Well, the rumors are no longer rumors:

After 22 years and more than 2000 shows, newsboys frontman Peter Furler will no longer front the band in concert. Michael Tait will be touring with the band as lead singer with Peter making special appearances throughout the year.

Peter will continue with the band and his trademark songwriting and production will remain as he focuses his professional career toward future newsboys recordings.

Michael has been on the road with the band over the past weeks working alongside Peter in what has been a positive and enjoyable experience for both parties. It has been a graceful process that both Peter and Michael have worked through as they prepare to make the change in the coming weeks.

Peter states, “newsboys to me has always been a mission, and I entrust Mike, Jeff, Jody and Duncan to continue all that is in store for us as a band. I’m looking forward to focusing on the band’s studio career and spending time in my own bed after many years in a tour bus and hundreds of thousands of miles on the road.”

Wes Campbell, newsboys manager, explains, “Whilst the decision to replace Peter on the road was a painstaking one, when the idea of dc Talk vocalist Michael Tait was presented, it was a no-brainer to all of us. No one can replace Peter, but we know Michael will bring a new attitude, energy and vocal style that will thrill our audience. To be able to continue a world class show and still have Peter behind the scenes guiding the career and making of newsboys music is a huge opportunity for all of us. It’s amazing that after many years of touring with dc Talk in the 1990’s, that in 2009 our paths would cross once again. It’s an exciting time for all of us.”…

More… (source)

I guess it will be interesting to see in the future. My wife and I have tickets for their show next month (with William) so we’ll see then. It’s a bit of a strange thing, though, to get the news in the middle of their tour. That said, I like Michael Tait, and I’m sure he’ll do a good job in the end.

By the way, if you’ve heard the new Newsboys song “In the Hands of God”, you may have already heard Michael Tait contributing to the band. Tait (and Jamie Rowe of Guardian) provided the background vocals for the album.