This Wednesday evening we come to the final of four outstanding speakers in our 2019 Speaker series. Each week, a speaker has taken us inside the journey of Christian calling. Too often we have turned the Christian faith into a series of ideas or reduced it to a buttress against our fears and anxieties rather than what Jesus revealed it to be: a dynamic and life-changing adventure. Our final speaker is Dan Haseltine.
For more than two decades, Dan Haseltine has been the founder and primary songwriter for the Grammy-winning music group, Jars of Clay. From a band formed among college friends in Illinois, they skyrocketed in the mid-90s to crossover fame. Their self-titled debut was released in 1995. When the single “Flood” began to climb the charts on mainstream radio stations, Silvertone Records started to heavily promote the song, turning it into one of the biggest mainstream hits ever by a band on a Christian label. The album has since reached multi-platinum certification according to the RIAA. Over the next decades came touring, more Grammys and successful albums.
I met Dan a few years ago while on an interfaith advocacy effort in Washington. We were paired together to talk to congressional leaders about the importance of global health and hunger funding, so we spent a day together. He is one of the most engaging and thoughtful, down to earth people I have ever met. Many years ago my youngest daughter, then in high school, pressed me to go down to the old Boutwell Auditorium, May 2, 1998, to hear Jars of Clay. I had never heard them, pretty well being into acoustic music and bluegrass then, but I went along. I liked them. I didn’t know I’d ever end up walking around DC with that young singer someday.
Dan visited Africa in 2002, which in turn inspired the founding of Blood: Water Mission, a non-profit organization created to raise awareness and money for the poverty and AIDS-stricken regions of the continent. The name is derived from, as Haseltine says, “The two things Africa needs most” – clean blood and clean water. The mission has begun the 1000 Wells project, an effort to have a thousand new wells built throughout Africa. The group recently met their goal of providing clean water to 1,000 African communities through the organization they founded, Former Bassist for Jars of Clay Aaron Sands serves as Administrative Director for the project. Dan is the Co-Founder & Director of Artist Relationships. He is a champion for the work of affirming dignity through collaboration in the fields of art and global health. He is a public speaker, consultant, author, columnist, advocate and mentor. He lives in Franklin, TN with his wife, Katie and sons, Noah and Max.