February 12, 2019
this past winter camp I couldn’t do much in the prep for camp because I tore my rotator cuff in early january. I was watching the guys load and do what they do every summer camp and winter camp when I had the thought that most of you don’t know what they do. most of you have no idea what goes in the behind-the-scenes in making camp or in making sunday mornings happen. that was a sort-of new thought for me. and as that thought grew as I videoed the guys doing what they do, memory lane got real vivid as I thought back through the years to the beginning of when the band + tech started. combine that thought with the thoughts I’ve been journey-ing through in what it means to story-tell and something tim said in tom’s memorial video stuck out to me right at minute 4:14:
“but I feel like telling him.”
I think you story-tell to encourage each other.
I think you story-tell to remember where you’ve been and how God has worked.
this post is a small behind-the-scenes (BTS) story-tell into how “we grew up together.”
I was sixteen when tim asked me if I wanted to be in the worship band he was starting for our student ministries back in illinois. I had laughed out loud and shyly said I don’t think so because up until then I had only been classically trained on the piano and could read music well but the idea of being in a band was more than my tiny-mid-west-classically-trained mind could fathom. being in a band was for the cool kids who played guitar, not me. 😉 thankfully he was persistent and I was determined to not look like an idiot so he printed off something called a chord chart and I went to work. a chord chart is basically lyrics with letters in the key you were playing in. no notes, no scores, no music, no nothing. just letters and theory I had miraculously tucked away in my head thanks to years of piano lessons. he had asked matt to be in the band at the same time so matt + I would sit at his grand piano and he would strum while I tried to figure out how to play these “letters”. it started mostly as scales I had ingrained in my head and thankfully expanded into music that sorta resembled worship music. tim went on to ask mike senior (a drummer and good harmonizer who sounded an awful lot like steven curtis chapman) and mike junior (one of our good friends we were currently growing up with) to play lead and matt played the bass. he stuck a microphone in front of mike senior + me to try and figure out harmonies and just like that, the band was born. 🙂
I loved it. I still love it.
from day one, I loved it.
and even more, these guys – really all of them – became some of my really good life friends. it happens when you spend that much time with each other practicing + worshiping together. in the down-time I’m not sure I can remember a time where I would laugh as hard as with these guys. before the redemption-church-tim was refined and how most of you know him now, he was the type of guy who woke up at 120% and we all went along for the ride and did our best to keep up. the teasing, the one-upping, the competitiveness, the stupid stuff they all did just for fun…it’s all there in living color in my mind and those days still make me smile remembering and I’m so thankful that I got to finish my grow-up years with such cool guys.
two memories I’ll let you in on from that era of the band:
the first was when we played at a minimum security prison near cabrini green. matt was away at college at the time, but tim, senior and junior were there and God had been leaning on tim’s heart to serve the community + be a part of the community so we all agreed to go and lead worship. we lived forty-five minutes away from the prison and prior to agreeing to this I was sat down and firmly told that I was to wear the largest sweater of my dad’s + the loosest jeans I owned and no makeup. I had laughed but then got quiet when I saw the fierce protectiveness + seriousness in tim’s + senior’s eyes. that was my first wonder into what I was getting into. okay, gunney-sack clothing it is. we loaded all the gear up and drove downtown to the prison. when I had originally heard minimum-security prison I had thought – no big deal…it’s minimum which equaled minimum big deal to me. wrong. we parked in a sketch parking lot near the prison and then entered into a seriously barbed wire outdoor hall that had fencing over the top of it with intimidating security guards + cameras everywhere. we then were buzzed into a long hall indoors and through a window I could see inmates doing their jobs in their orange clothes in the not-so distance. we entered a sort-of big meeting area with concrete everywhere and set up and practiced. at the time I think one of our “high-energy worship songs” was I believe by wes king – which at the time was labeled edgy for our small-bible-belt-hymn-loving-conservative-church. I can’t not laugh *hard* thinking back on that now. 🙂 the room began to fill with inmates who were allowed to be there because of good behavior. our downtown pastor friend got up to greet the men and introduced us and we got after it in leading worship. up until this point I had never been any other church besides our rather conservative church, a methodist church that only had an organ that an older lady played and in a catholic church that again – only had an organ. this was the first worship service I had ever been to where worshiping was completely different that I had ever seen or could even imagine. aposotlic, high-energy (way more than wes king could ever conjure up), speaking in tongues (which I had never seen before), being slain by the holy spirit worship started to happen all around that room as we sang “I believe, I believe…”. the inmates started to press in a little bit just cause they were getting after worship and I could see tim + senior periodically glance protectively over at me making sure I was okay in my ginormous sweater + jeans massively wide-eyed and taking it all in. it was straight nuts. and it was awesome nuts. 🙂 it was one of the best eye openers to worship I had had up until that point. these inmates had lived lives that were full of sin prior to being there and now had been changed by God and experienced the holy spirit (for show or not – I was in no position to judge) in a way up until that point I had never experienced. the joy was crazy big + amazing to get to have a front row seat to. plus, it low-key entertained me to see tim + senior be so older-brother protective…it was a seriously cool memory.
the second memory is about the infamous lock-in at FVBC.
yeah, I’m gonna talk about that. just a little…okay, really just one detail that involves me skat-singing. ugh, I’m really saying this out loud.
again, we were church attender’s of a middle-of-the-midwest-conservative-church. worship was mostly constrained to hymn’s with a minimum of six verses attached to them. but worship music as a whole throughout the nation was evolving. enter in: DCTalk. it was the rage in our corner of the nation and as a band we tried to cover songs that the students would like. enter in the song: in the light. *sigh* don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song and has great guitar licks. and it’s a great song to sing if you’re michael tait, tobymac + kevin max. the harmonies of kevin max’s fell to me. and even more, the skat-singing of kevin max fell to me. I’ll just leave the rest of the story as that I went for it. and still regret it to this day. to caveat, not really regret – just the kind of regret that opens myself up to decades of teasing and being the butt of merciless jokes to this day kind-of regret.
whatever, yolo. 😉
there are a lot of in between details to how, but we all followed tim + susanne + the boys as they moved out west to be a part of tom’s church – EVBC and matt + I started a family along the way. tim eventually captained the student ministries and made it what it is today. all the way down to tech + worship + speakers + sound gear. and at the time when he was captain, there weren’t any dad’s crew to make summer + winter camps happen, so he’d get matt, justin, michael, jamie + whoever else was in the student ministries trailer to make summer + winter camps happen.
it was a lot of work – but also a TON of fun.
what goes into making camps happen?
*camp characters. all typically the guys: the fun police, the dare brothers, the killer bee’s, kc masterpiece + ?can’t remember justin’s name, loser man + baby, the hooligan’s, the lifeguards, white tiger, jeb jones + the hillbilly’s, sporg + raka, hector + the bald eagle…ALL the guys doing. and the video’s that went along with the camp characters that evolved into straight hollywood quality video’s thanks to steve, ben + mason.
*the building of the friday night + great race games at summer camp.
ALL the guys in the beginning.
throughout the years there’s been additions with guys like:
steve ebright, steve short, mason, josh kass, aaron kass + tim smith heading up video/lighting/tech. there’s also been the addition of different pastors/interns like: justin marshall, paul artino, riccardo stewart, aj gaus, and connor mckenzie. the band has also evolved over the years to include a lot of cool people: tim, senior, junior, matt, casey barras, ryan bernal, aj gaus, joel buckingham, spencer, dan schwartz, connor mckenzie, patrick buck plus ALL of the maughan boys – ben, jed, jesse + eli.
I’m amazed at all of this as I sit and recollect:
there has been sunday 46 + saturday night live church services.
we’ve played at weddings and played at each others weddings…I think with all the band member’s/tech guys there’s been fifteen weddings?!
we’ve mourned and have played at aj’s + cooper’s funerals.
there’s been worship for numerous staff meetings + random worship services.
sunday services – even when they flip-flopped them between the chapel + old worship center.
summer camps flipping back and forth between brown + the amphitheater.
*side note* always pull your hands in when going through the barricades at summer camp. I smashed my finger one time leaving my hand on the edge of the golf cart and had to hold in a scream because they were gearing up for communion in the amphitheater. 😉
I’ll stick on SC for a bit and share a few more of my other favorite memories being in the amphitheater:
getting to play in the mist with ben in the amphitheater with candles everywhere…it was one of the most holy-spirit-filled-nights I’ve gotten to witness still to this day watching as students poured down to write on the white boards what they were leaving behind as the mist created this unreal visual.
even the year cooper died, that big tree in the amphitheater seemed to whisper soothing sounds from heaven as we all cried + prayed + lifted up the kass’ + herrera’s.
the years that that stuuuupid loud bird tried to compete with tom as he preached in the amphitheater.
getting to play and worship in the amphitheater and seeing tom pray and worship on the left.
tim’s john denver sound checks singing lady’s chains.
paul said it best this last winter camp:
we grew up together.
that list of guys up there have all became brothers in one shape or form to me and getting to do ministry and lead worship with these guys have made them become part of my family in a way.
and I’m thankful that I have a head full of memories and stuff that nobody else has heard of or seen. it’s made me a little bit of what I am today.
these guys have taught me what it means to work hard how to make work light because of humor – I still laugh watching them dream up new episodes of “here comes Jesse boo boo.” while they would tear down wednesday nights.
I learned how to biblically mourn a brother dying through AJ. I learned how to mourn the loss of a child together with these guys through the loss of cooper.
and I have gotten to have a front row seat to some pretty amazing God given talents. watching them grow as worship leaders, as song writers, as men of God used for His kingdom.
so yeah, this started out as a post showing you a three minute behind the scenes of how winter camp is started…but it’s so much more than that. that three minutes has decades of memories attached to it for me.
and I’m thankful. 🙂
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