This is the story of our 20 years of mission
In the past 20 years, This Is The Day! movement has brought much joy and many blessings to thousands of God-seekers. On the following pages we’ll take a look back at the history of This Is The Day!, from the beginning, up to our present days.
The past 20 years have proven to be truly eventful. We have organized dozens of events that placed Jesus in the center. We began in the early years of the millennium with outdoor events – gathering in places like Tabán, Margaret island, Kisstadion, Népstadion park, and Heroes’ Square. We held a few marches, and put on some Roadshows in the country. In 2006, we sent buses to the Global Gathering at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, and in the following years, we placed our focus on our Westend Soul & Gospel Festivals. In 2010, we moved our summer event into Papp László Arena, and started hosting smaller events, like club concerts, Christmas gigs and such.
We made it a point to host musicians who made high quality music, but more importantly, who were also known to be on fire for Jesus. We desire to create events that are more than “cool gigs’ the world puts on – rather, we want to provide opportunities for Christians to come together in worship of the Creator, where the Good News is proclaimed to those who have not met Jesus yet.
While writing this article that tells the story of the past two decades, and picking out pictures to be included in it, we were reminded of sentimental moments. We hope that you are also among the many who hold dear memories of past This Is The Day! events. Enjoy reading on, and while you are at it, why don’t you give a listen to our Spotify playlist entitled “Ez az a nap! történelem’ (This Is The Day! History), containing our favorites from international bands who have performed at past This Is The Day events.
The Beginning (2000–2004)
The story of This Is The Day! reaches all the way back to the turn of the millennium, to our March for Jesus event when 25,000 people marched through the streets of Budapest, praising the name of Jesus, worshipping God.
On the Saturday of the very first Pentecost of the new millennium, we joined the amazing world-wide movement, March for Jesus. Mile-long rows of believers weaved through the streets in a colorful array, testifying of Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel. The rally gathered in front of the Parliament, and stopping at key points of the city headed to the Tabán, where we listened to testimonies and praised God together as worship bands from different denominations led us before the throne of grace.
A year later we organized a Thanksgiving and Worship Day. The event at the Athletics Center saw 15,000 adults and 3,000 kids celebrating together, worshipping God from early afternoon till late evening. A nice variety of music, testimonies and heart-warming prayers were shared on the main stage, and as usual, the Gospel message was preached for the sake of those who did not know Jesus.
The following year, Kisstadion provided the venue for the annual This Is The Day! event. The motto of that year’s event was “Choose Life!’ This memorably hot day was permeated by the joy that filled our hearts and the excitement we had for Jesus Christ, the treasure of our lives, knowing it was Him who lovingly gathered believers from different walks of life. The prayers, the intercession, the singing and dancing, the testimonies and interviews – everything we did on this day was a testimony to the living God.
In the year 2003, This Is The Day! was extra special as we spent not one but three days together in Népstadion Park. We spent the last days of June welcoming visitors with a myriad of programs: 48-hour worship, Kids’ Tent, “I’m Listening’ Tent, Missions Expo, and countless other activities, programs, and Bible workshops. Our main stage hosted Hungarian worship leaders along with UK musicians, Graham Kendrick, Noel Richards, and Sue Rinaldi.
The early years of This Is The Day! ended with another rally. Believers from every corner of Hungary and from abroad felt the need to come and testify of Jesus Christ as part of this rally that marched from Oktogon to Heroes’ Square in June 2004. The lead truck set off at 5pm, followed by a large crowd and about 10 more decorated vehicles. We enthusiastically sang along to the worship songs coming from the speakers on some of the vehicles. The speakers also made it possible for everyone to hear the Scripture reading and testimonies. We prayed together, spoke to onlookers, and upon reaching Heroes’ Square, a worship band formed by several bands and musicians led us in praising God for several hours.
Soul & Gospel Festivals (2007–2009)
In the years 2007–2009, we held our annual event in the heart of the city, on the rooftop terrace of Westend City Center Mall. We were able to reach thousands of teens and young adults with the Gospel through the concerts.
As part of a new vision called City Missions, in 2007, we held our first Soul & Gospel Festival. A variety of Christian music echoed in the heart of the city night after night, four days in a row in the month of September. Besides well-known Hungarian musicians, we hosted Miracle City Singers from Holland, YFriday from Britain, and Cardiac Move from Austria. Special guest Fr. Stan Fortuna, the “rapping priest of Bronx’ definitely brought a lot of color to the event, and our main artist was one of the great pioneers of international worship music, David Ruis.
The following year, we returned to our usual summer schedule to put on another great This Is The Day! event. In the middle of June, the rooftop of Westend Mall once again provided the perfect venue for a lively event. Our two powerful opening acts: Matt Redman, widely known representative of modern worship, and Hillsong London, the popular worship group. On the second day, we got to enjoy quality performances by Glorious from France and Breeze Gospel from Holland. On the third evening, Noel Richards led us in praise, and on the last day, we got to watch Judy Bailey and YFriday in concert. Of course, the excellent performance of local artists made the festival complete.
Our last Westend Soul & Gospel Festival in 2009 took place in the last days of May. True to tradition, we welcomed a number of talented Hungarian musicians, as well as some popular international bands. For the first time ever, Australian Planetshakers came to our little country, and to our great joy, they keep returning. Their New Zealand “neighbors,’ the Parachute Band, and British band Superhero also graced us on the rooftops of the Westend Mall. Naturally, many of our favorite Hungarian artists took part in the event.
The same year, we had the pleasure of hosting Kirk Franklin, a man visibly at home in hip-hop, R&B, Soul and Gospel. With a full orchestra and his unique style, Kirk put on an outstanding show at Sportmax Conference Center, Budapest. 2009 was the year we began to organize small club concerts continuing our Soul & Gospel line. Our first location was Take5, with bands like YFriday, the Parachute Band, and David Ruis performing. Our outdoor event series came to an end with our 10 year anniversary.
In June 2010, This Is The Day! was held on Margaret island, where we had the honor of welcoming Ron Kenoly and his band, and returning guests like Planetshakers, Béla Pintér, Laci Csiszér, and Laci Prazsák, and a number of other Hungarian friends. As in previous years, This Is The Day! offered Kids’ Programs, hosted a Missions Expo, and many other activites.
The Arena Season
In the first year of the new decade, we ‘moved into’ Budapest Arena that has become a permanent location for the annual This Is The Day! summer event. Besides the grand summer concerts, we organised more and more club concerts, Christmas programs and such.
2010 marked a new era for our mission – we began holding our main annual event at Budapest Arena. Our event was soon moved from early fall to early summer, the original date, filling up the largest hall of Budapest. In November 2010, we hosted Hillsong London, and London Community Gospel Choir. In October 2011, our main guest was Jesus Culture, and in 2012, we invited Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and Worship Central, Noel Richards, as well as LZ7, along with our Hungarian guests. Besides the main This Is The Day! events, we held smaller gigs in other venues, such as a concert with third-time guest Planetshakers at Petőfi Hall in 2011, and our very first Christmas worship concert in December 2012, with our friends Béla Pintér and Illés Dobner performing.
In the year 2013, we moved our main event – regularly held at Papp László Arena – from fall to early summer. At this first June concert, our guest list included Israel Houghton and the New Breed, along with Gateway Worship. The following year, we were privileged to host one of the most significant and popular Christian rock bands of the decade, Newsboys, and a range of wonderfully talented artists like Reuben Morgan and Hillsong London, Martin Smith and Graham Kendrick – all of them enriching our program greatly.
We continued to organise more of the smaller gigs each year. For example, we had the joy of providing a venue for Martin Smith and Matt Redman’s God’s Great Dance Floor tour stop at Budapest Körcsarnok; organizing a Roadshow with our good friend Noel Richards; and throwing a bombastic worship night called Next Level Worship Night with Planetshakers and LZ7. Boat A38 provided the perfect location for smaller concerts like Noel Richards’ 60-year Lifetime Concert, an exclusive performance by Martin Smith & Band, and concerts given by ICF Worship, Jeremy Riddle, and Jason Upton.
Starting in 2015, we designated a theme for our main This Is The Day! events. Thus, the threefold series WATER, WIND, & FIRE was born, followed by another series that began in 2018, the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE – the last one being the theme of 2020 at the brand new Stadium. As for performers, we continued inviting well-known artists, and in the year 2015, the worldwide popular contemporary folk rock worship band Rend Collective, and with them, Bethel Music flooded us with life-giving water. In 2016, it was Jesus Culture and Martin Smith who brought us a fresh wind of the Spirit, and in 2017, Hillsong Worship & Reuben Morgan as well as Rend Collective represented God’s fire.
In this season, we were blessed to host club concerts for bands like Switchfoot, Kutless, and Christafari. We also had a Next Level Worship Night with Hillsong Worship in the winter of 2016 and with Hillsong Young & Free in the fall of 2017 at the Arena.
The past couple of years turned out just as exciting: 2018 brought to us the one and only David Crowder, and Worship Central was kind enough to return to our annual event. Last summer, -in 2019- to the request of many of our This Is The Day! regulars, Planetshakers joined us for the fifth time, and we were happy to host Noel Richards, Pat Barrett, and King’s Village.
Needless to say, each year we made a point of inviting beloved well-known Hungarian and European bands and worship leaders to perform on our stages. We feel it is extremely important to cross denominational divides and provide an opportunity for any and all Jesus-following artists to join us on our stage. The program of our special This Is The Day! event at Puskás Arena will be put together in line with this principle.
Road to the Stadium: Roadshows and Hope Nights (2019-2022)
2019 and 2020 have been busier than ever for us, as we’ve organised a multitude of programmes across our borders and around the world. We’re grateful to have been able to reach 23 cities in 7 countries for the This is the Day! Roadshow, reaching nearly 80,000 people; and then reaching hundreds of thousands more through our online worship and prayer events, the Hope Nights.
In the summer of 2019, the Roadshow was launched in Târgu Mures, which will expand throughout the autumn. Until the beginning of December, we travelled to Szekszárd, Pécs, Kaposvár, Szombathely, Győr, Eger, Uzhhorod, Baia Mare, Miskolc, Oradea and Debrecen. The Roadshow was also accompanied in October by 3 performances of Nick Vujicic in Cluj-Napoca, Sfântu Gheorghe and Budapest. In February we organised another very intensive cross-country roadshow. In just over a week, Vienna, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Osijek, Subotica, Kecskemét, Szeged and Arad hosted a local This is the day! event. It is a great joy for us that thousands of people have received Jesus as Saviour into their hearts, and the faith of many has been strengthened and renewed. The Roadshow featured well-known local artists as well as international guests such as Martin Smith and Noel Richards.
In the spring of 2020, during the emergency caused by the COVID-19 virus, we felt it was especially important to turn to God in prayer and praise. That’s why we created Hope Nights, a series of online prayer and worship events that empowered the many people who joined us week after week. On Monday evenings, we came together as one big congregation in unity, without denominational boundaries. We may not have been able to be together physically, but in spirit we all prayed and worshipped our God with one heart. On each occasion we proclaimed God’s Word through the invited church leaders, and the worship was led in acoustic form by well-known local performers.
On 18 July 2020, we held our 20th anniversary of This Is the Day! online, our Stadium 2020 event. In 2021, in addition to the Hope Nights, we were finally able to meet again in person at the This is the Day! in Várkert Bazaar and the Hope Night in Szombathely’s main square. In May 2022, we held a meeting of leaders, and on 23 July, after two years of postponement and two decades of preparation, we finally gathered in the Puskás Arena to glorify our Creator together! Download our magazine to see the full history of the stadium event. After the stadium, we held a thanksgiving service on 16 October with Martin Smith as our guest.
The year after the stadium (2023)
We expected a quieter year after the stadium, but God led us in a different direction and we had our busiest months yet. The beginning of the summer was very busy: on 26 May we held an event in Madrid, on 3 June in the Pula Arena, on 10 June in Debrecen and on 28 July we closed the season in Zánka next to the Lake Balaton. In the autumn, we held an evening of praise at the Aquarium Club in Budapest.