Oct 16, 2008

I'm the guy who passed up on...

Let me tell you one of those interesting/funny/I wish I hadn't done that kind of story that will forever haunt me in ministry. It was early Spring of 1994 or 1995. I was the Minister of Students at First Baptist Church of Greenwood, MS - a sprawling metropolis in the Mississippi Delta. FBC ran about 350-400 people on Sunday morning on a good day. I had about 35 good core kids in my ministry and had been there a little over a year and was starting to see some good momentum. I always had a vision to do some kind of big community rally/concert to reach kids in the area. I had a budget that would fit on a toothpick, but big dreams of that one rally that would see hundreds of kids show up and dozens of students prostrate on the floor confessing their sins of smoking, drinking, and sleeping with their girlfriend (mostly like their parents were doing...just kidding)

Anyway, I had picked up the debut CD of Jars of Clay and it was hotter than a MS Delta summer night. All my kids loved it. Jars had just won the New Artist Spotlight at some Christian gig and were playing all the major summer concert circuits. I thought "What the heck." and called their manager to see what it would take to get them to come and do a concert in my town. Their agent told me that their booking fee was something like $7500 which was almost my whole youth budget. He also said they weren't booking anything smaller than a certain size venue which shot me down like a quail on opening day. "However," the agent said, "I do have another band I think you would like." He went on to tell me about this new band he had signed made up of a bunch of young guys who were former youth workers. He said they had a good rock/country sound. He said these guys had a real heart for ministry and the local church. They were down to earth, regular guys who liked to play music. He even said these words, "I think they will be bigger than Jars of Clay one day." I thought "What a great sales pitch. No way. Jars were fresh and hot. He was giving me the old sales line and I wasn't buying." He then told me I could have this band come and play for $1500 and a hotel. He was sending me a CD.

I told him that I would listen to the CD, but that I really had my heart set on a big time concert and that I just didn't think a no-name band would work. He sent me the CD and I thought it was a great sound. So did the kids in my youth ministry. However, at the end of the day I couldn't figure out how to get the money and didn't think anyone would come to the concert so I passed. That group later on went to win 3 Grammy awards and 22 Dove Awards including 4 times for Group of the Year and Artist of the Year. (What a bonehead!)

Late at night I still sit up during SportsCenter commercials and berate myself for being the doufus youth minister who passed up of booking...

Third Day

...for $1500 because I couldn't make it work. (Go ahead...have a laugh...sometimes that's all you can do.)


lal said...

ok, so because you couldn't "make it work" young impressionable high school-ers missed the opportunity to see one of the greatest Christian bands ever. i am sure i speak for every teenager in Greenwood when i say thanks for nothing. You may have taught us alot, but you didn't give us Third Day.

now that's out of the way, i was just catching up on some blogs when i cam across yours and made this gem of a discovery. maybe we can catch up in the spring during Cohen's inaugural season.