ATH's Featured Artist & Song: Chris Banks: "Love Unending" / by Chip Connor

A Thousand Hills Music is pleased to introduce one of our collaborators and new artists, Chris Banks. God connected Chris and I at the beginning of 2014 and we instantly hit it off. I can say now that Chris has in quick order become one of my closest and truest friends and that we are definitely cut from the same cloth. We are both Ragamuffins through and through. Chris has inspired me as a Christian, song receiver, and as a man, and I am thankful that God placed this brother in my path.

I recently asked Chris to share his testimony for this introduction and the following is what God laid on his heart. “My entire life I have been a lover of music. I knew as a child that music was what “I” wanted the direction of my life to be about. At 15 my parents bought me my first electric guitar and my direction was set at that moment. But what I didn’t count on was that “Someone” had a plan for my life greater than my own. I began to recognize the call of God on my life at the age of 19, a plan I would flee from for eleven years. I had felt the touch of Christ earlier and was saved at 13 at a Wednesday youth service and baptized the following Sunday. I didn’t stay with God, but the mark He left on me would haunt my steps for years to come.

    I moved to Nashville in ’99 to join the band of a childhood friend and began writing songs. By February 2002 we found ourselves signing a recording contract with Universal Records. The next two years would prove to be a very dark time for me. Through the pitfalls and deceptions of the industry I became very angry and self destructive and giving myself over to many vices. I knew I was in deep spiritual trouble and I literally could feel the darkness around me. I heard the voice of God inside many times saying things like, “This is not what I have planned for you.” “Why would I give you the things you are seeking when you are destroying yourself with the things I’ve already given you?” I would feel crushed inside. I knew He loved me and that would break my heart. Finally I gave in.

    I drove home to Kentucky and surrendered my heart to Jesus on December 7, 2003 and was baptized that evening. I commuted from Nashville to my hometown for the next 4 months every weekend to church. One day I asked my mother to find out from the church records when it was I had been saved as a teen. She brought me a post-it note on a Sunday night from the church treasurer revealing the numbers 12-7-03. I said, “I know this date, Mom. It was two months ago.” She replied, “Turn it over!” It said 12-7-86, seventeen years to the day. I was speechless. I left the music industry in April ’04 to heed the call of God on my life. I returned home to the church and quickly found myself involved in the worship department where I would volunteer as a music director and worship leader for the next 9 ½ years. In the ten years I had been at the church, songwriting found no place in my heart. 

Several months after first talking to Chris, he indicated that he had this song that God had given him and was unsure of whether or not to share it with me. I told him to send it to me and I'd take a listen. As I listened, I was immediately taken to the place Rich Mullins often took me as Chris was able to paint the same lyrical picture Rich was with this Song. As soon as I heard it I told Chris we had to get it into our producers, Neil DeGraide and Tyler Anderson's hands as this song needed to be recorded. With much reluctancy and my constant nagging Chris agreed and we are now humbled to introduce Chris's Debut Song, "Love Unending."

"In June of 2013, I decided to step down from my role in the church and from music. I spent the next months just resting and finding myself. In this time, for the first time in over 11 years, I felt a desire to write a song. I sat down that fall, nearly a year ago today, to write a song. That song was “Love Unending.” I began to sing “These shackles…” and immediately my mind was drawn to Mark chapter 5, one of the greatest examples of the healing and delivering power of Christ in all the gospels. The guy in Mark 5, who Jesus delivered from the Legion, I related to. He was bound, isolated, and hurting and no one could do anything except try to chain him down as a means of protecting him and others. I saw imagery of the kids today who are cutting themselves, seeking relief from their deep pain. They see well intending doctors and receive medications. These are natural attempts to solve a spiritual problem. They are merely a metaphor of the chains used to try to contain the man in tombs’ darkness. The song goes on to tell of the woman who was financially exhausted by spending 12 years of her life seeking medical help for a female problem to no avail. BUT they both had an encounter with the Master, and like all who came to Him or were brought to Him, just like you and I, we have never been the same again. That is Love Unending my friend and may He receive the glory, for this song is all about Him."

You rarely see the scripture translated so beautifully into song and "Love Unending" captures the essence of the true Love of Christ as He truly is our Deliver, our Breaker of Bondage, our Healer, and the one who's Love is Pure and Sure and truly is a "Love Unending." A Thousand Hills Music is humbled to call Chris a friend and a brother and know that God has much more from this incredible man. We love you bro!