In 2014, the rock band Anberlin announced they'd be disbanding. Within two decades they sold over a million copies of their records, claimed a certified Gold single, and boasted multiple Top 20 hits on the Billboard 200 chart. Their extensive farewell tour offered one last show to fans across the world; from the US to Singapore, to Australia and the UK, Anberlin played from the 12-year old catalogue that immortalized them.
Each member had a new adventure to pursue, and for the band's lead singer Stephen Christian, it was finally being home with his wife and children. "I'd cultivated an image in my head of what life would be like after Anberlin. I would be home with my family and we'd grow roots in Nashville," recounts Christian. He set up three different jobs he could do from his house, and settled into his new life.
Within two months, all three jobs dissolved.
"I'd put all my stock in these three positions, and the stability that was my light at the end of the tunnel crashed down on me. I did what was right, and the universe still collapsed," he explains. "I felt betrayed by life." All that was left was a songwriting contract, so Christian started writing songs for other artists. He soon realized he was writing for himself. "The songs were so obviously written out of my pain, my past, and the time I spent wrestling with God," he describes. "They were way too personal to give away."
Enter Wildfires, his new worship record out this July. The record is a powerfully personal conversation with Christ, with songs that speak into uncertainty, peace, and obedience.
God would end up not only quelling those raging seas, but drying them up all together. "Calvary Chapel called and asked me to lead worship at their church in Albuquerque. The desert! I immediately said no. I'd always told people--including myself--that I'm an entertainer, not a pastor. You know how that works though, I didn't want to do it and now we live in New Mexico and I've been on staff for about two years," laughs Christian.
"When God calls He fulfills," explains Christian. "Life is like a puzzle, where God hands pieces to you one at a time and you don't know where they'll fit. You flip things and try and piece it together yourself, and sometimes you don't see the full picture until years down the road. Now I look back and I see the pieces slowly forming for this roll as a pastor. I was in Anberlin to be a pastor. God built my platform so I could be a pastor. My education was so I'd be equipped as a pastor."