For dread-locked skateboarders and “frothing at the mouth prayer warriors” Heaven Fest 2012 provided jam sessions with “killer bands” and perches high above thousands of Christian music fans in Colorado on Saturday.
The festival, the largest of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region, also provided a launching pad for skaters and intercessors whose work was beginning just as Heaven Fest was winding down in the wee morning hours Sunday from its two-year home in northern Colorado.
From Loveland, an Albuquerque-based group of professional and semi-pro skateboarders who came to Heaven Fest planned to roll into Aspen and Steamboat for a week of “shredding and spreading” the faith that changed members’ lives.
Similarly, a 24-7 worship and prayer movement that kicked off in Loveland a week before Heaven Fest will spread to jails, schools, businesses and churches in Colorado now that the festival is over.
“We came up here (to Heaven Fest) to do a tour of Colorado, hitting small cities and public skate parks,” said 21-year-old skateboarder David Daily from Albuquerque.
Drugs, alcohol and sexual promiscuity characterized Daily’s life, like so many others in the skateboarding culture, until he connected with a group of shredders doing street evangelism. “I think it’s pretty cool,” Daily said. “It benefited me.”
Daily joined skateministry.org Pastor Uriel Luebcke and others at Heaven Fest for a day of professional demonstrations and free open sessions at the church’s portable park that included three, traditional evangelistic messages.
“We had about 30 people today (at Heaven Fest) who prayed to receive (Jesus) Christ,” said Luebcke, a self-described gnarly dude who “rolls dreaded and dangerous” with the gospel..
A professional, national champion of the Globe Wild Card Series, Luebcke, 35, is also pastor of a skate church where “it’s all about relationships with skateboarders. My mission is to make disciples, and then train them to be skating evangelists,” Luebcke said.
After listening to “killer bands” Love and Death, The Almost and Sho Baraka among others at Heaven Fest, Daily and skateboarders from Albuquerque said they were heading to the Western Slope of Colorado where they intend to declare Jesus “as Lord of the board” in their unique style of street evangelism.
Unorthodox prayer methods, like skateboard.org’s non-traditional outreach, also characterized Heaven Fest, where intercessors prayed from a crane hoisted high above the crowd, and from a mobile perch in the middle of a field.
Volunteers took turns atop the crane and from mobile units stationed atop dirt mounds in dust-covered parking lots, praying for the thousands of fans listening to over 50 bands on seven stages from morning to 9 p.m., when a nameless, faceless, band proclaimed Jesus Christ as the main event.
Other prayer warriors, wearing turquoise blue tee-shirts that asked “Need Prayer? Ask Me,” infiltrated the crowd with instructions from a local pastor.
“There are needy people out there,” said Pastor Diane Blanco, who oversees intercessory prayer at Resurrection Fellowship. “Expect salvation and healing.”
REZ, as the church is known, hosted 24-7 prayer the week preceding Heaven Fest, interceding not only for the Christian music event, but also for victims and family members of a tragic theater shooting in Aurora and for those who lost homes to wildfires in northern and southern Colorado this summer.
“I believe that the Lord is getting ready to send revival,” Blanco said. “In my study of revivals, I see a pattern that prayer precedes them.”
Revival, Blanco said, always begins with churches and is characterized by love, God’s healing power, restoration of families and relationships, and a return to what churches are supposed to be.
So vital is prayer that Heaven Fest is partnering with Lite the Fire, a Colorado-based worship and prayer movement, that began July 28 in Loveland and will spread around the state to various venues – public and private, according to producer Dave Powers, who characterizes his intercessors’ passion for prayer as “frothing at the mouth.”
Passionate or pitiful, prayer was instrumental in helping Brain “Head” Welch, formerly of heavy metal band KORN, find peace and freedom from addiction to drugs when, in desperation, he pleaded with God for deliverance from a meth habit.
Now a Christian, Welch provided vocal and guitar contributions with Love and Death, one of several metal bands that drew fans of the genre to Heaven Fest.
“If you get serious with Jesus, he will rock your world,” Welch told hundreds of fans before praying for the crowd.
A fan of Underoath and Love and Death, Matt McCrae of Castle Rock admires Welch for his outspoken faith and honesty about past failures.
“He’s not a phony. That’s what I like about him,” said McCrae, who first heard Welch relate his former life as a member of KORN on video.
Like McCrae, 13-year-old Natalie Johnson liked the bands, but more important was her decision to be baptized at Heaven Fest.
Ninety-nine others joined Johnson in an inflatable pool where volunteers from Northern Hills Church in Brighton dunked candidates after confirming their commitment to Jesus Christ, said volunteer Susan Camp.
“It means that I’m ready to be guided by Jesus Christ, and for him to be in my life forever,” said Johnson who, as a Catholic, was baptized as a baby.
Heaven Fest fans learned that organizers plan to move the event to an undetermined site in Denver next year for Heaven Fest 1, a one-day, one-stage, one-reason event.
“We’re inviting the nation to Denver to seek God for revival in every major section of culture,” Heaven Fest’s Powers announced moments before the main event.
Lit from behind, the main event featured a nameless, faceless group of musicians and leaders who sought to make Jesus Christ the headline event, speaking about the “father heart of God” and his desire to adopt sons and daughters.
Another leader shepherded the crowd in a prayer of repentance for some Christians who become overly entangled in political bickering, especially in an election year when fear and hatred dominate the presidential selection process.
The nameless leader also called on Christians to humble themselves and pray for revival according to the Scriptures.