One day, when Jesus was walking in a large crowd, a woman, afflicted many years with an illness, longed for healing from the Messiah. Knowing she could not get his attention in such a large crowd, the woman did all of which she was capable, reaching out, she touched the fringe of His garment. Previously, I had written about this dear lady and her faith. CLICK HERE to read When I wrote about this lady and her faith, I had no idea that God would, almost two years later, use this passage of scripture to launch a ministry
For the past three or four years, I have been trying to fit into a mold that is not me. I cut my hair, took out my earrings and, for the most part covered my tattoos with more business type attire. For the past few years, I have felt like a fish out of water. Over the past few months, I began to realize, I am not being true to the person that God has allowed me to become and am attempting to fit into what society finds acceptable.
My family and I went to the Punk Rock Flea Market in Knoxville, an annual event held at a local tattoo parlor. This is not a mainstream event and most of the vendors and shoppers are somewhat fringey. Plenty of tattoos, piercings, various colored hair in interesting styles and people who were very nice and enjoyable to talk to. This began a stirring in my heart as I considered the story of the lady above, grabbing the fringe of Christ's garment. I wondered, who is reaching out to this segment of society? As we are currently planting house churches in Knoxville, I felt led of God to start a fellowship that would be welcoming to those on the fringe of society, so to speak. With nothing but a burden on my heart, I had no idea where to start.
I shared this with my wife, who is also not a traditional looking church goer, with pierced nose and tattoos, and she was immediately engaged. We began to pray. We began to share this vision with others and others shared their desire to reach out to those not served by traditional church, for various reasons. I shard the idea with my friend Victor and he shared with me his desire to minister with his world renowned band Place of Skulls. Victor had contacted churches and offered to play outreaches, all to no avail. We began to pray. As we prayed, we realized that we both had the same desire to reach the lost and minister to believers who are less traditional. As we kicked around different ideas, Skyler, my son in law became as engaged as Victor and I and together we prayed our way into Metal Mission of Knoxville.
Special thanks goes out to Pastor Brian Smith of the First Heavy Metal Church of Christ in Dayton Ohio. Victor and I conference called with Pastor Brian and he gave us great guidance and encouragement and sent us a goody box filled with t-shirts and outreach material. Up to this point, we had no official name and were, with permission, partnering with Heavy Metal Church. Pastor Brian was gracious enough to allow us to use his logo and bus in our promotional material.
On March 28, 2017, about a week after we agreed the name Metal Mission of Knoxville, we had our first outreach event. Fearing the unknown, we prayed that God would fill the Open Chord club. We were astounded to see a standing room only crowd. Place of Skulls played a 30 minute set, I spoke for almost 20 minutes and Place of Skulls rocked the place out with another 30 minutes of hard driving, God honoring music. The response was more than we could have hoped for. Many people came together behind the scenes to help make the night happen, from prayer warriors to Metal Missionaries putting posters up all over town.
The lady who grabbed the fringe of Jesus' cloak was on the fringe of society, herself. Suffering for a bleeding illness, she was considered unclean and would not have been welcome to approach a religious figure, let alone dare to speak to or touch one. God saw her need and honored her faith by healing her. She may have been an outcast to mainstream society, but God loved her and her needs mattered. Many churches do not welcome people with long hair, tattoos and piercings or denim and leather. Even churches with a policy to welcome everyone do not necessarily know how to minister to or even relate to those outside the mainstream. Where can these people go to serve and have their needs met? Metal Mission of Knoxville hopes to be that ministry.
MMoK has immediate opportunities to serve in the homeless community of Knoxville. Just about every Romans 12 gift of the Spirit is needed to run this weekly outreach. MMoK does not expect people to transform overnight, we believe the work of the Holy Spirit convicts and transforms the heart of the believer. MMoK does not ignore or excuse sin, either. Opportunities to learn and grow exist through home churches and local churches who see the value of such a ministry. Pastor Bryan Glass of Berean Bible Church has been very supportive and engaged. MMoK also has discipleship opportunities available, with a 6 month intensive program that confronts real life issues head on.
Metal Mission of Knoxville is not about being cool or gimmicky, MMoK is about being real. Being real with God, being real about who an individual is in Christ and being real about the transforming power of the Gospel. Come check us out on Facebook to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/Metal-Mission-of-Knoxville-1405236649523179/
Life can be tough as hell sometimes, but Jesus Christ is tougher then Hell!