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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Gospel Expressions Association voices faith through music, community

The+original+nine+members+of+the+Texas+State+Gospel+Expressions+Association+stand+for+a+group+photo+in+1983.

The original nine members of the Texas State Gospel Expressions Association stand for a group photo in 1983.

For over 35 years, the Gospel Expressions Association (GEA) has fostered a community of faith, music and inclusivity on the Texas State campus. Founded in 1983, its nine original members were searching for a group on campus to express their faith and showcase their love of gospel music.
GEA was, in some ways, a pioneer of Christian student ministries at Texas State. Before its creation, there were not many church groups on campus for Christian students. The founders of GEA wanted to create a group that allowed the expression of faith in different ways, whether it was through singing, dancing or spoken word.
Zion Blair, a theater sophomore, joined GEA his freshman year after searching for a church group on campus he felt he belonged in. According to Blair, GEA is different from other campus ministries in that its community just feels like a group of church friends that get together and sing.
“I think now with campus ministries, everyone is so focused on being evangelical, just trying to push the message when sometimes what everyone just needs right now is a church friend,” Blair said. “So, we’re basically that for people … we’re not trying to act like we know it all because we don’t even know it all. So, we’re just a group of church friends who are coming together to try and figure it out, who love gospel music, who love to sing … just coming together to share the love of Christ.”
Mia Shaw, an anthropology junior and president of GEA, is originally from Chicago and joined the organization when she realized she could serve God by using her God-given talent, singing. Besides being able to express her faith through singing, Shaw also said her favorite part of GEA is the sense of community.
“It’s really the inclusiveness,” Shaw said. “We try to make sure that any and every one that wants to participate is able to come in and participate. For me, just personally, having everyone being involved in something that they all truly care about, is always important to me. And so, I feel like having people from any and every background, just come together, enjoy the Lord and enjoy His word. It’s always good and fun.”
Aside from GEA’s Bible study meetings and choir practices, the organization’s annual event, Gospel Fest, was created not long after GEA’s establishment. The first of its kind at Texas State, the event was created to reach students and ministries from other schools, churches and choirs.
“It’s like a huge, big concert and then we invite guest artists,” said Terrence McClain, GEA’s faculty advisor. “We were actually the first organization — the first gospel choir to do that. And so now other choirs from across the state kind of have adopted the gospel fest idea.”
Blair currently serves as the chair for next year’s Gospel Fest scheduled for Feb. 26, 2022. He has planned the event which consists of workshops to develop things like leadership and spirituality among the visiting college choirs. The festival’s events lead up to a final concert at the end of the night featuring a guest artist. This Gospel Fest’s guest is Jekalyn Carr, an award-winning, Grammy-nominated singer.
“She’s our age so I think it’s really cool to see someone who’s not that far ahead of us and see how they worship and see how they give God glory, see how they do their thing,” Blair said.
Unlike previous years in which the event has been held at Texas State, next year’s Gospel Fest will be at San Marcos High School, a decision Blair and McClain said is part of GEA’s outreach to bridge the gap between the San Marcos and Texas State communities.
“I think that’s, you know, allowing the community to come which I think is like a center point of the community,” Blair said. “So that’s one place where we can all come together, and just chill and just be in the presence of God.”
GEA has worked with churches and ministries around San Marcos such as Sozo Church and others along the I-35 Corridor. Despite the group’s reach, McClain said their community is grounded in the relationships they have built within the organization.
“We love to build relationships with the members of our organization. And that has always been something that has rung true for Gospel Expressions Association throughout the years,” McClain said. “People find a place, a home, a connection. We’ve heard many stories of people wanting to transfer from Texas State because they didn’t feel, you know, connected. And we’ve been able to be that connection that people have to say like, you know, ‘I love Texas State. I love being here.'”
To keep up with the Gospel Expressions Association, visit its Instagram and Twitter @txst_gea. To purchase tickets to Gospel Fest, visit https://allevents.in/san%20marcos/2022-texas-state-gospel-fest/10000166325470961.

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  • Members of the Texas State Gospel Expressions Association smile for a group photo at a bible study at PromiseLand Church in San Marcos, Texas.

  • Theater sophomore and the chair of Gospel Fest 2022 Zion Blair sings on stage at Gospel Fest 2021.

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