The current concert tour is a remake of Newsboys 1.0 with Furler, Newsboys 2.0 with Tait, and then the Newsboys United with both men on stage with the band together.

Once upon a time, there was no Christian music. Well, there was Christian music and people over the age of 50 really enjoyed it.

The idea of contemporary Christian music wasn’t in vogue yet in the church. Rock and rap were the devil’s music. "A drum beat is the devil’s heartbeat" was a common refrain among fundamental churches.

When I was in high school, that perception finally began to change. But the early ventures to attach religious messages to popular styles of music weren’t very easy to listen to, but they were better than nothing.

Then, Petra and Stryper joined Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant making Christian themed music that actually sounded like popular music.

Then in my senior year these guys from Liberty University came together to create their own style of music and lyrics that had a great message. DC Talk went from Sunday night church services to huge concert venues rapidly.

When your career path includes a walk with Billy Graham, you have a real story to tell. Rev. Graham brought DC Talk with him on his crusades and created an event called “Youth Night” during his events. Suddenly, the fundamentalists who still hated our music had their arguments torn to shreds.

Rev. Graham told the band the he used an interpreter when he went to foreign countries and he considered their band and their musical style to be interpreters to help put the message in a language the younger generation can understand.

The band was popular early on, but then came “Jesus Freak.” More than two decades later, the song is still popular.

Michael Tait, the singer in the rap/rock/soul band said he never thought that DC Talk was going to become an iconic band.

“Never in a million years,” Tait laughed. “But here we are.”

After years on the road and in the studio, the three men in DC Talk went their separate ways. After a brief solo career, Tait landed the job as the front man for an established group called The Newsboys. As an English and Journalism major, singing for a group called The Newsboys made a lot of sense for Tait.

Even though many people still know him as a member of DC Talk, Tait has actually been with Newsboys longer than he was with his first band.

“I’ve been with Newsboys for 10 years,” he said. “It’s still hard to believe we have been doing this longer than I did DC Talk.”

Tait got back together with DC Talk for a brief reunion in recent years and that foray helped get him ready for the tour that will make a stop in Shawnee at Firelake Arena on May 6.

The Newsboys United Tour brings back the original Newsboys lead singer Peter Furler. The band recorded a song called “The Cross Has the Final Word” with both Tait and Furler on vocals and the project has been a big hit. The tour was a natural outgrowth from those first few efforts. Now, it will bring about an entire album of new music with both Tait and Furler singing.

“It was definitely an exercise where I left my pride at the door,” Tait said. “I’m sure if I didn’t want to do it, the band wouldn’t have done it. But I have loved it. It has been a huge blessing.”

The current concert tour is a remake of Newsboys 1.0 with Furler, Newsboys 2.0 with Tait, and then the Newsboys United with both men on stage with the band together.

“You get about 30 songs in one night,” Tait said. “It can be a heavy burden, but it is what we are called to do.”

Tait is no stranger to staying busy. Tour dates take place around days of writing and recording music. But beyond that, the band’s third foray onto the silver screen is still in theaters. God’s Not Dead 3 – A Light in the Darkness carries a different message than the first and second films in the series.

The movie shows imperfection in its hero, tolerance of people who don’t agree with you and the love of God bridging the gap between people of different political and religious beliefs.

Tait said they work with the studio when the movie is made but their role in this version is smaller than before.

“Obviously, the song is ours and the books and brand of God’s Not Dead are ours," he said. “We just really want to keep it youthful and relevant and get a message out in a format that will reach some people who would never go to a church.”

Tait said he knows the band’s main audience is believers even though they hope that non-believers can be reached with the songs.

“Look, even though we may be sent to encourage the saints, even religious people deal with pain and need hope to help them grow in faith,” Tait said. “That’s an important ministry too.”

The singer said he looks forward to the show in Shawnee since it is the last one on the tour.

“Every morning I pray for God to fill me and work through me to reach people for him,” Tait said. “You never know what is going to happen that last night on a tour. God is so faithful and loving. We don’t deserve all he does for us. This tour has been a blessing and I think that final night in Shawnee will be as well.”

Today’s generation has no idea what it was like to have one hour of Christian programming a week on a radio station and no access to any songs of faith. Great Christian music is everywhere now.

On Sunday, May 6, there will be some great Christian music in Firelake Arena. The high energy Newsboys show is always great. With it being the final date on their  current tour, it could be something really special.