McVicker ready for the hometown crowd 
The Capital-Journal 
While he doesn't claim to be a Bible scholar, Dove Award-winning singer-songwriter Mitch McVicker knows more than his fair share about the teachings of Jesus.

So, based on one of Jesus' more cryptic statements, McVicker has just a little trepidation as he returns to his hometown of Topeka for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene, 3501 S.W. Wanamaker.

"In the back of my mind," he said, "I remember Jesus saying that a prophet isn't always welcome in his hometown."

McVicker, 29, says the statement doesn't really apply to him: "I'm not a prophet," he says, "so I don't have to worry about that."

Still, he can't wait to see what kind of response he's going to get at the concert, which will feature the Topeka-based group Free State as the opening act.

"It feels really good to come home," McVicker said, "but you always wonder how people are going to receive you. Will they receive you as well as some people do who live a long ways away?"

Tickets are $7 in advance, $9 at the door and $5 each for groups. Tickets are available at RJ Carr's, Christian Book and Gift in Topeka and Lawrence, KBUZ-FM studios and online at McVicker will do an in-store appearance from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday at RJ Carr's Family Bookstore, 2121 S.W. Fairlawn Plaza Drive. 
For his Topeka show, McVicker is hoping some of his old friends will make a point of showing up to hear him play with a complete band.

More importantly, he wants to convey what his life is all about these days.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back there and connecting with old friends," he said, "people who don't know what I've done with myself for the past 10 years. This is me."

The last time McVicker performed in Topeka was August 1998, when he shared the stage of First Church of the Nazarene with Christian pop singer Michelle Tumes.

That performance marked McVicker's first local appearance since he suffered near-fatal injuries in the September 1997 car crash that claimed the life of Rich Mullins, one of the most revered figures in the history of contemporary Christian music.

In an August interview in his parents' Topeka home, McVicker, a former all-city basketball player at Shawnee Heights High School, said he had nearly completely healed from the injuries he suffered.

He has released two studio albums and has just completed work on a third, which will come out around September. The new record doesn't have a title yet, but McVicker is toying with a couple of names.

In the last few years, he and his bandmates have been traveling nearly non-stop across the nation, presenting 100 to 125 concerts annually in a variety of venues.

During their shows, McVicker says, he and his band attempt to be as natural and real as they can be, without putting on any pretenses.

"We really try to be ourselves as much as we can," he said. "The only way God's going to use us is to be ourselves."

While there is an entertainment component to his programs, McVicker said the over-riding goal is to communicate an authentic faith.

Such an approach should make everyone feel at home, McVicker says, even those who may profess to be searching for religious truth, rather than identifying themselves as a Christian.

"First of all, I would say I'm not really drawn to over-spiritual kinds of religious stuff," he said. "I wouldn't think that anyone would feel awkward to come to the concert. I'm trying to present Jesus in as real a way as I can."

Today's pop culture almost causes young people to become addicted to entertainment, he said. But that may not be God's way, McVicker noted.

"We want to be 'wowed'," he said. "We want to be entertained all the time. We want to be excited all the time. But in the Psalms, God says 'I live in the high and holy places, and in the contrite and lowliest places.'"

McVicker's interpretation of that Scripture plays out on stage, as he and his band attempt to demonstrate as honestly as they can God's compassion and genuineness.

"I would hope that's what we are doing," he said, "and somehow we are glorifying God in the process."

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