Deliriou5? by Margaret Feinberg

On the other side of the Atlantic, a small British band has been making big waves among youthful audiences.

The five members of Deliriou5? ? Martin Smith (lead singer), Tim Jupp (keyboard), Stewart Smith (drums), Jon Thatcher (bass), and Stuart Garrard (guitar) ? are delivering the gospel to non-Christian audiences and stirring up their listeners for revival. Thousands of fans have flocked to stadiums, fairgrounds, and even old cathedrals to see the band and hear their raw, passionate sound and honest lyrics. Fortunately, you no longer have to buy a plane ticket to the U.K. to find out what these guys are all about.

It all began in 1992, when a few band members and their friends decided to start a youth group ministry at Arun Community Church in Littlehampton. ?A couple of us were in the same church and decided to form an event called Cutting Edge,? says lead singer Martin Smith. ?It was meant for church kids, but it was also supposed to be a place where they could bring their friends. We wanted it to be accessible to those outside the church.?

One Sunday every month, Cutting Edge attenders would gather to hear biblical teaching and fresh, new worship music. Within six months, the meetings were attracting nearly 600 youth. By the end of the year, over 1,000 young adults were attending. ?We were writing some songs for the Cutting Edge meetings, and kids kept wanting to get a copy of the music,? Smith explains. ?So we recorded a six-song cassette called Cutting Edge One and put it out for $7. We had enough money to make a batch of 250 cassettes, and they sold out within the first month. That?s really how we got started.?

Over the next few years, the band continued writing songs, performing, and recording small samplers. In 1996, the group decided to change their name from Cutting Edge to Deliriou5? (a variation on the word delirious, which Smith says, is a ?nice, artsy twist that keeps people guessing?).

Within a year, the band released King of Fools, which debuted at No. 13 on the mainstream British charts. With virtually no media support, their first four singles reached the Top 10 of the U.K. Indie charts, and the band was dubbed by the prestigious BBC Radio 1 as ?Pop?s Best Kept Secret.?

Keyboard player Tim Jupp confesses, ?The decision to go full-time was prompted by an increase in gigs, a demand for the records, and the desire to take our music to a wider audience, but there was never a master plan. We just followed our noses, trying to be sensitive to what God would have us do month to month. But looking back, we can see God?s hand on it ? that?s undeniable.?

The tremendous response to the music has opened numerous doors for band members to share their hearts for God and God?s heart with listeners. ?All of our songs seem to be very vertical,? Smith says. ?They are all worship songs, and now they can be heard on the radio. We have a heart to reach people inside and outside the church with the presence of God. We believe that when we play, God will come and meet people and people will meet God as well.?

Smith says the band has been overwhelmed by the response and support within America. Sparrow Label Group recently brought the sounds of Deliriou5? To the States with a double CD entitled Cutting Edge. More recently, the label released the innovative, infectious King of Fools this side of the Atlantic. Songs such as ?What A Friend I?ve Found? (with its memorable chorus of ?Jesus, friend forever?) and ?Deeper? (which sings of falling more in love with God) are helping deliver the gospel message to thousands who gather to hear Deliriou5??s concerts.

?The kids have really adopted us as one of their bands,? Jupp says. ?There?s been a hunger in England for God, especially in church youth groups. These kids are totally ready for a new move of God. They?re seeing how their friends have been intimately changed. Our audience is very mixed now ? some enjoying the music (and) some coming because they know they can experience God.?

?People used to be afraid to meet together for worship,? Smith adds, ?Now they?re coming together from all over. Hopefully, we?ve been a small catalyst to encourage people to make a difference and let them know they can make some history. Living a life with God is the way.?

From Home Life, March 1999. ? Copyright 1999 Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. All rights reserved. Used by permission.