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Also using music to reach out


When members of Christian contemporary bands want to record their music, they might pray about it first.

Mike Lee’s Fort Wayne band did that, and more – its members set up a Kickstarter account.

The online crowd-funding method helped raise about $14,000 – $6,000 over the initial goal. Much of the money was donated by members of Fort Wayne’s Liquid Church, where Lee is a worship leader, and Pathway Community Church, where he serves as a youth pastor.

The resulting extended-play CD, “Awakening Hearts,” was issued last month. Its national release is May 1.

The title of the five-song CD comes from the band’s goal to “be a witness by the Holy Spirit to the heart of a man that is waking him up to realities of God,” Lee says.

“There is a Christian pop scene, and we’re not a part of that,” he says. “We’re worship leaders, and our music is for the church. And we’re very evangelical in nature because we’re reaching out to the lost.”

Lee’s wife, Michelle, is the band’s female vocalist and bass player. Other members are drummer Ian Dunno from Fort Wayne’s First Assembly of God, keyboardist Cody Walz from Liquid Church and guitarists Scotty Kunkel of Harvest Bible Chapel in Fort Wayne and Aaron Valdiviez, an independent Christian musician from Toledo.

Nashville, Tenn., producers Scott and Ed Cash, who have worked with major Christian musicians, produced the CD.

“It means a lot that they had confidence in us,” Lee says.

The band plays at Christian youth events throughout the region and at other venues, including Christian coffeehouses and churches. A schedule is at

“I think the best way to put it is it’s singable, acoustic-driven music,” Lee says. “It has a singer-songwriter sound to it. But I’m a worship leader, and it has a corporate sound to it as well because it’s music that’s meant to be sung in a church. But I feel a lot of the lyrics are contemplative, because it was born out of a very growing time in my life, when my son (Preston) was born two years ago.”

Between the CD and his mixed martial arts teaching, Lee says he believes he’s uniquely positioned to reach a tough demographic for many of today’s churches.

“We have found that we can reach the 18- to 25-year-olds,” he says. “That’s our audience.”