Christian rock pioneers Petra will be in Winnipeg this weekend, and the pastor touring with the group says that God is working in miraculous ways to bring people together and spread the gospel.

Petra's Best For Last tour has been a remarkable experience, showcasing the band's commitment to spreading the gospel and uniting people from all walks of life under Christ says Aaron Patton, a member of the tour's ministry team.

"What's great about God is He always works in unexpected ways," Patton says. "As we travel from city to city, it's amazing to see how people know Petra's heart for Jesus and their dedication to spreading the gospel."

Patton is the lead pastor of Riverview Christian Church in Calgary for the last eight years, and is part of the ministry team of Faith Live, a Christian concert promotions company.

He describes Petra's performances as "stepping into a worship service on steroids," with the presence of God moving powerfully among the audience. The impact extends beyond the music, drawing people from various sectors of society, including political figures and church officials, who come together to pray and seek unity for the nation.

"It’s amazing to see people from different realms asking for prayer to spread the gospel further and unify our nation under Christ," Patton says. "This unity has been a consistent experience at each show."

Petra was formed in 1972 by guitarist and songwriter Bob Hartman in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The name "Petra" is derived from the Greek word for "rock." The band has won four Grammy Awards for Best Rock Gospel Album and numerous Dove Awards, which are presented by the Gospel Music Association.

"I was blown away," Patton admits about seeing Petra in concert for the first time. "For years, I was a casual fan, but seeing Petra live last November in Cochrane, Alberta, changed everything. My wife surprised me with tickets, and witnessing their 50-plus years of ministry, I quickly realized they were the best band I’d ever seen live."

Patton recalls how the presence of God overwhelmed him at the concert, moving him to tears despite being at a rock show. "Seeing bigger guys crying harder than I was encouraged me because it wasn’t just my experience," he says. This profound experience led Aaron to seek a deeper connection with Petra, eventually joining the Faith Live team to bring Petra to Canada.

"Petra has a heart for our nation. They are here to serve and bless, and it's been absolutely phenomenal," Patton says. He highlights the band's dedication to ministry and spreading the gospel, noting that despite initial pushback, Petra has maintained their mission for over half a century. Each of Bob Hartman's lyrics references scripture, bringing the Bible's living Word to generations, Patton says.

Petra takes the stage on June 29 at Calvary Temple with a VIP Meet And Greet 5 p.m. Doors for general admission tickets open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.