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Presenters

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Christafari

As trailblazers, Christafari is continually pioneering the genre of Gospel reggae in the U.S. and throughout the world. But the band is more than just musicians; they’re “musicianaries” (musical missionaries), spreading the message of hope and salvation globally with a relentless touring and release schedule. They’ve ministered in 85 nations, all 50 of the United States and released over 100 music videos.

 

[BEGINNINGS:]

 

Christafari was founded in 1989 by Pastor Mark Mohr. Raised in a Christian family, during his teens Mohr

strayed from his spiritual upbringing and turned to drugs and alcohol, going as far as growing and even dealing marijuana. After running away from home, living on the streets, and hitting rock-bottom, he had an undeniable encounter with God that drastically transformed his world. At 17, Mark re-committed his life to Christ and took what he now calls his “Freedom Step” out of addiction.

 

At that point, his greatest desire was to help others escape the same bondage that once entangled him. He felt God leading him to start the first Gospel reggae band in America. Just two weeks later, the band was birthed at a camp talent show when a friend said, “So you’re not a Rastafarian anymore; you’re a Christafarian.” And the name stuck! 

 

While their name may just sound like a play on words, in Biblical Greek it stands for a group of people who bear or represent the name of Christ. “At that time, the best advice I was given was to go to Bible College so I could be theologically and doctrinally sound,” says Mark, who attended BIOLA University, taking classes that emphasized pastoral studies and missions. During his college years, Christafari continued to take shape as Mark wrote songs for the band’s first three albums “Reggae Worship Vol. 1”, “Soul Fire”, and “Valley Of Decision”.

 

In 1999, after recording two hit albums with Gotee Records under the tutelage of TobyMac, Mark branched out and founded his own record company, Lion of Zion Entertainment, with the goal of “reaching the world through world music.” He later launched GospelReggae.com. 

 

In 2002, while ministering in the Caribbean, Mohr met Trinidadian musician Avion Blackman. The two married a year and a half later and Avion joined the band full-time on bass and vocals. Avion comes from a very large musical family. Her father, Ras Shorty I, invented Soca and Jamoo music and trained over a dozen of his children to become his own backing band. She began singing lead on stage with her father at only four years old and started playing bass in his band The Love Circle at age 14.

 

Christafari is comprised of men and women from various continents, countries, and cultures who are true missionaries at heart and share a love for reggae music and passion for following Jesus to the ends of the earth.

 

CHART SUCCESS

Christafari is no stranger to chart success. Since the release of their first “Reggae Worship” album in the early 90s, most of their CDs have held high positions on both the Christian and/or Reggae Billboard charts. In 2012 Christafari made history as the first Gospel artist to hit #1 on the Billboard Reggae Charts with “Reggae Worship: a Roots Revival.” Each of the band’s 5 subsequent studio releases has also topped the Billboard Charts. However, speaking about the band’s chart successes, Mohr states, “We care a lot more about hearts than charts. Our passion is for souls, not sales, and we only do concerts as a way to make converts and fulfill the great commission.”

 

TOURING & MEDIA

Christafari has performed in 50 states, over 85 nations, at two Olympic Games and even for a President of the United States of America. The band’s first major tour was 1995’s Reggae Sunsplash, which had them traversing 46 cities in 53 days. Since then, they’ve performed at most major reggae and gospel/CCM festivals with the top artists in the genres. The group has had the privilege of performing at many of the country’s most prestigious venues like LA’s Greek Theater, Dodger Stadium, the Presidential Inaugural Ball, and even from the steps of our nation’s Capitol before a crowd of 500,000!

 

Christafari has been featured on The 700 Club, CNN, MTV, MTV Brazil, ABC, TBN, JUCE TV, BET, TBS, Greg Laurie’s Harvest, and many more. Their music is even featured in the current curriculum taught at Carnegie Hall. Christafari’s YouTube channel sees well over a million views each month. “Aside from touring,” says Mohr, “our greatest platform to reach the world is YouTube, so we’re doing our best to maximize it with the few resources that we have.” Over the last few years, Christafari has released roughly one music video per month through their Rank and File Film Co.

 

FULL-TIME MISSIONARIES

 

After the inception of Christafari, the band took several annual mission trips to Jamaica. “The funny thing is that one of my first prayers to the Lord after coming to Christ,” recalls Mohr “was, ‘Please don’t make me a missionary in the jungle in some Third World country.'” He now thanks the Lord for not answering that prayer – for it would quickly become the greatest desire of his heart.

 

After visiting places like Africa, Central and South America, and some of the most remote islands on earth, it became clear also to the rest of the band that these were the types of places that the Lord wanted them to invest their time and talents in from here on out. Their mission was simple: “To reach the lost at any cost and make disciples of every nation.” But the band quickly became troubled by the reality that Third World nations and developing countries couldn’t afford to fly out even a single member of the band, let alone their entire team.

 

So they became full-time musical missionaries – willing to travel to the ends of the earth in an effort to preach the Gospel through the universal language of music to those who could never afford them in conventional terms. Each of the members in Christafari has the same mission and vision, a commitment that requires tremendous sacrifice and discomfort. But this is right where they believe the Lord has called them. Seeing lives changed across the globe makes it entirely worth their while, and the results have been astonishing: in the last few years alone, the band has seen over 3/4 of a million decisions for Christ at their free outreach events! They are well on their way towards their goal of seeing one million decisions for Christ. 

 

HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS

Not only does the band travel the world proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ through reggae music, but they’ve also set out to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They try to find and fill a need in each country they visit, such as outreaches in trash cities and slums, serving at orphanages, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and ministering to those whom Jesus called “the least of these.” “Christafari’s mission is simple: to go to the ends of the earth until all have heard, and until all have heard we’re not quitting.”

– Mark Mohr

Pastor J.P. Foster

John-Paul C. Foster is an emerging leader who has a passion for teaching and preaching. He serves as Co-Pastor at Faithful Central Bible Church with Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, and is an Adjunct professor at Biola University, Talbot School of Theology. His leadership and Biblical exposition have impacted thousands both in the Los Angeles area and around the world as he encourages people to build their lives on God’s word.

 

John-Paul received his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he received his master’s degree at Talbot Theological Seminary. He has also studied Church Unity and Reconciliation at Oxford in England, Organization Leadership at the King's University and is now a doctoral candidate at Talbot School of Theology.

 

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Corry Keeler

When Corry Keeler was a little girl, her parents would have her sing for relatives and friends in their family home, which led to her involvement in school musicals and choir events and the development of a life-long love of music. After high school, she met Yeshua (Jesus) and quickly began a lifetime of ministry in the arts, using her experience in music as a backdrop.

 

Through her many trials and life experiences, including the death of her son, Beau, Corry presents the hope that only comes through the revelation that God not only exists, but that He cares deeply for the affairs of human beings and wants an intimate relationship with everyone who calls on Him.  Her message is simple and clear, honest and sometimes very raw. She willingly and eagerly shares her own personal tragedies to help others heal, reconcile and come to a place of coexistence with pain and suffering, but with a deep and abiding peace and joy.

 

Corry is presently married to Randy Keeler, she raised five children, traveled the world and continues to serve her community as interim worship leader at her congregation, Beth Emunah, as well as serving as the lead singer in the band, Lev Shelo, and co-director of Lev Shelo Ministries, a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. She is also a writer, journalist, editor and speaker at venues wherever she is invited. 

Pastor Holland Davis

Holland Davis is the Pastor of Calvary Chapel San Clemente.  He is also the writer of the multi-platinum selling song "Let It Rise" and the author of Let It Rise:  A Manual For Worship.  Previous to starting Calvary Chapel San Clemente, Holland Davis served with Pastor Chuck Smith with Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa where he started the School Of Worship and Calvary Chapel Music.  He is also the founder of Worshipsong.com, an independent distribution platform for original worship music and home to the award winning multitrack band app... worshipsong band app.

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Pastor Dave Podue

In early 1984 Dave Podue left secular music behind to become a Christian artist and replaced P.K.Mitchell as frontman of the heavy metal band “Neon Cross”.

 

After the release of a self-produced effort the following year, (“Frontline Life”, recorded by Grammy Award winning engineer Ron Capone) and contributions to a compilation LP recorded in support of the “Sanctuary” church in 1987 (“California Metal”) Neon Cross were subsequently “discovered” by John and Dine Elefante who facilitated their signing to Regency Records in order to produce their self-titled debut LP, released in 1988.

 

Since that time, he has continued to record and/or perform with Neon Cross as well as other groups and artists including Trilogy, Passion, New Jerusalem, Liberty and Justice, and most recently blues guitarist Rick Hutchinson (“Blue into Purple” 2016).

 

More to the point, since the formation of the “Sanctuary” church in 1985, he has also occupied a variety of ministry positions for the various church groups he has been involved with over the years, generally taking on the responsibilities of the “worship leader”.

 

Dave both leads and trains emerging worship artists spiritually and musically; composes, selects, and interprets worship music for the general assembly; and generate multimedia presentations for church functions, along with all the other practical aspects of "running a worship team".

 

Pastor Podue has been serving as the worship leader for Rushing Wind Church in Oceanside CA, (the “brick and mortar” HQ of Bikers for Christ Int.) since 2017 under Sr. Pastor Fred Z.

Dr. Bill Fleury

Dr. Bill Fleury is a retired physician, who formerly served as President of Staff, Quality Assurance Chairman, and Critical Care Committee Chairman, along with other responsible positions and awards at Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center. He believes God used these experiences to prepare him to serve the Christian community in San Pedro. He has been a musician and worship leader for several South Bay churches, and started the Light at the Lighthouse Music Festival in 2005. Until the COVID pandemic, this Christian music festival was held annually at Pt. Fermin Park in San Pedro. In 2020 the Festival continued as a virtual event which attracted over 15,000 viewers its opening night; it is still on YouTube and on the website, lightatthelighthouse.org.

God willing, Bill says Light at the Lighthouse Festival at Pt. Fermin Park will be resurrected in 2022, and plans for a theme of “The Next Great Revival”.

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Pastor Chris Cave

Chris Cave is an anointed praise and worship leader and choir director, whose sole mission it to usher God's people into His presence. Sharing the stage and singing background with such artists as, Cindi Lauper, Tyrese, Kirk Franklin, Twinkie Clark, Tasha Cobbs, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, the late Bishop Walter Hawkins, and a host of others, has opened up the door for him to lead praise and worship for various churches and conferences in the greater Los Angeles area. Chris has appeared on various sitcoms and awards shows including TV Land hit, The Soul Man and the TV Land Awards.

Chris currently serves in the Music and Arts Department at Faithful Central Bible Church as Director of Special Projects, choir director of FReSH Generation, the young adult choir whose ages range from 18-40 and Worship Leader. FReSH (Favored, Restored, Edified, Strong, Honorable) Generation was birthed in 2018 when a clarion call was issued for young worshippers to become active in a ministry where they were underutilized. Chris was given the task to form a choir from scratch and thus FReSH Generation was born with 50 young adults answering the call. Since their inception, FReSH Generation has performed at various community events such as, Inglewood’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Disneyland’s Celebrate Gospel, and was the recording choir for gospel artist Brent Jones on his latest gospel projects to be released in 2022. Chris was also a member of the acclaimed gospel recording choir and Stellar nominated, L.A. Mass Choir, and Victor Bell & Halel which has been featured in TV shows The Steve Harvey Show, Cedric The Entertainer Presents…, All Of Us, and The Bernie Mac Show.

Chris resides in Long Beach, CA. with his wife Joanna and their three boys, Carter Jonathan (age 7), Jeremiah Christian (age 6) and Caden Joshua (age 1).

 

Schedule

10:00 Registration

 

10:15 Greeting and Summary of the Conference…………………………..Dr. Bill Fleury

 

10:30 “What Does God Think About Your Music?”…………………...…….Pastor Holland Davis

 

11:00 Reaching The Next Generation ................................................. Pastor Chris Cave

 

11:40 “How the Holy Spirit Empowers Your Calling” ………………………Pastor J.P. Foster

 

12:20  Lunch Break

 

After the Lunch Break, each presentations will be 15-20-minute interviews or discussions between Bill and each Worship Leader presenter: Pastor Mark Mohr, Pastor Holland Davis, Pastor Dave Podue, Corry Keeler. emphasizing how each of these experts envision and accomplish the important elements of worship music. Followed by 10-minute mini-concerts to demonstrate and teach certain skills.

 

12:45 “Feed Your Sheep”………………………………………………………..Pastor Holland Davis

The spiritual leader of the church (Pastor) should breathe Life into the Worship Leader and band by discipling them, and caring for them as his sheep.

 

1:15  “Pray Without Ceasing”……………………………………………..……Pastor Dave Podue

The Worship Leader should seek the guidance and will of the Lord in choosing music, by spending time in prayer and study of the Word.

The Worship Band should understand the honor and privilege they are being given to bring praise and adoration to the Lord, and seek to have a worshipful attitude.

 

1:45 “The Lord Deserves Our Best!”…...............................................................Dr. Bill Fleury

The Worship Leader should respect and honor the efforts of his team by giving them all the tools and time they need to prepare. So that they don’t distract from the worship connection being created for the congregation, the band should prepare ahead of time by learning the music as well as they are capable, before arriving at church. The Lord deserves our best effort!

 

2:15  “The Horizontal Connection” ……………………………………….…....Pastor Mark Mohr

During the Service, the band should engage the church congregation in a joyful relationship with the musicians (Establish a Horizontal Connection); music touches the emotions—allow it to touch yours. Offer the congregation the opportunity to join the musicians in worship.

 

2:45  “The Vertical Connection”………………………………………………..Corry Keeler

          Musicians then communicate a message of praise, adoration, and salvation, pointing the way to a Vertical Connection for the congregation with Jesus. Ideally, the congregation should feel welcome and inspired to have a relationship with Jesus.

 

3:15  Break

 

3:30  Panel Discussion

            The audience has the opportunity to question any of the members of the panel

 

4:00-5:00 Christafari Concert

 

5:00 Audience to turn in evaluation sheets, and collect their T-shirt and “Let It Rise” book

 

Registration

 
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