A few months ago my friend Chanda invited me to go with her church to Acquire The Fire in Detroit, I have wanted to go the last couple years but it just hasn't worked out, this year it did. This post is what I thought about it...
Friday afternoon we left my friend's church around 1:30, about 15 teens and adults packed into two vans. We had a three hour drive to Detroit, it was filled with lots of rowdiness and anticipation. We got to the hotel we were spending the night at and unloaded all our stuff, we grabbed a quick dinner at Mc Donald's then headed to Ford Field. We found a parking lot by Ford Field and walked to the doors, after we picked up our tickets and made sure everyone was still with us we found our seats. The crowd was huge, 40,000 people, energy and excitement was just filling this huge arena. After the opening ceremony with flag bearers and rope dancers the worship band Hillsong United started playing. They were a good band but the songs they played nobody knew. So even though the music was beautiful the crowd just wasn't being drawn in. After the worship music we watched a full length skit about what goes on inside a teenagers head. It was cute but it got kinda long and repetitive. Then when the skit was over our main speaker Ron Luce took the stage, a passionate and intelligent man who's speaking is entertaining yet dead serious, I enjoyed his speaking very much. At the end of this sermon there was an "altar call", something I just don't really understand. Then to finish off the night Skillet came up and rocked the arena. We pushed our way through the huge crowd as we made our way to the vans, we drove back to the hotel and crashed for the night.
Saturday morning we were all up at 6:00 so we could shower and pack up before 7:30, then we headed to Mc Donald's for a hot breakfast. We went back to Ford Field and found our seats again. Ron Luce got back on stage and gave us another great sermon, even bringing a boat up front for a prop. Then we had some more worship music until lunch. We went back to the parking lot for a picnic lunch we'd packed the day before. During lunch we had the usual entertainment when you have a group of energetic teens, bird chasing and water chugging. After lunch we headed back to our seats just in time to hear Hawk Nelson do their warmup. Then we had some more speakers and worship before Hawk Nelson rocked the stage, they were the best band playing that weekend. After the finished we went upstairs to their merch table, the crowd was crazy, Kirby and I ditched before it got to bad, Chanda stayed and risked her life for a t-shirt. After that little adventure we listened to some more speakers then P.O.D came on, they were really loud and really good. When they were done it was time for dinner, so we headed back to the vans for another picnic lunch and included entertainment. After dinner it was decided that we were gonna leave early instead of staying for the closing ceremony. We packed up the vans and headed home, the ride home wasn't as loud as the ride there, it was filled with prayer and sleeping.
Overall I thought the weekend was good, I really enjoyed the speakers and the music, but I felt like it was lacking something, nothing was really great, nothing stood out as special. I was told by several people that last year was way better than this year, but even still I thought it was lacking. Maybe I just don't understand enough, but the "altar call" I felt was insincere, it didn't hold the power and respect it should have. Maybe I just don't understand the whole "being saved" aspect, but I felt out of place and wondering. Something else that kinda bugged me was that abortion was only mentioned a couple of times the whole weekend, and only by a guest speaker. They kept talking about mission trips, and saving the people in third world countries, but what about the thousands of babies in this country murdered every day. Now, I have nothing against mission trips, I think they're wonderful, and if I ever get the chance to go on one I'll be there in a heart beat. But I also believe they're on an equal level with pro-life activities, you don't have to travel thousands of miles to save innocent lives. I will definitely go again next year if I'm invited, hopefully it keeps getting better and better.
I'll end this with my closing thought. Jesus said "if three or more are gathered in my name, I am with them", so when 40,000 people gather in His name shouldn't we try and make it the best it can possibly be? I believe my generation is the generation that will change the world, so whenever somebody has the attention of thousands of teens I believe that the most should be made of it.