UP Live 101

Ideas are in abundance these days.
They happen in a flash. But taking the idea from conception to reality…that’s the trick.

Which brings me to the point of this blog…I have to brag on Jake LeBoeuf and Michael Carr.
They took the simple idea of live streaming worship from Fifth Ave House (our music venue of sorts in Knoxville, TN) from a baby idea to the real thing over the past 10 months. live.unitedpursuit.com is because of these guys.

This past Tuesday was really exciting for us. It felt like everything finally came together.
The website was rock solid stable.
The video feed and camera angle finally made sense.
The audio was clean (thanks Garrett)

And you guys joined us…all over the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, France, Switzerland, Philippines, Argentina, El Salvador, South Africa, Canada, and more. It’s just so cool that we can worship in our little space in Knoxville, TN, and no matter where you are in the world, you can jump in with us.

In case you don’t have a clue about what I’m talking about, here’s the 101 on what we call UP Live. 

Every Tuesday night, we live stream our worship gathering from the Fifth Ave House, our music venue in Knoxville, TN.
We start at 7:30pm EST. All you have to do is log in to live.unitedpursuit.com and create a free account.

If you can’t join in live, we archive them all for you to watch at your own convenience.
It’s $5 a month subscription for on-demand playback. This is our “pro” account

For the dedicated, our $8 a month “Prime” account gets you a monthly live worship EP from these nights (and on-demand playback)
We dig back through every Tuesday night and mix together our favorite moments. We’re really excited about these EP’s
Think “Live at the Banks House” style, except perhaps a bit more spontaneous and a couple hundred voices instead of 75. We release these by the first Tuesday of every month.

We will be releasing a sample of these EP’s each month on YouTube so you can get an idea about what their like.
Here’s May’s EP preview.

more info about subscription plans can be found here.

Just so you know, your subscription fee helps us cover the costs of running UP Live, as well as helping keep the lights on at the Fifth Ave House.
ah, building ownership is great:) Thank you so much for partnering with us!



10 Things You Didn't Know About United Pursuit

Ten Things You Might Not Know About United Pursuit  

I know, top 10 lists are so cliché of me. But it felt appropriate on multiple levels, the main reason being we’re in a season of clarifying who we are and what our vision is for our future. For the past 5 years, United Pursuit has grown slowly and organically by you guys spreading our music. Thanks by the way:) One of the things that comes with organic growth is ambiguity of all kinds. So for the sake of bringing a bit more clarity to the messy, here goes.

1. “So…Who/What Exactly Is United Pursuit?”

We often refer to United Pursuit as a mythical being up in the sky. For example, when a piece of audio gear breaks and we want to replace it, we’ll often look up into the air, and ask the great UP in the sky if we have permission to buy a new one.

Ok, seriously though, United Pursuit is simply a name we gave our music 5 years ago when we set up our Myspace profile. There were just a few of us then. Now there’s many more. We were and still are friends first, musicians and songwriters second. So in short, United Pursuit is the collective name of our worshipping community, loosely based out of Knoxville, TN, but with members scattered across the US.

2. “But almost every album your artist name changes! Please explain.” 

Sorry about that. This has happened because, like I said above, we’ve grown organically and so has our name. I’ll walk you through the name evolution. Probably more info than you’ve ever wanted to know…
The beginning, 2008: United Pursuit BandEP, Radiance

  • There were a few of us back in the day, and it seemed at the time that we were a band. Makes sense right? We all wrote songs and put them together on two albums.

2009: Will Reagan & the United Pursuit Band, In the Night Season

  • This time around, Will had a bunch of songs he wanted to record, and we all gathered around him in the studio to help make it happen. It didn’t feel right to call it a UPB album because it was all his songs. But Will didn’t want to call it solely a Will Reagan album, because we all played on it. Thus, Will Reagan & the UPB was born.

2010: Will Reagan & United Pursuit, Live at the Banks HouseEndless Years

  • Don’t be fooled. This one is a subtle shift. Noticed how we took off the word “band”? Well, turns out “band” didn’t quite do our story justice. To us, “band” represented a fixed number of members. Either your in or out. That’s not us. We felt that we couldn’t be limited to a fixed group, as our numbers kept growing. It felt more appropriate to describe UP as a collective. So we dropped it. (Alas, Facebook won’t let us change our name, so we’re sorta stuck in the mean time. Anyone know someone who works there?) [well, never mind. Thanks Margie C. for helping us change the name on Facebook!]

2011: Michael Ketterer, Andrea Marie, Brock HumanLove/War/Solar System, Here Begin, Color of Red

  • Now things start getting interesting. As our numbers grew, so did the amount of songs being written and recorded. We decided to pool our resources and help each other record and release albums. UP acted as the indie record label here, while the UP community helped make these albums happen. Stylistically, the music felt unique and different enough from our previous material, so we didn’t want to stamp UP on the end of it and potentially confuse people with “hey, your about to listen to a vertical worship cd” when it was more like“dance/pop tracks you’d like to work out to (Michael Ketterer)”, or “beautiful love songs you’d like to walk down the isle to (Andrea Marie).” The plot thickens indeed.

United Pursuit / Iris Ministries , Found

  • We decided to partner with Iris Ministries, an orphanage/church planting movement in Mozambique, to help raise some money for them. 100% of this album proceeds go to them.  And you get a nice devotional worship album in the process. You can thank Brock. He masterminded this gem.

2014: Michael Ketterer & United Pursuit, The Wild Inside

  •  Ah, the moment I’ve been waiting for. We’ve always planned on releasing multiple worship albums from different members of our community. The first three happened to be with Will. This time around, its with Michael Ketterer. You might remember him from his previous dance/pop project. This one is nothing like it. This is scream your guts out “anthemic” worship”, if that’s a real thing. We’re excited about this one. Coming Feb. 25th.
    Click here to sample the album.

3. “Are You Signed On a major Label?”

No. We formed our own in-house record label, which is a fancy way of saying we write, produce, record, create art, websites, videos, and tour with the help of our amazing and talented community.

4. “How old are you guys?”

As of 2014, we range roughly from 23 to 36. Not naming names here:)

5. “ What is the Banks House? Who is the Mr. and Mrs. Banks?”

This might be sad for you to hear, but there is no Mr. or Mrs. Banks. The Banks house simply resides on Banks Ave. The name stuck way before there was an album recorded there.

6. “What “church” are you part of?”  

Easy cliché answer = we are the Church.
More complicated answer = we are part of a small house church community that, as we say it, “does life together” throughout the week. (Read Bonheoffer’s Life Together. Good read.) We love the Church and live to serve Christ’s bride.

7. “You guys don’t tour too often, do you?”

 Compared to a normal band, we don’t travel much. Usually 5 to 7 days a month, with a few longer international trips per year. We feel called to keep our roots in our home town of Knoxville, TN. We don’t want to live on the road, but live at home, and share what God’s doing in our home when we’re on the road.

8. “Do We Like Tasha Cobb’s Version of Break Every Chain?” 

YES! It’s the cat’s meow. It’s the bee’s knees. Let’s face it, Break Every Chain was destined to become a gospel song.

9.  “Are you connected with Jesus Culture? “

Not officially, but we love what they do, and are friends with some of their group. Chris, Kim, and crew, we love u guys!

10.  “So what’s the Banks House 2.0?”

Woops. Didn’t know that name would catch on. Its actually called the Fifth Ave House. Banks House 2.0 was the name of our crowdfunding campaign (thanks for that. We owe you big time).  “So What is the Fifth Ave House?”Glad you asked. Last year, we felt the Lord calling us to plant deeper roots in our city (Knoxville). We’ve been dreaming for years for a common space for the church of Knoxville to gather in unity and simply worship Jesus together. And because Knoxville is really central to lots of people on the East Coast, we thought it would be cool to have a place where you could easily join us too. We’d run out of room in our homes to host any more people, so the Fifth Ave House is our bigger living room so to speak. At 119 W. Fifth Ave, you will find us there every Tuesday night. And coming real soon, no matter where you live in the world, you’ll be able to join us via live streaming every Tuesday night. Thank you internet. We’re pretty excited about it. Stay tuned.


That’s a wrap ya’ll.
If I missed some burning question, write a comment on this blog and we’ll do our best to respond, or at least follow up with another blog post. Peace! – nate

There Is No Such Thing As Atheism

I stumbled upon a graduation speech of an American novelist David Foster Wallace today, and the Lord really was speaking to me through it. Keep in mind, this author is secular writer, which to me makes this all the more poignant…

“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping.
Everybody worships.
The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.”
(click here to read his whole speech. worth the read)   

A few years later after delivering this speech, David Wallace committed suicide. He struggled much of his life with depression, and he chose the only path he knew to escape the prison of his pain. But his words live on as powerful reminders that sin and our separation from God leaves behind a world enslaved to what we worship, what we attempt to fill the empty void. Money, power, appearance, intellect, religion,  if worshipped, it all leads us to a prison of the mind and soul.

I add religion to this list, because sneakily it can lead to all types of idolatry.
We can end up worshipping the rules and miss Jesus in the process.
Religion says “we can work hard and make peace with God. We just have to avoid doing bad things, and do the right things.”
This type of thinking doesn’t work.

Author Greg Boyd says it the best….

“We have failed to understand and internalize the biblical teaching that our fundamental sin is not our evil – as though our solution for sin was to become good – but our getting life from what we believe is our knowledge of good and evil. Our fundamental sin is that we place ourselves in the position of God and divide the world between what we judge to be god and what we judge to be evil. And this judgement is the primary thing that keeps us from doing the central thing God created us to do, namely, love like he loves.”  (from book Repenting of Religion, pg. 17)

The world we live in might not know it, but they are looking desperately for a life of freedom. The lie is that we can be authors of our own freedom. This path takes us to worshipping anything but God. Money, power, sex, religion…it all falls short of filling the hole in our soul.

True freedom comes from believing and living for a King and Kingdom that is not of this world. This King that isn’t interested in subjects.
He’s after sons and daughters. 
Life on this side of eternity is all about letting this love flow out of us to the world. We must remember to lay aside the temptation to divide and judge the world with our knowledge of good and evil. That’s the King’s job. We’ve given that up. The tree of life is so much sweeter – nate

Collective Boldness

Over the past 16 months, I have witnessed as my friend Brock says, a “collective boldness” descend upon our community. Last night, we held our first worship night in our new home, the Fifth Ave House. It was a surreal, emotionally charged night, feeling the promises of the Lord come to pass and momentum of our community expressed physically in one space. It took every single person to make it happen. Spencer, Jordan, Gina, Travis, Brittany, Melody, Peter…the list goes on and on. This is where the collective boldness explodes…when the challenge of ahead of you is too great for one or a few people. When it takes an army. Yes, there is strength in numbers. Yes, there is power being in one accord.  Within any community rests all the giftings and strengths needed to accomplish the task at hand. This describes our community’s past 16 months. The dust is settling, and the old idiom rings truer than ever… “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

I would add, life together is a journey. Don’t miss the joy of a community pursuit when Jesus is the center. It’s what makes the journey worth it. The Fifth Ave House is just a building, with 4 walls and (leaky) roof. It has no heart, no soul in of it’s self. But when it’s filled to the brim with people alive and free, a collective boldness arises to be witnesses of Jesus. This is something worth fighting for. The destination is just the icing on the cake. The community journey is the main course. –  nate

We Need Each Other

Sometimes life gets really busy.

One sure way to prove this is to look back at your blog and realize you haven’t posted since September of 2012. Guilty as charged. Needless to say, lots of life has happened since then. It would be easiest to take the next paragraphs chronicle all the things we’ve been up to, but I feel the pull to attach some words to our community’s inward journey of the past 10 months. More about the heart stuff, not just the doing stuff.

First a little disclaimer: I (Nathan) am attempting to write on behalf of the whole crew, but of course its going to be bent towards my personal experience. Consider this a blog memoir of what I’ve witnessed, felt, and heard from my friends along the way.

The past 10 months has centered greatly around the process of finding, fundraising, buying, and renovating a big warehouse in downtown Knoxville.

(watch this video in case you have no clue what I’m talking about)
This journey has proven yet again how much we need Jesus.


This is what He’s been speaking to us along the way…

When God gives us dreams, they are often incomplete, dim (and disjointed) glimpses of the future. Its scary to share them with others because of fear of people thinking our dream is unlikely, impossible, or insignificant.
We must overcome this fear if we are ever to see dreams become reality. Why?

Because we need each other.

We can’t see in fullness. We only see in part. God did this on purpose. He loves it when His kids play together.

When we open up our dreams to our friends, actually inviting them to share what they see too, together our dim dream becomes a vibrant canvas, taking beautiful shape and color from the contribution of our friends. This dream now is something worth taking a risk and moving towards together. Everyone has a role to play. One Body, many members, right?
This is just the beginning. To move forward, we need each other more than ever to see the dream become reality.

Back in June of 2012, we returned from a UP trip to the England and Israel, and God started speaking. Will felt a tug on his heart to dig some more roots down in Knoxville. Since releasing Live at the Banks House back in November of 2010, we’ve increasingly received invitations to travel and share these simple songs with people all over the world. And of course we love it. But something was knocking on Will’s heart about it all…about how so much of the travel momentum we’re experiencing now all hinges around one night at the Banks House back in 2010. That was a real moment in time, but now becoming years ago. “We can’t continue to travel forever on yesterday’s experience with the Lord. We want to wholeheartedly pursue the Lord TODAY.”

So the call to pursue Jesus in the here and now was renewed again. Interestingly, we were out growing every living room we could find. By word of mouth alone, people were streaming into every space we’d move into. So we started to dream about a bigger home…a place that we could put down roots in our town for years to come. A home just like the Banks House, but way more room for more to join us in our pursuit of Jesus. A living room for 400 friends, not just 60 like the past.

One day Will mention he noticed a warehouse for sale near downtown Knoxville and how it’s probably a million dollars or something crazy. But we decided to check it out for fun. We did the whole peer in the windows/walk circles around the property thing, and got enough guts to call the realtor. In our most professional voice, we asked how much it was. To our surprise, $350,000 was the asking price. Still an insane amount of money to us, but psychologically way better than a million.

I should stop here. Too many details to share on a blog post.
But the moral of the story…Will had an outlandish dream. But he had the guts to share it with us, his friends. We sensed the Lord was up to something, and as a community, we started dreaming together about finding a bigger home. The faint vision started gaining some shape and form as each friend brought their unique perspective, ideas, and talents to the table. One month later, and wild idea emerged.

“Let’s launch a kickstarter to see if our idea wants to happen. If we reach our goal of $100,000, we might have enough to renovate the warehouse. Then, we might be able to convince a few foundations about our vision, and they will help us buy the building with cash. No mortgage.” 

Lots of maybes, what ifs, and mights. But that’s where God comes in. The Lord breathed the vision, yet the insanely amazing thing is that He actually loves to see His kids dreams come alive through the blood, sweat, and tears of our community. You, me, your friends are all “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

A dream often starts in the secret place of people’s imaginations. But for it to become fully alive, it takes each other and whole lot of trust.

We grow closer. We risk. We fall. We get back up again. And God gets the glory seeing His sons and daughters fully alive along the way.

Fast forward to today. I just got a text message saying the fire sprinkler plans have been sent to the city fire marshal.
I didn’t write up the plans of course. I didn’t even know anyone who could do this. But my contractor friend Peter did. He told me we needed to talk to Gregor the architect  And he is conveniently friends with the Knoxville fire marshal who says we need a fire sprinkler system throughout the whole building to make it legal.
Just one of a hundred roles that it took to pull this off.

We will be moving into the building sometime this fall, probably 1 year exactly from our online fundraising campaign.
The journey continues…so honored to run with you all.