A few years I was apart of a youth ministry where we found several outcast kids in our midst. What we noticed was that there were more and more kids like our own around the community. In response to this, we began booking concerts to draw these kids in. Over a year, our church youth group grew from four kids to the mid to upper twenties. In the midst of booking these shows, I became friends with a few members of the bands.
Over the span of a year or two that we were doing these shows, we received calls from the community trying to get these shows shut down, we got appearances from the cops, I was personally harassed by a police officer in the town that I live in (I was pulled over 30 times that year, by a group of two or three police officers. No tickets.). We lost money. We made money. We caught boys and girls doing drugs, fooling around. We also had criminals helping us with the doors, security, and concessions. We became a bi-weekly safe haven and entertainment for kids who had no community or safe haven.
In a tragic incident for our town where a family was up north, and, their cabin exploded, killing their mother, and, injuring the two sons, our youth group was able to put on a concert fundraiser on. Over 500 people showed up that night (room capacity was 275). We had raised over a few thousand dollars that night for a family that was in need. Our local CBS affiliate news station showed up, WCCO. We were interviewed by the local newspapers. It was great publicity for our little group of misfit youth and what a group of outsiders can do for a family in need.
While most of the kids in that youth group moved on, and, graduated, and moved on, my friend Corey and I are stopped by people who went to the shows and our youth group, telling us how much those times meant to them. I maintain friendships with several members of those bands, including one of my best friends, Dusty.
In this music scene, one of the greatest things I can reflect and have been deeply shaped by is the level of community between the people in it. While it is unfortunate that you have fights and anger problems, in places where people who have been alienated are, you also see a strength of community that is rare and beautiful. These kids stood up for each other and their friends like it was no ones business. They were for each other, when, for many of them, no one else was for them.
When, I look back at those days, I see that the Holy Spirit was doing a good thing. When people who have been so heavily rejected, can come together, feel loved, supported and cared about, I know God is at work. When a group of people who play loud music, have holes in their ears, can participate in artistic expression, and, be supported, I know God is at work. I know that God is a God of community. I know that God is a God of compassion. I know that God is a God of creativity. I know Jesus liked to hang out with those who were rejected, because, he knew they carry the greatest capacity for resurrection and God.