For pop worship band I AM THEY, believing in God’s faithfulness is an active exercise in trust. After years of member transition and internal uncertainty with how or even why to move forward, they are leaning on Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who is promised is faithful.” The band – made up of Matt Hein (vocals, guitar), Abbie Parker, (vocals), Brandon Chase (vocals, guitar), Justin Shinn (keys) and Nicole Hickman (drums) – poured the challenges of the past, hope for the future and a newfound joy for the present into their third album, Faithful God. More than a collection of new songs, Faithful God is a look back and a look forward, a declaration of promises kept and promises yet to come.
The album’s first single, aptly titled “Faithful God,” speaks to those familiar times of confusion, times when you aren’t sure what next step to take, but just as quickly confirms that beyond all hope, God hasn’t let go. The story isn’t over.
“Your words create your world,” says Brandon. “What we speak and what we proclaim and pray for and expect, ultimately will be brought to fruition. In times when there’s not a light at the end of the tunnel, we need to believe God is going to bring us through it. Trust that there’s something so amazing on the other side. The new normal is going to be something more heavenly, as long as we stand firm on that belief.”
With Faithful God, there’s a heaviness that’s been lifted, and in its place, a redefined sense of what it means to hope for the future. Even the band’s moniker speaks to their belief in promises held together by trust, that God is pointing the way forward. For “they,” it isn’t about a singular ambition, but a collective desire for God’s plan. From the beginning, the glue that’s held them together has been their ministry focus, caring more about who’s receiving the message than who’s delivering it. As Justin says, “God is keeping us going for some reason that’s bigger than any of us.”
This wide-eyed, other-focused confidence weaves through every track on Faithful God. It’s an arms-thrown-open embrace of hope and promise and the smile-inducing celebration of making it through to the other side. There’s quiet thankfulness, unshakable confidence and out-loud joy, a full spectrum of the faith experience. The album deftly communicates that where there’s doubt, there’s also belief, where there are tears, there is also peace. The band’s choice to fully dive into the deep end of it all, the good and the bad, has produced a cup running over, a joy fulfilled.
“There’s been a total energy shift between this record and the last record,” Abbie shares, “which is due to seeing God’s faithfulness to this ministry. Even when it’s felt down and out and over, it keeps getting a new life over and over again. Every new season we go into is just a level up of energy and enthusiasm.”
Tracks like “The Well,” a musical call back to the band’s original sound, “Delivered” and “Promises,” offer an injection of exuberance that feels fresh for I AM THEY’s usual brand of introspection. Here, the band flies high with shouts of praise for the overflowing goodness of God’s all-consuming love. And just as needed as the high-energy, up tempo songs, are songs that speak to the pain of the everyday, which I AM THEY fans have come to cherish.
“Lift My Eyes,” a moving track inspired by Matt Hein’s own grappling with the death of some close friends, is a statement of strength when all seems lost. “You have to lift your eyes,” Matt shares, “you have to look up. You have to get your eyes off of the situation and find God. He’s there. He’s above it all.”
“That’s what people have connected to with I AM THEY, being real,” Abbie says. “We’ve always been up front with the difficult things we’re facing. The trust that we’ve built helps us be vulnerable with each other and within our songs.”
That hard-won trust has made the band stronger and spilled over into the attainable message they deliver. I AM THEY’s willingness to strip back the layers, to find happiness in the now and have expectant hearts for what’s to come, beautifully ties together on Faithful God, an album that’s as genuine as it is enjoyable.