Audio Adrenaline: Who Will be Their Hands & Feet?
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
DENVER, Colorado -- With just a few short months remaining until Contemporary Christian music heavy weight Audio Adrenaline bids a final adios to fans everywhere, you would think they would be content to bask in the warm goodbyes being showered on them at each tour stop.
Not so. They are thinking about the “Good Life”. But it is not the one they have earned based on the strength of multiple Dove awards, four Grammy nominations, and 17 number one hits. Instead they are concentrating on living out the lyrics of their song by the same name.
Loneliness has left me searching
For someone to love
Poverty has changed my view
Of what true riches are
Sorrow's opened up my eyes
To see what real joy is
Pain has been the catalyst
To my heart's happiness
When the last chord is struck later this year, Audio Adrenaline will shift their focus to promoting missions work through an orphanage they own and operate in the impoverished nation of Haiti. Spotlighting their work is a book called “The Hands & Feet Project”, an absorbing document that follows the band and a small group of young people on a powerful short term missions journey.
CBN.com Program Director Chris Carpenter sat down with Audio Adrenaline front man Mark Stuart and bassist Will McGinnis recently to discuss the significance of Hands & Feet, why it is important for youth to get involved with missions work, and why Haiti holds a special place in their hearts.
Hands & Feet. It’s a song. It’s a mission. Now, it’s a book. What is the origin of Hands & Feet?
Mark Stuart: Well, I think the words to “Hands and Feet” go all the way back to when I was in junior high going on short term mission trips with my parents and hating them. It just solidified within me that I would always be involved in missions and helping orphans and helping kids less fortunate. And I think through Audio Adrenaline’s 15-year career we’ve always been about missions. We came to the point where we want to really step up and not just give a tip of the hat to missions and financially support them. We wanted to really embrace it and put our money where our mouth is. It is important for us to be hands and feet.
What is it about Haiti that is near and dear to your hearts? Mark, I believe you lived there as a teenager.
Mark Stuart: I think initially it was because I was connected as a youth. When you go to Haiti it changes your life. It’s a beautiful place and the people there are gorgeous – beautiful hearts. But it’s also so impoverished; it’s so stricken with a generational curse of voodoo and almost an anti-blessing for this country. Without missionaries, without missions there, the country would have no education system at all. At all – no medical, no schooling, nothing without missions.
“The Hands & Feet Project” is a book that chronicles Audio Adrenaline going to Haiti, starting and working in an orphanage. Could you share about the origins of this book and what you are seeking to accomplish with it?
Mark Stuart: Well, the book was our idea. For us, this was an outpouring of just where we are as men of God, as people who want to do something besides just work towards our retirement or fatten up our retirement for ourselves. We go there to get levelheaded, to find out how the rest of the world lives. And to seek a dose of reality and it ends up being the best times of our lives when we’re there. Hopefully the book will encourage people not just to help the Hands & Feet Project, but to get involved and encourage a generation of believers to get involved in missions and really become the heroes of the third world. It’s our opinion and our belief that that’s really the next generation of evangelism. There’s going to be preachers preaching about world issues and bringing people out of sin. But it’s going to be talking about how the world’s going to allow the church who loves people. The church has come to the rescue of the AIDS crisis in Africa. The church has come to the social injustice in Eastern Europe and Haiti and some other problems like in South America. And that’s going to be the biggest evangelical tool that we can have. But also, if we’re not careful, one of our biggest hindrances is our lack of caring. We’re so comfortable.
Do you base your work there on anything scriptural? Is there anything specific in the Bible that you point to as your key reason for being there?
Will McGinnis: We look after widows and orphans. Really, our scripture is based on that – to look out for widows and orphans. This particular orphanage, we like to call it Children’s Village, we not only look after these children without parents or without proper care, but we look after a community of people. The building of this village has put a lot of people to work. Economically we’re bringing them into our little village, our little area. We give them a job. Our nannies are women that don’t have husbands that we’re bringing in. Their kids are coming in. And basically it’s just New Testament philosophy that you look out for the future.
I know Audio Adrenaline is a special band to the youth groups of America and have been for a long time. Why is it so important for youth to get involved with short term missions?
Will McGinnis: For me, every time I go to Haiti it changes my life. It puts things in perspective and for some reason you need to do that more than once. But, if you never do it, it’s even worse. I think that if a young person gets over there it’s going to totally change their worldview. It’s going to give them more of a perspective on how the rest of the world lives and how blessed we are here in the United States. They will be more inclined to give their money, give their time, serve people, and get out of their own selfish awareness. Not what shoes do I buy, what jeans do I wear, what job, what subdivision am I ultimately going to live in. All that is fine and well, but it gets their mind thinking on things that are outside of their selves, which is very important.
Point blank, why is this project so important to you? You could send your financial support along and forget about it. But you are jumping in with both … well, with both hands and feet.
Will McGinnis: I think it’s important for us to own up and live up to the things that we say, to be an example not just in word but in deed as well. And to be a role model in that way and not take our stage lightly and not take our platform lightly. It’s really important for young people that buy in to Audio Adrenaline not just to think we’re all fluff and no action. I think as a rule, as Christians, if the church doesn’t pioneer and lead the revolution in loving the third world countries and even our neighbor, when’s the world ever going to believe that what Jesus says and what the church actually says is true – until they see it in action. I think it’s very important to live it out. Faith without works is certainly not faith at all.
Final question, after folks read “The Hands & Feet Project” what do you want them to get out of it?
Mark Stuart: I would like to see people get out of their comfort zone and give God a chance to redirect their priorities. De-Americanize them. To de-capitalize them a little bit.
Will McGinnis: I want the world to be turned upside down so they realize that what they think is the good life is not the good life at all. But it’s being in those places where it’s tough and you’re broken and in those third world situations where your eyes are opened for the first time. When you are in these situations you have the most peace; you have the most biblical vision for what you’re supposed to be doing.
Purchase Audio Adrenaline's latest book The Hands & Feet Project.
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