In the Indianapolis area the sight of a major gospel music event without the group Joshua is rare.
Individuals who have followed the ministry of the vocal quintet know that it never departs a church or venue without leaving most observers on their feet crying, shouting, hands uplifted in a frenzy of praise or praying in quiet reflection.
Since Joshua’s formation five years ago, many crowds have been touched by its heartfelt and sincere lyrics, tight harmony and uplifting music arrangements.
“The most rewarding thing for us has been watching people get closer to God,” said Joshua member Shannon Lancaster. “In Hebrew Joshua means ‘Jehovah saves,’ so when people are saved and experience God’s love we’re fulfilling our purpose.”
Joshua is comprised of the five Lancaster brothers, including Rod, 34, Shannon, 25, Brad, 23, Kalani, 21 and Keone, 13. The siblings, who are of Hawaiian ancestry, grew up with a love for gospel music that was instilled by their parents Michael and Wilma Lancaster.
The brothers had been singing amongst themselves years before being asked to minister in song during the funeral of a family friend in 2002, and decided to take their ministry to the masses. Their first official performance took place in a small Methodist church with no microphones or sound system.
“Since that time we’ve just seen God open some amazing doors for us,” Shannon Lancaster said.
Joshua has opened for artists such as Andre Crouch, the Williams Brothers, the Canton Spirituals, Shirley Murdock and Deitrick Haddon. They have performed at events for the NAACP, Ivy Tech State College and the Governor’s Prayer Team.
In 2005 they appeared at the national conference for the Christian Community Development Association, won the People’s Choice Award during the White Family Singers’ Indy Fall Music Jubilee and performed for the mayor of Rushville at the Rushville Riverside Amphitheater in 2006.
This year they won the Outstanding Performance Award during the annual Coming Together With Praise gospel concert sponsored by the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, and ministered during Indiana Black Expo’s Men of Gospel event that also featured Marvin Sapp, the Rance Allen Group, Vashawn Mitchell and The 7 Sons of Soul.
If all that success isn’t enough, Joshua is also looking forward to their upcoming debut CD, “By God’s Grace,” which will be launched during a special release party Nov. 16. The album features several of the songs that have become regional favorites, including “All About Grace,” “God Loves You,” “Oh Lord My Redeemer” and “People Get Ready.”
“Music is another avenue to reach people, and we’re really excited about this project and the opportunity to minister to our community this week,” said Brad Lancaster. “We have embraced many musical styles to reach as many people as we can, and I think the project reflects that.”
Their rapid rise to stardom in the gospel community aside, the Lancaster brothers are just like most young men who like to have fun. In their spare time they enjoy football games, television, playing musical instruments and communicating with friends on the computer.
They are also very active in the music and youth ministries of Calvary Temple, a growing Eastside congregation led by Pastor Jerry McCamey.
“Our goal is to share the message of Christ across racial, cultural and denominational boundaries,” Brad Lancaster said. “We’re basically just normal people doing the extraordinary work of God.”