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God of This City: the Remarkable Story of an Irish Band, a Song of Worship and a Vision that is Reaching around the World

Aimee Herd : Jun 6, 2009  Bluetree/Worship Musician magazine

"In the midst of all that darkness and craziness?when it's so impossible to see God?He's still God. He's still God of that city. He still longs after every single one of those people, and He still wants relationship with every single one of those kids, every one of those women and every one of those pimps. That's our God. That's the God who is massive, mighty, and amazing."

EDITOR'S NOTE: To say that God seems to be moving rapidly these days, on behalf of the innocent victims of human trafficking, would be an understatement. Almost every day I see another person, group or ministry who is overwhelmed with compassion for these children whose physical, emotional and spiritual worth has been stolen and desecrated by the vilest of exploitations. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the Christian band Bluetree, out of Belfast, Ireland. They explained the vision that was birthed around an impromptu worship set, in one of the most unexpected places. ?A vision that is quickly taking hold of hearts and minds, on behalf of an enslaved generation. Below is an excerpt from that interview; the entire article can be read in the July/August 2009 issue of Worship Musician magazine. ?Aimee Herd, BCN.

Bluetree is offering their song, God of This City, as a free download. When you purchase their entire album, proceeds go to help stop child trafficking. For more information, CLICK HERE. Read on to learn the story behind the song from two of Bluetree's members: Aaron Boyd and Pete Kernoghan.

Aimee: God of this City has become a huge song for Bluetree, though it was actually Chris Tomlin who broke it into American Christian radio. But it's really much more than just a song. It actually birthed the ministry vision behind this band? tell that story.

Pete Kernoghan (Bluetree): God of This City has a complete life of its own, it started in a place called Pattaya, Thailand. We were part of a small missions team within a band called Pattaya Praise. Pattaya is a small coastal town in Thailand which has been built up around the sex industry. There are 30,000 female prostitutes over the age of 18, that doesn't include the children, the men and the little boys. It's a crazy, crazy place. It's physically dark; it's spiritually dark, and when I drove in and saw what was going on, I just couldn't see God there at all.

BluetreeSo, we were doing the usual missions stuff; sweeping streets, playing in prisons and a school. But we wanted to play way more. We asked if there was any chance we could get another gig somewhere, anything, it didn't matter. So, we ended up playing in a bar on Walking Street, which is a quarter-mile long street in the middle of Pattaya where it's the hub of all the prostitution and the craziness. The bar, called the "Climax Bar" was pretty much a brothel. It was just a horrendous place. The deal was we could play there for two hours if we brought 30 Christians with us who would all buy Coca-Cola, because Coke is more expensive than alcohol there, and the bar would make a little more cash. (Photo:

We brought 30 of our friends from the conference, and played a two-hour worship set. We did every worship song we knew in the first 20 minutes, and were like, "What do we do now?" So, we went into a time of free worship, and began singing some riffs over the city. It talks in the Bible about the "now" Word of God? that's what those lyrics were?the now Word of God. We started singing, "You're the Lord of this place, You're the King of these people, You're God of this city?and greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done here." And that's the truth. In the midst of all that darkness and craziness, all the sex and child abuse?when it's so impossible to see God?He's still God. He's still God of that city. He still longs after every single one of those people, and He still wants relationship with every single one of those kids, every one of those women and every one of those pimps. That's our God. That's the God who is massive, mighty, and amazing. The essence of it is; we didn't have that song when we went into that bar, and when we came out, we did. Everyone has a different take on the whole "prophetic" thing, but that was definitely prophetic.

Now, God has something to say through that song? and if it wasn't us, it would have been somebody else. We're just so privileged to be a part of it. We don't see it as "our" song but as God's song, and I think that's a cool thing. We want it to inspire you, to challenge you and for you to proclaim it over your cities, and then for it to inspire you to take action. ?Outside the church, to do something for your city. We are Jesus right here in this time, because the same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in us Believers. So, we need to show the world that that happened. I think the story of doubting Thomas is a kind of cool story in the fact that he didn't believe Jesus had risen until he'd seen the scars, until he'd seen the proof. I think that as Believers we have to be the proof that Jesus is alive?they need to put their hands in our wounds and understand that Jesus is alive today and is pursuing them.

Our mission in Bluetree is: 1. We want to worship Him and lift Him high above all else. 2. We want to end child sex exploitation. ?Because that injustice just isn't right. I don't care what background or religion you are?you can stand and say child sex slavery is wrong. I think we can all stand behind that.

Aaron Boyd (Bluetree): There's a line in the song [God of This City]? "Where glory shines from hearts alive with praise for You and love for You," [Chris] Tomlin never put that in, but that line and the chorus? Whenever you walk down the street you see the girls in the big open-fronted bars, and they smile at you, they're the most beautiful girls you've ever seen, but their smile is a fake smile. It's a smile to get your cash and your business. But, we want that smile to be God's glory being revealed in their lives. So, "where glory shines" is one of those girls smiling at you?but it's not the first smile which is fake, it's the second smile when she understands that there is a God who loves her and the difference it'll make in her life.

From [the song] we have a charity. We have a platform to be able to lead the Church in worship, and then turn our attention to these issues. That's why I firmly believe that God has done what He's done, and it is the reason that we've had a number one selling Christian album at retail while we're totally independent. We've done the impossible in a sense?God has built this thing in an impossible way. I believe that the day that we kneeled and said, "how can we sell albums and tour in order to finance kids being rescued from the sex industry?" that was the minute we saw this thing go crazy. That's when Chris Tomlin came on the scene; that's when some of the best people in the industry bought into the vision of saving kids' lives. That's when it went crazy and we've had to just hang on...

This entire article will be included in the July/August 2009 issue of Worship Musician magazine.

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