Throughout the 70's and into the early 80's, Kerry Livgren had been guitarist, keyboardist, and principal composer for the successful rock band, Kansas. During his tenure with the group, he had explored numerous eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. These themes often appeared in the lyrics to songs on the early Kansas records such as Kansas, Song For America, and Masque.
Livgren's eventual conversion to Christianity in 1979, followed by that of bassist Dave Hope, created something of a rift in the band. The change of lyrical direction turned out to be the last straw for original lead singer Steve Walsh, who left to form the band Streets in 1981.
After numerous auditions, John Elefante was hired as Walsh's replacement, but hopefuls Warren Ham and Michael Gleason left an impression on Livgren, who was in the process of writing material for a second solo album for CBS Records. Instead of using different musicians for each song as he had done on 1980's Seeds of Change, he put together a single group consisting of himself, Hope, Ham, Gleason, and drummer Dennis Holt.
During sessions for the album, dubbed Time Line, it became apparent that the players shared many interests, not the least of which was their Christian faith. After years of feeling isolated and artistically stifled in Kansas, Livgren found working with fellow Christians refreshing and began discussing with Hope the possibility of leaving Kansas and forming a new band.