There is a sense of urgency. The interview with Audio
Adrenaline's Mark Stuart and Will McGinniss must be done
today. There is no more room in the schedule. In 72
hours, Stuart, McGinniss and their Audio Adrenaline
compatriots Ben Cissell and Tyler Burkum will step
aboard an aircraft that will whisk them a half-world
away to a continent of koalas, kangaroos and outback.
"While we're in Australia, we'll scuba dive for three
days," says Stuart, "and while we're there, we'll hit
the Great Barrier Reef, because we never know when we'll
get to come back."
Stuart is talking about the Reef, but he might just
as easily be talking about the urgency of Audio
Adrenaline—paraphrasing the words of Christ—"to go ye
therefore worldwide." And they better go now, because
they don't know what tomorrow holds.
"Back when we started (12 years ago), I had no idea
of where God would take us," says Stuart. "Now, I look
at every record and tour with the perspective, 'If I had
one message to give a generation, what would it be?'"
Hence, the band's seventh studio release
Worldwide is born.
Those who love the band's exhilarating high-energy
rock and pop ("Big House," "Get Down," "Ocean Floor")
won't be disappointed. But what colors this project
unique is its call to arms, its plea for Christians to
serve and sacrifice. And, like charity, service and
sacrifice begin at home.
"God wants us to produce actions and fruit that bear
witness for Him in an everyday setting," says McGinniss.
"We're calling all people to go mow their neighbor's
yard or rake their leaves or wash their car. To do
random acts that will cause them to ask 'Why?' and have
their lives spill over into someone else's in a positive
Or, to simplify matters, "Going worldwide starts with
your community," says Stuart.
In the beginning
To understand the "worldwide" mission of Audio
Adrenaline today, all one needs to do is look back to
the origins of Stuart's passion to reach the world.
"When I was growing up, I used to pray for two
things: For wisdom and to be able to do something big
for God," says Stuart. "Well, I'm not exactly wise all
the time, but I know God gave me this platform because
of the prayers when I was young."
It is a platform balanced by a variety of
personalities. There is missionary kid Stuart, the
energetic, in-your-face, commit-your-life-to-God
frontman for the band since its inception, and guitarist
Tyler Burkum, whom Stuart describes as "fiery and
loyal." Combine those two with drummer Ben Cissell ("the
epitome of a youth leader") and bassist McGinniss, whom
Stuart depicts as "Mr. Compassionate." McGinniss wants
to reach the person who is hopeless and give them hope.
"Christ loved people who were unlovable," says
McGinniss. "We're calling a youth culture to that end.
To really stretch outside of themselves, to partner with
Christ and go to the places where He went and touch the
people He touched."
This is where Audio Adrenaline stands today. Their
call moves from exhortation and encouragement, to
engaging our neighbor—putting faith into action.
Turning worship into motion
Not so subtly buried in the title song of
Worldwide are six simple words that pose both a
question and a directive statement to the listener: "You
wanna go for a ride?"
For Mark Stuart and Audio Adrenaline, there is only
one answer to that question, and "no" is not an option.
"For us, it's all about motivating a generation to
get out of a comfort zone," says Stuart. "The ride of
your life isn't sitting in a church pew, waiting until
you die. The ride of your life is saying, 'God, I'm
ready to go wherever you send me. I'm ready to do
whatever you have me to do.'"
As you may surmise, this is a project rife with a
mission calling. This is quite a departure from the
"worship-focused" themes on which many artists stood in
the last few years. Audio A has done that on purpose.
"We've seen kids wound up in this musical revolution
called 'worship," explains McGinniss, "but it wouldn't
really translate into anything except feeling good. And
we're thinking, 'Man, you're going deeper with God, but
you're still missing it.'"
Therefore, Audio A is forgoing the worship song route
and taking worship to its next level—from the sanctuary
to the street. Or, as Stuart so aptly says it, "putting
worship into motion."
"Worship is beyond singing praise songs. It's
serving, it's washing feet," describes Stuart. "What we
want to communicate to a generation of young people is
that worship means getting up every day, and saying,
'God, where do you want me to go? Show me who you want
me to be today to the people around me.'"
There are those who may wonder from where these seeds
of mission-passion originated. To explain, enter Charlie
Peacock, respected producer, artist and writer, who
co-produced Worldwide with Audio A's Burkum. According
to Peacock, the band's go-ye-therefore mentality is
nothing new. It has simply come full circle.
"The heart of Audio Adrenaline has always been taking
the gospel to youth through music," explains Peacock.
"They've just expanded the width of their heart and
message ... and hope to show through music and deed that
God calls all of us, young and old, to a Word and work
mission. Not with just a lot of talk, but a lot of
visible love for God and neighbor."
Get up and go
To that end, this Word-and-work mission hits the road
with "The Go Show." Audio A teams up with MercyMe on
this tour-with a ministry twist.
"We're going to participate in different ministries
every Saturday on the tour with youth groups," says
McGinniss. "We'll go to food shelters, build houses.
We're just trying to be accountable to what we're saying
by our actions."
The concert experience itself will also have a
"We'll have a time of corporate worship, a call to
salvation and a call to missions," says Stuart. "At the
end of this tour we want to look back and see how many
kids we've motivated to go on short-term mission
trips—to experience what it's like to put your life on
For the "Great Commission-ites" who have committed,
who are willing, but not quite sure what they're able to
do, Audio Adrenaline and MercyMe have formed The Go
Foundation, a full-time organization to match skills and
desires of volunteers to mission needs around the world.
After that process, the volunteers will be placed into
one of 12 hard working, and "under-the-radar" missions
that Audio Adrenaline has lined up. Some concerts call
you to the altar, while others call you to worship. The
Go Show embraces those pleas and adds a caveat: This is
a call to serve with your life.
"We want to challenge people to go deeper with God
and really lean on Him, to know that His promises are
for real. He owns up to every one of them," says
McGinnis. "He'll enable them to do so much more than
they ever thought they could."
Or, in the not-so-subtle words of Stuart, let's begin
fulfilling the Great Commission—now.
"This life in the scheme of eternity is a blink of
the eye," says Stuart. "Look at your time here on earth
as a huge daredevil attempt to do whatever you can—as
fast as you can and as hard as you can—for God."