This week we had the opportunity to catch up with Raging Storm Records alum Dan Dameron, formerly of Bring Them Low. He filled us in on his current musical endeavors and where he feels the Lord is leading him.
Lisa Wessel: You transitioned from a metal band, signed to RSR, to a worship band. Was that as crazy of a jump as it sounds?
Dan Dameron: It certainly does sound crazy! It was fairly progressive though. Bring Them Low’s flame had turned to a flicker by 2011, playing live shows less frequently, as some of the guys were trying to figure out what their lives would look like after college. As a result, we would play mini-tours and individual shows here and there, but by 2013 that flicker finally went out. However, back in 2011 God had really put a burden on my heart for pastoral ministry, more specifically church planting (starting new churches).
So, during those final years of Bring Them Low I was actually in Bible College being trained for ministry. When 2014 came around an opportunity presented itself for me to partner with Eric Stewart in the planting of ONElife Church in Flint, MI, with Eric being the Lead Pastor and myself Worship Pastor, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Serving as a Worship Pastor for the first time really began opening my eyes to a need. As the Worship Pastor, I am responsible for picking out songs for our church to sing, but it’s much more than that; I am responsible for putting theology on the lips of the people of God, for better or for worse. The more I browsed through songs for our church to sing, the more grieved my heart became, as much of the CCM and “Modern Worship” music was extremely shallow, both lyrically and musically. Many of these songs were more man focused than God focused, which is problematic when they’re being used to “praise and worship” God.
I could rant on this all day, but the long story short is that I saw a need, and that need was for me and for our church to write and release songs for the Church to sing in worship that were theologically robust and utterly saturated in scripture, which is our only authority. And so the vision for ONElife Worship was birthed. We’ve been at it a couple years now and really zeroed in on what we’ve set out to do.
LW: I was extremely moved when I first heard your song “Chosen in Christ” from your new record. What was it like writing it?
DD: Thank you for taking the time to listen to some of our music; I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! All of us, at one point or another, struggle with those dark thoughts of not being “good enough,” like we will never measure up, and never “get it right” in this life. That’s where this song began. I was in one of those darker seasons of life, but rather than staying there, I ran to the Word of God (the Bible) to see what God had to say about it all. I came to Ephesians 1:3-14 and found great hope.
From there, I set out to put the truth of that scripture into a song, to share the hope of the gospel with others, and out came Chosen In Christ. Throughout the entire process I was utterly humbled by what the scripture had to say, but equally hopeful because of the work that God has done. Yes, because of the sin we toil in we will never measure up to God’s standards and never be good enough. However, Ephesians 1 tells us that before God even laid the foundation of the world, He chose to love us (v.5). And because of that great love for us from eternity past, when man did sin, God had to make a plan for redemption (v.7). So, the Father sent His Son who knew no sin to become our sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. Jesus lived the life we couldn’t live and died the death we should have died. Now, if we trust in Jesus for salvation, the scripture says that we stand holy and blameless before the Father – cleansed of our past sin, present sin, and future sin alike (v.4)! But God didn’t only save us, He also adopted us into His own family and gave us the Holy Spirit – who is the deposit, guaranteeing our heavenly inheritance (v.11-14). This begs the question, “Why? Why would God do all of this for me, someone who despite knowing Him as Lord and Savior still struggles with sin and with trusting him.”
And here’s the beauty of it, Ephesians 1 tells us that He chose to love us, to save us, and to adopt us not because of any good or merit in us, but rather He chose to love us, save us, and adopt us according to the purpose of His will and to the praise of His glory (v.5). This is the gospel! And what a humbling truth it is; that God saved us because He purposed to do so, not because of anything we could ever contribute to Him. We would never get it right, and that’s the point! As you read the lyrics, you will quickly see that it’s simply the text of Ephesians 1:3-14 framed with a little more rhythm and flow!
LW: Where do you feel the Lord is leading ONElife Worship? Do you feel called to your local church family or do you feel like He is leading you to a wider audience on tour?
DD: That’s an excellent question! Our first love is the local body of believers that God has called us to shepherd through worship week in and week out. That is of first importance to us. But we also feel called to equip worship leaders, churches, and ministries around the globe with new songs and resources that are rooted deeply in scripture and sound doctrine.
Between June and July of this summer, we’ve spent 20 days on the road leading worship at different camps, festivals, and churches. During that time on the road we also began tracking our first EP of original music, which is set to release this fall. With each new song that’s released we also release the lyrics, chord charts, theology behind the song, and tutorials so other churches and ministries can easily introduce the songs to their people! We’ve also got a couple of other cool things we’re doing to serve outside of our local church; we’ve started a blog that instructs worship leaders, artists, and musicians in the areas of doctrine, discipline, and discipleship, so every week there’s a new article dropping there.
And lastly, this fall we will be hosting our first ever ONElife Worship Conference for worship leaders and their teams. Yes, we feel called to our local church family, but we also feel called to serve a wider audience and have the blessing from our church’s leadership and congregation to do so!
LW: At RSR, the verse that really guides us is Romans 12:1:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Is there a specific verse that inspires you on the path that you are on with ONElife Worship?
DD: That is an excellent reminder that worship is more than a song and more than the Sunday morning service; all of us are worshipping all of the time, it’s just a matter of whether we are worshiping the one true God or something He created. We definitely resonate with that. The vision of our band was birthed out of Hebrews 12:1-2, which says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We firmly believe that lives aren’t changed by living “moral” lives, or pulling up our boot straps and trying harder, but rather our lives are transformed, and we are able to run the race before us with endurance, when we look to Jesus and cast every other weight and sin aside. So with every song we write and every worship set we lead, our goal is to lead others in beholding the glory of Christ, because that’s where real, gospel-centered transformation happens.