Thursday, January 23, 2014

Magic Moments: SLINKY!!!

Today's Magic Moment is a more recent one in my youth ministry career, going back only 12 years to a wonderful night in Tampa (It was a Thursday night, making this a legitimate Throwback Thursday!). As I approached the end of my first year at Wesley Memorial UMC in October of 2002, it was clear that it had been a very difficult year, with lots of changes in the student leadership and an unwanted pastoral change as well. We had struggled, but it felt like we were turning a corner and many of us were excited about the future of the student ministry. I wanted to do something big to mark the occasion, and my first choice was to host Michael Bridges (guitar, lead vocals) and George Baum (keyboard, slinky, recorder, vocals) for a concert at the church.  George and Michael are better know as the great two-piece band, Lost And Found. I had seen them at many National Youth Workers Conventions, had hosted them at FUMC-K in 1999 (and been the keeper of their van for a week) and had spent time with them in Chicago in early 2001. I knew they would provide us with the kind of big event we needed to keep our momentum going. It turned out they were flying to the Tampa area for a weekend confirmation retreat with a local Lutheran church, and we could get them on a Thursday night. (Side note: I didn't know this until later, but those guys are royalty among Lutherans. They even wrote a song about Lutherans, listing famous Lutherans much the way Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song lists famous Jews.) So on October 10th, exactly one year after my first day in my office at WMUMC, we hosted Lost And Found.

The only thing most of the students knew about the band was that they were the guys who sang Lions, a song we often did at youth group. They loved that song and loved yelling "SLINKY!" at the appropriate times. To further prepare my students I began telling them stories about some of the songs they would hear. I told them how requests could be made to the "Panel of Judge" (George) but were not likely to be played in the order approved. They learned all about great songs like Baby, Used To Be, Saskatchewan and Slide Girl. As a result of the Slide Girl stories (the video below contains an explanation from Michael so I won't bother here), many of them showed up for the concert dressed in blue, with blue hair or other assorted tributes. Although the crowd was smaller than I had hoped (about 300, and a third of them were local Lutherans!) we had a great night.

Lost And Found recorded that performance at Wesley, and the song below is the version of Slide Girl recorded that night. Since the song changes each night to include people from the audience, it is a treasured memory and a true Magic Moment. You will hear them mention Lenny, one of our guys who dyed his hair blue. They refer to Rebecca, Stephanie and Ashley, three more of our folks who made their very own t-shirts with a slinky attached to the sleeves. And you will hear them sing about my one year anniversary.  It was the kind of exciting, memory making night that you pray for as a youth pastor. The band would be back to WMUMC two years later, but by then things were very different. Enjoy the song below. It is a classic moment captured in time...

Because of Jesus,

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