Bob Hartman of Petra

Bob Hartman playing with Petra

For Christian music fans of many generations, Petra means rock. From the band’s early years in Ft. Wayne—“playing in parks and prisons and coffee houses” to decades of international success on the biggest stages, Petra not only changed with the evolving musical landscape, they defined Christian music. And for all of those years—culminating in last year’s 50th anniversary world tour—Petra was led, on guitar and as the band’s main songwriter and visionary, by Bob Hartman.

So it was with true excitement—as fans and as fellow friends of Israel—that Bishop Paul Lanier and The Fellowship welcomed Bob Hartman to the podcast at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Nashville, TN.

Bob was gracious enough to stop by from his home in Tennessee to discuss his career, the musical legacy that Petra has left for people of faith, and his love for God’s people, Israel.

Listen to this uplifting conversation with Christian musician and songwriter, Petra’s Bob Hartman.

Episode Notes:

One of the pillars of The Fellowship’s work is building bridges between people of faith. So, it is only fitting that Fellowship Board Chair Bishop Paul Lanier sat down to speak with Bob Hartman of Petra.

From Petra’s earliest days, the band has made it their mission to reach out to all people—building bridges of faith through their music. Bob Hartman formed Petra in 1972 in Ft. Wayne, IN, with bandmates Greg Hough, John DeGroff, and Bill Glover. The area’s burgeoning Christian music scene allowed them to grow—playing parks and coffeeshops—and reach out to many with their musical ministry, including in prisons.

Building on Hartman’s musical influences, such as Jimi Hendrix, The James Gang, and The Beatles, Petra invented Christian rock as we still know it. From pastoral 70s albums such as Come and Join Us and Washes Whiter Than to more arena-friendly rock records like Never Say Die, More Power to Ya, and Beyond Belief, Petra evolved with the world’s musical tastes, always staying fresh and always remembering their mission—to reach people of faith.

While the band’s lineup changed through the decades, Bob remained Petra’s guitarist and main songwriter throughout its 50 years of recording and touring, literally reaching millions with his music. His music continues to reach people to this day, so The Fellowship was honored to sit down with Bob Hartman, a musical legend and a friend of Israel.