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Zach Williams Reveals How Fellow Christian Artist's Song Radically Changed His Life

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It took Zach Williams traveling to Europe, riding in a van, and hearing Big Daddy Weave to realize things needed to change.

“It’s a pretty incredible story, what God’s done in my life, throughout my life,” reflected Williams during a recent appearance on CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture,” where he talked about his forthcoming memoir, “Rescue Story: Faith, Freedom, and Finding My Way Home,” releasing Feb. 27.

In high school, Williams developed a penchant for drugs — addictive behaviors he carried into his twenties, when he joined a rock band, stepping into a world of decadence and indulgence.

“We started traveling and touring, which that just led me down an even darker path,” said Williams. “I thought, in order to play music, I needed to live a certain lifestyle. If I was gonna be in a rock band, that meant you did drugs and you use alcohol on a daily basis and you live this reckless lifestyle.”

For more than a decade, Williams was all in, trapped in a downward spiral.

“I went pretty hard,” he admitted. “I didn’t think about the next day; I just lived for the moment. And I carried it into a marriage, I carried it into being a father and a husband.”

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

In the summer of 2012, as he was traveling to Europe with his band, Williams said he came to the realization the way he was living was not sustainable. He was raised in the church and knew — unless something changed — he was on a path that would cost him everything, including his wife and children.

Sick and tired of being sick and tired, Williams asked God to prove Himself to him.

“I was riding in a van one day and the guy driving the bus was scanning radio stations and, out of nowhere, I hear this song called ‘Redeemed‘ by Big Daddy Weave come across the radio and, man, that song just hit me; it struck a chord,” said Williams. “I listened to the lyrics when I got to the hotel room and I called my wife and I said, ‘Hey, I’m done. I’m out of here,’ and she couldn’t believe it. But I came home from that tour and quit my band and I cancelled all my shows.”

Within a year’s time, Williams and his family were part of a church community and he had been asked to help launch a new campus for his church and work there as a worship leader. That’s when he got the opportunity to start writing Christian music in Nashville.

Now as a believer — and recording artist whose songs testify to how the Lord has redeemed him — Williams said his life “is so much better.”

“There’s conviction on my life that I didn’t have before,” he explained. “So, for me, I love sharing those stories with the world. I love writing songs from places in my life that I’ve been hurt or I’ve experienced joy. I think, for me, [sharing my story] is a good thing.”

Growing up, the “Old Church Choir” singer said his parents prayed Jeremiah 29:11 over him and now, he said, he’s seeing the fruit of that “prophetic” prayer from his mom and dad.

It wasn’t until years later — after Williams abandoned his childhood faith, fell into drug addiction, and ran from his Christian roots all before returning to the Lord — that the recording artist learned his parents were impressed years earlier by the Holy Spirit, when a pastor who prayed over him as a child told Williams’ parents their son would be “a voice for my generation.”

His parents never forgot, though. Year after year, they went to smoky bars and dark venues to support their son.

“They would come to these concerts; they would watch me get drunk on stage; they would watch me use drugs,” Williams said. “But they were always there, sitting there praying that God was going to take all of this mess and turn it into some message.”

Whenever they saw Williams perform, they made sure he got home safely and would end the night by praying over him and his bandmates — prayers that have, in the years since, paid off.

“I was 33 years old when I gave my life to the Lord, after growing up in church, with a dad who was a worship leader and a mom who sang at church,” he said. “It took a long time, but they believed and trusted in God. … Being faithful and trusting in God is really all we can do.”

You can watch the rest of our conversation in the video above.

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church