OUR HISTORY OF THE PURSUIT OF GOD'S CALL
Our Story

The band has been together for over 10 years! It was originally formed as a result of John feeling called to be involved in active Christian ministry. God has brought different people to serve in different roles over time – but the consistency has been that the people who have joined with John over the years have felt and been pursuing a similar calling.

The band, and John as a worship leader, has been privileged to lead worship throughout much of the United States. In addition, they have had the privilege of taking the message of Jesus Christ to other parts of the world – including India, Thailand, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, South Africa, England, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.  

The focus of the band has always been on leading worship – not giving a performance.  While the band is happy to give concerts when asked, its focus is leading people in worship. Pursing God’s call on our lives through a close relationship with Jesus Christ has always been its primary message … but the events of the last few years have really shaped and helped to expand the message of the band. Read below to find out more concerning how the tragedies experienced by band members in 2010 now shape who they are and the message they bring today.

 

TRAGEDIES OF 2010

Throughout most of the first decade of the 21st century, the band played constantly, recording several CDs, traveling throughout the US and overseas, and leading worship at thousands of venues.  By 2008, the band figured it had lead worship for over 100,000 people – quite amazing for a band of people who all are involved with this music bi-vocationally, also holding down their “day jobs.”  Life was good, exciting … and the band members truly felt that they were living in the flow of God’s will for their lives.

In 2007, John’s wife, Kathy, had a mole removed from her arm -- which she had had her entire life -- that was determined to be melanoma.  Doctors monitored her health thereafter and for several years, all seemed fine.  She was an incredibly fit person -- a marathon runner.  

 

Then, in November 2009, one week before the Richmond Marathon (having not felt ill throughout her training),  Kathy and John learned that the melanoma had returned -- this time in the form of multiple brain tumors.  Within months, John and Kathy were in the fight of their lives and through the Spring of 2010, Kathy had victory after victory. Surviving multiple brain surgeries and with an amazing will strengthened by the literally thousands of people praying for her, she mounted an incredible fight.

One of their sweetest victories came in early May 2010, when Kathy was able to rally, and with some herculean efforts by her medical team, was able to travel to see their oldest son graduate from college. That is an amazing story that John shares in speaking on this topic. But, in the midst of this exciting time, more tragedy lurked.

John was awakened at 3:00 AM on that Saturday morning (before they would rise in just a few hours to witness their son's college graduation) by the ringing of his phone.  On the other line was band member, Billy Metzner. Fighting to get the words out, Billy was calling John to tell him that his 19-year old son, Zack – then in the Navy – had been killed in a motorcycle accident.

 

 

The pain of such a sudden loss was immense for Billy and brought great sadness to the band.

And, just two months later, in July 2010, Kathy passed away – unable to fight off the growing, insidious disease that is melanoma, leaving behind John and their two boys, Jack and Jim.

The effects of these losses on Billy and John were profound. No one ever expects a sudden loss like Billy’s loss of his son in an instant in a motor vehicle accident. And, for John – he and Kathy never let themselves believe that death was a possibility. So, when those moments came, they were very hard.

For a long time, both Billy and John simply did their best to survive – and to try to get over the total disappointment. “Why had God let us down this way,” they would ask. Those were their struggles – and the struggles felt throughout the band. But as they knew down deep inside, God is not a God who seeks to disappoint, and God was always with them … sometimes, in sadness, we just “forget.”

 

MOVING FORWARD

For a long time, as Billy and John walked through the despair of their losses, the music was all but silent. At one point, Billy began to sell off his gear. John would lead worship periodically at church – but moving the music and ministry of the band along was just seemingly an insurmountable task.  

Some music did, however, emerge.  John and his two boys -- professional musicians themselves -- were writing and had been writing about the events of Kathy's illness.  With trememendous support from their cousin, Bill Leverty, a world famous rock guitarist (lead guitar player for the 90s rock band, FIREHOUSE) who helped produce, served as recording engineer, and played on several songs, they collaborated in tribute to their wife and mother.  

 

 

 

Songs of Life (available on ITunes) explores their emotions as they walked through those sometimes bright and sometimes very dark days.  Joining them on the CD was this band as well -- including tunes that Kathy really enjoyed that the band played.  And, the CD includes music from others, including Susan Greenbaum.  The hope is that some of the music found there would be helpful and comforting to Kathy's friends and family who were struggling with that loss and would be a benefit to others simply going through a loss of whatever type. 

  

A RESTORATIVE GOD

Slowly though -- as time passed -- John and Billy began to feel life returning. For the first time in a long time, there were “tomorrows” they could begin to see, futures for their lives … unknown specifics, but futures as the healing began to occur. 

They began to lead worship at their churches more and more, and God began to bring other opportunities to them.  In the summer of 2012, the band was invited to Interlaken, Switzerland to lead worship for the annual gathering of the International Baptist Convention.  They led worship and workshops and were introduced to and made relationships with a number of church leaders from around the world, including Billie and Carol Anne Hanks (international Evangelism Association) and David and Lana Packer (International Baptist Church of Stuttgart) (pictured below) that would continue to guide and inspire them long after the conference was concluded.  

And, John, who witnessed miracle after miracle in Kathy’s struggle, was about to become the recipient of a miracle of his own.  God had brought a woman into John’s life, Becky.  And, she brought her own family of four children into John’s life.  In March 2013, John and Becky were married - another amazing story which John shares when he speaks on this.

 

  

Together, they are a blended family with six children ... making for a very busy, blessed and fun-filled life!

 

Over the past two years, since John and Becky were married, John, Billy and the other band members have seen the restorative face of God and as life has emerged, they have become more and more active in returning to the lead worship as a band -- amazing new life from an amazing, loving and caring God.

So, with these new beginnings, comes a new website, a new social media presence and a message that goes well beyond finding God's call to one which through their experiences has revealed clearly the fact that in seeking and participating in faith with an awesome God, we find that He truly is always with us in good times and bad, restoring life from tragedy.  And, out of these events, a new CD has emerged which includes both the band's version of some favorite praise and worship songs as well as original tunes that seek to address the challenges that tragedy brings to our lives and the ways in which God can restore our souls.  This CD, “REPLINISHED” is set to be released later this year.