They may be at the top of the Christian charts now, but when Building 429 first began playing, the band wasn't always welcome.

"When we started our career, churches didn't want a rock band," says lead vocalist Jason Roy. "We played secular clubs all the time."

In addition to Roy, other members of Building 429 are Michael Anderson, Aaron Branch and Jesse Garcia. The band will perform Dec. 13 at First Baptist Church in Richmond Hill as part of its "I Believe" tour with opening act Lindsay McCaul.

The Gospel Music Association's 2005 New Artist of the Year, Building 429 takes its name from Ephesians 4:29:

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

The band was started in 1999 when Roy and bassist Scotty Beshears met in North Carolina. Veterans of other bands, the two teamed up with drummer Christian Fuhrer to form Building 429.

The three toured throughout 2000, selling more than 3,000 copies of their first, self-titled CD. Their songs are pop/rock with Christian lyrics.

In 2002, the band released an EP, "Preflight," followed by a full-length album, "Flight." In 2003, Building 429 joined rock worship band Sonicflood on tour, which gave them national exposure, leading to a record deal.

"Glory Defined" was Building 429's first national single, and it became a No. 1 hit on Christian radio. In 2005, the band received four Dove Award nominations and was honored as New Artist of the Year by the Gospel Music Association.

In 2013, Building 429 released "We Won't Be Shaken," the band's eighth studio album. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart.

When the band began, Roy was just 19.

"I had a band before this that was pretty successful," he says. "It got to the point that the other band members didn't to want to travel full-time.

"We'd spent years touring the Southeast. I was just trying to find somebody else who wanted to do what I wanted to do. I was asking them, 'How would you like to play 150 times a year and not get paid?'"

Roy's interest in music is lifelong.

"I'm probably the least talented in a long line of more talented players," he says. "My mom and her sisters are all piano players.

"My grandfather still goes out and plays shows with a Southern gospel group," Roy says. "I grew up in church singing, and it was something I loved."

Although people tried to tell Roy there was no future in music, he realized in college that it was his calling.

"People who really make a living in music are like one in a million," he says. "What's hard for people to understand is that I couldn't do anything else.

"I tried to get my mind off music and it didn't work. I was trying to be an electrical engineer and although I was smart enough, I didn't have a passion for it at all.

"I had this moment where I said, 'I'm spending a lot of money for something I'm probably not going to use,'" Roy says. "There comes a moment where you have to decide on a career or something you really want."

Roy decided to go all in for music.

"You've got to be willing to chase it," he says. "God gave me a gift. I was supposed to be balancing chemical equations and I was writing songs."

The band has always written its own music.

"We have seven records out and we've been pretty successful at it," Roy says. "We find new ways to approach Christian songs."

The idea behind the band's hit song, "Where I Belong," came from a real-life incident. Roy is the worship pastor at his church and had a group meeting at his house.

"One woman had cancer and her prognosis was not good," Roy says. "She had three children and a husband she was expecting to leave behind soon.

"One night, she said, 'Jesus, if you're real, just let me know.' She was saying you can take everything else, just give me Jesus. It caught me off guard."

After thinking about the incident, Roy wrote "Where I Belong."

"Inspiration comes from everywhere," he says. "I believe the catalyst is suffering and struggle.

"You look back through the history of pop music and soul and watch movies about the artists. The reason they become icons is because they are looking for something more.

"Great pain caused them to rise up," Roy says. "A lot of people when they experience frustration, their first reaction is to lay down and wallow in it. As an artist, I never had that in me."

When things don't go right or aren't fair, Roy says many people say, "It's just my luck."

"I have fight in me that says, 'Get up, boy,'" he says. "I think it was born out of athletics.

"I was a basketball player and at the time, I was pretty good at it," Roy says. "I just took that mantra and put it into music."

Roy has never been tempted to play secular music.

"There's been times when I've been frustrated by some of the parameters that come with Christian music," he says. "But I've been called to do this.

"You have to get in it and work hard and fair and try and fail over and over again," Roy says. "I was never called to the mainstream at all. This is just something that has been a priority to me."

In Richmond Hill, Building 429 will play a variety of music.

"We'll do a lot of Christmas songs and a lot of our songs that they know and love, as well," Roy says. "The church choir will take part in the show, which will be cool.

"It's going to be an interesting juxtaposition of a rock band with a classical choir," he says. "We don't really know what's going to happen."