Afterbeat is an impressive evangelical ministry reaching youth aged 11 to 15 in the Netherlands, England, and Scotland through Electronic Dance Music (EDM) played by American artists.
10 years ago, Afterbeat’s founder, Alko Stoel, started organizing Christian sports events in the Netherlands. He found that if his events seemed “too Christian,” only Christians would come. But when he dialed down the overt outreach, he discovered he could reach many more of the unsaved. Alko’s first music event was such a success that a Dutch TV station came to record it. Real kids came to Christ, and many made alter calls. He named his new ministry Afterbeat.
For years, the Netherlands has been leading the dance charts in the world with their DJs. However, most the bands Alko works with, such as Transform DJs from Colorado, are American. “The fact that they are American makes them heroes, because pop nowadays is more heavily influenced by EDM.” His DJs practice a routine where they play the high tempo dance music for a while, and then turn the volume down to share the gospel with young people aged 11 to 15. Upon hearing the word of God, many of them have started crying. After their first success, Transform DJs came back to Europe every year, bringing the gospel to more and more kids.
God had a next step for Afterbeat. Alko got in touch with The Message Trust, which came from The Worldwide Message Tribe, who asked Afterbeat to start up school missions nationwide in Scotland. Alko moved to Dunfermline (which was once the Capital of Scotland).
In Scotland, Alko saw a lot of fruit in Dunfermline – their first show in a nightclub attracted 200 kids and 50 responded to the gospel – an amazing turnout. Alko said, “After these events, attendees were offered free pizza and a chance to meet with the DJ artists in the local youth center/club showing kids where they could meet everywhere in Dunfermline. Several kids ended up in church or got baptized. The year after over 400 kids came to the show and 140 decided to follow Jesus.”
Because each national curriculum is different, Alko seeks local church partnerships. “Without local partnerships, we can’t do any mission. Kids need to be discipled and the whole project needs to be adapted to local/national culture. In the Netherlands, they prefer music lessons, in England they seek religious education, and in Scotland they want lessons geared for mental health.
Although Afterbeat’s core mission is evangelism, Alko can’t express this fully on his website. Alko said he could have a link on his website for America describing the 501 (c) (3) to explain his evangelistic mission. He said, “We’re Christian artists and we play on stages and they treat us like Justin Bieber.” So far, schoolteachers are happy with Afterbeat’s events, and students are happy with free workshops the DJs offer.
Secret to Success? Prayer!
If Afterbeat has a secret to success it’s one we can all emulate: devout prayer, fasting, and intercession.
Alko said, “God has opened many doors for our ministry. For example, a school caught on fire in Dunfermline. And our church was able to offer their conference center to continue the lessons. Before we couldn’t get into this High School. But because of this event God opened the door to this school.”
When COVID19 hit Scotland, Alko had a chance to find a replacement (Tim Thomson) in Scotland to continue the annual mission and local partnerships. God’s grace during COVID19 has been amazing – they have not lost any supporters. When schools closed for COVID restrictions they switched focus to their Coffee Café, Youth Center and online assemblies.
After harvesting many “decisions” for Jesus among these students, Afterbeat still seeks to develop better follow up for creating “disciples.” Alko said, “I cry when I see kids accept Christ, but the follow up is more important.”
To that end, he is now forming Afterbeat Coffee in the Netherlands with a youth-center for better educational follow-up. Alko and his family are now praying for an opening to return home to the Netherlands to more deeply disciple their growing Dutch flock and not just do alter calls with them.
Alko thanks Capstone Legacy Foundation for making his American fund raising possible. By having his own 501 (c) (3) status as a Ministry Charity Project (MCP), Afterbeat can raise funds in America they would not be able to otherwise.
In the future, Alko hopes to expand Afterbeat’s missionary footprint. The next missions will be in England, Scotland, and the Netherlands, followed by Estonia and some states in the USA.(3)