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Wolfe plays to stop violencecomment (0)

January 4, 2001

By Dee Ann Campbell

Columbine ... Pearl ... Paducah ... the list seems to grow longer each year. The death count of teenagers killed by fellow students during the past few years has shocked and frightened America. Authorities and parents from every corner of our nation have spent countless hours seeking answers to the problem.
Many understand that drugs, alcohol, immorality, a lack of respect for authority and other factors are some of the leading contributors to the violence seen in recent years. And these are just the issues that evangelist Danny Wolfe focuses on during his “Stop the Violence Now!” campaign.
“Stop the Violence Now!” is a Christian-based campaign that challenges students to make right choices about the issues they are faced with in today’s world.  During a weeklong series of events and rallies in schools and churches, Wolfe speaks to students through music, humor and challenging messages. Wolfe, a prizewinning trumpet player and vocalist, has been in the ministry for 29 years. He has traveled with such well-known groups as “Truth,” “4-Him” and “Harvest.” He has also used his musical ability to minister alongside soloists such as Phil Driscoll and Sandi Patti.  A songwriter and composer, Wolfe has published his music in both Christian and secular markets. He has been featured on Trinity Broadcasting’s “Praise the Lord” program and has been invited to showcase his talents at the White House.
As part of his current ministry program, Wolfe incorporates his musical ability with his desire to lead others to Christ. Yet, in order to be able to present his campaign into the public school arena, he refrains from dealing with religious or theological matters in that forum.  Instead, he uses his music and entertainment to reach out to the kids and draw them to his church-sponsored rallies at local churches where he presents them with the gospel.
Wolfe, a member of Wall Highway Baptist Church in Huntsville, began his ministry at the age of 15 when he began traveling with evangelist E.J. Hill. Working his way up in the organization, Wolfe eventually became the director for Hill’s worldwide evangelistic outreach.
He worked with that organization for 12 years.
“When I first began traveling with E.J. Hill,” Wolfe said, “I really didn’t like it. It required lots of discipline to get up early and work long hours. But I realized later that God was laying the groundwork for what I would be doing with my life.”
After a successful 13 years of ministry, Wolfe’s life suddenly began to fall apart.
“The world fell in on me,” he said. “I was really hurting because of some things that were going on in my life.” His search for solutions to his problems led him to Whitesburg Baptist Church, where Alabama evangelist Junior Hill was leading a revival.
“I was there to get counsel because of my struggles,” he recalled. “But, as Brother Hill preached, the Holy Spirit convicted me that I was a phony. I realized that, despite all my successes in ministry over the past 13 years, I was lost.
“I realized that there is a difference between being a Christian entertainer and being called into the ministry. Anyone can be an entertainer, but ministry is a calling that God places on your life.”
Wolfe’s ministry took a turn in a different direction after his salvation.
He began to realize his calling was in the area of youth evangelism.
The focus of his ministry to youth began in the area of drug and alcohol awareness. These issues still make up a large part of his program, but Wolfe has shifted his focus in the aftermath of the rash of school violence that has intensified in recent years.
“The program I present to the kids was first called ‘Choices,’ he said. “We changed it to ‘Stop the Violence Now!’ because we saw a need to address the subject of youth violence and its causes.”
Choctaw County recently played host to the “Stop the Violence Now!” campaign. According to Wolfe, his goal was to challenge Choctaw County youth to make positive contributions to society and to become part of the solution instead of the problem.
Throughout the week, Wolfe’s campaign involved rallies at every school in the county. Students and faculty attended the events. During his visits to each school, Wolfe used his music to capture the attention of the youth and invited them to attend a countywide rally where he would present the gospel.
The rally was held at Heritage Baptist Church in Gilbertown. The program included lights and sound effects, youth-oriented music and even fireworks. An estimated 800-900 people attended the event.
Wolfe culminated his Choctaw County campaign with a “Praise Celebration” which was also held at Heritage Baptist. During this Sunday night service, Wolfe again reached more than 800 people. In addition to using his vocal and trumpet talents, Wolfe used personal testimony to challenge the congregation to take a stand for Christ.
The week’s events resulted in 34 new salvation experiences and many rededications.
At one school in the county Wolfe saw 30 – 40 students make renewed commitments to Christ.
Stressing that his message crosses denominational lines to reach people with the gospel, Wolfe said his focus is Christ. He stresses that he does not press theological issues on which people differ. The thrust of his campaign is on youth-related issues.
Wolfe said he is now presenting his program at approximately 200 schools per year. His plan is to continue this ministry as long as he sees an open door. The key to reaching youth, he said, is to speak their language.
“Become one of them, and you can reach them. Let them know you’re there to encourage them. Grab them with music that speaks to them.
Then they will respond by coming to your rally where they get to hear the gospel.”
Although Wolfe’s talents have given him fame, he said he seeks only to use his gifts to minister to others.
“I’ve played in the big league. I’ve gotten glory for my talents. It doesn’t matter to me anymore,” Wolfe said.
“For me to use this the wrong way would be detrimental to the cause of Christ,” he added. “I don’t have to tell everyone how great I am. I’m there to show them how great Christ is.”
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