Anthem Lights: Following the Light

Ciona D. Rouse

Alan Powell was six years old when he first believed in Christ and Christ’s redemption. Ten years later, Alan started asking questions and wrestling with his faith in ways that challenged him beyond belief. He remembers being lost in the song “Here I Am to Worship” and reading the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. At seventeen, he decided to give himself wholeheartedly to God and to live what he believed in new ways.


“It wasn’t until that moment that I decided I was going to follow Christ,” said Alan when I chatted with him, Chad Graham, and Caleb Grimm of the pop foursome Anthem Lights.

Following Christ, for the members of Anthem Lights, is a daily practice that moves them from simply believing in Christ to living out their beliefs by being the hands and feet of Christ in the world and telling others about Christ’s love. Having toured with MercyMe, Jars of Clay, and The Afters, these guys recognize their amazing opportunity to reach large numbers of people. Alan, a singer and songwriter who has co-written all of the songs on Anthem Lights’ debut album, sees the band as a vehicle to tell the world about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Alan believes the band is called to perform so that people leave saying “What a great God!” instead of “What a great show!” He adds, “We want to do performances that help you change eternally and not just entertain you for an hour.” Chad echoes that “for me, going on stage and being able to deliver these messages is such a big blessing.”

While they are blessed to tell people about Christ and to have fun doing it, the guys of Anthem Lights believe they have an even greater calling to live their faith. “The main way for us to express faith is in our daily lives, in the decisions we make day-in and day-out—just as Jesus did,” says Alan. “It’s what happens between the shows.”

Of course, the guys still have to wrestle with difficult questions and situations. Caleb knows he can be “kind of a control freak” and often wants to know what’s next in life. He relies on scripture to remind him to trust God. Alan sometimes wonders why disastrous things happen to good people; he reads scripture to help him learn “how to face the daily struggles as a believer and to have a godly perspective on those things.”

The guys say that it’s vital to spend time every day with God in prayer. After that, Alan says, the next day-in and day-out decision is how we choose to treat people. “We are called to show God’s love to everyone regardless of the circumstance.”



Alan says the songs on the debut album are born out of real experiences. “We’ve gone through moments when we felt close to the Lord . . . and then moments when we felt we were going around in circles and couldn’t find God at all. I think we’ve just tried to be honest about what that darkness feels like and yet make it clear that ‘the Light always wins.’”

Life happens and often makes us wrestle with what we believe. Journal about how you’ve stayed close to God and grounded in your faith. When you have wandered in circles or strayed from the path, who or what helped you to follow the light, to find your way back? How do you practice your faith and live your beliefs day-in and day-out?




Learn more about the guys of Anthem Lights and listen to their music.



Ciona D. Rouse is a writer in Nashville, Tennessee, who likes to examine her life at the end of each day to see if she is living into what she believes.

—from devozine (January/February 2012). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.
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