Written By: Ben Cissell
Published in Real Magazine in 1998
As you know, every high school has cliques. I never would associate myself with just one group or hang out with the "cool people." I was on the soccer and football team and in the jazz and marching bands. Needless to say, I had all kinds of friends.
People always told me there was something about me that made me a true friend. They said things like, "Ben, I could tell you anything." And they would ask me, "What is it that makes you different? Why don't you smoke or drink like everybody else?" This was a perfect witnessing opportunity that I rarely had the courage to take. I regret it now, but back then I felt I could barely keep my life in line. How could I help these people? I see now that me being a good example and being there for them was a witness in itself. Still, I could have done more.
I went to discipleship meetings every week yet felt I was missing something. I realize now that it was the growth spiritually in Jesus I was thirsting for. I prayed to be brought into a church.
One week I went to a concert to see Jeff Ross, a family friend, play in a rock band. I met up with another friend there who introduced me to a man who led praise and worship at a new church. He needed a drummer; I obliged. Every Sunday, until I went to college, I played drums and grew in the Lord.
I went away to a state school in Illinois and I loved it. There was not much drinking or anything like that and the people were very nice. The only problem was that I had too much fun and forgot to study. I dropped out half-way through the second semester and went back home to work. I was never really a school person so my parents were disappointed, but not surprised.
I got a landscaping job in St. Louis. The first day on the job, I realized my boss made a ministry out of his company. Before work every morning, while on the clock, he taught or preached the Bible and we all prayed together before going out to work that day. He reached out to a lot of people that way, including myself.
My friend Jeff called me down to Nashville, Tennessee, to an event called Gospel Music Association. He took me around to see different bands. We even went to see a band called Audio Adrenaline at the Hard Rock Cafˇ. I then realized that Christian rock could be cool. I loved Audio Adrenaline's music and message. I especially loved Barry; I thought he was the best guitar player. I went back to St. Louis with an Audio Adrenaline album and listened to it a lot.
Playing in the church again, I was talking to some friends, my parents, and Jeff. They convinced me to move to Nashville. I really felt I was being pushed to Nashville, but I didn't realize that push was God.
Within one week of living in Nashville, I hooked up with Scott Brickell, who is Audio Adrenaline's manager. My friend Jeff was close friends with Scott, so the three of us hung out a lot. Finally, Scott took me on the road to sell T-shirts for the band and they hired me full time to run errands for the management company while I was in Nashville. I could not have been put with a nicer group of guys who loved God with all their hearts. I was so glad to find out this band was for real! They do in fact practice what they preach. I love them for that and have the highest respect for all of them.
The band was looking for a new drummer, so I auditioned. They made it clear that I would have to get about 99 percent better at the drums. I sort of begged them to take me out on a weekend to try me on drums. They agreed, but on one condition. Greg, the drummer who was touring with them, had to come along so when I fell on my face he would be there to jump on the drums and finish the show. I have never been so nervous in my life. God got me through the show and now I am the drummer for Audio Adrenaline!
My first tour was great. The band that we "let close for us" (ha,ha) dcTalk, could not have been cooler. The tour went very smooth. I got to see the country, meet new people, and grow incredibly in the Lord through Bible studies and deep discussions during our travels.
Our God is an awesome God and he works in mysterious and miraculous ways. God Bless!