Two fish. Five loaves. One little boy. When a small lunch was offered to Jesus, He took it and multiplied the simple offering, feeding five thousand. Like that little boy, the members of award-winning band Big Daddy Weave continue to submit their music, their ministry and their lives to Him with their seventh studio album, Beautiful Offerings (Fervent Records/Word Entertainment).
Beautiful Offerings follows the biggest album of the band’s career, Love Come To Life, which yielded the rare feat of four back-to-back #1 singles – “Love Come To Life,” “Redeemed,” “The Only Name (Yours Will Be)” and “Overwhelmed.” “Redeemed” became an anthem of unprecedented impact. Big Daddy Weave members Mike Weaver (lead vocals, guitar), Jay Weaver (bass, vocals), Jeremy Redmon (guitar, vocals), Joe Shirk (saxophone, keys, vocals) and Brian Beihl (drums) never would have predicted that a vulnerable song written for the lead singer himself, initially deemed by Mike too personal to even turn in for Love Come To Life, would become the group’s best-selling track in their 16-plus year history.
“I thought if I could somehow achieve something for God, that’s what He was going to use,” Mike admits, “but when we shared about brokenness, God used that more than He ever used any of the little successes that we had been given along the way.”
“Redeemed” spent 11 weeks at No. 1, was dubbed “Song of the Year” at the first annual K-LOVE Fan Awards, garnered Dove Award and Billboard Music Award nominations and certified a gold single by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 records. However, more than all the accolades Big Daddy Weave has achieved, it’s the stories about how the songs have impacted lives that fuel the band’s passion for recording and touring. In fact, they used “Redeemed” as the starting point for the fresh batch of songs hand-picked for Beautiful Offerings.
“This record continues where “Redeemed” left off, celebrating what God has done over the last season,” Mike affirms. “Even as we saw and heard hundreds of amazing things happening in people’s lives, we also saw people who were barely approaching what God is offering. Many people were saying, "Thank God, I am redeemed," but then going right back into their same old thing,” adds Mike. “We wanted to bring light on that with Beautiful Offerings. Being redeemed is more than the forgiveness and the fact that our past is taken care of. It’s a message of hope that calls us out of where we used to be into a new place. It’s as much about what we are redeemed to as what we are redeemed from.”
“Every day is an opportunity to bless the heart of God through how we live, how we encounter our families, people we see in the grocery store, and everybody we meet,” adds Mike. “This isn’t us buckling down and trying to earn God's love by pleasing Him. It’s a realization that because we are children of God, we can bless the heart of God by being subject to and directed by Him in every moment of our lives. Our lives then become something that is pleasing to Him. We become a beautiful offering.”
The theme of Beautiful Offerings was the premise for a tour long before it became the title of the band’s next project. It was a concept the five men were already beginning to live out, so it proved a natural compass for the record.
“We worked to find songs that echo where we are now, not just anything that was a song for a song’s sake,” adds Jeremy, who has produced all of the band’s music since their second album. “I went into this really trusting that the Lord is working out the details of it. Even in the sounds and the parts that were chosen, He really made it happen.”
Through Beautiful Offerings, Big Daddy Weave wants to share the message, “Every one of us is beautiful because of what God has deposited in us. Our lives are an opportunity to literally be used for the Kingdom,” Mike explains. “Now we have an opportunity to live in response to who He is. Jesus is the beauty in the offering.”
Taking that approach into worship, Joe observes, “A lot of times we don’t worship the way we should—in our all. We should be offering that. I believe that’s one of the biggest parts of what makes the offering beautiful. It’s not just leftovers; it’s from our gut. It’s from the very core of who we are.”
Joe adds that the songs on the new album are “more chiseled and more focused and directed” as a result of the conversations the band members have nightly following the ministry time at the end of each performance, an intentional time of dedicated dialogue and one-on-one prayer with the people who attend their concerts. It’s been a transformational experience for the band as they’ve seen God work in powerful ways in the lives of people across the country and a theme that emerges in the lead single from the album, “My Story.”
“My Story,” written with GRAMMY®-nominated songwriter Jason Ingram, chronicles not only the story of the band members, but also a larger, overarching narrative. “If I told you my story, you’d see hope, you’d see love, you’d see victory, all these things, but it’s not mine. My story is really the story of what God has done in our lives, and the goodness of that is that it awakens things in other people. Our story is really just part of His story,” Mike offers.
“The idea for the song, “Already Done,” written with Josh Wilson, showed up on the road in the moment of us seeing people receive ‘Redeemed,’” Mike explains. “What we were seeing on the road is people really experience relief from dealing with things in their past, and God challenging us to realize, ‘It’s more than being forgiven. You have a purpose; there is more to this life. There is a greater reason for getting up in the morning. You matter to the Kingdom.’”
Meanwhile, keystone “I Belong To God,” co-written with Matt Redman and Allison Mellon, was inspired by the band’s recent trip to Cambodia. The group heard a story about a young man who had been abandoned by his earthly father and connected so strongly with the Gospel that he would strum a guitar and shout at the top of his lungs: “I belong to God! I belong to God!” The centerpiece of the new song was forged, with the rest of the cut centering around human trafficking, one of the most critical issues facing Cambodia today.
“I don’t know that I’m going to recover from that trip. We saw and heard things that were so terrible that when I got back, I tried to forget about it all,” Mike admits of the trip. “I feel ashamed when I say that. I really felt that I connected with God’s pain in that place, but I was trying to keep the pain at arm’s length. I didn’t realize it was Him at the time showing me what He sees.”
“Letting the truth of that song get a hold of you will really change the way you view God and the way you view others,” Brian adds.
In truth, the transformation they’ve experienced in their own lives and the miracles they’ve witnessed in the lives of others post-“Redeemed” have dramatically challenged the way the five men in Big Daddy Weave approach everything, from the songs they sing to the way they tailor their concerts each night.
“Our focus is definitely not just on coming out with touching songs. Ministry is on the top of the list in terms of what God wants to do night to night,” Joe maintains.
While they’re humbled by No. 1 singles that ensure a large number of people hear their songs, the awards, the fame, the attention, those aren’t the things the band views as significant. Obedience is their standard.
“The things I used to hold as important, or the things I wanted to have control over the past few years, the Lord has allowed me to truly let go of that stuff and not care about it anymore,” Jeremy admits.
Mike echoes Jeremy’s thoughts, adding, “When we hear the Lord, we want to do what He says, whether it looks like success to the world or not.”
After all, the story they’re telling with their music and their lives is not their own. “We just pray these songs touch people’s lives,” Brian offers. “I think that’s what we hope for with this record; that He just takes it further, it reaches more people and that His story comes through in all of this.”
In story and song, the members of Big Daddy Weave simply want their legacy to be one characterized by loving people and telling of the Love that’s changed their lives—their own beautiful offering. “When you see the goodness of the Lord, and it’s evident, not just in life, but in the lives of those around you like we’ve been able to see, all we care about now is just pursuing that and finding more of that,” Jay says. “I think you see that in the songwriting of this record, and I think you see that in the eyes of each member of this band.”
Every song, every concert, every prayer they pray with the people they meet, they are giving it all to Jesus. “It’s about who we give it to,” Mike concludes, “and God can feed everybody with it.”