Cole Dodd said he didn't necessarily start out to form a Christian rock group.
Two years ago, he and members of the youth group at First Baptist Church of Riverview, where Dodd was the pastor, started playing music, and soon ThisNewHeart was born.
"We started playing more and more, and the band really started taking off," said Dodd, 28.
Choosing the group's name was easy.
"We believe when we become Christians we get a new heart, a new way of life and a new outlook," Dodd said.
The band members have grown as Christians and musicians and are now planning to produce their first worship album, he said.
Band members are bonded by a love of music and their faith, said keyboard player Jon Williams, 23.
"[We] sing for the glory of God," he said. "We are inspired to sing by a love of Jesus."
Dodd is now worship and youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Midway, where the five-member band which still includes three founders – practice Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The band's biggest challenge right now is coming up with the $12,000 it needs to record an album.
So far, they've raised about $1,000 from appeals to friends and family, on Facebook and www.kickstarter.com. They have some concerts planned they hope will bring in more cash.
The album will include classics and original music. Band members typically collaborate on their original music, Williams said.
ThisNewHeart's next concert is 6 p.m. Friday at Dodd's church, 2902 Midway Road. There's no admission charge, but donations will be accepted.
The band is also scheduled to play for a Nov. 12 concert featuring Big Daddy Weave and Aaron Shust at the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds.
The group was hoping to hit the recording studio in November. That might get pushed back since fundraising has been slow, but Dodd believes the band will eventually hit its goal.
"We do it on faith," he said. "Faith, and a lot of prayer."