When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the shores of Nigeria, it was clear that life as we knew it was going to change. We went from being able to gather in our numbers and experiencing things physically to lockdowns and experiencing things virtually. We have had to create innovative ways to navigate the ‘new normal’ and still create meaningful experiences despite the restrictions in place.
If there’s one thing people, Christians and non-Christians undeniably look forward to in December each year, it’s The Experience and this year wasn’t any different, despite the year that it has been so far. The Experience 15 Global defied the odds this year with its first exclusively virtual and global concert on December 15th, which kicked off at 9 PM (West African Time.)
Now in its fifteenth edition, ‘The Experience’ has since become a favourite destination event for gospel music enthusiasts from all over the nation, the continent and the world, where hundreds of thousands of people gather to worship and praise God from dusk till dawn. This year gave viewers an equally enjoyable experience, with an interesting twist to it. People worshipped from the comfort of their homes in what was a virtual worship experience like they’ve never had before. Across cities, nations, continents, and different time zones, viewers came together to praise the name of the Lord.
TE15 featured an outstanding line-up with some new entrants and comebacks from several internationally acclaimed artists. All the way from Australia, Hillsong United led us in spirit to where our trusts are without borders, and from the United States of America, Tasha Cobbs reminded us of the God we serve who can break every chain, and Maverick City had us reflecting on the promises of God. From the shores of Brazil, and Cape Town, South Africa, we worshipped with Ana Paula Valadoa and The Capetown Philharmonic Choir. We also had powerful renditions by Sheldon Bangera from India, Matt Redman from the United Kingdom, and Sidney Mohede from Indonesia.
While still reeling over the powerful contribution by new entrants, making comebacks, some for the 14th time were internationally acclaimed artistes, as well as the best of the best Nigeriam artistes. The line-up progressed amazingly with performances by Travis Greene, Nathaniel Bassey, Sinach, Don Moen, Donnie McClurkin, Onos Ariyo, Sonnie Badu, Eben, Tope Alabi, Mercy Chinwo, William McDowell, Ada, Nokwe the Poet and the host choir – The Lagos Metropolitan Gospel Choir, amongst others. Pastor Paul Adefarasin gave a powerful message to bring the entire experience all together.
All of this was executed seamlessly across multiple virtual platforms, from YouTube, Facebook, and other major digital platforms. There were live tweets, chats where viewers could share joint viewing experiences. Even with the various restrictions and barriers in place, TEI5 was nothing short of the usual The Experience standards. With the year that it has been, it was definitely an experience many needed to have.
The Experience this year was truly a reminder that with God, all things are possible. With Him, there are no limitations in bringing the body of Christ together and through Him, odds are defied.