It all started with a picture of a boat. I (Jonathan) had just invited three of my friends to join me in this indie worship project called Rivers & Robots. I was spending some time with God and praying for the band and in that moment God showed me a very clear picture of a boat, sailing out into a vast, unknown sea which stretched on for miles. Soon, other boats began to come alongside this one, all heading in the same direction.
God showed me that the first boat was our band - it was small, but it was going somewhere, and it was pioneering something new. He also showed me that the others boats that came alongside us were other people with the same heart for creative expressions of worship and making God known. They all looked different and sounded different, but the heart was the same, the vision was the same.
This became something we referred to often in discussions with the band, and we soon realised it held even more significance when people around us started to get the same picture for our band, and multiple people who knew nothing about it told us they had the same vision. We also had friends who were starting other creative worship projects, and God was showing them the same thing. It was all just a big confirmation for us that this really was God. He really was speaking, and calling us to do something new.
We went through an interesting time as a band with some really big opportunities coming our way. Some that were great and others that, after some prayer, we decided weren't right for us. We had chats with record labels, tour promoters, and many people who all had different advice and different ideas of where we should go. At this point we were all just doing the band on free weekends and evenings, and these record deals and opportunities felt like our chance to go full time. But we ended up turning that route down. Through the whole process God taught us to hear His voice and to be obedient in following His call. I would often come back to the verse that had a big impact on me right at the beginning of doing the band.
We felt over and over again that God was calling us to pioneer something new with worship. That idea of making a highway in the desert, or setting out on a little boat in a vast ocean just didn't seem to line up with signing a record deal and going the mainstream route. We spent a lot of time discussing how we go about this, and after a lot of prayer and discussion we came up with a model that just felt right.
We decided that we would set up our own organisation, called Set Sail, and that all the money we make from the band (album sales, royalties, gig fees) would go into running that organisation. It meant that rather than trying to pay ourselves and make a living from the band, we could use all of the money for new projects, missions trips, live worship events, future records, running monthly worship nights for the city and extravagant expressions of creativity for the sole purpose of lifting up Jesus and making Him known. We could also equip and train others to do the same, and create a platform for artists who are passionate about creative worship.
With none of us taking any money from the band we had to come up with new ways to make a living, and we each decided we were going to raise support as missionaries and live by faith. This was a scary step for us, but along with God's command to prepare the way came His promise in the following verses.
These verses became our prayer. That God would use us to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus, that he would go before us, level the mountains and make the rough places smooth, and that His glory would be revealed, and all flesh would see it. God has already been providing in miraculous ways, and continues to lead us each step of the way!
And so here we are, not fully knowing what the future holds, but fully trusting in God and excited to see where He takes us next! This is just the beginning of the story, and we would love you to join us for the journey! If you an interested in supporting us financially, joining our mailing list or standing with us in prayer, then you can head to our support page. We'll be sharing testimonies, updates and some creative inspiration in our monthly emails.