

to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

And we were discovering that what was happening was

they were having this encounter with God at the conference,

but then they were going home and kind

of starting to go backwards or kind of lose that momentum.

And then they'd come back to the conference

in the summertime we have to go back and start over again.

And we wanted them to have something

that could keep them moving forward

in their relationship with God.

And that way, when they came back the next summer,

we're built up a little bit, you know?

So we recorded our worship set there at the conference.

We had no money.

It wasn't fancy.

It was like first record on the tape deck or something,

you know.

I don't know.

And it worked.

We recorded the worship set.

We wanted to capture a moment.

We weren't trying to capture songs.

We just wanted to capture a moment in what God was doing.


KIM WALKER-SMITH: So we really wanted people

to encounter Jesus, but then we wanted them

to be able to do that at home.

Have something that they can push play

and they can be back in that moment,

and they can feel his presence, they can grow in his presence.

And we're so excited that, after we

released the album when they came back the next summer,

it worked.

Like what we'd hoped would happen, it happened.

These kids were more on fire, more passionate.

It's like they had actually been encountering

God in their bedrooms, in their cars, wherever

they're listening to the album.

And when they came, they were ready to go deeper.

They were ready to go further and it

felt like we could really start building momentum

with these kids.

And so the word began just kind of growing us and growing

our reach, so that by the time we did the second recording,

we decided this time to film and to capture the moment actually

as a DVD.

And that is what changed everything.

Because, after it came out, all of a sudden some kid

had uploaded the video of How He Loves onto YouTube.

I remember my little brother who's like-- I don't know,

probably 10, 11, at the time, called me and said,

Sissy, you're on YouTube.

And I said, what's YouTube?

I didn't know what it was.

And he shows me how to get to that and I look at this video,

and I'm like, what is this number right here?

And he said that's the number of people that have seen this.

And, at that point, it was like 22,000

and it hadn't been up very long.

So, of course, we ended up having to take the video down

and put it up legally, all the legal stuff.

But it just took off it.

It went viral.

And, at that point, that's when the Lord just kind of-- it's

like he took Jesus Culture and just put us on a rocket.

And, all of a sudden, there's churches and people

around the world that are calling and saying,

can you come and do a Jesus Culture conference in my state,

in my city, in my nation.

And we just began going out and doing what we do

and what we've always done with the Lord,

but in other places around the word.

And, you know, myself and Chris, our keyboard player, Ian.

Ian was a kid in the youth group who we were raising up.

We've all been with Danny for-- I mean, for me, it's

been about 16 years.

For Chris, we're looking at 20 years.

We've been a team for a really long time

and our core values have always been centered around our team,

and God first, his presence first, it's

the most important thing.

And just letting the Lord lead us,

and grow us, and guide each step.

And then, about a year and a half

ago, we got sent out from our church

and got sent to Sacramento, California to plant a church.

And so Jesus Culture is now expanded

from a ministry and a worship movement to a church.

And we celebrated a year last September,

so we're about a year and a half into it.

And it has been the most rewarding and exciting

experience for all of us.

So now we're getting to do what we do,

but building it in a local community and it's

what we're focusing on now.

It's been awesome.

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