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Published: Friday, 10/1/2004

Band tunes into 'the three E's'

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In 13 years of singing gospel music, 4HIM has produced 11 albums, notched 24 No. 1 singles, and earned 8 Dove Awards.

The group, which will be in concert tonight in Tiffin's Ritz Theatre, has a simple plan for success.

"We have a mission statement we came up with when we started," said Andy Chrisman. "We call it 'The Three E's' - evangelize the lost; edify the church, and the third is display excellence in everything we do.'●"

Chrisman said he and Kirk Sullivan, Mark Harris, and Marty Magehee measure their songwriting, performance, and recording efforts according to that standard.

"Whenever a song fits those categories, we know it's right for us," Chrisman said in an interview this week from his home in Celebration, Fla.

4HIM, whose intricate harmonies have produced such hits as "The Basics of Life," "Real Thing," "Ride of Life," and "Measure of a Man," never tried to achieve crossover success in the mainstream charts, said Chrisman, who also is the full-time worship leader of Celebrate Family Church in Celebration.

"Most of our songs are geared for Christians because that's the way we live," he said. "We grew up in Christian homes, we went to church all our lives, a couple of the guys went to Christian colleges, and I lead worship at my church. So that's going to come through in our music quite a bit.

"But we also try to present the Gospel in an easy way. We don't write songs with hidden meanings. We're not poets. We just kind of tell it like it is. Our music is a testimony, and a testimony has to be real to be effective."

The group's latest album is "Visible," released last year on Word Records. "To get the full message of 'Visible' you almost have to play our previous album, 'Walk On,' and then 'Visible,'" Chrisman said. "●'Walk On' came out just a couple weeks after 9/11/2001, and it was amazing how God kind of set up those songs so that we recorded them before that tragedy happened.

"The message of 'Walk On' was perseverance and getting through tough times. God knew what was going to happen. He wasn't the author of it, but He knew, and I believe He put the message on people's hearts."

In recording the "Visible" disc, Chrisman said, "we kept coming across songs that were more about finding the joy and rediscovering your peace. It's more of a worship experience. Basically you've come through the tough times, and now whatever God wants from us, we're here."

4HIM will be in concert at 8 tonight in the Ritz Theatre, 30 South Washington St., Tiffin. Tickets are $19 and $24 from the box office, 1-419-448-8544.

Contact David Yonke at: yonke@theblade.com

or 419-724-6154.



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