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Worshipping in the war zones

For four years, Sean Feucht sat in the Wesley  Luehring dorm stairwell, worshipping with only a guitar and some friends. His time in the stairwell helped him commit to a lifestyle of worship, which eventually led Feucht to begin a movement that continues today and has spread across the globe.

“We’ve seen a lot of amazing miracles and it gives us a lot of expectation every time we see breakthrough. God’s done it before, He’s gonna do it again; He can do something even crazier,” said Bethel Church worship leader and Oral Roberts University graduate Sean Feucht of his ministry, Burn 24-7. “It really stirs up our heart to believe that those things weren’t just for the Bible or just for history, but that God is still doing these things today.”

Feucht and Kalley Heiligenthal led ORU in a night of praise and prayer called “For the Nations,” an evening dedicated to rasing funds for ORU missions teams. Feucht also spoke in chapel on Friday morning, Feb. 15, 2018. Heilingenthal is also part of the well-known worship team at Bethel Church, a multi-campus Christian church with its base in Redding, California.

Feucht grew up with a family more inclined to studying medicine than music. He wasn’t heavily involved in music until high school, when he says a natural inclination to worship drew him into becoming a musician.

He learned to strum a few chords on his guitar for small group meetings at his church and eventually, the youth group’s worship leader left for college. The leadership role fell to Feucht, though he never dreamed of being a musician. According to Feucht, it was his hunger for worship that carried him.

Upon high school graduation friends and family from Feucht’s home in Virginia Beach, VA, suggested that he visit ORU. The Tulsa school was one of the four universities he considered. Feucht arrived to the campus on a stormy day, where he and his father witnessed the whole student body praying and worshipping together. In that moment, Feucht says he felt the Holy Spirit’s presence and knew it was where he belonged. This kind of atmosphere, which he hadn’t felt at the other universities, was what he was looking for.

The relational family atmosphere has always been an attribute that Feucht fondly remembers about the university. Feucht says what stood out most about ORU was the holistic spiritual mindset. Feucht attended ORU in the last years of Oral Roberts’ presidency, and he can still recall the voice of Roberts reverberating in his ears, “You can do anything.”

Feucht described his recent visit to his alma mater as surreal. During his four years here, Feucht says the Lord placed him in a season away from the spotlight. He studied, worshipped and enjoyed his time in college, more in the shadows than the limelight.

“You know, I worshipped in my dorm room and had my own kind of thing going, but it wasn’t like a season of public ministry for me,” Fuecht said. “It’s just cool for me to come back now and see that it’s a marker in my life of all the stuff that God has done.”

Feucht has released 20 music albums and co-authored five books. He also has his own ministry, known as Burn 24-7, which began at ORU with a group of people who were lit with a desire to see the Kingdom of God in all nations. Those who helped him begin Burn 24-7 were the kids that usually stayed for voluntary worship after chapel.

“Worship is everything,” Feucht said. “It’s the continual awareness of his presence and the continual engagement of that. You can’t give away what you don’t have. If you’re not guarding it in a personal time, then you can’t get up there on a stage. It’s fraud, and it’s fake. You can’t do it. That’s where the authority comes from to sing it, because you’re living it.”

Beginning in a men’s dorm, the movement grew and moved from the ORU campus to Nordaggio’s coffee shop. Feucht says he watched as churches began to catch the vision and host worship nights for the ministry, and eventually, it became more than just an ORU thing.

Soon, it began to grow to be more than just an American thing and spread to the nations.

“I was in Afghanistan a couple months after 9/11, before I came to school here,” Feucht said. “I have been involved with the Middle East for a long time. I’ve always loved the Middle East, I’ve always had an attachment to those nations. It’s just grown overtime as the wars happen and the constant tragedy and terrorism. It’s just my heart has been more like ‘God you gotta show up and do something.’”

According to Feucht, the amazing thing about leading worship in the Middle East is that although it is difficult to argue Muslims into faith, an encounter with the love of God and the beauty of who he is can make the change. Feucht recounted the shame and disconnection from the God of the Bible resulting from the Middle Eastern religion.

“I love the fact that we get to bring worship as a tangible experience of His presence into those countries. We’ve been invited into mosques.  We’ve been invited on the front line of war zones,” Feucht said.

Even as Feucht leads worship warfare into the farthest reaches of the world, his measure of success is centered around his wife and children. To him, being a good husband and father is more important than selling songs.

He and his wife travelled often together when they were first married, and continued this after the births of their first two children. However, they recognized the importance of stability, and enrolled their two oldest children into school. Feucht and his wife now have three children, and another baby on the way.

“They were at home today, watching [the chapel service] online, huddled around the TV. They just feel like they are a part of it. They don’t feel disconnected as if the ministry is taking me away, but more like we’re doing this together. That’s what changes everything for us,” Feucht said.

In this way, Feucht stays connected with his family and his calling as his ministry and family remain intertwined. He still seeks to bring Christ to the nations through worship and meaningful encounters with God, believing worship to be vital to the supernatural and literal war zones that much of the earth remains in.