Inspiring a generation of young people to worship God and change the nation
iEC, or I Equals Change, are about to release their new album, Break These Chains, and are currently on a mini tour of the UK. Made up of a collection of young worship leaders, and with their title track featuring Martin Smith of Delirious?, the band is passionate about inspiring a generation of Christians to rise up, be counted and make a lasting impact on their local communities as well as across the wider globe.
Led by Jake Isaac, son of Les Isaac – the founder of the Street Pastor movement – iEC are keen to inspire a movement that sees the UK transformed. Christian Today caught up with Jake and band mate Tula Lynch to find out more about their new album and their heart to call young people to worship.
CT: You've been a band since 2009, what brought you together?
JI: Our first gig together was actually also our first recording! We're a collective of worship leaders from across London and Greater London, and we came together saying that when you go off to uni, it's hard! You've sometimes got to force yourself to find a church and spend time with the Lord and live as a Christian without being under the covering of mum and dad. So we wanted to see how we can spur young people on not just within the four walls of the church, but outside of it as well. iEC is all about being changed in order to be the change - worship that leads to action.
Our first tour captured songs that reflected the heart of that, and it was fantastic. We sold out and had 550 young people in Oxford Street in central London singing to Jesus. Since then we've been ministering throughout the UK and across some of Europe, God's been really gracious and has used us. We've seen loads of people saved and recommit their lives to Jesus.
CT: So what's the heart behind the new album?
JI: I believe it's captured by the title track Break These Chains. It's about being set free, not just outside the church but within it as well. There's still this temptation to entertain religion over relationship, but Christ calls to us to relationship, to love, even to romantic love, and knowing who he is. We felt that Break These Chains symbolised everything that stands in the way of us connecting with Jesus in a relational way, and it's about living life to the fullest.
Every song in the album really reflects that whole idea of surrender and abandonment. Saying to God: "Here I am, do everything it takes to draw me close to you, and have your way with me." That's what we believe, and we're really seeing that answer to prayer.
CT: There's an interesting mix between high energy and more soulful tracks on the album. How would you sum up your overall sound?
TL: It's a real mix really, there's a song for every occasion! Some people like to listen when they're happy, other's when they're reflective or excited, so we've tried to make it a little bit of everything for lots of people without being all over the place. It's about pausing and taking a moment to think about God. We've got to let go and give him everything, so there's this huge mix on the album for every season of life.
CT: What's your favourite track?
TL: The songs are all special to us, and we each have our personal favourites! My favourite so far is Be Lifted Up. The message is talking about lifting God up – which I would really like to do! I try to make that a personal thing in whatever I'm doing. Whether it's work, church, or within my family life, I want to make sure his name is lifted up. And then as well as that, I get to dance with this song!
CT: What're your hopes for this album - how do you hope to "reach beyond the studio" with it?
TL: We definitely hope that the album will reach people in different places. I think that music gets to people in places that a lot of regular speeches can't get to. Our generation doesn't always read the papers but give them a CD or a download, and they'll play it. We want to speak to people where they are, and iEC wants to bring about change in them. It's really exciting.
CT: Are you hoping to help young people engage in a new way?
TL: To a certain extent, I guess so. There are so many different kinds of people, and we all respond in different ways. I think that in a way we are able to bring something that bridges a gap that God has put specifically for us. We've seen that as we've travelled before, met different youth groups and seen them dancing and singing in a way that their youth leaders have never seen.
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CT: You're touring churches in Birmingham, Watford, Luton and London. Are they significant places for you?
JI: We have a great relationship with these churches in particular. The event on its own, which is totally free, is great, but being able to refer people who don't know Jesus to a local church is what it's all about. We want to stand with the local church, which is key to community, and endorse it!
CT: What are you most looking forward to?
TL: On tour, I'm looking forward to seeing and meeting different people, which I think is always really special. You can sing a song in one place and it has one effect, but then take it somewhere else and people respond to it in a completely new way. To connect with people like that is really special. I don't have the words to describe it! Going to different places and worshipping with new people is really exciting.
In the church in Birmingham last night, I just loved the way they danced. In some places people are more reserved – and there's nothing wrong with that – but when I worship I like to jump around a bit, so I loved that they felt comfortable to do that.
CT: You've got a real passion for community engagement and social action. Do you think we're in danger of losing true community?
JI: To be really honest, I feel that whole idea of community has gone out the window. In London we don't have community, we have postcodes. In some places we don't even have generational respect. It's all about what's in it for me? YOLO (You Only Live Once), respect my privacy, and that's the generation we live in. It's an issue all over the world, not just in the UK.
But if you want to get back to the core of community, even historically, then the Church is at the core – in education, in politics, there's even a Bible in that little wooden box in parliament! Christ and his church are at the core of what community is, and we want to worship him, and be carriers of his presence and bring people together, whatever our theological stances.
It's about hope, truth and life, not just outside of the church but within it too. We believe in community, and we believe it can be recaptured in this generation.
Break These Chains, described as "a holy collision of gospel, contemporary worship and African flavours, full of passion and truth" is out on April 5.
28 March - Watford - WD24 5BD
29 March - Luton Word Of Faith Centre - LU1 2PL
30 March - London - The People's Christian Fellowship, Tottenham - N15 4DW