Brandon Richardson of the band RICHLIN and Christian solo artist Ryan Stevenson lived in the same small rural community. God intersected their paths at the perfect moment and guided them both to music.
Brandon grew up in a small town. The small town started to define him, and the country became a pivotal part of who he was. He felt like he was living in a drama that was a few decades old. It was protected, outside of mainstream culture, and centered on forming a solid spiritual foundation.
When Brandon was starting middle school, his mother—a leader and youth pastor in his childhood church—had an experience with God. This moment awakened her faith and longing for the Lord. She couldn’t seem to learn enough about Jesus. She brought Brandon and his brother with her to Christian concerts and made sure they were involved in activities that were centered on Christ.
In this pivotal season in Brandon’s life, he experienced something real: the Holy Spirit became tangible. The Holy Spirit’s encouragement and his mother’s urging brought the family into ministry. They started attending a church two-and-a-half hours away where his father would preach every Sunday. His parents worked alongside each other in ministry, offering guidance and “spur[ring] one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24, NIV).
While the work of the Lord was present in all elements of Brandon’s life, it took a while for it to be a part of his identity. He felt like he needed an experience; he needed to know what his calling was.
Ephesians 1:18 became the cry of his soul: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.”
Those prayers and that verse were the catalyst to start his faith walk. He reflected, “That moment was the springboard into what I’m doing today.”
That change from the faith of his parents to a faith of his own opened his eyes to the ways he could lead in ministry. “When you have a moment in the presence of God, you love worship because in worship, when we’re ministering to the Lord, He responds by pouring out His presence,” he said, “and so I began to lead worship.”
Brandon loved writing his own songs, but he wasn’t able to get a record deal. During that process, he reconnected with Ryan Stevenson. They had connected a little bit while growing up but had lost touch for years. An agent happened to confuse the two of them, and their paths crossed once again. It was like they hadn’t missed a beat.
Ryan recognized how talent and the Holy Spirit were working together in Brandon. Because Ryan had been in the industry longer, he decided to pause promoting his own career and focus on helping Brandon and others just starting out. So, he pulled Brandon forward even as he put his own career on hold.
Ryan said this change was influenced by his desire to focus on relationships. “One of the weightiest, most paramount things that we can steward in life are relationships,” he said.
These changes in both their lives led to RICHLIN’s music. They started to follow the “still small voice” leading them to where they are today. God’s brilliance weaved their stories together, forming something new, an unfolding plan that He had always known would take place.
Are you hearing a still small voice? Brandon calls us to ask ourselves, “What brings you excitement and joy? Pursue that thing.”
Listen to more stories like Brandon’s on The Unfolding podcast.
If you’d like to dive deeper, you can find out more about The Unfolding podcast and the host, Meridith Foster.