Dec 8, 2009

Coffeehouse come to town

by Melinda Zosh

Christmas Coffeehouse started as a small performance in David’s Place in the early 1990s, but the 5,000 students who now attend would not fit in such a small space. According to Student Activities Director Chris Misiano, the fall talent show now includes 18 student workers and four full-time staff members who work behind the scenes to bring the popular Liberty event into fruition.

Among the many student performers, one group has quickly become one of the most anticipated acts. They are the Peacemakers.

“(Peacemakers) is a ministry, because we gather peoples’ attention using our talent and let them know that without God, our creator and sustainer, we are utterly incapable of living the way God planned us to,” co-founder Joe Johnson said.

After hours of reviewing audition tapes, Misiano and his crew chose the B-Boy group. Six Peacemaker members will demonstrate their act for the third time at this year’s Coffeehouse.

“When we are waiting behind the stage, we (see) a lot of people sitting on floor and standing up in the aisles,” co-founder Buddy Rushing said. “When you get up in Coffeehouse you almost forget that there is an audience. That comes with the B-Boy confidence.”

“We want each performance to be high quality, but we also have to consider the flow of the show, and the fact that we want the show to have variety in the types of acts we showcase,” Misiano said.

The multi-cultural group, founded in 2007, said that they use their skills as ministry in competitions around the country. Johnson started B-Boying in California when he was 13, and he tells non-Christian performers about his faith.

B-Boying, is “rooted in original hip hop and funk which is completely different than today’s rap and hip hop” is a way for people to see that performers can defeat the odds physically, according to Johnson.

“I like to ask people, ‘Is there anything you have that was not given to you?’ in order for them to understand that God alone can give man the capability to spin on one hand over thirty times or defy the expectations of physical capacities,” Johnson said.

The team works together and encourages each other during practices and performances.

“We are a body of believers building each other up consistently through sharing the Word, acting the part of Christians, and evangelizing in a beautiful way,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Rushing said that they do not usually get nervous before Coffeehouse performances, because they focus more on the expressive style of their form of B-Boy.

“(B-Boy) really brings people together, and the holistic idea of unity and brotherhood becomes inherent within the moments we share,” Johnson said. “I love being able to express myself and see other express themselves every time they get into a circle or perform for people.”

Some Christians may misunderstand the purpose of B-Boy as a ministry, but the Peacemakers’ purpose is to give young people an alternative lifestyle, Johnson said.

“As B-Boys it is our mission to reject the traditional structures of our culture which represent sin, and replace them with something holy and upright,” Johnson said. “We have…a mix of balance, speed, strength, creativity, flow…coalescing into the most amazing art.”

Christian forms of art should be more widely recognized, according to Johnson.

“I think Christian art as a whole has been depraved of what it ought to be, and I hope for change in the near future,” Johnson said. “I think that starts with us living like Christians and rejecting the lukewarm life.”

B-Boying is a way to evangelize and the “most important thing to show people is (B-Boying) is a form of worship,” according to co-founder Isaac Lucero.

“I’ve learned that ministry can be more than going out and going to a foreign missions field,” Lucero said. “Ministry can be a recreational tool…getting in there with Christians and non-Christians through living your life and showing them that you’re different.”

Rushing dealt with many difficulties in high school, but God used B-Boying to turn his life around, he said.

“I am thankful that God uses someone like me,” Rushing said. “I’m big enough in God’s eyes to be doing what I love for Him. I feel like I have purpose.”

Contact Melinda Zosh
at mzosh@liberty.edu

 


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