Punk Rock and Church Planting

In the mid to late 1990s, I fell in love with punk rock. I had first been captivated by bands like Nirvana and Metallica in the earliest days of the 90s, which probably opened the door for the harder, faster, irreverence of punk rock. What I loved about some of the punk rock I first discovered was that they took the discontent of the grunge and metal bands I loved and added an action step. And they packaged it into three minutes or less. Punk bands taught me to question the media, question the government, question my parents, question the priests at the Catholic church I grew up in, question my friends and even question the band singing to me. Punk bands told me it was okay to have an opinion that differs. Punk bands gave a voice to things I was thinking but didn’t know how to say. Punk bands put a spotlight on the marginalized and left out and reached out a hand. Punk bands showed me that if you have a message you believe in, you should shout it out because others probably believe it, too, and they’ll become some of your best friends.


Some punk bands didn’t do any of those meaningful things and just made me laugh or want jump around, and that’s okay, too.


All that questioning punk rockers have encouraged in me has led me to some answers that I believe in strongly. Thanks to Chip & Bryan Holt and John Daubert for enduring a lot of my questions. In the searching and questioning, I’ve come to a faith in Jesus that I believe is worth shouting about. Some of you reading this are like Fat Mike in NOFX’s “Happy Guy” and don’t understand how I could come to that conclusion, but that’s okay with me. You see, part of being into punk rock is understanding that you aren’t always part of the majority. We can still be friends; you just have to understand that this is part of who I am.


Punk rock probably laid the foundation for why I love church planting and why my must do is to maximize church planting by leading and bringing clarity to leaders I serve. Church planters see the missing sheep and go in search of it. They take Jesus’ words and apply action steps. They see the marginalized and left out and work to find ways to include them. Church planters believe they have a message so important that they can’t help but shout it out and when people don’t want to hear it, they get that, but they say it anyway. Church planters encourage you to ask questions. How many times have I heard Josh Burnett say, “[Revolution] is a safe place to ask the hard questions about God and faith,” and how many times have I seen him drop other plans to make that a reality by spending hours answering hard questions. I’m not saying other church leaders don’t do these things because I’m sure lots of them do. But when it comes to being a church planter, this punk rock attitude has to be a part of your DNA. It’s a part of every moment. It’s tattooed on your neck and hands. It is every day, every moment. Church planting remains the most effective way to reach people far from God with the Gospel, and I think it is effective because like punk rock, it is discontent with the status quo, unwilling to just complain and committed to voicing a different option.


So today, I’ll be listening to punk rock and bringing clarity to church planters and other leaders so more churches get planted and more lives change.

Some of my soundtrack while thinking about and writing this (just a note that some of these songs have bad words):

If the Kids are United – Sham 69

Salvation – Rancid

A New Kind of Army – Anti-Flag

Prayer of  the Refugee – Rise Against

All the Young Punks – The Clash

We Called it America – NOFX

Responsibility – MxPx

Fight the System – Squad Five-O

High School Rock – The Huntingtons

I’ll Fly Away – Flatfoot 56




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