RePost: Eric Epperson

I thought I'd repost this blog post by Eric Epperson.  Eric is on staff at Christ In Youth (CIY) as a program director for their summer conferences called Move.  Specifically Eric lead the event I attended last week.  I have to give him some serious kudos, especially after one of the speakers went down sick and he filled in at the last minute with a great message.
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Serving the Church Kool-Aid

I just witnessed one of the loudest MOVE sessions I have ever seen. When the night came to a close and Caleb Rowden and his band struck the final chord, the crowd noise alone rivaled a jet engine. It was the type of noise that rattles your eardrums, causing a swishing noise that sounds like something between wind and a banshee on ecstacy.

What I witnessed tonight was a moment... no, an experience. I'll put tonight, for those 1,400 people, up against any concert or sporting event in the country. It was that solid. The experience was happening right in front of us. It wasn't fake. We were all creating it. As a creative programmer, I couldn't be more excited about what our team pulled off. As a revolutionary, I was filled with expectations.

At MOVE, we love lights, guitar solos, film, and crowd noise that breaks 100 dB. But to say that we do all of those things for the sake of doing those things would be a lie. We crank up the speakers (this one goes to 11) because we desire to create moments that will propel students to do big things with their lives. Boil it all down and you see that we call Kingdom Workers.

But you ask, aren't you just brainwashing high school students? It's all crowd mentality stuff, right? Get them all worked up and serve them the Kool-Aid?

Maybe you can call it brainwashing. But I know better. I've walked the high schools were they live. I know what their home life is like. Life is too hard to live out the things we teach unless you are committed.

No, we don't serve Kool-Aid but we do serve vision. And plenty of it. I'm not ashamed to admit that I believe the students I worshiped with tonight can solve some of the big problems we face. $40K towards rescuing young girls from sex-trafficking? They did it. Feeding families Thanksgiving dinner by the hundreds? I've seen the newspaper clippings. They did that too. Putting a huge dent in the water crisis in Zambia? Give them time and they'll check it off the list as well.

I recently read a book by Allen Hertzke, a political science professor I know at the University of Oklahoma. The book, entitled "Freeing God's Children", is about religious persecution around the world. Dr. Hertzke states that there is no better network in the country better equipped to tackle the big political issues than... get this... the local church. Change won't come from major corporations or the political parties. The vision, and the mobilization, for change comes from the church.

That's why we do lights and loud music. Experience leads to change and change leads to action.

Please don't read this and thing I am bragging. It's not about MOVE. We're not the ones going out and making the big changes in communities all across the country. Dr. Hertzke is right. The church is doing that. All we are doing is providing the experience that points them in the right direction.

Is that forcing them to drink the Kool-Aid? I don't think so. But if it is... we'll be handing out refills tomorrow.

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