Tonight, I will get on stage with the Desperation Band for the last time. The band isn't breaking up. This isn't a VH1 "Behind the Music" thing about secret conflict or scandal. It's just that after this conference, my involvement with the band will officially be over. A season is coming to an end.
It was 6 years ago that we had the very first Desperation Conference in the World Prayer Center at New Life Church. I was walking in the chapel there yesterday, remembering how it felt. We were younger, full of passion and nervous energy. David Perkins had a vision burning in his heart for a generation to live in desperate pursuit of God. Jared, Jon and I had been friends all through college. By some work of divine providence, we all ended out here together. I had graduated two years before them and had been out at New Life for a year longer.
As the first conference in the summer of 2002 approached, David and I thought it would be cool to round up all the folks that played for our different youth and college services and form a team that would lead worship for the conference, and record an album. As Jared, Jon, and I started to throw out some songs we'd been writing, we thought we might have enough for an album, though we weren't sure that they were any good. Nevertheless, we decided to roll tape on the worship that weekend, and with the help and amazing talent of producer, Don Harris, the first Desperation Band album emerged. Integrity Music was impressed enough with a few of the songs-- most notably, "Rescue"-- to take a risk on us and release it.
Fast forward. This will be our 7th summer of doing the Desperation Student conference. I turned 30 this past February. These are both factors that made the wheels start turning in my heart. I love leading worship. But there is a passion that pre-dates that one. It is speaking, teaching, writing. I have long known that the long-term direction of my life does not lie with music. This step-- the step out of the Desperation Band-- is not yet the end of music or worship for me. It is just the first, risky leap of faith toward what I know God has placed in my heart.
But there is another element at work. I have watched Jon Egan and Jared Anderson over the last 10 years of our friendship. I have seen the mantle of leadership and anointing on their lives increase and the focus for their long-term directions crystalize. It is clear to all of us as leaders of this thing that the leadership of the Band for the next season is with Jon. This makes my heart leap. I know all that God has placed in Jon, and I know the time has come for him to run.
Nevertheless, mingled with peace and excitement is sadness and gratitude. I am so grateful for the chance I've had to impact a portion of my generation through worship. I have loved every moment of this ride.
To my band mates, my brothers:
Thank you for teaching me, being patient with me, bearing with my lame jokes, intense debates, and the early morning flight I booked us on so I could get home to work on my landscaping. I have loved being in rehearsals, airport terminals, dodgy hotels, stuffy vans, and suffocating festival tents with you. We have seen much and learned much. I couldn't have picked better companions. This is not the end of our friendship. This is just the end of a season, the close of one chapter in a very long story that we are all a part of, and will be part of for a long time.
Farewell, Desperation Band. I will miss this deeply.