Thursday, November 07, 2019

Reaching counter-culture youth

Basilio Carrillo, a Westside San Antonio native, experienced a life changing moment at 15 when he saw the British punk rock band, The Clash on MTV. He identified with their anti-fashion and angry counter-culture message. He quickly became immersed in the underground punk rock world of clubs, booze and drugs. He started playing drums with punk rock bands and soon found himself the front man for the “The Deceased;” writing songs and singing lead.

At 29, his girlfriends mother convinced him to take his kids to to church. He chose a particular church because he knew the youth minister, who was cool. He showed up on a Sunday morning looking like the lead singer of a punk rock band: blue hair, piercings, tattoos, leather jacket and biker boots.

He did not receive a warm welcome. In fact, during the greeting time, two men reached across him to shake hands. No one shook his hand.

Yet, as worship began, Basilio felt the Holy Spirit come over him like a wave. He felt convicted by the sins of his past and, broken, he began to weep. On his knees he sought God's forgiveness.

It was a while before he returned to church but he'd heard about a church called Rise Above Ministries led by Skip Brooks, who also had a punk rock past. Skip wanted to reach kids in the punk rocker, heavy metal and other counter-culture worlds; showing that people who look like them can follow Jesus. Basilio felt right at home and, in 2005, became associate pastor.

The church dissolved in 2013 and Skip moved to Tennessee. Rise Above rose again when Skip returned in 2017 and asked Basilio to work alongside him. Basilio took over as pastor following Skip's recent death from cancer. He has the same desire to reach young people who reject and are rejected by the mainstream.

Rise Above Ministries meets in the Baptist Temple Campus Chapel Sundays at 3 PM. They are the sixth church meeting on a campus that is also shared by two schools and several service organizations.

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