Christianity has a secret. This secret, exposed, could be the cause of hundreds, maybe even thousands of the “unreachable” coming to Christ. This secret however, has been intentionally kept, at least by some. My hope is to exposed this secret once and for all.
For Today. The Devil Wears Prada. August Burns Red. These are names of a some of the best known Christian hardcore bands. I’ve had the opportunity of hearing these bands specifically perform live within the last year. I would far from consider myself a fan of the hardcore metal genre, in fact, personally it was a genre of Christian music for years I have struggled to see in a good light. It’s hard to understand how bands who play in shady places with less then decorous other bands can be impacting the world for Jesus. Even more so, what possible impact could words, barely understandable, have on the individuals present. I concluded, like many, “Chrsitian metal” was an excuse kids could use to convince their parents to permit them to listen to this adverse genre of music.
I was wrong.
Over the last few years, I’ve had no choice but to be immersed in the hardcore, punk rock, metal scene. In attempts to educate me my husband has showered me with lyrics, biographies and backgrounds, videos, testimonies, and concerts. He stands as one of the largest advocates for the Christian hardcore scene and while I have yet to gain his taste for the genre, I’ve begun to understand why.
Underoath, As I Lay Dying, Demon Hunter and many other Christian hardcore bands are not only passionate about what they believe, they are listed as some of the greatest in their genre - not just in the Christian world but in the secular world as well. Some may argue this is because of their conformity, I beg to differ.
It is incredible to me the influence these bands are having in such a monopolist way, even more amazing are the type of fans they draw.
I remember my first hardcore concert, it was a dark, damp and the type of environment I normally stayed away from. There were hundreds of teenagers there, the type you take a second glance at in the mall, the type your parents never want you to be and some you wonder if their parents knew they left the house like that. I resist the urge to umbrella and stereotype as there were many different types of people, by the majority by far were angry, rebellious and reeked of marijuana, cigarette smoke and/or alcohol. The music was loud, in your face kind of loud, and everyone was crammed close together mostly standing. I felt way out of my element and thought almost instantly “this is not somewhere a Christian belongs”, I was smitten for the first few hours of the concert thinking that all my assumptions have now been justified and proven.
God taught me a lesson on judging that day. The last band, the biggest and greatest band, as voted by the audience, was the only Christian band performing that night. Unlike what I had expected the band was far from shy about their faith and what the believed. Their motives was extremely clear and their heart for Christ poured out. All these kids heard the full gospel that night and powerful testimonies.
I don’t profess to be an expert on the metal culture, though I am aware there definitely is one, I’ve never seen such a broken, angry and desperate group of people. That being said, I’ve also never seen such a crazy, passionate, autonomous group of people either. They are people who will not be told how to think, how to act or how to believe. Yet that night, and on the nights of every other hardcore concerts I have been to since they come with ears that are willing to hear the sold out message of Jesus Christ. While not all accept or even enjoys the message, it is received. No where in ministry have I ever seen such resilience met with such an anointed opportunity to hear about Jesus.
This excites me and angers me. It is exciting to see how raw and how much God is using these incredible servants in a huge way. Some of these bands are toping the billboard charts and touring with today’s leading secular artist. It is exciting to see such a rare opportunity and potential harvest of what in the very least would be Christian game changers.
What is frustrating to me is how the church has reacted and even worse how they have not reacted to this ministry field. The bottom line is night after night the gospel is planted in many ears that will never tune into the local church. It is planted in many hearts that are broken and void of hope. Many lives are prepared and on the brink of change, but then… the band walks off the stage, the crew tears down the gear, the merch table closes down and everyone goes home and because of the lack of partnership in this ministry by the church most of these kids will never step instead a church. They are left with no where to go but home and back to their everyday living. Where are our pastors? Where are the leaders and mentors? Where is the prayer team?
They are where everyone else expects them to be - at church. Where the ministry is happening, to the people who come back week to week for church. The church is too busy complaining about how loud the music is, how inappropriate the band looks, how the kids should not be smoking weed, about how the music doesn’t glorify God. The church is too busy looking for God in the music, when in reality God is the music. God is the ministry.
This has to change, there is something that needs to be done here. While the church does not need to change its culture to fit this culture it does need to adopt the children of the culture, it doesn’t need to stop pretending like the culture does not exist or that it is in some way divided from the church. People need to step up and start believing in and taking advantage of the huge harvest God has already prepared and start investing into these lives.
These secrets out- what are you going to do about it?
“If there is one thing you need to know about us is its not the genre of music we play or the merch we have but that we come here and we preach the kingdom of Jesus Christ.” - Mattie Montgomery front man of For Today, The Allstar Tour 2012
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