The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 8, 2014

Rich Brown: Rend Collective Experiment to perform in fundraiser

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Rend Collective Experiment is much like the two ministries that are bringing the internationally known group to Joplin next week.

Just like Neighborhood Life House and God's Resort, this multi-instrumental band from northern Ireland seeks to reach out to people beyond the church walls.

That is a big reason for holding the Love Your Neighbor Benefit Concert Tuesday. In addition to emphasizing how important it is to love your neighbor -- with Jesus as the role model -- the concert will also help fill a need of raising operating funds for the two non-profit ministries.

The opening act for the event will be Bellarive, a worship band from Orlando, Fla., that has performed around the nation at colleges, churches, missions groups, conferences, camps and concerts.

The idea for the concert originated with Katie Hargrove, director of Neighborhood Life House, and Justin Miller, who holds the same position with God's Resort.

The hope is that the effects of the event will reach far beyond the fund-raising aspect.

"We want to spread awareness of our ministries' work in Joplin and inspire others to love their neighbors in practical ways no matter what community they live in," said Hargrove, who became involved in nonprofit community development at God's Resort before taking over as NLH director in 2012.

Hargrove, who holds a bachelor of arts degree from Missouri Southern State University, said she is excited about both groups coming but particularly Rend Collective Experiment. She said the Irish musicians have a heart for being out in the community loving others which matches the feelings of both Joplin ministries.

God's Resort, which opened in 2006 and is located at 1501 S. Pearl Ave., provides safe, affordable housing for about 30 adults who are trying to get back on their feet after crisis situations.

Neighborhood Life House, 516 N. Wall Ave., opened in 2009 and provides after-school programs for youth as well as family events to promote safe, fun community interaction.

Both ministries are not unlike the Rend Collective Experiment, which states on its website,, that the young members of the band came together for a common purpose -- to explore "the intersection between God, life and community."

The Irish group began as a few friends coming together to pray and seek God.

Gareth Gilkeson, a member of the group of twenty-somethings, said on the website that they began yearning for an authentic outworking of their faith, stepping out into the unknown.

"Before we knew it, people just started gathering around us, and we had more than 100 people involved, musicians and artists, bank workers and teachers, and together we tried to figure out our faith," he said.

Following many years in Ireland, five core members of the band stepped even further into the unknown in being called to reach more people. So they began touring around the world.

They have gained international success on major tours with Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, Tenth Avenue North and Lecrae.

Their album debut, "Organic Family Hymnal," was followed by their most recent album, "Homemade Worship by Handmade People." The latter was recorded in the Northern Ireland living room of Gareth and his wife, Ally, to give credence to the title.

Tony Campolo, author and renowned speaker, described the band's style this way: "Movements are stimulated and motivated by music, and here's some music that will motivate Christians to participate in God's revolution in the world. If you are committed to seeing something of the kingdom of God made real in our world, this music will go a long way to encourage you."

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