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The Musical Ministry of Soul Gate 7

posted Sep 30, 2011, 12:57 PM by Sarah Brehm   [ updated Sep 30, 2011, 1:04 PM ]
While sporting a blue-and-green Mohawk, lead singer Joe Dillard sat with his band Soul Gate 7 and a restaurant after a show. “I went up to go get something to drink and everybody in the restaurant was pointing and looking,” said Joe. “A guy sitting at a table gets up and walks over to me and asks, ‘Are you as crazy as your hair looks?’ and I said ‘Well yeah.” The guy says, ‘Well my grandmother is sitting over there, and it’s her birthday. When ya’ll get ready to leave, will ya’ll crowd around the table and sing Happy Birthday to her?’ I said, ‘Not a problem!’”


This is what Soul Gate 7 is about—making connections and friendships to create opportunities to share the Gospel, even if it’s simply singing Happy Birthday to a grandmother. “We gave her a t-shirt and CD,” said Joe. “I said, ‘You might not like this, but happy birthday!’”


The members of Soul Gate 7, Joe Dillard (vocals), Greg Sluder (lead guitar), Jerry Morris (bass), and Mike Creasman (drums), recognize their purpose. For them, it’s all about ministry. “All of our music states what we believe,” said Mike. “We put our soul into it.”


“There’s no vagueness,” added Greg.


Soul Gate 7 has adopted the verse: “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14). Through their eccentricities and rock music, Soul Gate 7 wants you to know Jesus.


“Even just Joe wearing that Mohawk,” said Greg. “Fifteen years ago, you would not be accepted into church or anything like that. But we had two or three guys who really liked his Mohawk, and it gets a connection. It makes you a little more comfortable to come and approach us. It ain’t like we’re suit and tie. I’ve had secular bands ask me about that.” He pointed to a tattoo on his arm. “That’s a tribal Christian fish. I see it as a way to open up an opportunity to spread the Gospel. Or just share life.”


“We are who we are before we go on stage, when we’re on the stage, and after the show,” said Joe. “That’s why the four of us mesh so well. We are who we are.”


Soul Gate 7 was originally the merging of three bands—Narrow Gate, Messenger 7, and Salvaged Soul. When the former drummer felt called to pursue other endeavors, Mike joined the team. “Mike made our band complete,” said Joe.


Greg turned to Mike and said, “Mike, you complete me.”


It doesn’t take long to figure out the guys of Soul Gate 7 love having fun in life. On more than one occasion they mentioned that they were going to go to Wal-Mart to have a light-saber fight. Greg mentioned that they considered naming the band Onion Rings; the first album Round and Crispy. At their shows, they usually have two additional members—one is the little son of Greg, who sits on stage with his Guitar Hero guitar and plays along; the other is a stuffed Smurf.


“We salvaged the Smurf,” said Greg, who explained he had a bag of stuffed animals to give to Joe to make a pair of pants out of. “Joe stuck it on this cabinet one time, and then put a SWAT helmet on it. And so he stayed up there like that.” The first time they brought the Smurf to a show, Joe kicked him into the audience. “And then he just started crowd Smurfing!” said Greg.


From that point on, the Smurf has become a popular item—people have asked if they could have the Smurf; he’s even been kidnapped before!


But through all the fun, Soul Gate 7’s mission is to minister and change lives through rock music that is influenced by classic metal, punk, progressive rock and everything in between. “As a believer in Messiah,” said Mike, “do you spread the Word? Or do you hid your light? We’re not about hiding our light and what we believe. If it’s an important enough message that need to be preached, our job is to preach it.”
Words by: Sarah Brehm