Tuesday, February 2, 2010

#119-Wayne Francis (Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah!)

To those not familiar with the legend of Wayne Francis....Wayne Francis is the number 1 guy you want preaching apostolic youth conferences and revivals. His sermons are very carefully constructed, demand emotional response, and most importantly inspire hope into thousands of young people that through a very exciting service/altar call, things will change. Perhaps most intriguingly, his sermonizing have some sociological similarities to that of a well-organized late 19th-century Vaudeville show. Further he just completed a 4 year term as Secretary of Promotion for the UPC General Youth Division. 

Before Wayne Francis, the entire UPC was like watching television when it was black & white. It was still remarkable then, but you never realized what you were missing until color television was introduced. Wayne Francis made the entire UPC in color. And once television went to color, you never wanted to go back to black & white outside of nostalgic purposes. 

The Footloose Conspiracy

Hopefully you have seen Footloose the 1984 epic starring Kevin Bacon in his most daring role to date...Because it will better inform this section of the post...

But anyways to best understand the connection...let's look at Wikipedia's article for Footloose:

Footloose is a 1984 American film that tells the story of Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon), a teenager who was raised in Chicago. McCormack moves to a small town where the local government has banned dancing and rock music. Ren and his classmates want to have a seniorprom with music and dancing. They must figure out a way to get around the law and Reverend Shaw Moore who blames rock music's influence for the death of his first child.
The movie was loosely based on events that took place within a relatively small and conservative, rural-based Christian denomination known as the UPCI. Except Kevin Bacon was actually Wayne Francis….And the senior prom was actually youth congress 2007 (and continued into his now infamous 2009 sermon). And when Footloose referenced “rock music,” the movie was actually alluding to NAYC 2007 when having blue jeans on the platform was allowed. And by dancing, well… we are still referring to dancing...and Wayne Francis can D-A-N-C-E:

But seriously is there no better narrative for us to realize the life of Wayne Francis is fully embodied in the roll of Keven Bacon in footloose?  Kevin Bacon is the new kid in school who brings with him the zaniness, courage, and attitude of some strange land that the small-town culture had previously never imagined. But yet within Bacon's character, there is a kind of innocence where you know Bacon is not being rebellious to be rebellious, but if he appears to be rebellious it is only because he is being true to himself and that spirit within. The same can be said of Wayne (except replace the rebelliousness of Bacon with the trendsettingness of Wayne).  Wayne came marching into to a relatively flavorless denomination, and breathed personality into it. Sure some people did/do not like it, but even his sharpest critics have to admit there is some zest to his personality that makes him impossible to hate....and again, all reservations against Wayne will be lost once Wayne-O gets dancing, you can't deny it's hypnotizing influence (just watch the first 9 seconds)...

But Wayne's influence goes beyond bringing some flavor to the younger generation of apostolics....

Bro. Francis has got style....

 Three things to know about Bro. Francis' fashion sense:

His style can be best described as a little bit speakeasy, a little swagger, a little Franklin Pierce, a little poppycock and a whole lot of ravishing matching goodness...

He doesn't look to Hollywood to find out about fashion, rather Hollywood looks to Wayne Francis to find out about fashion.

Wayne has single handedly kept bow-tie companies in business...Not necessarily him single handedly, but because of the influence of his style which has spawned hundreds of "Mini-Waynes" who act and dress just like him (complete with bow-tie)...

The  "Mini-Wayne" dress alike phenomenon was at it's height at Youth Congress 2009...However, it had been around for some time previous, evidenced by the hip-hop star: Lil' Wayne who took his name after the "Mini-Wayne" spectacle....

(Pictured: Lil' Wayne)

The Myth
I cannot understate the influence Wayne Francis has had on young people in apostolic circles in recent years. In one sense you could call him "legendary" (relatively)...but even then, there are many UPC "legends" of old who have gained notoriety simply because of their infamous sermons at national conferences. Each of us has a dozen or so preachers/evangelists we could quickly put in the legendary status. Yet, I would say  there is a UPC folklore that allows for another level above that of UPC legend, and they would be that of mythological status. Lee Stoneking is one of these...David Bernard is another...Paul Mooney a third.  I am not sure I would put anyone else up there (perhaps an Anthony Mangun or Kenneth Haney)....

A few years ago, Matt Maddix showed the eagerness of young people to thrust a voice from their own to the rank of "myth" status, but his presence has somewhat faded amongst the UPC for reasons that cannot be pinpointed (though he is definitely of legendary status)....

So Wayne Francis was Matt Maddix 2.0....and he has exceeded expectations. I posit to you the reader, that Wayne Francis, deserves the "myth" status akin with the names mentioned above. Please note that this ranks system is not to be defined by spirituality or souls saved (for who are we to measure that?), but rather by sheer popularity and the force that popularity draws....For proof of the "Wayne as myth" categorization, please see exhibit A in the following video....The applause you are about to hear is for Wayne Francis last youth congress as a kind of "going away" appreciation applause in regards to his departure from the General Youth Division.

How many men in the UPC do you think could garner that kind of applause?

So....without further adieu.......

YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH! (listen for it within the first 4 seconds after the clip starts)


  1. WOW! I have NEVER heard of him! HONESTLY! LOL But then again our church no longer part of the UPCI sooooo that could be why! Anyways, he is kinda cute...is he looking for a wife?!?! Haha! J/K! J/K! (I'm really hyper tonight! :)

  2. Wow this article compared an apostolic preacher to a movie star.
    This article also worships and gives glory only to Bro wayne Francis.I am an apostolic and I dont like this.

  3. It's satire. Not trying to be rude but read again, and read between the lines...

  4. I read it again. I apologize for my stupidity.


    Anonymous (cause im an idiot)

  5. Hahaha! Do you think W.F. is a fan of the band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs?? ;-)

  6. Let's spend more time making Jesus famous. After all, there are so many people who don't know #HIM.