I saw Brian “Head” Welch speak and perform at Soulfest 2011 this weekend. Brian Welch was formerly the guitarist from the band Korn. I first came across his story from a video clip from Iamsecond.com over a year ago. Although I was never a fan of Korn and didn’t know who he was, I was blown away by his testimony. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am moved by examples of God reaching out and claiming a lost sheep, and all the more so when the one is so far from the ninety-nine.
I’ve since thought more about why Welch’s testimony hit me so hard. I simply don’t identify with any part of his story. I’m not stuck in addiction and don’t share any of the problems (particularly the weight of adoring fans) that plague people with similar lives. Yet I was still moved to tears by this seven-minute video. Why?
Here’s a thought that’s bounced around my head since seeing “Head” perform and speak: if God sees fit to save Christianity, it will be through people like Brian Welch.It’s a thought only slightly scarier than Welch’s bass player. When Jesus Christ rolled through town, He left a wake of changed lives. Christian churches of today are plagued with comfort and complacency, and have become gated communities of sorts. If lives aren’t being dramatically changed in your church, it is simply not living up to the church’s mission. We live in a sick world that needs Jesus Christ as well as people who are willing to testify that He indeed changes lives. Brian Welch is a representative of that sick world and his testimony is a profoundly compelling example of God’s grace and power. Brian is living proof that the weary and burdened get rest in Jesus Christ. Brian is living proof of the claims in Ecclesiastes that no amount of riches and power compares to living in the will of God. Not to mention, Brian also follows the trend in the Bible of God using the unlikeliest of characters for His bidding.
Brian Welch’s music is another element to this story. Like I said, I wasn’t a fan of Korn and wasn’t particular drawn to his music. But I want to support him. If that takes buying a CD that sounds like a building falling down, so be it. But guess what? I agree with the message in worship songs like “Heart of Worship”. But aren’t we in a little more of a desperate situation than that lovely little tune would indicate? Shouldn’t this message be shouted from the balconies of every church? Check out the lyrics to Welch’s “Die Religion, Die!” Welch’s music is honest, visceral, and exactly where he’s at. This is a part Brian “Head” Welch that God clearly intends to use. I’m gonna listen.
Like others, I take inspiration from people who I believe are braver, wiser, and more selfless than I am in living out their devotion to God. I don’t think I’ve come across anyone who was so trusting in the Lord and so transparent as to seem as if God was simply directing his words and actions as a puppeteer would. Brian Welch is not out of the woods (or wilderness) by a long-shot. He’s an addict. He’s broke. He still has to live with the poor choices he made before giving his life to Christ. There will be temptations around every corner that will promise to make things just a little easier for him, even temporarily. He has my prayer. I’m so grateful for the influence he’s had on my life and pray that others are moved by his trust in God.
For sure, Pastor Head’s testimony and music isn’t going to appeal to everyone. But it’s where I’m at now.