When news of the spiritual movements on college campuses earlier this year started spreading, Christian recording artist JJ Weeks felt a burden to not take it lightly.
Touring with Justin Warren on the “My Porch Tour,” Weeks decided to include a worship set chosen from songs that were personally speaking to him and the other band members. It became the main emphasis of the tour, a powerful part of the concert and affirmation of following God’s will, even when it isn’t easy, Weeks said.
“I think if I were in any other space, I would really lean on what JJ Weeks can do and his abilities,” Weeks said. Instead, the musical selections have refocused him on “who [God] is and the faith that I have in Him.”
“I can say, ‘All right, God. You control it all.’ I still struggle with trying to pick up the mantle and carrying it myself instead of leaving it in God’s hands. I think that’s probably what this whole thing has taught me the most — is to just learn to trust Him.”
Calling himself an “extroverted introvert,” Weeks loves doing concerts and being around his fans. However, when the concert is over, he winds down a little differently than other artists.
“I get to a place where I just want to rest. One of the spots that I love is — once we get the trailer loaded and we’re headed to the next venue for the next concert — I actually will get behind the steering wheel of the bus and just drive for about an hour,” he said.
Born in Birmingham and spending his early childhood in Fultondale, Weeks had always felt called to the ministry. However, while he was studying to be a youth pastor, an encounter with God changed his life’s trajectory.
This call came during a night he was leading worship for the youth in his uncle’s church during a college break.
“We started music, an upbeat song at first. I felt the presence of God so strongly that I just ended up shutting the music off and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to play some soft music, and I’m going to spend some time with the Lord at the altar. You’re welcome to do that with me.’”
Weeks ended up lying on the floor at the altar. That was when he felt God call him to do this full time.
Even with the support of friends and family, Weeks’ path in music hasn’t always been easy. He did music independently all over the Southeast for 12 years until, while playing at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a record label took interest in his work. He soon signed with them.
The first single released by JJ Weeks Band, “Let Them See You,” exploded. The second did well, but then the record label he was with broke apart, leading to a new record label. The next song didn’t gain much traction.
“For the next seven years we were just fighting to get any radio play,” he said. “Just looking at it from the world’s eyes, there’s no reason for JJ Weeks to keep going if you just look at it from radio play, etc.”
“Long story short, when I really stepped back and said, ‘God, is this what You still want me to do?’ I had a moment that I felt like God was telling me it was time to close the doors.”
During the same time, Weeks was invited to become the worship director of a big church in his hometown. This seemed like confirmation he was heading in the right direction. One night he was praying about how to end his Christian music career well.
“I said, ‘In Jesus’ name. Amen,’ and I’ll never forget it — it was probably 3 a.m. (I was) doing some balancing on a spreadsheet — how I could sell this and pay this off to close the ministry and have it end on an even spot financially. As soon as I said, ‘Amen,’ I heard God say, ‘You may be through, son, but I’m not. Just put one foot in front of the other,’” Weeks said.
About a week later, he was reading a devotion that highlighted how the greatest victory of all time happened in a graveyard.
“God works His best miracles in our deepest, darkest moments,” Weeks said. “I think that us Christian folks think that we share Jesus better on the mountaintops. But the truth is, we show people Jesus better in the darkest valleys when we don’t know what in the world God’s doing. He pulls things from the dead and brings them back to life.”
After these experiences, Weeks knew he needed to keep going. He changed his name from JJ Weeks Band to simply JJ Weeks, and after using the time off during the pandemic to reconnect with his family, he had a busy 2021 and 2022 writing and touring.
He is releasing those songs now, starting with the single “Graveyard,” based on what he learned when he almost gave up. He plans to release a new album this fall.
To learn more about JJ Weeks and his music, go to jjweeks.org.
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