This Saturday the Lifelight Crew from South Dakota will join with Mankato-area partners to put on the free concert at Sibley Park in Mankato called Lifelight ONE Fest.

This concert will accept donations for Jesus Food, a nonprofit that provides meals to starving children all over the world. Attendees can also donate to future Lifelight concerts.

“Lifelight is like a group of people that want to reach out to local communities and local directors for the program,” said Tim Stromer, director of the local festival and head of Jesus Food.

Lifelight has helped put on concerts throughout the region as they have grown over the years.

“About 20 years ago the Lifelight crew started in Sioux Falls. It started on their church lawn, then it grew and needed to be hosted at a local water park. Later they had to actually get a farm field to put it on,” Stromer said.

The festival has grown so large that their concerts have attracted more than 300,000 people. The concert in Mankato is, obviously, not expected to be as large. But there will be many worship leaders and performers.

“We’re having worship leaders from across the United States help us enter into worship,” said Stromer, who added that two performers in the lineup are local.

“I would like to see everyone come and be able to enjoy the artists,” said Richard Hochreiter, a member of the board of directors with Stromer.

This event is meant to be a fun day of escape, and a day to observe your faith.

“It’s kind of a mixture of both a church service and a concert,” Stromer said. “We believe that it’s possible to get together in unity as one body to worship the Lord.”

Stromer and Hochreiter said they hope the event will both raise money for Jesus Food as well as help people grow in their faith.

“It’s an opportunity to meet other believers in the community and meet people in general,” Hochreiter said.

This festival is not only meant for Christians. It is for anyone interested in worship, the music and the sense of community.

“I would love if every Christian in Southern Minnesota came to it, but I would love it even more if every non-Christian in Southern Minnesota came to this,” Stromer said.

What makes this festival different from other Christian music and worship services or concerts is its support for Jesus Food. Donation boxes will be passed around to raise money for the organization. Jesus Food is a nonprofit, similar to Feed My Starving Children and Kids Against Hunger.

“People raise money, find a group and find a time to start packaging food,” Stromer said.

Jesus Food’s goal is to provide food for both the body and the soul. According to Stromer, those without Christ in their hearts are seen in the Christian community as those who are starving of the soul.

While Jesus Food provides meals for those in need, it also provides an opportunity for them to learn about Christ.

“We’re praying for 2.2 million meals to be packaged this year. That represents 6,000 people who are starving to death,” Hochreiter said.

Many churches, worship groups and denominations hold festivals similar to this. Stromer believes they all have the same goal of worshipping through music.

“One of the things that I believe is that music was literally created so that we could sing songs to God,” Stromer said.

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