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More from the Clergy Corner

Finding Christ in a Coffeehouse

By Pete Bustetter
The 700 Club - Jennifer has found great success with her new CD Kansas. Before the concert, we discussed her personal style of songwriting.

"The music and the writing that I do is largely a projection of the quiet time that I spend with God and it's a reflection of the things that I'm struggling with," says singer Jennifer Knapp. "And while the topics at the time may not be specific or definitely named, they deal with a lot of things that I wouldn't maybe normally talk about."

"I tell you what, I need music all the time and -- to get in the quietness and the stillness to hear God's voice," says Knapp. "Those are such uplifting times that they're very pivotal in time away from the stage."

The New Earth Coffee House played host to the concert. Once an abandoned church building, New Earth is now a place where kids can come to hear their favorite Christian bands.

Sheldon McAelvey, New Earth's founder, talks about the club's atmosphere. "It has all the conspicuous features of a club, you know, with some significant differences. There's no smoking, there's no drinking, there's no carousing and there's definitely no non-Christian music. We've created an atmosphere that's cool, so to speak, you know? And I feel that that's pretty important. It doesn't sound very spiritual, but it's pretty important for young people, because if something isn't cool, you know, they just won't come to it, you know?"

Located in the bar district of Kansas City, New Earth is a safe place for kids to have fun and hear the gospel.

"I think one of the main reasons that I like coming here is, for one, I have a hard time bringing, like, unbelievers to a church situation," says one patron. "But someplace like this, you can totally just be like, `Yeah, let's come check out the band,' or whatever. And they can come in here and it's kind of a middle ground between church and, you know, the world, or whatever."

Moms and dads also love New Earth.

"It's not just some wild thing the kids have been -- put together, and they bring artists in like Jennifer Knapp and she sings songs that are to the point," says one dad. "They're pertinent. They're on line with these kids. And they get a chance to hear it, 'cause you got kids walking in here that are not saved, and you got kids that need to hear this. And this is a safe environment for them to hear it without being threatened from some other outside source.

New Earth is a place where Jennifer's music and mission come together. Her music speaks to her own generation, those hurting inside and outside the walls of the church.

"A lot of people are looking for intellectual answers, and they're starting to realize the philosophy is letting them down and media is letting them down," she says. "And it's like culture, as a whole, is starting to become so diversified and letting people down and they're having to go and look for a spiritual answer to that. When Christ isn't the center focus of why I'm getting up on stage, it lacks success. It lacks what God meant for it to be in the first place, and that's truly a ministry to reach out."

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