Artist Interview: Delta Fleet

Delta Fleet is the most recent band to join Come&Live!’s family of artists who are boldly sharing the message of Christ outside the Church. In this interview, band leader Jacob Pierce shares with us a bit about how God has been challenging them and using them in the club scene in Hawaii, and the unique Christian artist community that has been forming on Oahu.
Katie Schaumann

Katie is a staff writer and part of Come&Live!’s Artist Relations and Development team.​

Tell us about who you are, where the band Delta Fleet is from, and what kind of music you play.
Hi, we're Delta Fleet, and we’re a four-piece rock group from Oahu, Hawaii. We pull from a few different stylistic influences, but we usually tell people we're in the same vein as Acceptance, Search the City, and Jimmy Eat World... that usually gets the point across. We try to write songs people can sing along to, and we basically just play them as loudly as we can.

How and when did you first get started?
All of us have been in various bands over the years, but this particular project launched circa 2015, when we decided to form a group specifically dedicated to taking the Gospel into our local music scene here on Oahu. At the time, we were all just feeling like we weren't connecting with non-Christians often enough, or with enough intentionality. This band has helped us get outside the "church bubble" on a regular basis, and form friendships with people who we may not interact with otherwise.          

What's your vision as a band and what kind of venues do you play?
Since our main goal is simply to spend time with people who don't know Jesus, and hopefully use our platform to point them toward eternal hope, we basically play anywhere that asks.  There are a handful of venues and bars that we play at frequently, all within the Honolulu area. Occasionally we'll venture outside of that, but we try to stay away from playing church events because that's not why this particular band exists--unless they ask us to lead worship, which we are always open to.   

What's the Hawaiian club scene like and how, practically, do you go about sharing Jesus with people there?  I imagine the scene in Honolulu is similar to most big cities. I think most people from outside Hawaii have this image of grass shacks and swaying palm trees–and while that part of Hawaii does exist, the city of Honolulu probably more closely resembles downtown Los Angeles than it does the stereotypical island scene. One difference is that we tend to get a lot of tourists from all over the world, especially Asia. Because we have so many visitors all the time - people coming in and out - it's especially valuable for those doing ministry here to have a sense of permanency in the community, and the music community is no exception. One of our main values as a band is to really be a mainstay in the music community, so we can gain people's trust through real, long-term friendships. We try hard to be the nicest guys to work with. We treat our sound guys with complete respect, we occasionally pass bartenders some extra cash (even if we aren't buying anything), and we really try to honor the other bands in the scene by sticking around for their sets and being active crowd members. I guess, in short, we take our reputation seriously.     

Do you find that people are open to the Gospel in that scene? 
I'm not sure if people are open to the Gospel per se, but I will say we have been surprised how respectful they’ve been, as we've openly shared the Gospel from stage time and time again. I think we’re always half expecting someone to boo us off stage, but it hasn't happened yet. Respect is a big part of Hawaiian culture, and so even if people openly disagree with you, they are less likely to shout obscenities than in some other places. Although, I imagine that eventually we will face stronger opposition to what we do, especially because we’re wanting to convey more desperation as we share our message this next year.

I’ve heard you read David Pierce’s book, Revolutionary. How did it impacted you as a band?
We did. Or... most of it, haha. I gave my copy to another artist recently. That book, even within the first chapter, was really impactful for our ministry. It sort of kicked us in the butt. A few times, we decided to read the next chapter after we played that week, and we instantly wished we would have read it BEFORE our set, because it spoke so clearly to how we could have been more intentional.

Is there one principle that really stuck out to you guys and really challenged you as a band?
As I think back on the book, the one principle that stands out in my mind is "No Cross, No Power".  I think the temptation is always there for us to water down our message in order to make it more palatable for the secular world. While we don't want to create unnecessary cultural obstacles, we definitely don't want to lose the heart of our message that leads to salvation: Jesus came to save sinners. He lived the perfect, sinless life, that we are incapable of living; the wrath of God that should have landed on our heads, landed on Him instead, as He hung on the cross; and now if we repent and trust in what He has done for us, God credits the righteousness of Jesus to our account, making us "right" with God. This is our message as Christians, and this is our message as Delta Fleet. We're sticking to it. It's good to be nice people, and help other bands carry their gear, and treat our sound guys with respect. But none of those kind gestures in themselves bring people eternal hope. Only the Gospel does that.

What has God been challenging you in recently, both personally and as a band?
Reading Chad Johnson's book, One Thousand Risks, has been a sort of light bulb moment for me personally, and I think it will end up affecting our band's ministry as we start the new year. We are really sensing our need to be the sort of people who go create Gospel opportunities, instead of waiting for them to come to us.

Hawaii is unique in that there is a whole community of Christian artists there who are reaching out to the club scene with the message of Jesus. Tell us how and when that community started, and how you support one another.
Yeah, it’s true that we have a bit of a growing community of Christian artists forming mostly around our church, Grace Fellowship Hawaii. We absolutely love the community of artists that exists here right now. It wasn't something that blew up all of a sudden; it just came together gradually until. Then one day we sat back and were like, "Wow, we've actually got quite a few singer-songwriters and musicians hanging around here now."  It's clear to us (and to the elders of our church) that God is really doing something special in bringing all of these artists together, and we’re trying to figure out more ways to encourage this crew to use their platforms intentionally. We have started to formalize the community by having semi-regular get togethers under the name “Artists Hawaii,” (which includes artists from other churches, as well). But honestly, most of it has just been this organic thing that has happened in the wake of being out there playing gigs, and also hosting shows out of our church building for several years now. This coming year, we really hope to continue building up this part of our ministry, and we’re excited for how Come&Live! will be a part of that.

How can the Come&Live! Community be praying for you?
Oh wow. As Delta Fleet, we'd love prayer that God would help us live out the fullness of our mission each and every time we play. We would love to see a harvest of souls this next year.  For our larger artist community (Artists Hawaii), please just pray God continues to grow us, not only in numbers, but in depth of purpose and conviction. There is so much untapped potential in this thing. Pray that revival would break out among our artists!  

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