Gettin’ down and ‘Praisy’ [UPDATED]Published 11:52am Thursday, September 26, 2013 Updated 11:54am Thursday, September 26, 2013
During this time of year, the five Evangelical Lutheran Church in America churches like to plan an event to get younger members of their congregations excited about the year. They turned to a familiar face Wednesday night to start the season off with a bang.
Dave Scherer, known professionally as AGAPE*, performed in front of an energetic crowd at the Kennedy Secondary School auditorium Wednesday. The concert was a collaborative effort between Hope Lutheran, First Lutheran, Augustana Lutheran, Zion Lutheran and Bethlehem Lutheran churches.
“Even though we have these five different ECLA churches, we are all on the same page and our working together,” said Rev. Saul Stensvaag, head pastor at First Lutheran.
Scherer, based out of Minneapolis, is a Lutheran hip-hop artist who combines rapping, dancing and storytelling during his performances. He has been performing professionally for 13 years.
He has performed in Fergus Falls in the past and Stensvaag said many of the kids who attended the show Wednesday have seen Scherer in the past. Many kids in attendance Wednesday raised their hands to indicate they had been to an AGAPE* concert before.
For his part, Scherer has fond memories of his performances in Fergus Falls.
“It seems like people have a real collaborative spirit, like a lot of the churches and the organizations work together,” Scherer said. “That’s cool because you get strength in numbers.”
Stensvaag and others at First Lutheran took the lead on booking Scherer. The idea was first brought up last year and Stensvaag said they were able to secure Scherer for the show in mid-June.
Finding performers who can appeal to younger congregation members can prove challenging, but to Hope Lutheran Youth Director Allen Westby, who has seen Scherer perform several times at both regional and national Lutheran events, Scherer has a unique ability to attract that younger demographic.
“It’s very intriguing to the young people and he’s really able to captivate them,” Westby said.
Kids from all five ELCA churches and other area churches attended Wednesday’s performance, which was held at the school auditorium because not only does it have an actual stage, but a neutral site was more welcoming and accommodating to all guests, according to Stensvaag.
Admission was free and the concert was also open to the public. Although Scherer’s music does tend to draw a younger crowd, Stansvaag and Westby were both sure adults would enjoy the show as well.
“It allows for the opportunity for conversation between parents and adults,” Westby said.
The performance was heavy on audience participation. Scherer ran through the rows of seating during his songs and kids came on stage to sing and dance with him. He also asked the audience to get “praisey” with him by praising God in whatever crazy way they felt.
Judging by the singing and dancing at the show, these young members of their congregations were surely energized by Scherer’s music.