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Rock House Teen Center

Sep 24 2016

25 years ago, in the nearby town of Oxford, Maine, a local layperson named Burt Rugg opened His Place Teen Center.  It was a place for local teens to hang on weekends, listen to music, go on occaisional outings and ultimately hear the Gospel of Jesus.  The center grew rapidly and added larger facilities, a snack bar and the outings grew more elaborate, too.  There have been two new directors after Burt, but the center continues to thrive.  The new director, Barry Lowe, changed the name to the Rock House.  He told us last night that 90% of the teens who come do not go to church.  The Rock House truly is a mission to the local high school kids.  

We've performed there a lot over the years, and my 14 year old daughter, Rose, and I went back again last night.  My wife, Sue, is away at our church's ladies retreat, so it was just me the Rose.  Barry greeted us from behind the snack bar.  I knew he had been recovering from surgery and he currently needs a walker, but looks forward to transitioning to a cane soon, then walking normally again. I actually met Barry almost 30 years ago at a Christian arts festival outside of Augusta.  He was the lead singer of a local group called the Resistance, and Sue and I were there to juggle.  Soon after, he formed a new group called the Blacksmiths, and under that name our paths crossed frequently for several years; performing together at festivals, youth detention facilities, even a cruise on a paddle boat on a local lake.  For a while, the Blacksmiths were the biggest thing happening in Christian music in Maine (with the obvious and perennial exception on Noel Paul Stookey).  At their peak, Barry and his band played the Grand Ole Opry and the White House.

After catching up with each other and a mutual friend or two, it was time to do our show.  One of the teens mentioned that the local high school was having a dance, so a lot of regulars weren't in attendance.  Still, there were about 20 people present. We had a great time, and the kids really enjoyed Rose's contributions to the gig.  (The teenaged boys in particular.)

Barry rescheduled us on the spot for another show in November, and we look forward to it. But the best part of the night was the drive to and from the show with Rose.  You never know what you'll get when you're traveling with a teenager, but last night she was chatty and silly.  We laughed all the way to and from the Rock House.  It doesn't get any better than that.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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