|LightsOut in the background, serving artists ON stage pouring into those who are OFF stage|
In one week from this Friday, Emily and I, along with our family and Doris the RV, will set up shop at the LifeLight Festival’s Souled Out stage. I’ll be handing over the reins of what i’ve been working on as a 1/4-time LifeLight employee this past year, getting the bands lined up and the schedule of speakers and artists built, over to one of my best friends in the world. As I do that, I’ll be grabbing on to what LightsOut has been hitting hard all summer. We seek to provide soul-care for those serving under the lights- those artists, speakers, and bands that are away from home & hope, community & care most of the time. Sometimes, it is a struggle to get people to understand not only WHAT we do, but WHY we do it. We have some great friends on the TWLOHA team, and today Chris wrote a great piece on what he did this summer as part of the Vans ‘WARPED’ Tour- a traveling festival of bands- some that would play LifeLight, some that wouldn’t.
I am re-posting it here because I think it captures the essence of what we are about, what we seek to do- but it captures it from the OTHER side, from the road-weary traveler’s point of view. Read on, listen for where God might be nudging you to begin to care for these folks.
I’ll be leading a seminar at the festival, 8pm friday night, and also be a speaker on the Souled Out stage sunday afternoon, come say Hi and bring a friend. Also, you could swing by our booth in the vendor tent and say Hi to one of our team for the weekend or buy a t-shirt to help support the work we are doing.
If you want to help us so we can help others, please email me at info @ LightsOut . me – we’d love to have you pray for us as we serve next week, long hours, little sleep 🙂 We’d also love to have you join us financially so we can continue to be there for those who sometimes don’t have someone to “welcome their mess.”
grace & peace
original post can be found HERE:
Jason and I are back home after wrapping up TWLOHA’s fourth year on Warped Tour. It feels good to be home. It feels weird to be home. I think when you’re surrounded by the same people all day every day for two straight months you can either become annoyed with each other and choose to pull away, or you can experience growth together – learning the things about one another that makes them laugh, what you can poke fun at, and the simple things you can do for someone to make them loved.
Every year on Warped has a different feel to it. From the people on the tour to the music being played. I’d say the only consistent thing is the greasy catering food offered to everyone on the tour. This year I went out halfway through the tour with a certain kind of optimism. One that had hope to see people on the tour encouraged, enjoying each other, and more than anything going that extra little bit to get to know people.
Within a week, a friend came onto the bus and said, “I don’t have it in me to have another mindless conversation.” He wasn’t the only one feeling that way. More and more people started retreating to their own buses at night, and the conversations were about how hot the days were and the anticipation of getting off the tour. No substance. No foundations being built beyond connecting over the fact that you were both exhausted by the end of the day.
My whole time out, I had been anticipating my friend Jered Scott’s arrival for the last week of the tour and getting to share some time with him. We’ve had maybe a week total of days spent together over the past year and a half of our friendship, but we have a kind of friendship where he can call me out on things that I need to be called out on because he cares for me. I compare him to be the parent that sets the rules and ticks us off when we’re teenagers, but thankful for those same rules they set in place when we’re 25 and can appreciate that it was out of love and wanting what was best. So when he asked about Warped Tour and what I had been up to, he was very quick to point out that I was a contributor to those mindless conversations. That I wasn’t taking the extra steps to learn things about people outside of those on my bus. That I was resorting to old habits to make me feel better but that I knew weren’t beneficial for me. He was doing everything a friend who intentionally knows and cares for someone should have done.
We wanted something to change. Jason, Jered, and I got together and talked about getting people together at 8 o’clock every night for the last week of tour to have time to unpack things from the summer, share what was our mind, and ultimately create a space for people to move away from the mindless conversations and move toward honesty. A place to talk about the great times the tour brought, while acknowledging the temptations and struggles we never seem to escape from, and deciding that we didn’t want to go through another two month tour without communities where we support each others’ positive actions.
The first night there were eight of us. The second, ten. It was refreshing to get away from the party for an hour, even if we were going to get thrown right back into it when we broke off for the rest of the night. The third night we gathered, Jered and I were setting up chairs and we put out 12. We joked that we were getting ahead of ourselves. Over the next hour and a half the sound of chairs being moved around and a circle widening could be heard over our words. Over thirty people showed up that night. There weren’t any flyers or announcements about what we were doing, only word of mouth.
The fourth night we meet in a small building. We set up chairs along the wall and every seat filled up. There were even people sitting on the floor in the middle of everyone. Seeing something grow to what it had become in a short amount of time really showed how much everyone needed something different. We all did. A new place to go. A place that welcomed our mess.
For me, finding that place, whether it was with eight or thirty other people, where I could share the things I was dealing with, and hear about what others were dealing with during those two months on tour, was incredible. The feeling of knowing I wasn’t the only one struggling with the thoughts that live in my mind helped me breathe without a weight on my chest for the first time in a while. I think that’s what we all need to strive for with one another.
We are surrounded by people. We have this chance to have a community, big or small, to “go there” with. The thing is, we have to take the risk of being honest and being known. We have to find that place inside us where we’re ready to challenge ourselves and grow. We have to be willing to know that sometimes someone won’t show up. Caring about and loving others takes risk and probably more than we have in us most of the time. But I think the more we put out there, we’ll have something returned greater than we could have imagined.
This year, I left Warped and people that I miss after only being away from them for four days. This year, I left Warped and my bottom right bunk on bus 40 that I called my home for four weeks with eleven other people and a few extra riders here and there. This year, I left Warped with phone numbers and friends on Facebook. I left with great conversations, summer crushes, and incredible memories from around the country. This year, I left Warped with a community that challenged me to grow and be there for someone else. This year, Warped left me completely grateful for everyone I met on the tour, but especially every single one of our supporters who stopped by the booth to say hello, buy a shirt, or talk about what TWLOHA means to them.
You guys were constant refueling for long, hot, exhausting days. Jason and I are truly thankful for being able to share this summer with all of you and we hope to see you again next year.
All the best,