Colton Dixon says he didn’t realize he had a hit song when he recorded Build a Boat, which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian radio chart and more than 45 weeks on the Hot Christian Songs chart, where it has yet to exit.
Dixon only knew he personally enjoyed it.
“God has just used this song,” he told Christian Headlines.
Build a Boat was Dixon’s first chart-topping song on Billboard’s Christian AC Airplay chart. Inspired by the story of Noah, it encourages Christians to walk through life with faith even when the situation seems dire. (“I will build a boat in the sand where they say it never rains.”)
It’s included on Dixon’s new EP, Canvas, which releases on April 28. The EP also includes a collaboration on the song with award-winning country music singer Gabby Barrett.
Dixon says he enjoys learning how fans have connected with the song. He is currently on tour.
“When that song comes to our setlist, it's like we have a front-row seat into what God has been doing and is doing in their lives,” Dixon told Christian Headlines. “And it is just remarkable. A lot of people coming out to the shows, this song was their anthem in a dry season. It might still be. And it's just so fun to sing with them, to believe with them during these shows. But to me, that's the coolest part about what I do is seeing how God somehow uses me -- a non-qualified person and uses a song to reach people. It's amazing.”
The song even has ministered to Dixon himself, he says.
“These last three years have been hard terrain. It's just been difficult to navigate ... [and] hard to know what God wants me to do — or what God wants me to say or not to say. ... So I think we all related to that side of the Build a Boat lyric. It's like, ‘Man, I feel like I've been wandering in a desert.’”
The story of Noah, Dixon said, is one of obedience.
“We get caught up in the picture of Noah's Ark and the animals and all that stuff,” Dixon said. “But it says that Noah was obedient. He did everything exactly as God commanded Him to. … It just really challenged me in my faith to just trust God when He asks me to do something, even when it looks crazy. I know firsthand that there's going to be a crazy reward waiting on the other side of that request from Him. We just have to trust. It just comes down to having faith.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.