Korn’s Brian Welch to Christians: transformation doesn’t happen overnight

Brian Welch
Musician Brian Welch arrives at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 15 2016. (PHOTO: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
Called to be a witness to Christ in the rocker world

Originally published in The Christian Post

Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch says he finds it tiring to invite people to know Jesus — like the transgender men and women he ministered to at a July 31 rock concert — when religious people chase them away with harsh words.

“I’m begging you, [Christians], please stop,” Welch said last week on his Facebook page.

In an interview with The Christian Post on Monday, Welch, 46, shared more of what happened that night and the fruit that has come of it. Though Welch said he speaks in churches from time to time, God continues to open doors for him to witness to hurting people in unconventional settings outside its four walls.

Welch’s motives questioned
Although most of the response Welch has received regarding his post, which has been shared nearly 2 000 times and has received over 10 000 likes, has been positive, Welch also said he’s received a range of critical and mean-spirited comments, calling his motives into question.

“We have to get to these people and to be Jesus to them and just love them. And we have to give the Lord time to work before we tell people what they need to do and then they disappear and turn their back on God.”

“And we have to give the Lord time to work before we tell people what they need to do and then they disappear and turn their back on God” — Leo Tolstoy

Welch has a question of his own for his detractors.

“When have we seen God do something really quick?” Welch asked in his interview with CP. “He does do these ‘suddenlies’ sometimes, yes, but usually there is a process, and it’s a lot longer than any human would take. That’s what God does. We have to get to these people and to be Jesus to them and just love them.”

“And we have to give the Lord time to work before we tell people what they need to do and then they disappear and turn their back on God,” he said.

Making a reference to Romans 2:4, Welch added, “It is His kindness that leads to repentance. Do you know how many things I’ve given up because of God’s kindness?”

While Welch acknowledged the bible’s ethical dimensions for marriage, he told CP there have been instances in his own life when he’s gotten a firm, fatherly rebuke from God. The majority of the time, the most transformation has come from His tenderness.

“My thing is, get Jesus to come and live inside, and let Him start cleaning house,” Welch said.

Brian Welch - Preaching
Brian ‘Head’ Welch preaches to concert attendees in Mountain View, California. (PHOTO: Justin Stumvoll)

Ministering at rock concerts
Such an attitude informs his posture for ministry. Along with several Jesus-loving friends, Welch went to a rock concert in Mountain View, California, on July 31 and what happened next could only be described as an adventure in the Holy Spirit.

“Before we went in as a team we asked God to highlight people, to show us who to talk to,” Welch recounted.

After the concert was over, they gathered a small group near the venue and Welch let loose with the most powerful weapon in his arsenal: his testimony of how God set him free from years of drugs, alcohol addiction, and self-hatred.

“I always tell them, this was my life before,” Welch said, reflecting on when he shares his painful experiences from his youth and how he carried the rejection, teasing, and self-hatred that led him into darker things. No amount of money, Grammy Awards, MTV fame could fill that void.

“I was drinking and drugging just so I could feel like I liked myself, trying to just feel comfortable in my own skin,” he continued. “But when I encountered Jesus He started to heal that thing, that root that took hold when I was a kid.”

Welch then told the small crowd that had gathered, “Some of you guys don’t want this, some of you think it’s nonsense, but there are some of you who know that you are supposed to be here at this moment.”

“There is always at least a few of them who are in tears, who know that God Himself led them there,” he said. “So I pray with them and I say, ‘If you want Christ to come in, He will never leave. He said He will be there for you and He will transform you.'”

One transgender man he met asked him “Do you love transgender people?” Welch replied: “What do you think? Of course I do.”

“I then gave him a big hug and really started to melt my heart,” Welch said.

Brian Welch - Preaching 2
Brian ‘Head’ Welch preaches to concert attendees in Mountain View, California. (PHOTO: Justin Stumvoll)

Using testimony to change lives
CP asked Welch where else he has seen God use his testimony to change lives.

As it turns out, rock concert attendees are not the only ones who God touches and often convicts when they hear his story.

One guy who is now a good friend of his, Welch recounts, told him that when he watched Welch share his story on CNN, he repented from a life of sinful, destructive habits.

“This guy was a porno-master, and was into all kinds of kinky stuff. And he used to make fun of me, and he ended up watching a video of my testimony just so he could mock it. But then, all of a sudden, he couldn’t get it out of his mind and said to himself, ‘I have to find out what is in that book.'”

That friend ended up in church, got a Bible, and in Welch’s words, “he got totally, radically saved.”

“His wife said he went crazy for about two weeks,” Welch added with a laugh, “but then she started going to church and she got saved.”

Welch also emphasised that he is not out to disparage churches.

“I also go and speak at churches, and some of them are more conservative. I mean, I’m all over the place. I love Jesus’ Church! I love the charismatics, the Calvary Chapels, the non-denominational ones, and even the ones that don’t believe in the gifts [of the Spirit].”

Brian Welch - Korn
Members of the hard rock group Korn cast their handprints in cement during a ceremony honouring the group at Hollywood’s Rockwalk at the Guitar Centre in Los Angeles on October 8 2013. Seen (L-R) are James Shaffer, Brian Welch, Jonathan Davis, Reggie Arvizu and Ray Luzier. (PHOTO: Reuters/Fred Prouser)

Criticism for rejoining Korn
CP also asked Welch how he’s dealing with criticism about his decision to rejoin Korn after many years.

Welch said it was not a decision he made lightly, but through a series of providential events and much prayer and discernment he sensed God leading him to be a witness in the rocker world.

“It’s a special calling. Not everybody understands it, not everybody is called to that, but I am.” he said.

“It’s great because I’m not the only one,” he added, noting that his own bass player, Fieldy, is now a Christian and other rockers, like Alice Cooper, know the Lord.

“So we’re positioned here and we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, and we’re light in a dark place,” he said.

As CP reported last week, Welch recently spoke to the Arizona Republic about rejoining the band: “If it was a crazy party still, I would not have gone back. I mean, I’m around parties and we go to bars sometimes. I hang out with my friends and some of them drink mildly, but if there was, like, cocaine and bong rips thrown in my face every day, I couldn’t do it.”

Justin Stumvoll, one of the creators of The Liberation Project podcast who CP interviewed last month, is also a friend of Welch’s. Stumvoll ministered to people alongside Welch at the concert in Mountain View last month and was asked what it was like to watch the rocker share Jesus with people.

“Even in all of his self-admitted flaws, Brian is one of the most humble, bold, loving men I have met. I truly believe that because of this, Brian will go down in the Christian history books as one of the most prolific evangelists of our generation,” Stumvoll said in an email to CP. “I don’t believe the Church knows what to do with him in this moment, but the undeniable fruit that he is producing behind the scenes, hidden from plain sight, will one day come to light.”

The bottom line, Welch emphasised, is this: “I know that, especially in my own life, that the more we lay down stuff — and I truly believe this — the stuff in our lives that we struggle with, the more of God we have. And so the more we die to this world the more we come alive. I want people get that too. It’s all about God’s timing.”

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