Their background may have made it look easy—after all, Sidewalk Prophets toured with Jeremy Camp and Audio Adrenaline on the strength of independent albums, then rode the popularity of their first Word Records release, These Simple Truths, to a Dove Award for Best New Artist and a nomination for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year. “The Words I Would Say” hit #3, “You Can Have Me” went Top 20, a Christmas single, “Hope Was Born This Night,” hit the Top 10, and “You Love Me Anyway” went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Christian Singles chart. The band has toured with the Rock and Worship Roadshow with MercyMe and Francesca Battistelli, among others, and landed another Dove nomination for Group of the Year in 2011.
The reality, though, like that of the seemingly placid duck whose feet are pumping furiously underwater, is something else altogether.
“It’s not easy for any of us to do what God has called us to do, to go make disciples of the world,” says lead singer Dave Frey. He is referring in part to the rigors of the road, which can be extraordinarily demanding for a band as hard working as Sidewalk Prophets, but also to the challenges all vocal believers face.
“It’s not a safe thing to try to live like Christ,” he says. “You’re going to have people criticize you and put you down. It says that in the book of James. But, when you think both of the sacrifice Jesus made and how off the charts that was but also of what that won for us, you realize that for those of us who persevere and follow him, it will be a good, and an amazing journey.”
Their record, Live Like That, is a shout-out to the band’s dedicated fans. A contest brought some in for the chance to sing backup, and the band solicited photos of people their fans admire and want to be like for use on the cover.
“Without people like that in our lives,” says Dave, “that cloud of witnesses, we’d be lost. God sent them for a reason, and that’s what our album cover is about. It’s about all of us wanting to live in such a way that people see that in us,” adds Ben. “It’s as simple as that.”
Whether it’s those magic moments of connection or some of the more wearying parts of the road, Dave, Ben, and the rest of Sidewalk Prophets are treasuring life and ministry.
“We love seeing what God is up to and continues to be up to,” says Dave. “Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, He’s there and He’s always going to be taking care of us so we can continue to do what He’s called us to do.
“I have no idea what the next few years look like,” adds Ben, “but I’ll be faithful and trust Him. It really is a wonderful journey.”