A few years ago Brandon Slifer attended the Mum Festival and imagined how it would be to perform on the stage. His dreams have since become a reality as for the second consecutive year he’ll be center stage as the lead vocalist for Redemption Road. The opportunity is important to the band because it not only signifies their accomplishments but also provides the chance to spread their message of faith.
In addition to Slifer, a 2015 graduate of Tippecanoe High School and former member of the marching band, Redemption Road includes three current members of the schools marching band. They are Jordan Wise, Trevor McKinney, and Jake Sowers. While Wise is the drummer for the praise team at the Tipp City United Methodist Church; Slifer, McKinney and Sowers are all involved musically at the Vandalia Baptist Temple. Beyond musicians, they like to serve as messengers for God. “The Bible says in Matthew 28:18-20 that we are to preach the gospel to everyone. So it is our job to use what God has given us to share the gospel. That is our whole mission,” said Slifer.
The band, Redemption Road, originally played a variety of genres, but once they performed a secular concert it became clear what they were called to do. “We realized our hearts were in worshiping God and nothing else. We didn’t want to use the talents He gave us for anything other than to glorify His name,” said Slifer.
At performances they typically do a lot of cover songs, which they know from being in church praise bands, but they also write some originals. One of their originals is titled, ‘Unfailing Love,’ written after Sarah McKinney, who is Trevor’s sister and Slifer’s cousin, was diagnosed with cancer. The song is about how God was present for the family through all of the struggles. Some of their songs are also composed from poems sent by Eddie Fitch Sr. such as ‘Jesus Saves,’ which will be played at the Mum Festival.
Each song played by Redemption Road is examined deeply to make sure that it doesn’t go against their Christian beliefs in any way. They are even cautious about the music they listen to as individuals on their own time as songs that involves any sin is not permitted. Slifer says it’s a process taken very seriously, “We hold each other accountable when it comes to the music we listen to and play so we can keep our Christian testimony. So if there is a song someone chooses that one of us is not comfortable with we talk it out and look at the song, the meaning, and even watch videos associated with the song to see what it is all about before deciding it is ok to do.”
The name Redemption Road was decided on while around a bonfire and is derived from Ephesians 1:7, ‘In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.’ The verse reinforces their theme. “The verse speaks of how we have redemption through the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross. If we ask for forgiveness and admit we are sinners, He forgives us and we can be saved then by asking Him to come into our hearts and save us from eternity separated from God in hell,” said Slifer.
For the band’s members it’s not the size of the audience that matters most, but the power of their message. “I enjoy the feeling of helping to spread the word of Christ to all who hears, even if just a few people hear it, one of them might have needed that little extra push towards Christ,” said Wise.
The same type of family type bond that’s formed within the marching band is also present in Redemption Road. They all share the same heart for God. “We love being loud and proclaiming the name of Jesus. We love to have an audience but we are content worshiping God alone, because we are with God. We love making the music come together and getting people involved. But most of all we love proclaiming the name of Jesus and the gospel,” said Slifer.
Their performance at the Mum Festival, represents how their faith turned a dream into a reality, “The Mum Festival is a constant reminder that if you put your mind to it and trust in God, He will provide,” said Wise.
Redemption Road is scheduled to perform at the Mum Festival on Saturday from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m.