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Seeing Beyond The Tattoos 01/18/2008

Brian Welch

God radically changed this rock star's life.

Brian wears eyeliner, his long hair is braided and he's covered in tattoos. The first time he went to church, he was high on meth. Some congregations would not want him anywhere near their sanctuary. But because one friend saw through Brian's appearance and addictions, he went to church and God radically changed his life.

Brian "Head" Welch was the founding guitarist of the mega-rock group Korn. Their debut album sold over 2 million copies and their top-selling album, 1998's "Follow the Leader," moved 3.8 million units in the United States. Their music is loud and their lyrics dark. They were on top of the world, yet those who knew Brian saw that he was an out-of-control junkie. On the outside, he was successful; but on the inside, he was empty.

"Everything I did, besides the music, was a failure," Brian told me in an interview on LIFE Today. "I couldn't figure out why life wasn't good for me when I had my dream come true."

It would have been easy to write him off as another rock star gone down the tubes. But one friend had the courage and compassion to reach out to him.

"I had a couple of friends that...were Christians," Brian said. "They were quiet about it. They didn't talk about it, but I knew they were. One of them sent me an e-mail at the end of 2004. He said, 'Brian, I've never done this before. I don't mean to get weird on you but I feel like the Lord woke me up and told me to send you this scripture: Matthew 11:28. Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy-burdened and I will give you rest.' When I saw that I was like, 'Could this be Jesus reaching out to me? Could this be real?'"

Brian's Christian friend invited him to church and he went. It was the end of an old life and the beginning of a new life. "When I felt God come into my world, a supernatural power came all around me," Brian said. This power delivered him from drug addiction and made him a new person. He's now fathering his daughter and devoting himself to ministry. "I want to grab souls and hand them to heaven," Brian said. "That's all I want to do with my life."

His transformation was radical, but the results are typical. When God gets a hold of people, the old person dies and someone new and better is born. Everything is made new. But in so many cases, it begins when one believer reaches out to someone who is hurting.

Christianity is not about just loving those who are like us. "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?" Jesus asked. Being an effective witness requires courage and risk. It requires a willingness to be "a fool for Christ." This doesn't mean acting foolishly. It means going against the wisdom of the world, which is foolishness in God's eyes. It means being comfortable with mockery and scorn because of a belief in an unseen, supernatural power that created the universe and can recreate a broken man. For Brian, it meant leaving the wealth and fame of the band and suffering ridicule from many former friends, including Korn's lead singer, who called Brian's conversion "a false crusade."

For you and me, it means stepping out in faith to touch lives around us. Frankly, I was concerned that some of our television viewers might not get past Brian's appearance to hear his heart, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. This says a lot about our audience. It says that people are learning to look at the heart of others and see them as God sees them. Remember, man looks on the outer appearance, but God looks on the heart.

Now, I challenge you to ask, "Lord, who do You want to reach through me?" It probably won't be the founder of a huge rock band, but it will definitely be someone who is important to God -- and that's all that matters. While on earth, Jesus reached out to people nobody liked or noticed and He still does it today through caring believers.

Watch my interview with Brian "Head" Welch

Read about Brian's book, Save Me From Myself

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 723

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity. Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.