Chances are, you’ve heard from Anderson University alumnus Chris Brown.
Even if you didn’t know it.
Brown is the lead songwriter for Elevation Worship, the praise band for Charlotte, North Carolina-based megachurch Elevation Church. “O Come to the Altar,” which has risen to as high as No. 2 on Billboard’s “Hot Christian Songs” list (it’s been on the charts for 66 weeks), is perhaps Brown’s most well-known song – for now – and he credits the South Carolina School for the Arts at Anderson University as the place where his passion for ministry merged with his calling as an artist.
“By age 17, I felt ministry and music merge. I felt God was calling me into some type of ministry,” Brown said. “The next several years (at Anderson University) were a journey of figuring that out.”
Brown’s experience at AU helped deepen the musical expression of his spirituality through voice lessons with AU Associate Professor of Music-Voice, Deirdre Francis.
“I owe so much of my development to her,” Brown said.
Brown is a Hampton, South Carolina native who enrolled in AU’s voice program, leading worship on campus. While there, he attended NewSpring Church, which has its roots at AU, and later served as NewSpring’s student worship leader. He and his wife, Beth, met at AU and married in 2005. The Brown family have two children, Joah and Adelaide.
Lee McDerment, another AU alumnus who served as Brown’s mentor at NewSpring, said Chris is a perfect example of what a worship leader should be.
“He is able in his songwriting and as a worship leader to be a conduit for the voice of Almighty God to people who are listening,” McDerment said. “You don’t find many worship leaders who can do that who also possess Chris’ purity of heart.”