We usually mean for summer to be a time to relax and chill, but more often than not, we’re going from place to place and event to event. Such has been the case with The Anthem. The youth group has been all over the map, and it all started with CreationFest Northeast in mid-June.
It was definitely a fast-paced weekend with concerts going on at up to four arenas at once. It could get a little overwhelming sometimes (at least for me). One thing I really enjoyed was the variety that is available to see at Creation festival. This year they had six stages: Deep End (heavy metal), Americana (folk/country), Hip Hop, Edge (hard rock), acoustic, and the Main Stage. Main Stage headliners included Lecrae, Skillet, tobyMac, and Switchfoot. Also making appearances were Rend Collective, Matthew West, Peter Furler, Natalie Grant, Colton Dixon, and We As Human.
Although I enjoyed almost all of the bands I went to see, some of my favorites were Wolves at the Gate, Phinehas, and Comrades on the Deep End Stage, I Am They (right) on the Americana Stage, and Red Letter Hymnal, Skillet, Capital Kings, and tobyMac on Main Stage. I liked the fact that Wolves at the Gate took the time to stop and speak to the crowd about what they believed. Comrades was one of the most talented groups at Creation and I appreciated the different style they brought to the table. One of the guys from I Am They shared his testimony, which was really cool to hear and just to sympathize with the struggles that others are facing and have faced. I loved Red Letter Hymnal because they brought a lot of fun and energy to the lazy midmorning. Plus, it was sweet to see a familiar face on stage. Capital Kings was probably my overall favorite. While the mainstream EDM community lacks in lyrical quality, the Cap Kings have good lyrics but still have a ton of fun on stage along with their fans. I enjoyed tobyMac because he played some of his old stuff as well as his newer and more popular songs, whereas a lot of bands aren’t likely to do that. We ended up leaving a day early because of the weather so we missed out on the Edge stage, Rend Collective, and Switchfoot, which was kind-of a bummer, but it was good to get out of the wet.
The only other problem with the experience was that the speakers could’ve been better. I’ve never really agreed with the whole “altar call” idea and that was something that happened a lot while we were there. Many of them used Scripture out of context and most of what they said didn’t line up with what we believe.
But while we did a lot of fun stuff this summer, we also had a great opportunity to serve at the Lighthouse food bank. We ended up staying for a few hours doing lots of different jobs like helping people unload their groceries, handing out different food items and bagging them, restocking shelves and tables with food, taking trash out, and bringing shopping carts back.
Then we were on the road again, headed out to Cedar Point. I think it was a good experience for me, because it helped me to figure out what I liked and what I didn’t like. I really enjoyed the roller coasters that they have there, and they have a lot. I discovered that loops and corkscrews are fun and big hills put butterflies in my stomach. I also learned that I don’t like to be inverted on a giant swing. The lines ended up not being too bad and we got to ride more than we originally thought. It was a long day (some of us didn’t get back until 2 AM), but I think we could all agree that it was worth it.
Between all these events, VBS, and just being crazy busy, we haven’t had too many regular Anthem meetings. My favorite part of youth group is getting to learn from our Firm Foundations study. Even though we’ve only gotten to Genesis 4 in a year, it’s been fascinating to see God work just in those four chapters alone. I also like to ask questions and lots of them, which is probably due to my time at Summit; they love questions there. Anyway, we’re just about to launch into events surrounding the Flood and, as Andrew put it, “It’s about to get heavy. And wet.”