For many young people, growing up in the Assemblies of God guaranteed two experiences: attending church camp and participating in Fine Arts.
Fine Arts is a National Youth Ministries discipleship program that focuses on stewarding excellence through creativity and the arts. Since its inception, hundreds of thousands of students have discovered, developed, and deployed their God-given gifts to make Jesus known in the marketplace and through ministry.
One example is Sabrina Epou from Bethel’s Rock Church in Minneapolis. Now a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Epou is using her talent as a spoken word artist to make an impact on youth across the country.
Epou will be joining Dare2Share, an organization focused on mobilizing youth across the country to share their faith. Epou will be the organization’s spoken word artist for its “Live it Up Tour” starting in February. Dare2Share’s director approached Epou after she performed her spoken word piece at National Fine Arts 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. It’s only fitting that the same program that helped her discover her gifting is the same program that is allowing her to deploy her talent nationwide. But if Epou hadn’t taken a chance in Fine Arts, she wouldn’t be calling herself a spoken word artist today.
Epou’s youth pastor encouraged her to enter the Fine Arts spoken word category, even though Epou originally didn’t know what it meant. Regardless, she decided to give it a try.
“When I first heard about Fine Arts all I could think about was competition and whether or not I was going to excel in it and make it to nationals,” Epou says. When it came time for the district festival, despite being a novice at writing and performing a spoken word, she received the Award of Merit, an honor presented to the top performance in a category.
“It was shocking, because it was all really a new thing for me taking on this art form,” Epou says. “But God guided me through the whole process: the writing, the performance, and beyond.”
The discovery and activation of a hidden God-given gift changed everything for her.
“My view of God became more whole,” Epou says. “Now when I write, it’s a form of seeking and meeting God and letting him speak through me. That process has changed how I live, disciple, relate to people, and how [I view my] walk with Christ.”
Epou has come a long way since her first spoken word performance at districts. The Live it Up Tour will be traveling to seven major cities, including stops in Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. She even had the opportunity this past spring to be an evaluator in her home district for the spoken word category, providing feedback and pouring into the next generation of students who are discovering and refining their gifts and talents.
According to Epou, Fine Arts is one of the best ways a young person can discover gifts that can be used to further God’s kingdom. She also has advice for participants.
“We live in a time where people who have talents and gifts tend to expect reaching a level of fame,” Epou says. “You should dream big, but God looks for servants who are willing to serve Him and His efforts, and not who have their own personal agenda. Going into Fine Arts with that heart, will be a life-changing experience.”