A few hundred people rocked the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom Saturday night for a celebration of God that combined humor, dancing, singing and music at the fourth annual Gospel X-plosion.
The event, sponsored by Word Up! Bible Study, featured a variety of musical acts from along the East Coast. Organizers said the diverse program was meant to bring people together to share their love of God.
“It is a chance for saved and unsaved people to enjoy themselves in the spirit of God,” Word Up! President LeeAnn Willis said. “We really do not concern ourselves with numbers because we believe that whoever was meant to be here was here.”
This year’s theme was “Next Stop: Salvation.”
The event featured several acts making their debuts, including Alpha and Omega: Steppers for Christ, a group from Howard University, and country gospel singer Wendy Lake. Returning acts included Jehovah’s Chosen, a band from Philadelphia that has opened for Jill Scott, the Roots, Common and Musiq.
“Last year there were the same types of singers,” said sophomore Stephanie Samuel, Word Up!’s historian. “Being a Christian does not mean you have to be stiff and boring.”
Word Up! is a student ministry founded in 1995 by Lindsay Marsh and Tamishia Brown. Marsh and Brown are Word Up! mentors for the current board.
According to the ministry’s mission statement, Word Up! builds spiritually-founded principles in the lives of each GW student and teaches the gospel.
The event moved from the Betts Theater to the Ballroom this year.
Attendees said they enjoyed the spiritual nature of the event.
Sophomore Paul Kendrick said the X-plosion came at a “profound” week as Christians celebrated Easter. He also noted students of all religions benefited from the program.
“Word Up! brings it and makes sure that everyone has a good time without pushing their message too hard,” he said. ” I got to bask in the music and good people.”
Kendrick said it is important for him to come to religious events such as this because they encourage love of humanity. He said his favorite part of the show was the Jehovah’s Chosen performance.
Junior Trell Stanislaus said he decided to go to the event at the last minute because he wanted to see his friend Steve Rousey perform a skit.
The skit, which received several laughs from the audience, was a series of telephone conversations in which Rousey discussed aspects of student life, from clubbing to sex, with an operator of a gospel hotline.
“I decided to come last minute, and I ended up getting saved,” he said.
Word Up! meets Thursdays in Marvin Center 302 at 8 p.m.