MILTON - When one Richfield teen saw his peers struggling, he decided to organize a benefit concert by the Christian rock band Disciple.
Kurt Eisele's unique senior project didn't end there. The Midd-West High School senior is expanding his outreach this fall by bringing five new Christian bands to central Pennsylvania.
"When I first started, it was just something I wanted to do to kind of reach out to my friends," Eisele said.
Photo submitted by KURT EISELE
Christian rock band Disciple performs March 24 at Middleburg Middle School. The concert was organized by Midd-West High School student Kurt Eisele as an outreach to friends and benefit fundraiser for TheHopeLine organization.
The first concert took place in March and raised money for TheHopeLine, a faith-based system of call centers that provide help and encouragement to teens.
Though his school assignment is over, Eisele is continuing his outreach by bringing the inaugural Keep It Loud tour to Christ Wesleyan Church in Milton. The tour features Grammy-nominated Christian rock band Fireflight, KJ-52, Spoken, 7eventh Time Down and George Moss.
He has also enlisted the help of several local youth pastors including Kelli Herbster, Branden Mestach, Mike Burns, Danny Reed and Evan Kerstetter.
"We are now under Brookside Ministries Church, so we are technically a 501c3 non-profit concert," Eisele said.
Burns, youth pastor of the church, said he has been impressed by Eisele's drive to share Christ's love with his peers.
"He's a youth doing this, that's amazing," he said. "He wants to make the biggest impact he can. We wanted to empower him."
Sponsoring an event like this is a way to connect with teens and assist local law enforcement and human services in mentoring youth, Burns said.
"They don't have enough resources, they don't have enough people to intervene when destructiveness is happening in this generation," he said.
The concert is a way to unite like-minded people that want to intervene, he said.
"We want the younger generation to hear there is hope... Christ is hope," he said.
As the concert date approaches, Eisele said the responsibility of organizing the concert while balancing school and sports has become a bit overwhelming. At the same time, he said the opportunity is "very exciting because of what I know God can do with this tour."
Doors open for Keep It Loud at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 11 and the concert begins at 6 p.m. at Christ Wesleyan Church in Milton. Tickets cost $13 in advance or $15 at the door and can be purchased from iTickets.com or at local Christian bookstores. Group tickets are available for $10 for groups of 15 or more, and VIP tickets are available for $30.
In an effort to include as many youth as possible, Eisele said he is seeking businesses to sponsor tickets for those who cannot afford them.
"We're looking for other churches and organizations willing to partner with us," Eisele said.
Last year, ticket sponsors gave 10 to 15 young adults the opportunity to attend, he said. Eisele said the teens would not have been in attendance otherwise and added that reaching out to those individuals is "exactly what we were looking for with the event."
Burns said 100 percent of the money raised from the concert will go back to youth and youth ministry workers in the Juniata, Lehigh and Susquehanna valleys.