GRAALMAN (Sanctus Real):
During my sophomore year of high school my Dad became very convicted about the spiritual state of our family. He realized that we needed to decide if we wanted to truly follow the Lord with all of our hearts. Dad basically made us start going to church again. Us kids were in youth group every Wed. night. I think seeing the transformation that was happening to my Mom and Dad and my two younger sisters affected me. All the people at the church were always really nice and loving towards me and even the kids in the youth group reached out to me, even though I obviously wasn't like them.. Then one weekend someone from the church paid my way to go to a youth retreat. The main speaker was Eastman Curtis. Just something about that weekend; hearing the Word of God, seeing 2000 kids just really on fire for Jesus; it moved me in such a powerful way. That weekend I gave my life to Jesus completely.
EDWARDS (The Swift):
I’m a P.K. so church was pretty well ingrained in me since childhood, but it wasn’t until I was a young teen that I realized there was more to Christianity than just church. We had a youth pastor at the time that really took me under his wing and discipled me in what it really meant to be a believer in Jesus. I soon surrendered my life to the full time ministry at about age 15 and have been playing music for the Lord ever since.
My mom was a radical Christian, and by the time I was five I could quote tons of Scripture because she forced me to memorize it! She was the most real and passionate believer that I knew and it impacted my life. I gave my life to Jesus when I was five. I was alone at night in my room when I heard God (inaudibly) tell me to give my heart to him. I was alone, and nobody told me that I should, but my parents had taken me to church since I was born.
My parents were the main influence in my life when it comes to things of the faith. I became a Christian when I was 5, and it was my mom who was with my at my moment of decision. It was the middle of the night and there was a thunderstorm outside - I was terrified that I was going to die right then and there. Mom came in and comforted me, asking me if I knew where I would go if I died. She told me I had two options - heaven or hell - and heaven sounded much more attractive, so that’s the road I chose! Once I made that choice, however, mom and dad continued to lead and guide me as my faith developed and became my own.
My parents were the greatest influence of Christianity on me. They used great wisdom in picking an awesome church to raise their family in. Less focused on themselves, they made sure the church had an incredible kids and youth program, so my church leaders were also really great role models for me. I accepted Christ when I was really young. I remember it was a Monday night. I guess I had heard the preacher on Sunday talk about going to heaven. I didn't want to miss out. So in our basement, while my mom was folding clothes, I told her I wanted to go to heaven, and she knelt with me right next to the laundry basket and led me in the Sinner's Prayer.
by Tracy Darlington
Under the Influence: 14 Christian Musicians Share Who Influenced Them
Most For Christ
Okay, so you aren’t Billy Graham. You aren’t an actor/activist like Steven Baldwin. You may feel you aren’t making an impact on the world. But these musicians and authors had their lives changed by the smallest acts of ordinary people. The little things you do can really make a difference. Here are some fascinating stories of how their lives were eternally changed.
Watching my older sister read her Bible every single night before bed definitely got me curious about Jesus at an early age. Every single night I remember the light going off, the night light coming on, and her taking out her Bible. Big sisters are heroes to younger sisters, so I started the same nightly practice. Between that and listening to Keith Green all the time, it was hard not to have an early personal experience. I remember having the same dream of Jesus dying on the cross 3 nights in a row . . . I was seven. Right after that I started writing worship tunes.
MCGINNIS (Audio Adrenaline):
The biggest influence on me to become a Christian was my cousin Thadd and his mom and dad. I had grown up around my grandma and grandpa and saw their faith lived out, but when I got in high school, I was spending a ton of time with my cousin. Now because of growing up in a broken, dysfunctional family I felt very alone during these times. I longed to have a family like the one I saw my cousin have. They had a great family situation. In school I was feeling like I couldn’t fit in anywhere, very hopeless and messed up. I was at a real breaking point. Something had to change and quick. My cuz could see through me and began to work on me. He and I would do everything together, but I never went to church when he went. One day he invited me to church (much like the other 1000 times) and I came up, with the plan of all plans: “I will say yes this one time and then I can go back to saying no again.” Something weird happened. I walked into the room of about thirty people and they were not anything special, but they did do something very amazing. They began to love on me, regardless of who or what I was. That was something that I had not experienced before. I would go back week after week with my cousin to church, and I began to realize that it wasn’t these 30 some people loving on me, but it was Jesus loving me through them. This was the first time that I felt true love and that I belong somewhere. I went from seeing myself as everyone else was seeing me to understanding that the Maker of the entire world created me specifically and had a plan for me.
It was a neighbor of ours named Carol before any of my family was going to church. She would come over and tell me about Sunday School and how much fun it was so I would pester my parents to let me go. She's really the first person who influenced our whole family towards Christ.
It was definitely my parents. Mainly, it was me seeing their walk on a day to day basis and how much they were in love with God and served Him. I wanted that relationship in my life also!
My parents are the ones that showed me the Christian life. I had parents who are believers AND married. Not too many kids have that, especially as an African American growing up in the Heart of Washington DC. They didn't just talk about it, they lived it in front of us even though they didn't have much. Sometimes domestic pressure turns into spiritual failure because so many things are pulling at you, they didn't allow that to happen. No matter how many Grammy Awards I have or might receive; how many albums I have sold or will sell in the future, all of those combined could not compare to the life and advice my parents gave me.
The moment I decided I wanted to serve Jesus in this life, and not just go to heaven, was one summer at Camp Union when I was 10. I saw how compassionate and hopeful my counselors were (two of my counselors were Kate and Aaron), and I decided I wanted that for myself. I wanted to embark on my own journey.
I've been a Christian since I was 3 years old, but I didn't really make the Lord my own until I was about 18. I remember listening to Darlene Zschech music and observing how much she loved the Lord. It opened my eyes to see that He is so much bigger than how I perceived Him. My mom has also been a great spiritual role model in my life!
TODD SMITH (Selah):
Growing up, the people who had a big influence on my faith were teenage guys who were older than me. I was drawn to guys who were real and who reached out to me. When I saw guys who were believers and they really lived it, that made me want to be like them.
I had a Sunday School teacher named Bill Wilkerson who really took me under his wing and invested hours of time and a lot of love to me. Since I didn't have a dad, he kind of became a spiritual dad to me. My Uncle Jim, who was a missionary in Lebanon, had a great influence on me as well. We talked about a personal relationship with Christ many times over my childhood. Probably the greatest influence was the Engle family in Garber, Oklahoma. Mrs. Engle actually led me to Christ after a season of really struggling with the reality of my faith. She walked me through that time of doubt and prayed with me to receive Christ when I was 16. I haven't gotten over that yet!
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.