Lost And Found just completed their final concert. There one of my favorite groups. They were presented with the Tom Hunstad Award at the 2015 ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza. Here's what I had to say before announcing the award. Thanks, Michael Bridges and George Baum, for your 30 years of music ministry. #SteinAuf!
At an Extravaganza about STORY, I’m compelled to tell a brief story about this year’s Tom Hunstad Award recipient.
As a young confirmation student I was, perhaps, a tad over-zealous to claim the promises of baptism. In other words – I was stereotypical church nerd…which made rather me unpopular with my fellow classmates. In fact, they held me with such disdain, that they did some pretty awful things to me…some ugly, abusive, bullying things. Suddenly, I wasn’t so eager to claim my baptismal identity – I wasn’t even sure I wanted anything to do with God…and I certainly didn’t want to go to church.
Unbeknowst to them, this year’s Tommy recipient was one of the few glimmers of hope in my life in those days…one of few true proclaimers of the gospel of love and grace and welcome that I so desperately needed…one of the few people who spoke to my heart and let me know that even though I felt like giving up on God, God wasn’t ever giving up on me.
The 2015 Tom Hunstad Award recipient has spent over 30 years blessing youth and youth ministers. Their unique style has made them accessible to people of all ages and all stages on their faith journey. They’ve traveled the world, making small gatherings seem like a big important deal – and making large events seem intimate and familiar. Their bizarre blend of humor and skill has been an inspiration to a generation of teens who, needed to hear emphatically and unequivocally, that they are blessed children of God – and that “you can’t take away what the Lord has given.”
The recipients’ ministry of music is a juxtaposition of old and new…of acoustic and thrash…of silly and tender…but they are always honest. Their music is a genuine extension of who they are. Their words, their melodies, and their friendship have blessed the church…and as they prepare say farewell in this, their final year of touring, it is time for the youth ministry network to say “thank you” for entertaining and inspiring us for three decades.
On behalf of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network’s board of director, it is my thrill to present the 2015 Tom Hunstad Award to George Baum & Michael Bridges – Lost And Found.