How the Innovative Music Program of 2RHYTHMS is Redefining Christian Outreach!
All too often the words “music ministry” paint preconceived pictures: Christian music, church settings, and youth groups — Christians playing Christian music for mostly Christians! “But outreach isn’t really outreach if it’s being aimed only at believers.” That’s what Travis Brant, Executive Director of the 2RHYTHMS music program says.
2RHYTHMS was started by Cory Carleton and Travis Brant, who have been playing music together for nearly 20 years. Together the duo comprises the band’s rhythmic foundation — Cory on bass, Travis on drums — hence, the name 2RHYTHMS. Brant said, “What really got us thinking is that we make fairly unconventional music,” speaking to the fact that their band MEEP! originally started out as just drum and bass music. But it was this sort of unconventional music that brought forth a pivotal moment. Brant explains, “Years ago a young man e-mailed me after buying one of my CDs. He told me depression ruled his life and he was going to kill himself. However, he decided against it after listening to my music.” Two years later the same young man accepted Christ in Brant’s living room. “This was a big moment because the music that made a connection wasn’t Christian. I was barely a believer.”
Travis Brant has over twenty-five years of music business and performing experience. Travis is the founder of Def Left Ear Records, which independently sold more than 100,000 albums. He’s produced live concerts and recorded music compilations benefiting The Children’s Wish Foundation, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R).
I receive solicitations on a regular basis to publish stories about Christian organizations offering outreach. 2RHYTHMS is different. I interviewed Travis Brant so he could describe the unique services his company provides.
What Makes 2RHYTHMS unique?
Our outreach efforts span a combination of live and online events using music as a central theme to everything we do. On the surface, that’s not necessarily groundbreaking, but there are definitely two things that make us unique.
First, I always say we’re artists by trade and servants by commission. That means we focus on being legitimate at our craft. This is critical because people are more willing to have important conversations if the person they approach is perceived as legit.
What it means for our organization is that you usually won’t hear Christian music at our events. We love jazz, funk, and fusion, so that’s the type of music we play. As it turns out, there are great advantages of playing the music we like. For one, there are more venues available to us. That translates to a wider audience where outreach really becomes outreach. Look back at the young man who was going to take his life before hearing my music. If I only stepped foot into churches who knows where he might be. That’s not to say I’m solely responsible; I was and am just a conduit. The only major difference is that today, the organization I helped start is intentional about its art.
During live shows we intersperse the music with stories of real life experiences, designed to entertain but open the door to “God things.” We basically poor on the fertilizer from a platform and grow relationships after the show. This is the key to big conversations that change lives.
Second, we extend outreach into the vast world of ones and zeros. The Internet represents a huge opportunity. Because of that, 2RHYTHMS just released a new platform technology designed for music lovers everywhere, not just Christians.
How can people get involved?
Since involvement is the key to outreach, 2RHYTHMS is directly asking readers to join us on this mission. There are multiple options, all available through our website.
- Sign up for a 2RHYTHMS membership. You get access to 5,000 streaming radio stations, daily instrument lessons, artist downloads and more. Membership is free.
- Sign up for our free newsletter. This option also gives you an instant free membership.
- Use our free streaming radio widget on your website. This is huge because it represents a global network for outreach. Visitors return to your site to dial into 5,000 stations, in over 20 genres, while being exposed to the hope of Christ.
- Donate. All of the live and online programs we provide cost a good deal of money. As outreach grows, so does our financial responsibility. Please prayerfully consider a monetary gift.
- Buy your CDs and MP3s through our online store.
How do you raise money to support yourselves?
2RHYTHMS is a not-for-profit program mostly supported by donations from individuals with a passion for music and outreach. We also partner with like-minded churches, ministries, and corporations.
What is your background?
I’ve been a musician for 30 years: it’s the calling I danced around to avoid eating macaroni and cheese every night! Mostly I avoided it by using creative energies to start and operate technology-based businesses. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I got to the point where the calling became bigger than me.
What motivated you to take the leap, and has it been a difficult transition?
In September 2013, I approached Cory Carleton with the idea to start a not-for-profit organization that would allow us to use music as an outreach tool. We decided to take it slow, and the plan was to launch in August 2014.
At the exact same time, I got laid off from a company I helped start! Because of my business/technology background, there’s never been difficulty finding work. I put out over 100 resumes and didn’t get a single call. Apparently, God’s sense of humor wasn’t gelling with mine!
I remember one specific afternoon when my wife and I had a freak-out/meltdown session. There was no income and no work. Yet after a short, intense prayer, it was obvious God was telling us to launch 2RHYTHMS now. This was a shock. We weren’t prepared to begin. I asked myself, “How is this going to work?” I had no idea!
The funny thing is I expected everyone to tell me I was insane. Instead, most people asked why we didn’t do this sooner. So we got busy writing letters, stuffing envelopes, and working intently to get the project launched by March.
After that, awesome things happened. In the first month God brought in just enough to cover our bills. During the second month God brought enough for two more months. When those two months ended, more people caught the vision. And that’s roughly where we are now. God continues to provide opportunities to pay our bills and survive. It’s nothing short of a miracle!
Travis Brant is a great musician who has an in-depth understanding of computer languages and IT. He has placed his faith and gifts together with his unique form of outreach. I encourage our readers to support him and his approach to bring Christ to the masses through music!