Saturday, May 2, 2009

Agapefest Night 1: Great fun in the mud pit

Hey gang!

Just got home from an exciting night and wanted to share it with you before I went to bed to get more energy for a full day later today. Agapefest was truly awesome for night number one. Here’s a little of what I got to experience.

As we arrived, rain was coming down slightly. We parked in the grass, which was at our own risk. The field at Bond County Fairgrounds looked like Heinz Field turf in September. It was muddy and wet. We parked close to the road so if we had to push the car out, it wouldn’t be far.

We had a 50-yard walk to the fairgrounds and immediately came up to the youth leader/hospitality area. I am no longer in youth ministry, but my friend Alvin still is at his church and so we went in and got to listen to the back end of a conference with the lead singer of Skillet. The forum was run by Interlinc and they were fantastic to us. I heard one interesting comment from John Cooper about how he thought bands had changed since he started. He talked of how bands really aren’t learning their instruments for the most part anymore which has changed the quality of the music. I’m curious how others feel, but I hadn’t thought about how computers and other machinery help bands not have to work at their craft (instrument wise).

After that, Alvin talked to the Interlinc rep and I was impressed that they actually had a service to help churches get the word of Christian music out. I knew that something of the sort existed, but I found out one of the sources. If your church needs more information, head to

We walked around the outside of the festival for the first hour and caught a little of the second stage bands prepping to begin and then looked through the merchandise and ministry tents. I’ll talk more about Compassion International’s new campaign and a few other ministries throughout next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Once we got inside, we realized we had missed Mark Roach and Sevenglory and were catching the back end of Everyday Sunday. I had heard a little from them before and liked them. They sound great in concert.

The first band we saw a complete set from was Decyfer Down. I had heard one of their songs through WWE, but hadn’t heard anything else. To say they rocked it would be an understatement. A couple members of Disciple were helping out as one band member was out due to the birth of a new baby, a nine-pound hunk of meat, as the lead singer, TJ Harris put it. I ended up buying both of their CD’s that they had on hand that includes their new release on Tuesday. It’s nice to get a CD early. Hopefully, I’ll give you a review on that by late next week.

Then Fireflight took the stage. They were the band I was there for. I love Unbreakable and I saw a Gospel Music Channel special with them so I knew I wanted to see them in concert. I missed an opportunity in Orlando by a day, but waiting the extra month was worth it. Their 30 minute set was great.

Next up was Disciple. I honestly wasn’t sure how this was going to go because I had listened to Southern Hospitality and it was OK, but all I can say is these guys are straight up performers. I was so into this show that I didn’t realize 45 minutes passed. I could’ve listened for another hour to them on stage.

Alvin had told me about the Agapefest speaker, Bob Lenz, all day long. Alvin met Bob through the Ichthus Festivals and was greatly impressed by him. Bob hit the stage after the crew set up Skillet’s stagings for later. He gave a powerful 30 minute talk on “When People Tell You ‘No Way’, Tell Them ‘Yah-Weh’”. He shared some of his own personal story and some others that he has met along the way and it connected with me on several levels. I’ll talk about that on Sunday or Monday.

Skillet came to the stage after Bob finished and rocked the fairgrounds. They have a great light show and fireworks. After about 20 minutes though, my left knee had about all it could take of standing, so I decided that I wanted to go over to the merchandise tent and pick up a couple things for the kids and try to get a minute or two with some of the performers. As we decided to walk toward the tent, I took a spill in the mud and my whole right side was covered. I relayed later to Alvin how on other nights this probably would’ve really bothered me, but I laughed it off and we kept heading to the tent. When we got over there, I stopped at Bob Lenz’s table and got a copy of his book Grace and the guy helping at his booth gave me a New Living Translation Bible to go along with the purchase. While I am collecting my stuff, Bob walks over to me and talks with me for a few minutes. It was great to talk to him about my ministry here and just get to know him a little. Fireflight guitarist Glenn Drennan came over to chat with Bob, so we bid them farewell and headed on to the other booths.

Since I was starting to feel the cold from the fall, we decided to skip the coffeehouse late show and head back home here to Effingham. We’re gonna head back in the morning for a full day and I can’t wait! If you’re out there look for us in the One Man Revival T-shirts and say Hi or even more.

I’m off to try to get some sleep. I love you guys, as always!

No comments: