For some time now I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who have spoken into my life, believed in me, supported me, encouraged me, challenged me, and spurred me on. I have also come to realize, to my shame, that I have never formally acknowledged or thanked some of these folks. Some of them are no longer with us, most are. And although they may never read this, I would be remiss not to mention them. So, for what it’s worth, here are some people for whom my debt of gratitude has never been expressed, nor could they ever be repaid for the impact they have had.
1. My dad. For a million reasons. A true example of what it looks like to live a godly life in an increasingly ungodly world. And although he wasn’t initially a big fan of my music, he believed in me and gave me a chance, when many others didn’t. Even before “Christian rock” was a thing, he let my band play our first ‘gig’ in his church on a Sunday evening in February 1977.
2. Pastor Steve Grosvenor. He took me under his wing and discipled me, mentored me, and convinced me that God might be calling me to a lifetime of vocational ministry.
3. Rev Marshal Goff, the crazy pastor from Northeast England, who called me up on a Saturday afternoon in 1983, without ever hearing a note of my music or knowing anything about me, and said, “Steve, I’d like to line up a tour for you of churches, prisons, schools, and clubs throughout the UK, because I believe we need someone like you here in the British Isles.” And over the ensuing 2 or 3 years, lined up hundreds of concerts for me all over Great Britain.
4. Andrew Lothian. Man, what a friend! A legal professional by day, recording guru & musician by night. For 5 years I spent hours and hours with him in his home studio, resulting in the recording of three of my albums. He did all the engineering, played all the instruments except keyboards, and encouraged me to be creative and daring with my music – at no cost! His family even let me stay in their home and welcomed me with open arms.
To all these men, I am eternally grateful.
And there are some honorable mentions, people who probably have no idea how grateful I am:
Jay Reed, my 5th-grade teacher, picked up the pieces and encouraged me after my 4th-grade teacher nearly destroyed me.
Gene Tubertini literally taught me everything I know about music.
Mark Melamed, directed me in 4 separate productions of Godspell and got me to Britain for the first time in 1983 when I linked up with Marshall Goff (above).
Rev Clive Burrows, the missionary/pastor/professor/friend who taught about 25 percent of all the classes I had in Bible College and encouraged me to believe that I actually had a calling to pastoral ministry.
Steve and Heather Packwood. This will no doubt come as a huge surprise to them. But they encouraged and supported us in so many ways when things were tough and when we should’ve been supporting them.
Adam Craig, whose young 15-year-old brain decided it would be cool to do some music videos for me. The ones he produced are still the best ones, by far.
Paul Davis. He ‘discovered me’, put my music out there on the radio, and somehow got me on the European and Australian music charts, encouraging me all along that I had something worthwhile to say through my music.
And finally, David Wong, Erik H, Brian Remsch, Bob Bell, Tayib & Sarah Salami – I think they all know why.
I could mention many others whose lives and contributions to my life have been significant, but for these people, my debt of gratitude is enormous and can never be repaid. Thank you.