For Michael Bridges and George Baum of the band Lost and Found, the National Youth Gathering is a family event.
“To be honest, it feels like we’re coming home when we come here,” Bridges said.
After “coming home” for seven consecutive Gatherings, Bridges and Baum know what it is to be a part of the Gathering experience. They also know that picking a single favorite experience is next to impossible because, according to Bridges, there is “an overall sense of fantastic” when you finish. Instead of a favorite, a summarization was offered.
“Our hearts burned within us when we were traveling on the road together,” he said. “Because we experienced the very presence of God in this place.”
Bridges and Baum met when they were 14 at a cook-out hosted by their parents. The result was the formation of Lost and Found. Even though they have lived most of their performing years on opposite coasts, the two have continued to make a living playing music at Lutheran events and churches across the nation, just as they have done for over 10 years.
And they still are doing it, largely due to the fact that a predominant number of their fans have grown up with Lost and Found and are still coming back to hear old favorites like “Lions” and “Baby,” songs that the two said they have not yet tired of playing.
“Even if we did find them to be boring songs, the people’s reaction would be worth playing them,” Baum said.
But the band has not limited themselves to their originals. Their latest merchandise, available at the Gathering or on their Web site, is their CD and DVD box set from their early years. The video, narrated by Brides and Baum, includes the story of their bike trip concert tour and live footage of a concert played while on that tour.
Even with the ever-expanding repertoire of merchandise and new songs, they have not deserted the oldies.
“The people, since they want to hear the old songs, they’re excited when we play them so that sort of creates its own energy,” Baum said. “Even if we did find them to be boring songs, the people’s reaction would be worth playing them.”
There’s no doubt the band values its audience and they show it by intentionally keeping lights on the crowd during their concerts. Bridges made the comparison that just as they would not have a conversation with one person standing in the dark, they do not like to play to an unlit audience.
“The audience to us, they’re not just an audience,” he said. “We’re all in it together.”
Baum added that he and Bridges, being the “camp counselor types,” enjoy an environment that reflects that setting. One of their favorite concert set-ups, from a past Gathering in Denver, was one where the seats were arranged in a circle, creating a large summer camp atmosphere.
No matter what the setting though, the overriding message of Lost and Found remains the same.
“We only really have one message,” said Bridges, “and that’s the unmitigated love of God that knows no limits or boundaries and doesn’t depend on any of our own feelings or doings or commitment or enthusiasm or strength. That God loves us … for the sake of Jesus.”
This is a message that resonates with the CHOSEN theme.
“We’re so convinced that it has nothing to do with us,” said Baum. “… that it has to do with God’s work on our behalf.”
Amidst all the opposing messages that youth hear today, this is the message that Bridges and Baum want to convey. Baum said he hopes youth hear this message from within the Church as well.
“Over and over and over is this sort of creeping legalism; This idea that because a song or speaker mentions God, it is therefore good,” Baum said. “And nothing could be farther from the Gospel.”
Rather, the true message of the Gospel as Baum quoted, is just as Paul described it.
“Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
Lost and Found will be performing on Monday at 3 p.m. and again on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the West Building Auditorium.