Cries of the Past - the C&L! Story

Takehold Records, the record label I was running (circa 1998 - 2001) single-handedly with ZERO music or business experience, was in serious financial trouble. Though I later saw success in signing Takehold acts like Underoath - it was God’s divine mercy and intervention when Tooth and Nail Records out of Seattle agreed to acquire the failing company and pull me out of a desperate situation.
Chad Johnson

Chad is the founder of Come&Live!


As part of the business deal, I relocated my family to Seattle and took on an A&R (Artists & Repertoire) role with Tooth and Nail. It wasn't long before my hands were full in the A&R world. The team and roster at Tooth and Nail continued growing, and we experienced great success as countless bands exploded to heights we never anticipated.

Seven years later I was struggling with an inner turmoil over what I was experiencing as part of the “Christian” Music Industry. I was making great money, had a nice home, wonderful family, awesome job, and very few worries. But, in the midst of it all, I felt a deep calling that I had not perceived since my college days. I grew up in a Christian family but had walked away from faith in Jesus for several years before dropping to my knees and admitting I needed help. Desperately.

Deeply ingrained in a successful music career, I began questioning whether my first priority was genuinely to bring glory to God and to exalt the name of Jesus amongst the saved and the lost. I wondered whether I was making disciples or just encouraging more consumers.  

My role in music was to help discover and develop bands, to recognize potential from an early stage and bring that potential into greater fullness. I found that I had very little time to do what I was most excited about - encouraging/challenging (on a spiritual level) the bands I was working with. I felt a strong leading to focus on living out the Great Commission of “making disciples of all nations” as my number one priority, trusting that everything else would sort itself out if I were able to keep my eyes on Jesus. It’s easy to write now, but at the time, I was about to make the hardest decision of my life.

At the height of my career with Tooth and Nail, I emailed the president of Tooth and Nail to let him know I felt God calling me into full-time ministry. That decision has proved the best, but also the most challenging, I could have ever made. God’s grace is real.

In 2009, at a convincing prompt by the Holy Spirit, I started Come&Live! - a Kingdom-focused creative community. Our vision was not to raise artists to a place of success defined in worldly terms but to help them consider the impact they have on every single person they encounter - that impact lasting forever, being eternal, and extending for all time. I felt if I wasn’t laboring for the Kingdom, I was wasting time. My heart’s desire was to see global, Biblical revival in the hearts of artists and youth.

For several years we walked (and struggled) out this journey of a community, together gifting over 1.5 million albums, releasing creative visual stories, and traveling the US and the world. We had hit a certain measure of growth but it began feeling like we had stalled out - almost as if God was lifting his hands from us for a season. Then by grace undeserved, I came into contact with members of Steiger International at the recommendation of a friend. I was blown away by their hearts to reach the lost and was reminded of what I had once so highly desired. It soon became clear we had the same God-given vision. Last year we felt Jesus empowering us to join forces with Steiger and pursue this calling together.

The past seven plus years have been utterly amazing on so many levels, yet I am more excited than ever for the future of Come&Live! as we provoke and inspire artists to revolutionize the world for Jesus!

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