What do mixed martial arts and music ministry have in common? Mike Lee. In addition to writing songs and leading worship on stages across the country, the lifelong athlete also runs an MMA gym with his brothers, aptly named Lee Brothers Submission Academy.
“Training fighters on a daily basis teaches me so much about discipline, endurance, and the raw tenacity it takes to seek the Kingdom first. The Apostle Paul puts it this way: “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27 ESV).
“The risk is high for guys who step into the cage, and victory requires total effort in all things. After being a part of those intense moments, coaching my guys through knock-down drag-out wars, I go home, and I’m like–I think I understand perseverance a little better. I think I understand the cross a little better. And my guys are competing for a perishing prize… How much more ought I to persevere when life, death, or my circumstances punch me in the mouth?”
Just a year after releasing his critically heralded national debut, Awakening Hearts, Lee continues his prolific streak throughout All I Need, an acoustic album that equips the church with more creative morsels of moving praise. And what a whirlwind it’s been thanks to sharing stages with the likes of Sidewalk Prophets, Audrey Assad, Love and the Outcome, Leeland, and The Digital Age (amongst others), and a new project produced by Cody Norris, Scott Cash, and Ed Cash (whose Dove Award winning collaboration stable includes Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and Kari Jobe), all while leading worship and coaching fighters back home, in tandem with newfound fatherhood and the loss of his own father in July of 2015.