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Zach Blickens & Cyprès | Using Music to Draw People to Christ

In this podcast episode, Daniel King interviews musician Zach Blickens, the leader of the music group Cyprès. They discuss the power of music in evangelism and how it can be used to draw people to Jesus. Zach shares his journey of discovering his musical talent and his calling to use music to spread the message of Jesus. He emphasizes the importance of being intentional about sharing the gospel through music and not just focusing on praise and worship. He highlights the significance of involving his family in the ministry and the importance of balancing family and ministry.

Learn more about the band Cyprès: https://cypresmusic.com/


Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Welcome to the Evangelism Podcast. I’m Daniel King and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus. Today I have a very special guest, world renowned musician and leader of a great music group called Cyprès, Zach?

Zach Blickens (00:16):
Yes sir.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:21):
Well, thank you so much for joining me on the Evangelism podcast.

Zach Blickens (00:24):
Yeah, no, it’s a privilege to be here and it’s been great hanging out with you in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, which is where we’ve been.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:30):
Yeah, this has been a wonderful three country tour and in all three countries I’ve really seen God use you and your daughter. Praise Jesus. And your wife is here to just, God has used you in such a tremendous way through music. Praise God as a tool for reaching people. Praise God. Talk to me a little bit about how God can use music to evangelize.

Zach Blickens (00:54):
Well, it’s interesting. I got my start in worship right? That was God rescued me and basically I discovered worship. I discovered that I was a musician beforehand trained. I was actually trained in opera, which is crazy, but we’re a pop band now. We don’t sound like that. And I got my start and one of the things that God used was worship. And it’s just this awesome focus. And throughout my journey with Jesus, he just began stirring in my heart that I just knew he began to speak to me and I just became convinced that he had called me and my whole family, the vision spread to my whole family was to actually just set foot on every nation and used music in the spoken word to present the message of Jesus. And I think music is this incredible, incredible tool. I mean, because the reality is everyone likes music, everyone likes different kinds of music.

And it’s interesting, when we started out, we kind of started as kind of a little more traditional, almost like almost like a folk influence worship when we would go out. But I started to realize that there’s an incredible power that comes when you can. We’ve switched over kind of to pop almost in EDM kind of sound. There’s something powerful that happens when you can draw this crowd, engage people, and just basically our goal is to throw the biggest party in town. And it does incredible things as far as actually drawing people, but also music when it’s focused on Jesus. And when you can be intentional with that, it can actually draw hearts to Jesus. So we look at ourselves as the way John the Baptist came saying, prepare the way for the Lord. Our heart is to prepare hearts and minds and draw people for the message as it’s shared the simple message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So I actually think that for us, I know it’s what we’re called to, but I think that music is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s got to be intentional. And there are a lot of things, there are a lot of mistakes we’ve made and a lot of things we’ve learned over the years. But I think music has an incredible power to draw. People

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:47):
Talk to me about how musicians can be intentional about sharing the gospel, because sometimes musicians get up, they sing their songs and they say, I want everyone to just say, praise Jesus. And they think that is enough of the gospel. But really you have the audience, you should take the opportunity to really communicate how someone can be saved. So what advice would you give to a young musician who maybe wants to use their music in evangelism?

Zach Blickens (03:19):
Sure. And I think that’s a really good question and a really good distinction because the truth is obviously there are lots of functions in the body of Christ. Like I said, there’s discipleship in the church and all that stuff. But our job as the church, the way I see it’s two things. It’s to introduce people to Jesus and it’s to help raise them up as disciples and teach ’em how to follow Jesus. And everyone’s different. But for us, we are convinced that it is crucial to use this for evangelism. And I think what’s really interesting is that I didn’t know that when I started, I didn’t have that conviction. I just knew that I was supposed to go play music. And also that I was a speaker, I talked about Jesus. But early on I felt like God spoke to my heart and challenged me that every time we will play any show, as long as God opens the door and God says yes, but we have to someone even in our writer, that someone in every show has to share the simple gospel. And for me, I just started out of that conviction, started sharing the simple gospel. I mean, it’s simple, right? It can be 30 seconds, it can take three hours, but it can also be 30 seconds. Alright,

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (04:24):
Give me the 32nd version of the

Zach Blickens (04:26):
Gospel. Sure. 32nd version. And I think it’s so beautiful and this is the way what I’ve boiled it down to, but I think there is a God, he’s good. He created us for a relationship with him. That’s the first thing. The second thing that’s really important is to know that every single one of us Bible says all have sinned and fall short to the glory of God. So we’ve separated ourself from God by the bad things, the sin we’ve done. And obviously the good news, the gospel is that God, when he looked at us in that situation, broken and separated it, instead of judging us like we deserved, he sent his son Jesus to die and pay a price that only he could pay. He died, he rose from the dead in order to purchase our forgiveness, our freedom, and our reconnection with God. That to me is the simple gospel.

And for us, it’s also important to say it really is easy to say yes to. Gs as AB, C, admitting we are broken, believing Gs is who he says he is. He’s God, he rose from the dead and calling on his name, committing our lives to him. So that to me is the simple gospel and we’re passionate that that be shared by somebody every single time. And once I started doing that, I started seeing people come to Jesus and I was like, oh, maybe I’m an evangel. I was like, it was that sort of thing. But for me, I think if as we grow in our comfort in sharing that, I feel like one of the biggest things we can do is, especially in these big festivals, is to remember that the whole purpose of this festival is to introduce people to Jesus. And there is a speaker, you or Keith Cook or Reed Saunders or some of these other amazing communicators, their job is to seal the deal, is to give the invitation and all that stuff.

And we can either look at it as it’s about us and hey, thanks so much for coming. Or we can take the attention that we have gotten from the people and we can point it to Jesus and we can point it and say, whatever you do, don’t miss this message. And I feel like that one simple shift of it’s not about me, it’s not about me being a rockstar, which is always tempting, but it’s about this message. I feel like just that simple shift is a massive thing young musicians can learn and do. And we’ve gotten incredible opportunities just because that’s our commitment, if that, does that make sense?

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:29):
One of the things that I really like about your ministry is you’re a team player. You don’t come with a big ego, which sometimes musicians deal with

Zach Blickens (06:39):
That. We all fight it, we all, yeah.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:41):
But you recognize that you have a part in the presenting of the gospel using the music to draw people and then working together with other communicators. And you have been really a part of the team of On the Go, which is the ministry of Keith Cook for quite a few years. And one of the things I think is so valuable is mentorship and coming under the wing of someone who’s experienced in evangelism to help us to sharpen our message and get better at presenting the gospel. So with your long relationship with Keith Cope, what are some of the things that he’s helped you with that have made you a better evangelist?

Zach Blickens (07:24):
Oh my gosh. I mean, I’m so grateful. I feel like in my life I’ve been given the incredible, the answer to cry of my heart. He’s given me such incredible fathers, and Keith has been one of those fathers. And for me, I feel like I came in as definitely as a worship artist and communicator, but really I feel like I learned everything. And honestly, as a young up and coming evangelist when I started and stuff, I feel like one of the most valuable things for me was to first of all hear the wisdom that comes from him and not think that I have all figured out. I might have had a lot of experience in the church, or maybe not, which I did, but I didn’t have any experience in the street. And I’ve told people I feel like everyone should have to learn the way I did, which is basically you get thrown on the street in Africa and say, you have five minutes, earn your crowd, share Jesus and give a call.

Don’t lose your crowd. And I feel like it’s terrifying, terrifying, but just facing that and being given those opportunities. And so I feel like humility is one of the crucial things in, and you have to choose humility because you always think that’s when humility really is so evident is when you think you know what the best way is and you have someone experienced and you have to say, you know what, I’m going to trust you on this. And so I feel like that learning from the experience and then learning how to interact with the pastors and learning how to all those things, I feel like it’s been crucial. But I feel like I learned just I was just a baby and I feel like I learned everything from being able to surrender and say, okay, God, you’ve given me this mentor. Let me learn from him. And there’s just so much, so different being, it’s so different when it comes to engaging the crowd, drawing the crowd, doing that stuff. It’s so different from what we’re used to, whether it’s played in a secular, whether you played in clubs or whether you’ve played in church. It really is different. And I’ve learned a lot. I learned everything.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:19):
Another thing I really like about you is that you involve your entire family in the ministry. Your daughters have been singing with you, you’re writing songs together as a family. Your wife is right there right alongside of you helping singing and doing an administration. Why do you feel it’s important to involve the family in the ministry that you’re called to?

Zach Blickens (09:42):
My gosh, actually the short, I don’t know, I’m kind of stumbling over my words because for me it’s like this is my dream.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:54):
It really comes out of you, it’s part of you.

Zach Blickens (09:57):
It’s like we didn’t necessarily go into this being like, okay, we’re going to involve the family. I just love my family so much. And we all developed a desire to travel and go out. And so Kayla, who is basically our lead singer, she’s my youngest daughter and she has been doing this since I think she was 11 years old. And we just go like, Hey, let’s come to Africa or whatever. And so it started that way and then the girls on their own struggled through their own things and prayed. But basically this vision that God gave us, gave me has become theirs. And Kayla just heard God at a young age being calling toward evangelist as an evangelist. And then so we’ve started throwing her in. She’s now just an incredible communicator and it’s just basically, it’s a dream come true for me, but I wouldn’t know. How do you involve your family? I’m just like, love ’em, walk through ’em, have grace and the tough things and do that. How

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:55):
Do you balance family and ministry?

Zach Blickens (10:59):
I think for us, one of the most important things we could do to answer that question is for me, what we do is really, really awesome. And it’s incredible privilege, but it’s also exhausting. For example, I love this country. It’s also the hottest place I’ve ever been in my life. So humid and hot and beautiful, but it’s exhausting. And so one of the things that we felt God kind of challenged us to do early on, and my oldest daughter really challenged me in this, was really to not just talk about Sabbath but to arrest that season of intentional rest, but to really do it. So I feel like one of the most valuable things we can do is when we go on the field we go hard, but then one those times in between the tours and things like that, we really prioritize allowing ourselves to be recharged and refreshed and be a family.

The other thing I think is so important is the intentionality of loving conflict. And that is not fleeing from conflict, getting our stuff right, because there’s so many things, especially on the road that can offend us or hurt us or I tell people in production in the studio, there’s a lot of tears and a lot of them are mine because we’re all sensitive, we’re all musicians and all those stereotypes are kind of true, but the intentionality of just going and saying, Hey, this hurt me. Can we walk through this? And processing that forgiving and repenting and clearing those relationships. I think that all those things are, especially in the fire and the heat of what evangelism is, it’s really high pressure.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (12:29):
Now how many countries have you your family been to so

Zach Blickens (12:33):
Far? Yeah, so as far as we’ve been to a lot more than this, but this is Cambodia right now is country number 40.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (12:40):
Wow. Congratulations.

Zach Blickens (12:41):
Amazing. Yeah. Praise Jesus. And so over that time, you might not know about the band in America, but I tell people in a couple of small villages in Asia we’re rock stars, but it’s been hundreds of thousands of people we’ve gotten a chance to be in front of and share Jesus with. And we’ve seen tens of thousands of people come to Jesus probably more by this point. And I tell people it’s like I get to see things in a week that sometimes people might not get to see in a lifetime. And I do not take that for granted. I love watching people come to g. I love people coming from death to life, seeing that. The other

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:12):
Day we were in Thailand and we went to a prison, there were a thousand prisoners there. And you grab their attention singing a song about the goodness of God. Yeah, praise God. Let’s finish this interview up with a few bars from, so good. Can you just do a little

Zach Blickens (13:32):
Bit for us? So the English version goes, you

Cyprès (13:34):
Are so good, so good. You are so good, so good. You are so good. So good to all.

Zach Blickens (13:42):
And that’s the English. And we usually translate, I think we’ve translated in that in probably 30 different languages. And it’s so simple. It’s a song that it’s not even on Spotify anymore. I don’t think it’s on YouTube anymore. We originally did it and then we kind of pulled it as it was from our old catalog, but it’s been a song that has gotten a lot of mileage. So I praise God

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:01):
That’s a fun song. And I thought it was great at the prison because just pointing people to the goodness of God.

Zach Blickens (14:08):
And what we say too, it is become part of our thing that we say, right? But it’s the saying we have that God is good all the time. What’s so powerful about that is that God’s good when we’re doing well, but God’s also good in our brokenness. God’s also good. He’s good. He doesn’t change depending on how we are. And he’s so constant. He’s so good. And so we love to sing that. And it’s so funny seeing prisoners in prison. They’re our captive audience, but they’re in a dark, tough spot. They’re incarcerated. But to still in that prison see them being like, you are so good and giving that glory to God. It’s just such a powerful thing to see.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:45):
So if someone wants to hear more of your music or find out more about you or maybe support you on one of your mission trips, help send you to one of these countries. What’s your website? What’s your YouTube channel? How can they find your music?

Zach Blickens (15:00):
Yeah, so our name is Cyprus. It’s actually spelled, it’s pronounced like the English, but it’s spelled like the French and that’s important. So it’s one E and one s. So it’s C-Y-P-R-E-S. And our website is Cyprus music.com. And our YouTube channel is YouTube at slash whatever cypress music. And so yeah, we would love to check us out and every time I do like to say it’s important to people if you do like our music, if you don’t, cool, great, that’s fine. But if you do like our music and the message, then anytime that you can share that with a friend or repost it or something like that, or just follow us on Spotify or anything as simple as that, it really does help us to reach people eventually with the message of Jesus. And that’s what we’re absolutely committed to do. And you can, if people are listening and they’re interested, please pray for us. Pray for Daniel. And it’s been a privilege hanging with you and actually seeing, we’ve been in the Crazyness, we’ve been together

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:56):
Facebook friends for a while, so now we get to hang out and I mean now we’re good friends. We’ve been three countries.

Zach Blickens (16:03):
We sweat a lot

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:03):
Together. We sweat after you sweat a lot, then you’re good fit. You stick right here. Yeah, I love your music, but even more, I love your heart for Jesus. Oh, praise Jesus and your heart for reaching people. Oh, praise Jesus. Thank you so much for being on the Evangelism

Zach Blickens (16:18):
Podcast. Thank you so much for having me. And thank you for all you do and God bless you, brother. I really appreciate it. Thanks for what you do.


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