Monday, 28 August 2006

Qld State Youth Alive Concert

Last Saturday was the annual Queensland State Youth Alive concert. Over the years I had become quite critical about Youth Alive events – be them the huge state concerts or the local Ipswich, Brisbane or Gold Coast events – however this year I spent a bit of time evaluating the night, and coming to some conclusions.

It’s BIG! There was thousands of young people filling the Boondall Entertainment Centre, the place was packed. And the concert was worthy of a crowd that size. It was a professional, loud, entertaining concert. But I’m not too convinced of its ‘outreach’ potential.

It was definitely not a church service, there was worship music, but I still think the emphasis was appealing to young peoples wants for entertainment, not giving them a humble and honest chance to worship God. The message was incredibly wishy-washy. Paul Geerling spoke on Jesus our Hero. Basically he gave the dictionary definition of a hero, and then proceeded to tell us that Jesus fitted ever part of that definition. (Sidenote~ I wonder how Jesus fits the part where a hero is a skilled and champion warrior, Paul just said that he was and went onto the next point. Sounded like he couldn’t really say anything on that point cause it’s a real stretch of any Biblical truth – end sidenote)

Paul did a great job of going through the crucifixion story with screen shots from Passion of the Christ for emotional effect, and I actually warmed to this part of his message, until he skipped the part where Jesus did this to pay the price for our sins, and jumped straight to the resurrection. His main point for doing the whole cross reflection was to talk about Jesus rising from the dead, and because Jesus can do that he is a superhero (like it was some superpower or something). Telling the story leading to the cross is great, but I think he missed the point big time with making about a superpower instead of the forgiveness of our sins.

All in all the message fed the emotional need young people have to be pumped and entertained. There was little bits of biblical truth in there, but they were watered down so much by other hype I felt it really wasn’t worth it.

The Guy Sebastian side of the night was pure entertainment, but being a closet Guy fan I really enjoyed it.

Which really points to my main reflections on the whole night – it was very entertaining, but is that a good thing?

Yes I think it is. All the money and hype that went into that night created a great place to bring young people. Is a Youth Alive concert along going to bring people to Christ, I really don’t think so, I really don’t think it provides an atmosphere or the teaching to let someone know who Jesus really is and what he did for them. But Youth Alive used as a ministry tool, in conjunction with the local youth groups is a fantastic thing. The WHY leadership team hadn’t planned on going to YA as a youth activity, but when a heap of the young people wanted to go we organised some cars and headed down. Using the concert to get people excited and then to start discussions in future weeks is a great strategy to start sharing the Gospel with some of the un-believers in our group.

And all the money that goes into it – I think even if one person is saved and their lives turned around, then it was all worth it – who can put a price on one person’s salvation??

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