After a 20 year history together, GRAMMY nominations, Dove Awards, seven albums and six No. 1 singles, Matt Hammitt, the lead singer of Sanctus Real, has announced he will be leaving the band this December. Both Matt and his fellow band members have taken time to draft personal statements so that their fans can hear from them first hand and in their own words.
The band has announced their “Farewell To A Friend” tour this fall, which will be Hammitt’s final tour with the band. Sparrow Records will release a Greatest Hits project from Sanctus Real this October, featuring the band’s top hits over their 20 year career and a new single, which will release in the fall as well.
Matt Hammitt (read full statement below — link to this and prayer requests here):
“Last November, I started to feel a spiritual restlessness, sensing that God was leading me into a new season of life. After many conversations with God, family and friends, I came to realize a new calling, one that would require me to make the difficult decision to leave Sanctus Real.
Both the band and I have prepared heartfelt statements about this change, and about where God is leading us. Below is my full statement about this news, as well as Episode 1 of “The Lead Me Lifecast,” also about my decision to leave Sanctus Real…”
A blog post isn’t nearly enough space to recount or describe what I’ve experienced with my friends in Sanctus Real over the past twenty years. I’m so grateful for what God has allowed a few guys from Toledo, Ohio to experience together. I don’t take it lightly, the ability that songs have to impact the hearts and lives of those who hear them. Experiencing this God-given mystery with my friends in the band has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
I want to thank my band mates, current and former, but especially Mark and Chris for allowing me to share in this incredible season of life with them. And of course, to our families, you are the backbone God has blessed us with. Thank you for holding down the fort. I love and appreciate you.
And to you, our friends and fans, you’ve been so good to Sanctus Real and to my family. The support you have given us has been more than we could have wished for, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
To everyone in the Christian music industry, from our label, agents, managers, friends in radio, promoters, other artists and everyone in-between, I sincerely thank you. I am proud to be in Christian music.
Like all children, when I was young, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember answering, “A missionary.” It may seem like unconventional missionary work, but I have genuinely viewed my time in Sanctus Real as a mission to build Christ’s church through words and music. If you’ve listened to Sanctus Real or supported us in any way, you’ve been a vital part of that mission. Thank you from the depths of my heart.
Over the past few months, I’ve felt the Lord calling me into a new mission field, into a new season of life. If you want to hear the intricate details about my decision to leave Sanctus Real, I’ve discussed it at length in the first two episodes of “The Lead Me Lifecast.” I open each episode by saying that, “I’ve been traveling far and wide singing the song ‘Lead Me’, but now I want to sing it less and live it more.” I mean that genuinely, with all of my heart. I’ve always struggled to reconcile my life on the road away from Sarah and the kids, but after all these years I’m now confident that my calling is to be at home more, consistently making God and family my ultimate priority. My primary gifting as a communicator is simply sharing my life and heart with people, and they’re going to get the best of that.
Many of you know that my son, Bowen, is living with severe heart disease. I’m thankful for so many of you, who have walked and prayed with us through this. We’re so grateful that he’s almost five now, but we live with the realities of his chronic, progressive disease each and every day. Because of our work assisting hurting families through Whole Hearts Foundation, we are constantly reminded that we can’t take a day we get with Bowen for granted. This is another reason my family needs me, and I need them.
It’s important for me to be clear that I’m not giving up music. Music is in my soul and is my primary expression of life and faith. In addition to making music, I’ll be talking a lot about marriage and family in the coming years. There are a lot of people encouraging others to go out and be great in the world (and they should), but I feel a calling to encourage others, especially men, to be great behind their own front doors. As I dedicate myself to being a greater husband, father and spiritual leader, I’ll be encouraging others to do the same through my music, “The Lead Me Lifecast” and the “Lead Me Live” events coming in 2016.
Your support has meant so much to me and my family, and I’m inviting you to join our mission moving forward. At the bottom of this letter, I’ve put a list of simple, practical list of ways that you can join us.
With Love and Gratitude,