The Gravity Project is pulling teens towards Christ Print

Jamie Hoke is a young person on a mission. She’s currently attempting to fund two charter buses for a trip down to Lexington, Ky., to take part in Winter Jam, a traveling Christian musical and outreach event targeted at teenagers. Her endeavor has been named “The Gravity Project: Pulling Youth Closer to Christ” and that’s exactly what she’s hoping will happen.

Hoke, a freshmen at Eastern High School, said the idea came to her while traveling back from a trip out to Evansville for last year’s Winter Jam. It was her first time to see the traveling concert and the experience impacted Hoke deeply. “My mom said ‘wouldn’t it be great to take other kids?’ Our five passenger car couldn’t bring that many people along.”
That comment sparked Jamie’s quest to figure out how she could reach out to her peers in Washington County and give them a chance to experience the spiritual encouragement of Winter Jam too. Soon afterwards her mother also suggested the idea of chartering buses for the supposed trip, and thus the pieces that would become The Gravity Project began falling into place.
Each bus costs roughly $1,000 and after factoring in the costs of concert tickets (each bus can seat 52 to 56 passengers) and other smaller expenses, The Gravity Project is hoping to raise a little under $5,000. Jamie says they’ve already been surprised by the generous influx of donations coming in. “People we haven’t even asked [for donations] have given money, and local businesses too.”
The Gravity Project is also holding a fundraiser at East Washington Elementary School on Sunday, February 12, to help raise money for the project. Along with a good meal, Hoke says there will be entertainment provided by local talent, a silent auction and a performance by gospel group Sacred Calling. Tickets will cost $8 for adults and $5 for kids.
But what’s a means of transportation without anybody to transport? To that end Hoke, who is a member of Salem First Baptist Church, has been busy banding together local youth groups behind her idea, encouraging them to talk up Winter Jam and invite their friends from school, including those who may not already be actively involved in a church. At the heart of The Gravity Project, Jamie says it’s an “outreach to the community youth”. She envisions all of the local teens in the area, Christian and non-Christian alike, uniting for one very special night of worship and fellowship. A handful of local churches have hopped on board so far.
Winter Jam is an annual, nationwide touring concert that features big name Christian musical acts and evangelical speakers. This year’s headliners include veteran rock bands Newsong, Skillet and Sanctus Real, among several other groups. New to this year’s tour is the inclusion of illusionist Brock Gill to the roster. A unique aspect of Winter Jam is their continual commitment to keeping tickets priced at $10 per person, ensuring the show remains affordable for anyone interested in attending.
Hoke says what impacted her so deeply last year was how the event managed to interweave sharing the Gospel in the midst of all the crowd noise and the electric atmosphere on stage. Members of the various bands took time out of their sets to share personal testimonies and touch on the foundational points of Christianity to their giant audiences.
Hearing the Gospel message genuinely preached by artists teenagers respect and enjoy is what’s so powerful about Winter Jam. “It makes a connection,” Hoke says. The Gravity Project is planning to take concert-goers down to Lexington on the evening of Friday, March 10.
When asked if her organization has any other prospects on the horizon for 2012, Hoke was quick to say she’s just concentrating on getting ready for Winter Jam right now. She is already cautiously optimistic about the idea of chartering buses for next year’s concert, but that will largely depend on how much success they meet with this time. “Nothing else is planned for this year,” she said, “but who knows.”
For more information on Winter Jam, visit their official website at For more information about The Gravity Project, call Jamie Hoke at 812-967-4804, or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Any and all monetary donations can be made to The Gravity Project at First Harrison Bank in Salem.