ONCOURSE Winter 2011 Extended eBOOK
The Winter ONCOURSE mag and eBook highlights Student Missions: Speed the Light, AIM 2011 destinations and reach-your-world insights from Owl City and the Newsboys. Features include radical ways students have responded to the call to be Christ’s hands and feet across the globe.
oncourse.ag.org f member • ATMOSPHERE – Every student, faculty and staf has made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. received more • FINANCIAL AID – This year, Evangel students ncial aid. fina than $30 million in scholarships and emics and • CHECK US OUT – In addition to rigorous acad will also you gel, Evan championship athletics, at ll God’s fulfi to make lifelong friends and prepare purpose for your life. Call or visit online for more information. The only AG colleg e with an A rt Major Science & Tech is our largest department 2 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org from all Students d abroad s an 50 state www.evangel.edu country, showing the “Jesus” film. So far, over 70,000 Nigerians have made decisions for Christ after watching the movie on equipment provided by Speed the Light. If you let it, missions can seem like just another responsibility—kind of like homework, football practice, washing dishes or mowing the lawn. Jesus is our role model, though, when it comes to the work God had for Him to do. He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me” (John 4:34, NLT). In other words, He wanted, needed and loved the mission because He loved the One who sent Him and the ones He was sent to save. That’s what Speed the Light is all about. GROWING THE MISSIONS HEART By Chet Caudill m issionary heroes, like J.W. Tucker, Jim Elliott and David Livingstone, were consumed with passion to complete the mission God laid on their hearts. They were driven by a love for God and a love for the people they were trying to reach. For some missionaries, this love cost them their lives, and they died as martyrs. For others, this love gave them determination to keep going in spite of massive challenges. Love empowers us to do more than we think we can. Love motivates us to move out of our comfort zone. Love provokes us to action. Love helps us to care about others when we are tempted to focus on ourselves. It’s easy to get so caught up in our own lives and challenges that we are blind to the need that exists around us and throughout the world. It seems natural to focus inward. Advertisements and commercials remind us of our own need (or want). However, even if we purchase the products they market, we are eventually left with a feeling of emptiness. The truth is that “stuff” will never bring us lasting happiness or satisfaction, but great fulfillment speedthelight.ag.org comes through seeing the need in others and doing something about it. Stories help fan the flame of love inside our hearts to make a difference. Sruti is 14 years old and lives in a red light district in a city in India. She has been forced to sell her body for the so-called “pleasure” of others. She writes, “I dream of my own house in a peaceful place. There will be no fighting, shouting, drinking or trafficking of girls like me. I will be safe there and will not have to hide from the raid or the police. I will have no fear and I will be safe.” Speed the Light (STL) helps missionaries with Project Rescue by providing vehicles to get girls like Sruti out of life threatening situations. After the earthquake in Haiti, Convoy of Hope was able to respond to the tragic circumstances swiftly because they had vehicles provided by Speed the Light. Food, water and medical supplies could be transported quickly and reliably. Millions of meals were provided, and approximately 40,000 Haitian children are currently being fed everyday. Several years ago Missionary Scott Ennis requested a projector, screen and video player for his ministry in Nigeria. Scott has taken this equipment all over the That’s what missions is all about. It’s not just an obligation; it’s an opportunity to help the Sruti’s of India. It’s not just something you have to do. You get to help feed the hungry in Haiti. It’s not a burden. Reaching the lost is the heartbeat of someone who is in love with Jesus. *FIVE STUDENTS WHO WERE COMPELLED BY LOVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR SPEED THE LIGHT speedthelight.com : •Christina had been saving $900 to get her car painted. She felt God challenge her to give it to STL and she obeyed. •Lauren is just 13, but she raised a total of $1,700 for STL by swimming. •KD collected cans, cleaned yards, worked in fields and sold everything she could to raise $1,000 for STL. •Amy gave her summer’s earnings from babysitting to STL—$360! She felt this is what the Lord wanted her to give. •David is from a small town, but he didn’t let that stop him from doing something to help missionaries reach the lost. He got people to sponsor him and he joined a STL bike ride. He rode 225 miles in three days and raised over $2,000. CHET CAUDILL is the student missions and Speed the Light director for national Youth Ministries. WINTER 2011 3 The Gospel grit [warning: once missions gets under your skin, it messes with your life.) From the EDITOR: Guest editor @MATTWILKIE is intern director for Convoy of Hope. BLOgspot: aroundtheworldwithJesus.com/twitter “Y ou should go on the AIM trip to Spain this summer,” a missionary said. I went. I’ve been an Ambassador in Missions guy (AIMer) ever since. That was 1990, a year before ONCOURSE was born. We performed dramas, shared our testimonies, ate bocadillos (Spanish bread) at our very late night dinners, bought souvenirs and told a lot of people about Jesus—through a translator, of course. My feet moved. My eyes opened. My heart broke. I’d found a new and still growing passion. I loved experiencing new places, new cultures and new opportunities to serve. Missions transformed my DNA. Four years later, still an AIMer. I went to one of the world’s toughest cities, Calcutta, India. I met amazing people on that adventure, but the 4 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org city attacked my senses. The things I saw, smelled, heard, tasted and felt were nothing like I’d ever known. While in Calcutta we spent time with Mother Teresa who spoke words that changed me even further. “Calcutta is everywhere,” she said. The spiritual need of Calcutta is everywhere—not just the most intense or poorest cities on the planet. Her words still echo in my mind. Hunger for hope, a longing for purpose, and the need for redemption is universal. As a youth pastor, still an AIMer, I led our students on AIM trips within the U.S. and internationally. I couldn’t shake missions and knew God wanted me to take another step. For nearly a decade, I’ve served with the Assemblies of God World Missions, leading teams around the world, first with OneHope and now with the interns of Convoy of Hope, where I serve as the intern director. I’m in awe of the opportunities to serve with some of America’s brightest students and adults, and with some of the most impacting missionaries in the world. It’s been a wild journey through over 55 countries to people like Carlos, Magda, Sylvia, Adip, Dani, Rosaline and so many, many more. My feet are still moving, my heart is still breaking, and after all these years, I’m still an AIMer. “‘Calcutta is everywhere...” Hunger for hope, a longing for purpose and the need for redemption is universal.” aim.ag.org on the trip will be surprised to see peoppeople touched and baptized in the Spirit [just by their obedience to reach out]. I received my direction for missions on a mission trip. Students will be able to do the same, especially if they paid a price to be prepared.” A I M 2 0 1 1 d e s t i n at i o n s Mark says students should expect different ministry opportunities and to see quite a bit of America in the different ministries that are happening. “Whether you have a personal interest in urban missions or God’s call on your life to this field, one thing is certain: expect God to show up.” By Jennifer Taylor “Teens that come will witness the hopelessness and in the midst they will sense that there’s something in the spirit that God is doing to restore the nation...” Consider and commit to pray for the following AIM outreaches: Monteria, Colombia What to bring: a coffee grinder, marshmallows and graham crackers, as Colombia is known for its coffee and chocolate. Taking their God-given talents and hearts for ministry, 40 youth will fly together to Colombia, July 15-23, to work with Missionary Mike Lawrence in the city of Monteria. There, U.S. and Colombian youth will team to host a Fine Arts Festival during the annual conference. Students will be expected to bring materials to show Colombians how Fine Arts works. Then, in the afternoons, students and leaders will go out with the ministry materials brought by the U.S. team and the Monterians for a joint evangelistic effort. “The people are really open to the gospel. They are really naive about the Lord. They just really have a combination of openness and innocence about spiritual things,“ Mike says. “Students who go aim.ag.org Urban USA—Chicago, Miami and New York What to bring: ball caps, walking shoes and antacids because Chicago, New York and Miami are known for their professional teams, amazing sites and food. From June 11-25, 40 students interested in urban missions will minister in Chicago, New York and Miami. When in Chicago, they will do a Vacation Bible School, nightly street evangelism, as well as work with two youth services doing skits, testimonies and evangelism. In New York, students will work an outreach event with two churches in a joint effort. Then, in Miami, they will be involved in more street evangelism, then have a time of testimony. “It will be an opportunity for those who haven’t participated in an urban ministry before,” Mark Fagerstrom, School of Urban Missions West Cohort regional director, says. “In the different churches we have selected, there’s going to be a good cross-section of various types of ministries available. That will be encouraging and will broaden the horizons of the people who participate in the program.” Unique to this trip, School of Urban Missions (SUM) will offer practicum credit to students attending a Bible college or SUM. AIM students who are seniors in high school or have recently graduated may earn up to two college ministry practicum credits upon the successful completion of their AIM trip. Phoenix, Arizona What to bring: portable misting fan, breathable clothes and lots of water because Phoenix summers are known for the dry desert heat. The main focus of General Council Phoenix 2011 AIM, August 1-5, is for students to assist the local churches and community with 11 brand new church plants. Tim Black, Arizona District youth director, says, “We’re going to have mini Convoy of Hope at different sites—[these types of outreaches are] a good way to get into the community. We are really letting these church planters tell us what they need.” Students will have multiple opportunities with AIM, whether they want to serve in an urban area or Native American reservation or both. Students and leaders will then be matched with the churches. Community service opportunities will also be available as teams learn to work around the Arizona heat. “We’re excited here in Arizona for what is going to happen,” Tim says. “The fruit of AIM is going to be witnessed in these church plants and revitalizations.” Editor’s Note: AIM trip details and dates subject to change. For info on these trips and more AIM opportunities visit aim.ag.org. JENNIFER TAYLOR is a freelance writer from Springfield, Missouri. WINTER 2011 5 By Jennie Olson OWL CITY, ADAM YOUNG, SOARS IN THE CHARTS WHILE STAYING GROUNDED IN HIS FAITH 6 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org A lthough Owl City creator Adam Young considers himself to be “painfully shy,” he has no problem writing publicly about romance, fears and most predominantly his faith in Christ. “I’m definitely a hopeless romantic, and I suppose it goes with the territory that those types of guys are usually quite reserved,” Adam says. “Music, however, is my way of speaking.” And speak, he does. Since his 2009 release of Ocean Eyes with Universal Records, Adam has had hit singles such as “Umbrella Beach,” “Vanilla Twilight,” and the song he’s most famous for—“Fireflies.” But reaching the Top 10 on the U.S. album charts doesn’t mean things are always perfect for Adam. As a mainstream artist, even the mention of faith in Christ sometimes alienates him from his audiences. But Adam is rising above the criticism and standing firm in his faith to reach his mission field. “I’ll be the first to admit, it’s a tough industry to make a stand in when it’s so easy for people to anonymously criticize the beliefs of the artist,” Adam says. The artist knows that there are plenty of right and wrong ways to make your beliefs known to the world, but the real key is honesty. He was open about his faith long before Owl City took flight—back when he was just a boy record- owlcityblog.com ing an EP in his parents’ basement. “From day one, I’ve made an effort to publicly state that Jesus Christ is the driving force behind my life and myself as an artist, and that in turn fuels the music I make and the way I write,” he says. “Regardless of what the media says or does, when Christ comes for His own, He will have no trouble recognizing me because my banner will be clear.” So how does he spread hope and love without cramming it down the throats of his fans? Through kindness, compassion, honesty and generosity, he says. “I think these are the things that make people secretly wonder, and what better way of posing the question, ‘What am I truly living for?’ than to spread the love of Christ throughout the nation?” Adam says. As if his lyrics aren’t transparent enough, his blog owlcityblog.com gives an extra large window to his soul. When sitting down to write, Adam finds himself pondering the “I feel honored to work with TuneCore to provide Owl City fans this same opportunity I was fortunate to have at the inception of my project,” he says. “I hope that this partnership will encourage young musicians across the globe to create—and allow their creations to be heard.” In the midst of a busy touring schedule and various side projects, Adam is putting the final touches on his new album—and he’s come full circle in the process. All Things Bright And Beautiful, which is the working title, is being recorded in the same Owatonna, Minnesota basement where his career was birthed. It’s expected to be released this spring. “I can lock the doors, turn out the lights and just become immersed in the music, and that, to me, eradicates any sense of, ‘Oh, this is a job,’” he says. “It doesn’t feel like work and it’s kind of the way I prefer to do things.” Being back in the small town where he grew up, Adam now regularly hears from “At the end of the day, no matter how many people may criticize what I do or who I am, I belong to Christ, and until He returns or calls me home, I shall remain faithful.” unknown—places, scenarios, emotions and even what life would be like if he was someone other than “Adam Young.” These theoretical questions may spur his creativity, but in reality, Adam is already living out his ideal “what if” scenario. “This is my dream and I’d truly do nothing else with my time and energy even if I had the choice,” he says. “When something like that drives your passions, or should I say, when you’re allowed to do what you’re most passionate about in life, that tends to outweigh most, if not all, hindrances.” Since hitting a brand new level of success, Adam is doing his best to encourage other emerging artists to share their music with the world through his partnership with TuneCore, the world’s largest online digital distributor. Adam believes that it’s important to make it easy for musicians to get their music pushed out to the masses, like it was for him. This fall, independent artists were able to distribute their songs through TuneCore. Adam will select his favorite releases and write a review of the album. high school classmates that he hasn’t seen in years who want to rub shoulders with the emerging celebrity. Instead of blowing them off, Adam says that he’s “totally up for it,” even if the kids used to make fun of him at school. “It doesn’t really bother me; I’m always down for Applebee’s,” he says. Whether it’s writing faith-filled blogs or just going out to dinner with old classmates, Adam doesn’t let his pride or worldly success stop him from spreading hope and love to the people with whom he comes in contact with, no matter how introverted he may be. “I’m terribly undeserving of the opportunities I’ve been given, and with everything in me, I want to make my life count so that one day I’ll cross the finish line and hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” JENNIE OLSON is a graduate of Evangel University and a full-time journalist in the Twin Cities. She thrives on arts and entertainment news and enjoys writing reviews, interviewing people and attending events. WINTER 2011 7 ON THE PATH TO WOW By Matt Wilkie “T here area rstill o u n d over t h e w o rtwo l d w i t hbillion J e s u s . c o m / t wguest i t t e r spot, but it’s words like these that prompted two girls to move out—and lead people who’ve never heard them to a life committed to sharing Christ’s a clear presentation of the love and compassion on a global scale. gospel” BEGINNING THEIR JOURNEY “Over 1.2 billion people lack access to Brittany Sumrall, 22, heard the missionarclean water…” ies and responded to the call. Her youth “There are over 20 million orphans in group from Grace Community Assembly the world because of the global AIDS of God (Flower Mound, Texas) went on an epidemic…” Ambassadors in Mission (AIM) trip to El “Over 27 million people are bound in Salvador to serve with King’s Castle Minisslavery by sex trafficking today...” Sometimes it’s easy to tune out “just another missionary who needs our money” when they are featured as Sunday morning tries. Though only in 7th grade at the time, her parents and youth pastor encouraged her to go. “That first trip to El Salvador completely changed me. I fell in love with 8 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org missions and the fact that you could reach the world.” —Brittany Sumrall aroundtheworldwithJesus.com/twitter Samantha Shryack, 19, watched the horror of Hurricane Katrina. She didn’t hear audible direction from God, but knows it’s His heart to help people in physical and spiritual need. Knowing this, she went on an AIM trip with youth from the Church of Glad Tidings (AG) in Austin, Texas, the following summer to help. She gutted homes, and worked to feed people affected by the hurricane. Both trips changed lives of the people they helped, and their lives too. Brittany explains, “We went near the middle of a corn field in the (rural parts) of El Salvador. I remember getting off the bus and seeing children running around barefoot and in diapers or not clothed, not clean and under nourished. Some lived in a small room that housed 5 or 6 kids. That scene was the first thing that really opened my eyes.” The attitude of the locals in the midst of difficulty impacted Brittany as well, “I was really taken back by how joyful they were.” She saw a glimpse of her future as one who would help these kind of people. Samantha loved her time in New Orleans and served with her church the following summer in Mexico. While there, they served some of the world’s poorest people. Her life changed, “we went to the slums and I realized I had the heart for this and I wanted to be a missionary.” One night while praying, she heard God’s challenge to join His work, “on a specific continent… Africa.” About those trips, she says, “It cultivated my heart. If I wouldn’t have gone I don’t know if I would’ve heard God’s voice as clearly because I wouldn’t have seen the need with my own eyes and feel it with my own hands.” STAYING ON THE PATH Both girls know they want to serve people around the world and work to stay on the path to get where God is sending them. Since that trip to El Salvador, Brittany has gone on AIM trips to the Los Angeles Dream Center, South Africa and Belize. She’s also served in Nicaragua and El Salvador as in intern with Convoy of Hope, and spent her summer after graduation from Evangel University as a MAPS worker in Guatemala, working alongside missionaries Dave and Debbie Amsler. Currently, she’s working with a ministry partner of Convoy of Hope, Buckner International, mobilizing volunteers to package shoes to send to orphans around the world. Samantha also looked for ways to continue cultivating her heart by immersing herself in God’s mission. In Spring 2009, she joined convoyofhope.org the Convoy of Hope Internship where she spent three months in training then Alabama, Bangladesh and Nepal. —Samantha Shryack About this longer-term experience she says, “It’s a bigger perspective when you’re gone longer. The mission field isn’t just getting A-B-C-D done, it’s an every day life” which is full of exciting things and at times, difficult days. Culture shock can have a big impact on longer trips, “On shortterm trips, you know you’re going to be home next week. That feeling is gone when you’re gone longer.” Focus and obedience helped her as she struggled through sickness, frustrations of trying to learn the local language, and eating food she didn’t always enjoy. Through it all she loved the experience. She’s now preparing to serve for two years on a team of Missionary Associates invited to Pemba Island, Tanzania, by missionary Roger Kuykendall. In preparation for this adventure and eventual full appointment as a missionary to Africa, she’s dually enrolled in Global University and a local university. HOW YOU CAN SAY “WOW” Samantha’s advice? “Obey. That sums up everything. Obey, listen and be willing. Don’t freak out when you don’t know what you’re going to do on the next step because God always leads you and you look back and you say, ‘WOW.’” For more missionary stories including Maria’s call to serve the persecuted church in Middle East, one student’s call to medical missions, parent perspective and more follow the “Features” link at oncourse.ag.org. MATT WILKIE intern director for Convoy of Hope is the guest editor for the Winter 2011 Student Missions edition of ONCOURSE. T o p 1 0 ways t o make the most of your mission trip 1. BE FLEXIBLE. With so many factors in play, it’s certain that plans will change. I encourage teams to “ride the slide!” 2. EMBRACE THE CULTURE. When you travel to a new place, rather than trying to bring home with you, try to be at home where you are. 3. ENDURE WHAT YOU CAN’T EMBRACE. It won’t always be easy. Our Convoy of Hope interns in Kenya recently ate termites for dinner and ostrich eggs for breakfast. They didn’t all like it, but they endured. 4. ESCAPE WITH JESUS. To have the strength necessary for the spiritual warfare you’ll face, you must find a way to spend time with Jesus, even in the midst of hard work and a crazy schedule. 5. LISTEN. Listen to the missionaries, the locals and anyone else who knows the culture. If you listen, (and follow instructions) you don’t need to fear. You’ll also have a better understanding of the hearts of the people. 6. RESEARCH. Before you go, learn all you can about the place you’ll serve. Learn some of the language to help you interact with the people. 7. WORK STRATEGICALLY. What happens in the country after you leave is very important. Strategize towards sustainable success. 8. PRAY THROUGH OPERATION WORLD. The book Operation World includes prayer points for each country of the world, organized by dates for prayer. Very thorough…I encourage you to pray through it before/ during and after your trip. 9. DITCH THE IPOD. Take those ear buds off and converse with your team and the local people! Listen to the new sounds around you and soak in this experience. 10. LIFE IS A MISSIONS TRIP. When you go home, remember that the mission continues wherever you are. —Matt Wilkie To find out more about AIM opportunities visit aim.ag.org. For more on Assemblies of God World and Home Missions visit agwm.ag.org and usmissions.ag.org. WINTER 2011 9 10 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org www.agfamilyservices.org YELLOW ROSES ARE A SYMBOL OF REMEMBRANCE AND NEW BEGINNINGS. worth something, more precious than jewels ….” I asked Dana when this became real for her. After attending her son’s first birthday, she and her dad stopped for coffee. She recalled in tears that he pulled out a jewelry box that contained a simple gold chain with a glimmering diamond and said to her, “You sparkle brighter than this diamond. Don’t ever settle. Hold out for someone who sees this.” “At that moment I believed,” and shares it was fully confirmed with her husband’s proposal. The couple are now awaiting the birth of their child—a beautiful testimony of a Father’s love that in spite of choices and circumstances never fails. HE STILL LOVES ME By Elizabeth Fisher D ana Howard, of the documentary film “Yellow Roses”, was a pastor’s daughter who grew up believing she had the perfect family. However, at age 9, she discovered that her dad had a secret when she accidentally stumbled upon an image on the computer. Confused, she told her mom, who explained to Dana that her dad struggled with pornography. Dana shares that her parents’ openness made it feel healthy; sometimes dad messed up, and as a family they would talk about it. They were very accepting and open about this battle—a huge contrast to the tremendous betrayal she felt when his addiction led to him being convicted and sentenced to jail. Their church, which had been like family, turned their back on Dana and her mother after her father’s sentencing. She experienced abandonment not only from her church, but also at her small, private, Christian school. Dana felt ashamed and alone. “It was really quick,” Dana says, “We lost a lot of friends and basically had to go into hiding from the press.” This loss conjured up a deep desire to be accepted and loved. A black hole began growing inside of her, and she turned to the only ones that hadn’t shunned her—a handful of rebellious boys from her Christian school. They accepted her wholeheartedly and quickly introduced her to their lifestyle of street racing and more. For Dana, the adrenaline was a temporary fix. No longer yellowrosesfilm.com forced to keep her father’s secrets, she began keeping her own. Dana’s life raced down a dangerous road that led to sex and deep depression. The more she tried to fill the hole with these new found activities, the deeper it grew. Her dad was in prison being rehabilitated as Dana seemed to be slowly dying. She was running from God and everything in the Bible, carrying secrets she didn’t think she could tell her mom, for fear of burdening her. Her dad returned from prison a new man— rededicated to his relationship with Christ. He and her mom began to rebuild their marriage as Dana tried to pretend she was still the same girl he had remembered. She went cold turkey on her new dark habits—even changed her cell phone number. However, she found she had a secret she could not hide. She was pregnant. When she finally told her dad about her pregnancy, he said to her, “I know what it is like to fall. What’s important is that you do not stay fallen; you get back up. I will hold your hand and walk you through this.” She believed for the first time with God’s help, she could stand again. For the first time she felt complete forgiveness and hope. Dana chose adoption for her baby knowing that she could not provide all that he would need. She worked through a Christian agency. She was able to screen the resumés, interview and ultimately choose her baby’s parents in an open adoption. In the “Yellow Roses” film she states, “You are ELIZABETH FISHER is a freelance writer and speaker living in Sarasota, Florida, with her husband and three children. Learn more about her ministry <at.bealiveministry.com>. How to help a friend who has fallen: 1. Don’t turn your back when your friend needs you the most. Stand firm by their side. Dana shares that the few friends that did not turn from their family were her saving grace. 2. Don’t be afraid your friend’s reputation will ruin yours. Instead, use yours to remind them who he or she is in God’s eyes and where he or she came from. 3. If others gossip, take a stand and defend your friend. One person’s back-up is all it takes to break away from the lies of the enemy’s attacks. 4. If your friend is pregnant, help her understand all of her options. Adoption, though difficult, is a great choice. Dana says it was the hardest decision she ever made, but she knows it was the ultimate sacrifice for her child, the best choice for him. Find a local care-net center for support <care-net.org>. 5. Be a support for each other. Even if you or your friend is already down a road of rebellion and pain, talk with each other today. Commit to begin again. If you notice a friend who has pulled away, go after him or her. Be committed to pray and guide them gently back to Jesus. Think of how Jesus left the 99 to find one sheep who wandered. Love your friends. Remind them that “they are more precious than jewels.” For a review of “Yellow Roses” go to oncourse.ag.org. WINTER 2011 11 12 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org www.seuniversity.edu www.phx2011.ag.org www.colleges.ag.org WINTER 2011 13 By Kyle Scheele A Legacy Beyond the Music 14 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org http://agtv.ag.org/newsboys-born-again i ’ll admit I’m a skeptic. When my wife tells me about the great discounts she got at the big sale, I think, Yeah, but how much did they mark it up beforehand? When a pastor says, ”We had so many people come to the altar at our Easter service,” I think, Yeah, but how many of those will be back next Sunday? So, when I heard about the Newsboys charity project building houses for the poor in Baja, Mexico, I couldn’t help but think, Yeah, I’m sure they care about Baja, but this is probably just some good marketing to help sell more records. However, within the first 30 seconds of talking with Duncan Phillips, the band’s drummer—I realized I’d had it all wrong. “Well, the guys in the band like to get out and ride dirt bikes now and then, and there’s this particularly good spot in Mexico that we’ve been going to for years,” he explains. “And as we kept coming back to this place year after year, we started connecting with some of the locals. [After the April 2010 earthquake] we found out that these people and that was in constant danger of falling in on them. You’re handing them their dignity.” The guys started by building a few houses here, a few houses there, but then decided to do something drastic. Last year, during their winter and spring shows, the Newsboys began to tell the story of their friends in Baja to crowds across the U.S. They shared the need, shared the vision and invited their fans to come help. And so they came. Two thousand of them, in fact, poured into Baja over two weeks last summer. Over the course of those two weeks, the volunteers built approximately 20 homes for families in the region. They transformed an entire community in a matter of days, bringing the light of Christ into an area filled with poverty, disease and despair. “The cool thing was, a lot of these volunteers were middle-class kids,” Duncan says, “kids who’d never really gone without—kids who’d never seen anything like this. And we got to show them how the rest of the world lives. They came to impact Baja, but I think more than anything, Baja impacted them.” nity, in your school, in your job and God has put you there for a reason.” “The biggest disservice we can do for our kids is to give them everything they ever wanted and pretend that this is how the world is. The worst thing we can do is to hedge them in with the western idea of the good life and teach them that this is what’s important. That’s not what Christ was about,” Duncan says. For the Newsboys, missions and evangelism aren’t something to cross off of a spiritual to-do list. Compassion isn’t something that comes up when a disaster hits the news. It’s the day-in and day-out reality of sharing the love of Christ with a world that is lost and dying. “My hope,” Duncan says, “is that projects like the village in Baja will ultimately be the Newsboys’ legacy. Long after everyone’s forgotten about our music, my hope is that people in that village will talk about how a bunch of crazy Christians came and helped them in their time of greatest need.” I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of legacy I could live with. KYLE SCHEELE is a husband, father and “[Missions] doesn’t have to be overseas. It doesn’t have to be a different country.... People are hurting in your community, in your school, in your job and God has put you there for a reason.” were all displaced from their homes by this terrible natural disaster. The government basically gave them some land on the side of this barren hill and then said, ‘Good luck. You’re on your own’” Duncan says. “As a band, we just thought, there has to be a way we can use our influence, our platform, to help these people.” It turned out, there was a way. The band began helping members of the community to build houses of their own—real houses, with slab foundations, doors, windows and electricity—things we take for granted that these people had never had in their old plywood-and-cardboard homes. “You have no idea the difference it makes in a person’s life when you hand them the keys to their own house, knowing that the night before they slept in a place that didn’t keep out the wind, didn’t keep out the cold homes4baja.com I was humbled. I realized I had entirely misjudged the Newsboys’ intentions. This wasn’t a gimmick, a token good deed or anything like it. This was a project that sprang from a genuine desire to show the love of Christ in a real, tangible way. This isn’t the only thing the Newsboys do to help the less fortunate, either. When they’re touring, the band will often play shows where the only admission cost is a donation of canned food to a local shelter. These guys are the real deal. “That’s the thing, mate. It doesn’t have to be overseas,” Duncan says. “It doesn’t have to be a different country. We picked Mexico because we had a connection, because saw the need there, because we met the people and knew we had to do something. But it’s not just Mexico. It can be your neighbor. It can be the guy whose desk is next to yours at work. People are hurting in your commu- graphic designer who somehow finds time to write. Visit him on the Web at kylescheele.com. UNBOXED: “Born Again” BY NEWSBOYS Watch the video on OCTV at oncourse.ag.org. The title-track from Newsboys’ most recent album is based on John 3:1-8. In the passage, Jesus answered Nicodemus: “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” The passion behind their message is clear. Jesus died for our sins; we need to give God our best. After all, He deserves the best we have to give Him. • What does it mean to live give God your best? • What are some ways in which you are actively living out your faith in front of others? • What areas in your life need to change so that you can give God your best? • How will you put these changes into action? ONCOURSE VOL. 19, ISSUE 3 (ISSN 1061-0952) Winter 2010 is published quarterly by National Youth Ministries of the Assemblies of God 2011 15 in partnership with The Alliance for AG Higher Education ©2010 by The General Council of the Assemblies of God WINTER (Gospel Publishing House), 1445 N. Boonville Avenue, Springfield, MO 65802, (417)862-2781. Periodicals postage paid at Springfield, Mo. Printed in the USA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ONCOURSE, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802. By Josh Wellborn 16 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org i t is not a typical Sunday when Pastor Joe Rabideau invites you as a guest to his church. The sounds of roaring engines rattle the teeth in your head as you ask yourself, “What kind of church is this?” Instead of pews, there are people gathering around tables drinking coffee and eating pork rinds. It is Biker’s Church at The Edge, “a church for people who live life out on the edge.” There are no hymn books here, the deep throaty rumble of a finely tuned Harley Davidson motorcycle is the joyful noise that substitutes for a choir around here. In the midst of a gang of leather clad sinners and saints is their shepherd, Pastor Joe. Pastor Joe has earned the respect of the local bikers in his Mason, Michigan. community because he is one of them. He can be found most days riding his Harley Davidson. In fact, he is so committed to being a biker that he doesn’t even own a car (he borrows a car when the roads are unsafe for his twowheeled exploits.) While he carries the title “pastor” he prefers to think of himself as a missionary to a different culture—a culture with a different set of rules than most, and is full of people who prefer to live life out on the edge of mainstream society. It is the biker culture. A motorcyclist since age 12, Joe knows what it is like to be on the outsider, looking in to Christianity. He spent 20 plus years in the construction/business world and wasn’t saved until the age of 42 when he went searching for spiritual fulfillment. He tried various churches before ending up at an Assembly of God church in Lansing, Michigan where he received a prophetic word, which led him to attend the church’s Bible school and eventually led to him serving as a full-time assistant pastor on the church staff. As an assistant pastor, Joe led a community outreach ministry to bikers. A few years later the Lord birthed in his heart a vision for planting a church specifically for bikers. The mission was to go beyond holding “Christian motorcycle events” and to begin making disciples in the biker community. “We were really good at holding events, but we wanted to bring people closer in their walk [with Jesus.]” However, it wasn’t long before Joe realized that the church God called him to plant wasn’t just for those with motorcycles, but for all who could relate to the biker culture—those out on the edge. The Edge was born. bikerchurch.com “Biker’s Church just primed the pump,” Joe explains. “I started thinking in a broader sense of how God wanted to reach the community. Bikers represent those who are out on the edge, they don’t fit in.” Joe also explains that the biker culture represents a whole sub-culture of people who were raised in families who live by a different set of rules. These rules aren’t necessarily right or consistent with biblical truth. Sometimes they don’t even make sense, but if you want to reach this group of people with the gospel message you have to at least respect their rules. The respect that Joe has offered this group has earned him a place in their circles as a fellow biker, a friend and a pastor. There are some who regularly attend The Edge who haven’t yet fully committed their lives the late ’80s from a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. Even after making a profession of faith he struggled for years to have a consistent walk with Jesus and had never found a church home where he felt like he fit in. It was at a Biker’s Church swap meet outreach where a member gave Gene an invitation to attend. “It was a rough time for our family. My wife had left and my kids were hesitant to check out church,” Gene explains. Upon his first visit, he was overwhelmed with how warm and loving everyone was. It may have been the motorcycle theme that attracted Gene, but it was the genuine display of God’s love that kept Gene coming back for more. “Jesus doesn’t call us all to wear suits when we worship Him,” says Gene. “The Church is for everyone, but different people fit in While he carries the title “pastor” he prefers to think of himself as a missionary to a different culture—a culture with people who prefer to live life out on the edge of mainstream society. to Christ. They are rough around the edges, and it isn’t unusual for a parishioner to take a “smoke break” during the sermon, but there are many more who have come into a new understanding of who God is and what He desires for their lives. Gene is one of them. He has loved motorcycles his entire life. He is a retired autoworker from Detroit who was saved in different places, because people are different. This is a church where anyone can fit in.” To find more out-of-box missions opportunities through chaplaincy ministry check out chaplaincy.ag.org. JOSH WELLBORN dreams of one day starting his own Vespa Church. Tweet your thoughts to @joshwellborn. Skate Church at The Edge The Edge is an extreme church with an extreme approach toward reaching the lost. So it is only appropriate that it have an extreme youth ministry. The Edge’s “Skate Church” is a 6000 ft. indoor skate park, and was part of the vision when the church was started. Skate Church shares the vision of The Edge to reach students who are “out on the edge” and have been forgotten about by mainstream society. Youth Pastor Jeremy Myers was one of those kids. “I was the punk kid who no one wanted around because I was destroying their stuff,” says Jeremy. It was a connection Jeremy made as a teenager that led him to a mature walk with the Lord. Jeremy met Melissa when He was 15, but at the time he was more interested in causing trouble than chasing God. A few years later they reconnected and he discovered she was attending The Edge. He visited and everything changed. “That’s when I committed my life to the Lord.” Pastor Jeremy, now 22, has made it his mission to help students find their identity in Christ. Students like Alan— he was one of the worst— always in trouble with the law, involved with drugs, and regularly suspended from Skater Church for crossing the line. That was then. Today Alan is a regular at The Edge and has done a spiritual 180. The vision continues to expand. The next step for Skate Church is to assemble a traveling evangelistic team who can demonstrate an extreme presentation of the gospel. —Josh Wellborn WINTER 2011 17 OCCOLLEGE D E S T I N A T I O N : E U R O P E 31 STUDENTS, 9 COLLEGES, 6 COUNTRIES, 1 MISSION By Christina Rowden W hile most students spend their summers working, taking vacations or just hanging out with friends, 31 college students from nine AG schools stepped out of their comfort zones by dedicating themselves to eight weeks of ministry in Europe. To be considered for this once-in-a-lifetime encounter, applicants for the 2010 European Missions Experience had to be sophomores or juniors at an Assemblies of God college and apply to The Alliance for AG Higher Education <colleges.ag.org>. All 31 students convened in Madrid, Spain, for orientation and then broke into smaller groups to live and work for two months alongside an AG missionary in Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania or Spain. Students’ ministry skills and interests were matched with needs expressed by the missionaries. While in Madrid, they were challenged to share their testimonies in public, many for the first time, through a ministry called On the Red Box. Sarah Killam, a participant from Central Bible College (Springfield, Missouri), described it by saying, “I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to do this. I was pretty scared. And to be honest, because I care too much about what people think, I didn’t want to be obedient. But I finally took the step out. The Holy Spirit completely filled me with peace and gave me the words to say.” The missions experience forced all of the students to overcome insecurities about their spiritual preparation, ministry skills and callings. As a result, they learned more than they could have imagined about the faithfulness of God in every situation. The stark cross-cultural realities students encountered in the countries where they served completely changed their perspectives on ministry. The opportunities were diverse and at times overwhelming. Two girls lived with a Muslim woman whose husband had been murdered inside their home by an oppressive military regime. Three students encouraged a teenage boy who wanted to serve Christ but was forbidden to attend church. The boy’s family had twice confiscated and burned his Bible. One team visited small impoverished villages and poured the love of Jesus into the lives of Gypsy children. Another team served in a closed country and showed the love of Christ the only way they were allowed—by cleaning, painting and other acts of community service. Alli Fontaine, a student from Evangel 18 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org University (Springfield, Missouri), reflects on the impact of one night in Greece. “Fifty women stood in the middle of the street for hours, just waiting to be bought, waiting for a customer, sometimes even chasing customers. As I struggled to hold back the tears, I watched dedicated women talk to each prostitute and treat them with respect and dignity. They poured tea, talked about the weather and showed the love of Christ. My focus shifted from despair to hope.” Alli and her teammates returned to minister and build relationships with the women. Angelina Bucca, a Southeastern University (Lakeland, Florida) student who served in the Canary Islands, described her summer by saying, “We not only ministered in a different culture but we lived there. My understanding of missions will never be the same again.” Watch videos from the trip at: http://agtv.ag.org/2010-euromissions-experience. For more on the AG colleges and universities with Missions/Intercultural/Multi-Cultural Studies programs visit colleges.ag.org. CHRISTINA ROWDEN is the administrative assistant for The Alliance for AG Higher Education and OCCOLLEGE editor. http://agtv.ag.org/2010-euro-missions-experience TRUTH Watch Circleslide’s “You Are Everything” video at on OCTV at oncourse.ag.org and tweet your comments @circleslide.. YOU ARE EVERYTHING W By Gabe Martinez hat does it mean to have a ‘personal’ relationship with Jesus Christ? Ever heard the saying, “It’s not personal, it’s just business...?” I think ”The Godfather” would say that right before you were put six-feet-under. Sounds pretty personal to me. For me, when something is personal, it implies intimacy. It carries tremendous meaning and goes to the inner-most core of who you are and, yet, is simultaneously difficult to explain just how powerful it is to your heart. I live in a world where I’m constantly told how to think and feel about my relationship with Jesus. I’m told how that relationship should look. I’m told that my relationship might be based on a fairy tale. There are countless books, blogs and History Channel programs designed to explain Him that just wind up distorting Him. In paintings, artists provide their views of what He might look like—smiling, kingly, even historical depictions. Some aren’t so kind. Sometimes He’s used as a way to shock, sometimes He’s http://agtv.ag.org/cs-you-are-everything cursed, sometimes He’s dismissed. Sometimes he’s used by politicians as a way to garner votes or by those in power to manipulate an issue. That’s when I return to the Word of God. I find myself going back to the compassionate words He spoke to the prostitute, the words of the Sermon on the Mount, back to His feeding of the multitudes, His gentleness with the clueless disciples and, ultimately, back to His loving, sacrificial death on the cross for me. That’s where my relationship started with Him. At the foot of that beautiful, and at the same time, horrible cross. When I find myself there, all the noise fades away—my insecurities, my pride and my sin are all dealt with right there, and it’s just Him and me—and it’s always deeply personal. GABE MARTINEZ @circleslide plays guitar, harmonica and is lead vocals for Circleslide circleslide.net. WINTER 2011 19 ONE detach from community. “When you’re drowning, what’s the first thing you do? You lift your hand and call for help. But abusive situations are the equivalent of being thrown in a pool when you can’t swim. You hold your breath and think you can hold it long enough [to get through it].” An inspiring and transparent songwriter, Lincoln continues to change hearts through his new CD, Real Life. “Any time other people look at your life, respect what you do and set you on a platform, [you have an opportunity] to say ‘In your pain and what you’re going through, you’re not alone.’” Lincoln and his wife, Laura, have two sons, Levi and Liam. “I don’t want to repeat what I experienced. I want to carve a new trail and set a different standard. And hopefully leave that legacy for my kids.” Lincoln has become a symbol of hope for the future. “I’m living, breathing proof. God planned our lives, no matter how we came about. I can’t say this enough. Because your past is messed up doesn’t mean God can’t use your life.” ESTEE WELLS is an accomplished teen writer as well as an award-winning artist and photographer. DESPITE YOUR PAST By Estee B. Wells “I tried to hide it,” said Christian music artist, Lincoln Brewster <@lincolnbrewster>. “When you grew up in a home where there is alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence like mine, there’s a lot of embarrassment and shame that goes along with that.” Looking at his life today, no one would guess Lincoln came from a broken home. Abused by his stepfather, Lincoln sought comfort in music. Barely a year old, Lincoln showed amazing talent on a set of drums. At 12 years old, he started his own band, Lincoln and the Missing Links. An established studio guitarist at 19, Lincoln landed a mainstream record contract. The young musician felt God’s calling during a drama performance at his girlfriend’s church. “I was afraid to lay down a lot of things in my life. One night, I laid all my cards on the table. I asked the Lord to come into my life all by myself. It was the best night of sleep I ever had.” Even performing on tour with Steve Perry, former lead singer of the band, Journey, Lincoln struggled with his past. “When it came to being a Christian, it was hard to understand God as a father figure. I was quick to latch onto any influential role models—good or bad. God ingrained us with the need for a mom and dad. If you don’t have one, you try to replace it. And if you find a bad one, I think it’s even worse.” Through good role models, Lincoln learned that God could still use him despite his background. “How some of my mentors have lived their lives was the biggest testimony for me. I looked at their lives and some had similar stories and some didn’t. I was even encouraged by those who didn’t. Their lives and relationships with spouses and kids inspired me. I wanted that. I wanted to be the first in my family heritage to change.” Currently the worship arts pastor at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California, Brewster encourages many teens with situations like his. “Teens caught in abusive situations face one of the most difficult types because you can’t just move out. It can feel pretty hopeless. The important thing to do is connect with people who will speak life into you.” Abuse victims often retreat inwardly and tips to teens in abusive situations: “If you are being violated in an illegal manner, it is extremely important to join a church community to receive help. Don’t go it alone. You want to surround yourself with people who lift you up, support and pray for you.” • Reach out to good role models • Plug in at a church • Allow others to help tips on how to help a friend in an abusive situation: “When abuse cycles start, people retreat inward and detach. Encourage them to be hopeful and to look for what God has coming in their future.” • Be there for them • Listen • Help them connect with those who can help Brewster’s favorite verse: Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Check out Lincoln’s new album at lincolnbrewster.com. 20 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org lincolnbrewster.com FA C E Face: Colleen Addair Birthday: August 27 Hometown: Laeger, West Virginia Occupation: Radio Personality/ Music Director at one of the most awarded radio stations in country music: WIVK in Knoxville, Tennessee. When I was 15, I was interviewed at a parade and the owner of the station asked me to come in and audition. The day I turned 16 and was able to drive, I did just that. This September marked my 30th anniversary in radio. I decided early on that my job is what I do, it’s not who I am. It’s easy to let the position of celebrity overtake you, but since I’ve always been sensitive to that, it has made it easier for me to realize that what I do for a wivk.com living is not THE source in my life. I established my belief in Jesus Christ on the air early on; the listeners have always recognized that as my identity. Throughout the day and especially at the closing of my show every day, I’m able to encourage others by telling them that God loves them no matter what. I encourage them to not let their past dictate the future and to take confidence from God, not the opinions of other people or past decisions. WIVK is a resource by which God blesses me. That doesn’t mean I can operate outside of accountability. What it does mean is with God, I can be a Christian in what some people may see as a questionable environment. I believe God placed me and keeps me in this job, because that’s where He wants me for now. I feel walking a true Christian walk where I am has a much greater impact than being at a station where most of the people listening, or working there, are already saved. Jesus is my center. He is who I am. As He is, so am I (see 1 John 4:17). I believe with everything I have that seeking Him first is the ONLY way, EVERYDAY (see Matthew 6:33). When I’m awakened every morning, I say, “Good morning, Jesus.” I will not do anything until I’ve knelt before Him, prayed and given Him my day. I want God to know that I surrender everything first thing every morning. It may be a short prayer, or there may be pressing needs, but my anthem each day is like the Fernando Ortega song, “Give Me Jesus ...You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.” I’m quick to remind the listeners that people will let them down. I tell them that I can let them down, because we’re all human, and incapable of perfect. However, the great news is, we are no surprise to God. No matter who we are, where we are, or how many bad decisions we’ve made, He’s there with abundant grace and love, ready to forgive us of EVERY sin and lead us down the path to our destinies. Jesus is beauty for ashes! I guess the bottom line is I do have a ministry. It may not resonate with the religious world, but is evident in the email messages and phone calls that come daily from those who have been touched by the message of God’s unconditional love. I’ve had several tell me they were going to commit suicide, because they felt so hopeless. I had one woman tell me the gun was in her mouth when she heard me say, “GOD LOVES YOU no matter what!” That is very humbling, because I know it had nothing to do with me. I’m just a mouthpiece for His Glory. —Becky Tidberg interviewed Colleen for this article. WINTER 2011 21 LAUGH CHAPTER & VERSE By Torry Martin N ow that my dad has retired he’s probably read every western novel known to man, twice. He favors the classic westerns written by the great writers like Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey and Max Brand. Lately, however, he’s been forcing himself to read westerns written by less recognizable authors who are apparently also less talented. “Whoa doggie! This book done got me riled! The author oughta be cooling his heels in the pokey for bad writing and wasting my time!” My dad exclaimed recently while angrily turning the page of his bargain bin western. Historical inaccuracy, story inconsistency and just plain bad western writing are the things that really “get his goat.” Today he was reading a 99 cent western that was set in 1865 and the main character in the novel was described as “crashing through the underbrush like a bulldozer.” It was the word “bulldozer” that immediately raised my father’s ire. “A bulldozer? They didn’t HAVE bulldozers back then, ya whippersnapper! Why I’ve half a notion to turn this good-fer-nuthin’, low-down writer feller into buzzard food!” My dad then took the poorly written western and tossed it across the living room causing it to hit the floor with a thud that was so loud it woke up our deaf dog Mozart. He then grabbed his coat and summoned Mozart to follow him as he headed to his garage to 22 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org get some work done. When I picked my dad’s western up off the floor, I couldn’t help but study the book cover for a moment. From all appearances the book looked promising. It had a title that promised adventure and the cover artwork was exciting and beautiful. But it was obviously lacking something inside. It had a bad story. It was in that moment that I had what I can only call a spiritual epiphany. I realized my father’s bad western and I had an awful lot in common. Lately as a Christian, I’ve placed myself in danger of becoming the equivalent of poorly written western. It’s like I had great beginning as a follower of Christ and I held the promise of being a real classic page-turner but now I’m writing chapters in my life that are failing to deliver. I am becoming a mediocre piece of pulp fiction that makes my heavenly Father want to spew me out of His mouth and hurl me across the living room or even place me “in the pokey” for bad writing and wasting His time. I’ve allowed things in the storyline of my Christian life that have no more business being there than a bulldozer has in a western. Like my earthly father, who wants to edit the authors of the bad western, our Heavenly Father also has edits for our lives at times too. The good news is that He can still change things because our “books,” unlike my dad’s western, aren’t finished yet. We haven’t gone to final publication where it’s too late to make any changes for improvement. God can still help us write whole new chapters that will change our ending, rid us of bad characters, change our plots and turn our stories into testimonies that become true classics that bring rave reviews and glory to Him—BUT only if we go back to the Author of the Universe and ask Him for help. We’ve got to hand over the reins and let Him reign again. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m determined to check out of the ‘Just OK’ Corral even if it means experiencing a few saddle sores along the way. I’m fixin’ to saddle-up and giddy-up and get back to following my Trail Boss up that narrow trail that leads to the hallelujah hoedown. And I’m going to start my new chapter by heeding the warning from an old verse. Yee-haw! “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” —Revelation 3:15-16. TORRY MARTIN is currently on the road with the 2011 Believe Tour www.ciy.com/believe . Check him out at torrymartin.com. Tweet him your comments @torrymartin. Photo by rorywhite.com. http://clashentertainment.com/word/42-the-word/3170-believe-is-coming SOUNDCHECK S By Eric Braswell isters Shealeen (pianist and vocalist) and Elle (guitarist and vocalist) were born into a musical family. Music was always a part of their lives. They were leading worship before Shealeen, the elder sister, turned 13. And while Elle says she always wanted to be a musician when she grew up, Shealeen was less focused. What did she want to become? “Actress, baker, hair stylist, fashion designer, and for about two weeks I wanted to be one of those divers who swims with Shamu the whale at Sea World.” At that time, music was a talent, a hobby. It wasn’t until a 2008 local benefit concert that music turned into Poema. “We really loved music, but we never thought there was a future career in it,” says Shealeen in Poema’s official Tooth and Nail bio. “But that particular show was such a turning point. We’d played a couple of original songs—nothing that really seemed all that special to us—but the audience really responded. After a standing ovation, half of the people actually came up to talk to us after the show. Later, they asked us if we were trying to ‘make it’ as professional musicians. And we were like, ‘No.’” But the questions got their imaginations going in a serious direction, so they went from singing sisters to an acoustic pop duo. They started performing in more shows and entered http://agtv.ag.org/poema-wool-coats and won a battle of the bands competition. “I think at the beginning it was just like, ‘Let’s do this and see what happens,’ but now it’s become a lot more focused,” says Shealeen. Part of that new focus included finding the perfect name for their group. “We loved the name Poema [pronounced Po-em-uh] because of what it means,” says Shealeen. ”Beautiful masterpiece, God’s poem. We hope that our music is God’s poem, and we want everything we do to be a beautiful masterpiece through Him.” “Beautiful” is an apt description for Poema’s music and the duo started getting more attention, including attention from Tooth and Nail, and invitations to tour. Shealeen and Elle’s younger brother Christian plays the drums for the girls on tour. “I don’t think [Christian] was especially excited to play love songs with his sisters all summer long in the Girlz Garage tent [on the Vans Warped Tour],” says Shealeen. “But he had a good attitude about it.” The Warped Tour started out years ago, specializing in angry punk. Poema is not angry. Poema is not punk. Poema is not warped. Poema is “happy, acoustic pop.” How did Poema fit in on the Warped Tour? “We didn’t fit in well at all!” Shealeen says. “But it was a good opportunity for our fans to get to see us play live, even if it was a little acoustic set. And no, it wasn’t difficult to be a Christian; we all had a lot of accountability because we tour as a family. Also, To Write Love on Her Arms ( twloha.com ) set up a rad Bible study and we got to meet a lot of other believers who were in the same place as us.” On November 16, 2010, the girls released their second album, Once a Year, a Christmas album. “We just chose some favorites and some that we thought were a good fit for our style,” says Elle. They also wrote two Christmas originals. “I personally like the original ’Wool Coats,’” says Elle. “Not that I think the others aren’t as good. It’s just when you make something for yourself, you have a better appreciation for it.” As Elle says, the selection on Once a Year fits Poema’s almost jazz, almost country, always clean and laid-back style. ERIC BRASWELL is a freelance writer in Springfield, Missouri. He was in a really terrible ska band in high school: God’s Ska Puppies spent most of their practice time blowing up bottle rockets. WHO’S TALKING ABOUT POEMA? Jonathan Bucklow of Copeland “The Poema girls are really talented songwriters.” J e s u s f r e a k h i d e o u t. c o m Poema is a better version of Taylor Swift; Poema doesn’t “sound overproduced, candy-coated or standardized like most of the big-timers do; these girls have spirit.” Indie Vision Music The sisters of Poema “have enough skill to pull off a sound of their own and differentiate themselves...” poema.com WINTER 2011 23 volume 19, issue 3 / winter 2011 IN THIS ISSUE: 3 GROWING THE MISSIONS HEART 4 THE GOSPEL GRIT//AIM2011 6 OWL CITY 8 ON THE PATH TO WOW 11 HE STILL LOVES ME 14 NEWSBOYS 16 BIKER CHURCH 18 OCCOLLEGE: MISSIONS 19 TRUTH: CIRCLESIDE 20 ONE: LINCOLN BREWSTER 21 FACE: COLLEEN ADDAIR 22 LAUGH: TORRY MARTIN 23 SOUNDCHECK: POEMA win, build and send students for the cause of Jesus Christ. National Youth Ministries Team JAY MOONEY, NATIONAL YOUTH DIRECTOR STEVE PULIS, STUDENT OUTREACH DIRECTOR ROD WHITLOCK, STUDENT DISCIPLESHIP DIRECTOR CHET CAUDILL, STUDENT MISSIONS DIRECTOR Editorial Team STUDENT DISCIPLESHIP DIRECTOR ROD WHITLOCK EDITOR AMBER WEIGAND-BUCKLEY OCCOLLEGE EDITOR CHRISTY ROWDEN WEB MANAGEMENT CHRIS GERRINGER COPY EDITOR/WEB ASSISTANT HEATHER VAN ALLEN EDITORIAL ADVISORY TEAM MELANIE BUSH, JOSH CARTER, MARY Winslow, CHRIS GERRINGER, CHRISTY ROWDEN, ABBY SMITH, JACK TREWERN, AMBER WEIGANDBUCKLEY AND ROD WHITLOCK. ADVERTISING AMBER WEIGAND-BUCKLEY ABBY SMITH DESIGNER JOSH CARTER 24 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org ITEM NUMBER 746-076 EVANGELICAL PRESS ASSOCIATION 2010 AWARD OF MERIT COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF: JESUS CULTURE OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF: ISTOCK, INTEGRITY MUSIC, Torry Martin (rory white//rorywhite.com), INO RECORDS, Owl city, Save the city records, Samantha Shryack,Brittany SumraLl & MATT WILKIE. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. ONCOURSE.AG.ORG JOIN ONCOURSE FRIENDS AND FANS ON FACEBOOK FOLLOW @ONCOURSEGIRL ON TWITTER MYSPACE.COM/ONCOURSEMAGAZINE GET OC UNBOXED AT MOMENTUM.AG.ORG “LIBRARY”