A night where music and message meet is finally on its way to Northwest, and it is all thanks to AfterDark.
Most have likely seen the dozens of sidewalk chalk writings around campus promoting AfterDark, but it is unlikely they know exactly what the event is.
The Missouri-based organization promises undeniable hype, unprecedented hope and an unbelievable night. These promises the AfterDark plans to fulfill this Tuesday are not just predicated on belief, they are built on years of meeting or surpassing the expectations of students.
For 18 years, the faith-rooted organization has performed for more than 500,000 students and 200 campuses. The event accomplishes this through spreading a message of unfiltered inclusivity. Everyone has been in dark times, everyone has seen the darkness of life and everyone, student or not, is invited to experience what life can be like after darkness.
AfterDark is comprised of two sections: a full-scale concert and a speaker with the message of “is Jesus relevant today?” The concert will feature KB, a Florida Christian rapper, and Anthem Lights, an American pop group.
All three of these main attractions are meant to perpetuate the open invitation that is AfterDark by offering something for everyone.
D’Vante Mosby, a biology and psychology major and 5th year student, is working as one of the coordinators and is a guest speaker for the event. D’Vante is proud of the team AfterDark has built up to bring AfterDark to Maryville, and says the event offers a great opportunity for any and all to explore.
“Whether you leave the event with something or walk away more firm in your opinion on the subject, I think it will definitely be worth your time,” Mosby said. “Not to mention, the event is free. Unless your Tuesday night is going to be crazy, then why not check it out?”
Mosby says the event can especially be beneficial to seniors. Based on his personal experience, there is nothing students can lose by at least coming to the event to see how they can broaden their horizons.
His advice also relates to how he feels about campus ministries.
“I may not leave this place with the perfect job or GPA or any other thing we’re expected to have, but I am so glad that I asked some questions that deal with my spirituality and the direction I want to take my life,” Mosby said. “These questions and deeper growth happens around other people who have a past and are trying to figure life out as well. In my experience, I’ve met some of these people by getting involved with small groups on and off campus.”
The crew behind bringing AfterDark to Northwest does not want this Tuesday to be seen as just another event or even the standard campus ministry event. They want AfterDark to be a game changer, both for what the campus can offer and for students who feel they might be stuck in a rut.
Zenova Harris, a senior psychology major, said she is ‘an assistant to Jesus in terms of making this thing happen,’ and added that AfterDark is the boundary pusher that some students need to move forward.
“AfterDark can be a life-changing event. Hearing the good news on Tuesday, March 6, could possibly be the turning point in someone’s life,” Harris said. “There is high hopes that AfterDark will spark conversation about eternal things, cause many to be curious about what it’s like to have a relationship with Jesus and bring awareness to many that they are not alone when life gets tough.”
Harris added that AfterDark is a sign of the moves God is making in Maryville. She said faith is something spreading on campus rapidly, so AfterDark’s arrival just makes sense.
“God is making big moves in Maryville, so this was, like, perfect timing,” Harris said. “One of those moves is our campus ministries growing the way that they are. This is a great opportunity to allow God to keep working on our ministries, and bringing people closer to Him.”
Often times there can be a negative stigma surrounding those who have strong religious beliefs. Chloe Faris, a second year senior majoring in vocal music education, is in charge of promoting the event through The Bridge church. She says she is aware of the stigma, and so is AfterDark.
“I know that it is normal for people to think that Christians are these stuck-up people who have no fun, but that is so far from the truth,” Faris said. “Walking with Christ through life is the most fun I have ever had, and I have only been a Christian for four years.”
Faris says she is hoping for a turnout of a minimum of 1,000 people, but says Bearcat arena could take in anywhere from 500 to 2,500. For anyone hesitant on making the final decision to attend, Faris says ‘you won’t regret it.’
Sometimes, despite a large scale and big budget feel, getting the attention of students can be more than a daunting task. AfterDark is foreign to most students, especially here in Maryville. Faris says this is what seemed to be the most difficult part of getting Bearcats ready.
“AfterDark is completely foreign to most Northwest students and community members because very few people have heard of Kanakuk Kamps or actually worked at one of the Kamps,” Faris said. “Therefore, the initial difficulty was just explaining to people what the event was and getting them to feel as passionately about it as we are.”
Kanakuk Kamps are a type of Christian summer camp that focuses on outdoor youth camping and is the leader among similar organizations.
Kevin Poage, an Oklahoma State graduate and event director for AfterDark, wants any and all to take advantage of the opportunity AfterDark is bringing because concerts and shows like this are scarce on college campuses.
“I think that events like this don’t come around too often,” Poage said. “With all the big concerts and music festivals, it can be difficult to find incredible music inexpensively. Also, it’s a great opportunity for the student body as whole to do something incredibly fun for an evening”
AfterDark is making waves on campus regardless of religious affiliation. The event is sweeping across campuses in the nation, so its unhinged presence at Northwest is something to behold.
AfterDark is free this Tuesday for all and will no doubt shine a light for the discouraged.