Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Gospel music group aiming to become ‘church-hold’ name

Published:Tuesday | October 15, 2019 | 12:05 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter
Andrew Richards
Andrew Richards

The International Organization for Advancing the Body of Christ (IOABC) is a mouthful for a gospel music group. After they celebrated last week’s release of their debut EP, Oh Such Grace, founder Andrew Richards explained that the end goal for this collective is not to become gospel music superstars, because IOABC is not exactly a musical group.

Richards believes that one, or some of the hundreds of songs that remain unwritten, can help the IOABC develop into a globally reputable institution that offers charity, ministry and music.

“I got a vision that I believe is from the Lord, to do some work - to spread the body of Christ all over the world. Music is just one aspect of the ministry,” he said.

“We want to do charity, help churches, help the poor and those who can’t help themselves. The music arm might be more prominent and known, and the charity work will be in secret,” he said.

By selling CDs and booking performances, he hopes IOABC will one day be able to afford to fund full-time ministers and counsellors.

“We want to do centralisation. One church may not be able to afford a counsellor, then we can pool resources and pay four full-time counsellors, or four full-time nurses. It’s a vision. And as it grows, we’ll expand. We’ve started locally, as the Lord suggested, then in other circles,” he said.

It was 2012 when Richards felt like God was speaking to him. It was after a period of prayer and fasting.

“It was so profound. I didn’t have any money, I was jobless. And it’s such an audacious task! But I remembered that God gave me the gift to write songs. I have hundreds, probably thousands waiting to be recorded. I’m praying that a whole lot of them are hit songs so they can help offset the costs,” he said.

To start, the IOABC recorded and released Oh Such Grace, a three-song EP. They have also recorded covers of some old Jamaican gospel songs, like Moving Up The King’s Highway.