This past weekend, my two passions collided in an explosion of epic proportions.
Music and writing are in my blood. They form a huge part of who I am. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meld the two in a different way than ever before at Kingdom Come Festival.
For the first time, I set up a vendor booth, selling my new book and speaking to people. The conversations I had and sharing my personal story that’s wrapped up in the novel were some of the main things that will stick with me from this weekend. That one on one interaction, the personal connection, that’s what it’s all about. That’s why I write. To reach people, to move them, to touch them with stories they can identify with. Seeing the response to my testimony in person and being able to connect with these people and minister to them, wow. I think it may have touched me more than them!
And I must say, though I wasn’t expecting it, being asked onstage to speak about L2L2 publishing and have a little fun with the crowd was fantastic. The fans were so much fun and, you know I enjoyed making them do stupid human tricks and cartwheels to win books!
All that is just the beginning of the tale of an extraordinary weekend.
I hardly know where to begin. So I’ll start with a little background.
For those who don’t know, my family and I volunteer with Always One Ministries. This is a group that ministers to young people by putting together fabulous music events all through the year. Our primary event is KCF, held every summer. Many different kinds of music are represented, from worship, to funky bluegrass, to hip hop, to metal. It’s a massive, amazing weekend that changes lives. For the past 2 years, we’ve held this event at the Howard County Vietnam Veterans Reunion Campground. The vets have welcomed us with open arms and most join in the fun with us.
Now on to this year.
Beautiful. That’s the best word to describe it.
Why beautiful? For many reasons.
First of all, the theme this year was Rock, Reverence, and Revival. And KCF 2016 more than lived up to that theme.
It all started with the flag raising ceremony Friday morning. This was a sacred and humbling event. To say that I was honored to be a part of it is an understatement. It’s an experience that moved my soul. I will never forget it.
Then, we were privileged to be present for a memorial service for a fallen soldier. As the twenty-one gun salute rang across the countryside, followed by the bugling of Taps, there wasn’t a dry eye on the grounds. Everyone stopped to honor this soldier’s memory and sacrifice.
This all set the tone for the weekend. We had no idea just how profound and epic it would be.
The love of ministry through music is what brought us all together. This weekend, we rocked out like never before. With familiar faces and new additions, the lineup was off the chain.
The performers blew us all away.
There were serious moments, some hilarious happenings, ear-shredding rifts, peaceful worship, and dance-inducing jams. There were bag pipes. Circle pits. Headbanging. Spoken word artists with flair. Rappers throwin’ rhymes. A session of singing “This Little Light of Mine” with everyone under the big tent. Dancing zombies. Inflatable guitars. A singing storm trooper. We even had an onstage marriage proposal during The Protest’s set!
Every single person that stepped on that stage brought everything they had and left nothing behind. They played and danced and sang and spoke their hearts out.
The awesomeness didn’t stop with the music. Something else happened at this year’s event that changed everything.
A1M is a family. It’s always been this way. When my family and I joined, we were absorbed into the fold without hesitation. The love we were surrounded with was unexpected and astonishing.
The family spirit that is perpetually present at A1M events permeated the air this past weekend. And this time, it was supercharged. There was something different this year. Something unique.
There were many familiar faces and a whole lot of new faces. We even brought two with us. My friend Michele, who is also an L2L2 author, and her husband Ben.
Every single one of these new-to-KCF folks I spoke with told me how they felt so welcome and felt so much love. It was the talk of the weekend.
Family. I’ve said that word a lot. But this weekend our family grew and when it did, it was like an explosion. An explosion of love.
Hugs. Smiles. Uplifting conversations. Bands and volunteers ministering to people. Small groups huddled in prayer. Large groups talking, praying, and dancing. Bands and speakers rocking and leading worship and praying from the stage. This is what was happening everywhere you turned.
If you looked close enough you could see the threads of love and communion and worship wrapped around us all, pulsating with an effervescent light from above.
That’s what made this weekend special. The love, the people, the bonds that were formed and those that were strengthened. Those who came feeling like outcasts, like they were unloved and unwanted, left with a new outlook. They left as family, loved and treasured. Many having made the choice to be part of the family of Christ.
It was so wonderful and spectacular it’s hard for even me, the writer, to describe.
The Spirit of love, the spirit of revival, ignited us all. This epic outpouring of love and the way that God moved this weekend is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. I know I can speak for all of us at A1M when I say our hope is the flame that was stoked so high this weekend only grows.
We want more. We want this revival to spread. We want more people to feel the Love that defined this weekend.
Kingdom Come Festival 2016 may be in the books, but this is just the beginning of something special.
Won’t you join us?
I’ll leave you with one of the many hilarious moments of the weekend.
Video courtesy: Asche Relesser
Photography courtesy: Brian McNew
Jeanette Yoder Photography
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