Nathan asked in a previous post why and how I got started in leading worship. It’s quite the tale. So sit back, relax, reach for your chai latte (hands off mine) and enjoy.
The story starts back in the winter of 2002. I had been attending a youth group at Byron Community Church, my home church for the first 3 years of my Christian walk. At home I had been writing some worship songs that I used in my personal devotion time, and at church was playing guitar for some of the youth worship teams. In February of 2002 the youth group went to a retreat at Muskoka Baptist Conference called “SnoCamp.” That year, they held a talent show on the Saturday morning as one of the activities. I decided to enter and played a song I had written earlier that week (and finished the night before) called “All I Need.”
And all that I need is your love
For you I live, I will live for you Jesus
Nothing compares to your love
More than anything else I want to be with you
To be with you, Jesus.”
The song had a sweet rap part in the bridge, which was the part I had written the night before. Anyways, I played that song during the talent show, and amazingly I won the contest. They offered me the opportunity to play the song that evening during the worship time. The band leading that week were friends of mine from our church, and a couple members agreed to play along with me. So, we put the words up on PowerPoint (I still used that back then… I didn’t convert until this year) and in front of over 400 people, I had my first opportunity at leading worship. It was an incredible experience, and at that moment I knew that my purpose was to use music to help people connect with God.
Throughout the next couple years I began to lead worship at youth group and during the Sunday adult services. When I went to school at Emmanuel Bible College, I found myself under the wing of an incredibly talented worship leader, Travis Doucette. I learned a lot about leading the congregation rather than simply playing songs for them. Even lessons as simple as choosing keys that the congregation can sing, and making sure that I take the time to teach new songs properly.
The next year I was asked to be the leader of the traveling worship team, “Living Stones.” It was composed of 8 members, plus a staff leader. We traveled all over Ontario leading for youth groups and congregations. That was a great introduction into leading a team of people for a prolonged period of time.
As I left EBC, I focused most of my musical experience on my band, My New Obsession. We were a 4 piece worship band from London and Kitchener. We played gigs across Ontario as well, at churches, youth groups, outdoor festivals, etc. We released a CD (which can be bought from iTunes!) called “About A Fallen World.” During my time with MNO, I struggled with why I was doing music. I was also struggling in my faith, and really just wanted to do music to make a living. I wanted to play bars, write secular songs, and just give up on the Christian music scene. We eventually took a break as I played for Hello Kelly, a pop-rock band from Orangeville, Ontario.
It took me a long while to get back into leading worship. I led a bit at my church in the time I was with HK, but nothing too regular until My New Obsession got back together in the summer of ‘06. Then in the winter of 2007, I started attending a church in London and got involved in the music team again. However, just over a month in I got a call from Trinity Community Church asking to interview me about a position to lead their music team.
I was somewhat hesitant at first, even though I had made the decision shortly before that I wanted to go back to school so I could still get involved in ministry. After a few interviews, some intense winter driving (that seems to be coming back in full force this week. Thanks mother nature), and some intense prayer I made the decision to join the Trinity team. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.
And now, continuing where I left off with Trinity, I am the Associate Director of Music at Connexus Community Church. A year and a bit ago had you asked me if I would go back into ministry and leading worship, I would have said probably not. However, looking at where I’ve been led over the last year, I have to say that this is exactly where God wants me.
And I couldn’t be happier about it.