by Andrea Matetic
Stadiums make Lincoln Brewster feel at home. Having been born and reared in Alaska, wide-open spaces are his natural environs. So it was when in June of 2002 he took to the stage at the "Alive Christian Music Festival" in Canal Fulton, Ohio. Oh, yes, Lincoln Brewster was "at home."
||Lincoln Brewster has composed for Steve Perry of Journey fame.
As thousands of music lovers watched, Brewster slung his electric guitar around his neck, signaled a downbeat to his stage band, and with a boot-kicking "one?two," the group launched into "Everybody Praise the Lord." And within ten seconds, everybody was.
The next hour vaporized, it passed so quickly, and amidst thunderous applause, Brewster, drenched in perspiration but still flashing his big smile, left the stage to gain a few moments of recuperation time before he returned for another full hour presentation.
Backstage, I was able to spend a few moments of private time with this force of musical energy. Brewster, not yet 30, had just released his third album entitled Amazed?had already been a songwriter for recordings by other artists such as Steve Perry of Journey?and had toured nationwide. Nevertheless, he was like the guy next door. He laughed, joked, willingly posed for group pictures, talked about his mom, and shared his testimony as though we'd known each other for ages. In a sense, we had. Lincoln Brewster loves bonding with fellow Christians.
"I wasn't raised a Christian," Brewster admitted up front. "I never knew my real dad. My mother married and divorced several times, so although I had her to bond with, there were no strong male role models in my life. Mom loved music, and she was the one who inspired my love for singing and playing instruments. In fact, at one point, she and I formed our own band and played in bars and taverns."
Things changed for Brewster in high school when he met a girl named Laura, who was a Christian. While dating, Laura would often invite him to church. During that time, Brewster felt the Lord changing his heart.
"God's timing is perfect," Brewster said, reflecting on those days. "What Laura had as a Christian was better than anything I'd ever experienced. She brought me to the Lord, and my life changed dramatically. I was so happy, I married that girl."
After Brewster became a Christian, he was given opportunities to work in the secular music industry. "I made a demo in my bedroom when I was living at home, working at Wilson's Leather in the mall," he said. "The tape actually ended up in the hands of a guy named Steve Perry, who used to sing with Journey." Brewster composed songs for Perry's solo album, For the Love of Strange Medicine, and then went on tour with him for one year.
In spite of this sudden success, Lincoln Brewster did not feel at peace about his career. "While I was touring, I just really knew I was not called to stay in secular music," he remembered. "God radically changed my life, and within a couple of months of working at a church, I knew that I was called to be a worship leader."
Looking back, Brewster said that his involvement with secular music has prepared him for his current ministry. "Now I don't spend my time saying, 'Gee, I wonder if mainstream would have worked.' I was able to see that side of things. It's almost like God allowed me to do that so I wouldn't have any regrets. My involvement in secular music has opened many doors and given me credibility to minister to fans of Steve Perry and Journey."
Although Brewster grew up in a non-Christian, single-parent home and was involved in secular music, God has used him in spite of his unorthodox upbringing. "My story gives me hope for other people, because I was that kid and God still used me. He uses the oddest people. I'm just a flawed guy who is trying to answer God's call in my life," he admitted. "You don't have to have some huge ministry heritage to be able to minister. Look at some of the guys that God called in the Bible that had serious weaknesses. It's so funny that the Israelites didn't have PA systems, and Moses was supposed to communicate to two million people?And he had a stuttering problem! That's too much!" he laughed.
He then humbly added, "I'm just grateful for what God has given me. If you're expecting a different Lincoln Brewster than who you see on stage, think again. What you see is what you get. I'm not under any delusion that I'm someone super."
This behavior parallels Brewster's goal for ministry. He said, "My biggest thing in life is seeing people get to a new level of realness in their relationships, a place where they can cut through the garbage and facades and just confess, 'God, I first need to get real with You!'"
When Brewster came to this point in his own life, he discovered that God wasn't a "cosmic kill-joy," but instead, "someone to adore because He brought peace and joy" to people. Brewster says he feels this kinship strongest when he is on stage leading joyous worship of the Lord as he feels the Holy Spirit actively at work inside him.
"I've found my place," he asserted. "That's not the same as saying I've arrived. I have flaws and problems like everyone else. Satan is called the Accuser of the Brethren, and he's constantly there to remind me of my weaknesses. But Jesus gives me balance. I'm in a continuous state of gratefulness for that."
Suddenly, a stage hand yelled, "Two minutes, Lincoln!" Brewster looked up, smiled, grabbed his guitar and walked toward the door.
"Yep," he said half to me and half to himself, "I've found my place."