For Jordon Philips, the hardest part of being in a band is working out what to call it. ‘We’ve always hated naming bands,’ he admitted to Alex. ‘It’s the worst!’ Adam Stark shouted in the background. Read on for the story of how they decided on their name, or listen to the podcast of their conversation with Alex below.
The bandmates first met at Belmont University, in Nashville, where they now both live. Jordon had moved there from Atlanta Georgia to study, but Adam had grown up there. ‘He’s actually a Nashville local,’ Jordon said, ‘one of the very few people in the world that’s from Nashville, born and raised.’
When you arrive on campus, you line up to find out where to go next. They looked at a piece of paper, and said ‘your roommate is Adam Stark’. The guy right next to him spoke up. ‘Hey! I’m your roommate!’
that was the beginning of a perfect partnership. Together, Jordon and Adam have shared stages with the likes of Panic at the Disco and Ke$ha. But their band’s name shows their ambition to reach still further and higher.
Jordon’s uncle was an astronaut, so as a child, he attended shuttle launches, and developed a love for the universe. When they were going through the ordeal of coming up with a name for their new band, they got thinking about the promise of the Apollo Program.
‘The Apollo Program started when John F. Kennedy said we’re going to go to the moon by the end of the decade,’ Jordon explained. ‘And actually NASA had no idea that they were doing it.’
Everybody at NASA kind of looked at each other, like oh my gosh, did the President just say what we think he just said?
‘It was born out of an ambition, and a desire, to do something that hadn’t been done before. And so for us, taking that leap of faith from our old band, and just kind of being inspired there, we felt like Apollo was just kind of a cool name, and had this kind of meaning to it inherently that we just identified with, of doing something new and fresh..’
As for the LTD, Jordon says that came about much more spontaneously, to ease their worried lawyer’s mind. ‘I don’t care if you add three letters to your band name or what,’ he’d told them, ‘but it can’t just be Apollo.’
NASA’s great ambition was to reach the moon, but Jordon and Adam’s hope is to reach God. These days, that goal can seem as crazy and outlandish as JFK’s big dreams, but they’re determined to fulfill His plan for them. And Jordon can see how God was working that plan out in his life over time.
His father was working in full-time Ministry, but it wasn’t until he was 13 that Jordon had what he called a ‘head-to-heart moment’, and started asking questions about what being a Christian really meant. ‘How do I live a life in Christ? What does it look like to live a life where God manifests himself in me, so that I can be a source of goodness in the world, and a source of light for people?’
God gave him two gifts to help him answer those questions. The first was a supportive family. ‘I was very fortunate that I did have good parents,’ he said. ‘They really encouraged me to find what made me really passionate.’
It was his parents who bought him his first guitar for Christmas. Ten-year-old Jordon played it so much that by Christmas night he’d broken it. ‘They were like, well, it seems we must be on to something here with this guitar thing.’
That guitar, of course, revealed to him his second gift from God, his musical skill. ‘As my faith evolved,’ he said, ‘I had music there, that I could really begin to connect with God’s purpose for my life.’
There isn’t a more ambitious goal than finding your Godly purpose. And Jordon points out that God has many more ways of using people than art or music. ‘It can be accounting, or numbers, or Math, or science. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular. It’s just something that makes your heart sing, and something that makes you really joyful.’
And that process, just by the very fact of doing it, brings God joy, to see his creation experiencing the fruit of the God of the universe.
We reckon Jordon and Adam are working hard to live up to their band name. They’re also hoping to come and party in Australia soon. In the meantime, why not take a moment to think about whether you’re seeking out God’s purpose with the same courage and ambition those astronauts showed when they reached for the moon.