BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A youth worship service called The Basement be gan meeting in a Roebuck basement seven years ago and now draws thousands to its monthly service, which will be held in down town Birmingham for the first time tonight.
The Basement, founded by Evangelist Matt Pitt in the basement of his family home, will be held at 7 to night at Boutwell Audito rium.
"We have an experience -- it's The Basement," Pitt said. "We try to mix hip-hop to contemporary and techno music, with old clas sic hymns," said Pitt, a high strung, energetic preacher who often takes the stage in shorts and flip-flops. "It's about people coming to gether and having one heart, one mission, one pur pose."
Gospel hip-hop artist Canton Jones, worship leader at World Changers International Church in Atlanta but also a regular at The Basement, will lead the music.
The Basement will go back to its usual meeting place, The Church of the Highlands in Irondale, on Aug. 30. The crowds in the 3,000-seat sanctuary there have been so large there on the last Tuesday of each month that the service has had to use video feeds to the 1,000-seat youth building and other overflow rooms.
"It's still amazing, seven years later," Pitt said. "The Basement is still catching wind. It's proven to work and change hearts."
Pitt decided to have one of the highly attended sum mer sessions at Boutwell for a change of pace, a down town setting, and a larger seating capacity.
"You want everybody to have the same experience and be in the same room," Pitt said. "It'll be a lot bigger facility for one service, and it's a secular venue, so hopefully we're going to get a lot of people who might not attend at a church."
Pitt also expects to get a more racially inclusive crowd at Boutwell.
"We always step over de nominational and racial barriers," Pitt said. "I love to see people unite. It would be cool to see people come out and worship. Maybe ev ery summer we can start building on this."
Pitt said he may lead the congregation across the street to Linn Park. "I would love to see everybody go out in the street," Pitt said.