Local youth ministries set its sights on non-church going teens

Kendrick Irvin and Jonathan Cowan at open mic night at the Quake on Feb. 20.

Kendrick Irvin and Jonathan Cowan at open mic night at the Quake on Feb. 20.

One local ministry is attempting to offer an array of activities for its youth.

Quake Youth Ministries has been in Joplin for six years. But, the youth pastor Justin “Batman” Myers took over only a year and a half ago.

Myers said his aim is not for the traditional church-going youth, because they already have a place to go. He said he sets his eyes on the outcasts who might not be comfortable in a normal church setting such as those some people might call the “freaks” and the Goths.

“It’s an on-the-edge, fun ministry, totally different than any youth ministry you’ve ever seen,” Myers said. “It’s complete with smoke, lights, music and videos. Nationwide youth groups probably do a lot of the same stuff, but we take it to another level.”

The Quake offers a variety of events for its youth on a weekly basis. On Mondays, Quake features an open mic night hosted by Jonathan “Tex” Cowan, director of the Element 79 Program. Open mic night starts at 7 p.m. and goes until 9 or 10 p.m. depending on how many people show up. Cowan said the event is not censored and is open to anyone.

“This is a say whatever you want atmosphere,” Cowan said. “Open mic night is not a church service. Anything and everything is acceptable. We encourage freedom of speech.”

One week a Christian rapper performed songs before giving a testimonial. Another time Nate Robusto, drummer from Cinna the Poet, came and played a song about getting drunk and trashing a gas station bathroom. This is an example of what Cowan said makes this a different atmosphere.

“You’ll get people in here and every other word is a cuss word, but its just language, and they’re just words,” Cowan said. “We’ll have someone get up there and read about how he hates God. Then another guy reads about how he loves God, right in a row.”

On Tuesday nights, Quake features its “Quake” night-the actual youth group meeting night when youths get together to play music, do skits and worship together.

But Myers said there is no typical Tuesday night. Because there is such a wide range of youths involved.

“Not many youth ministries have leaders with piercings and tattoos,” Myers said.

On Wednesday night, Quake features “The Edge” Bible study group at 8 p.m., which is primarily aimed at college-aged people but is open to everybody.

“It’s a Bible study for people who have a lot of questions about God that have never been answered properly,” said Adam Sparlin, booking director at the Quake. “People that are sick of the answers they get and want real answers.”

The Quake also features live music on Saturdays at least once a month. Upcoming shows include the Regional Heavyweights series, a three part concert series. On Feb. 25, concert one will feature Flee the Seen, Shape Shift Revolution, Sophomore, Macon and Sacrosanct. On March 2, concert two will feature 7DaySun, Redline Chemistry, Wreckless Process, OTM, Kalatria, Torn and Darling Waste. On April 8, concert three will feature The Leo Project, Without a Whisper, National Fire Theory and more bands to be announced.

Other upcoming shows will include the Lonely on March 24, Call all your Angels on April 22 and the Hardcore Fest featuring the Hell Freezes Over Tour on May 27.

For more information, visit www.Myspace.com/quakeyouthministries or Myers’ Myspace account under the name Batman at www.Myspace.com/spankmesideways.

All shows at the Quake are all-ages shows and tickets are available at the building.

Quake is located at 410 East 7th Street and can be recognized by the Real Life Church sign hanging on the east side of the building. And the Regional Heavyweights tickets are also available at Vintage Stock at a discount if bought in advance or $15 for a three show pass.