Summarized: I have been serving in music ministry since 2009, and regularly leading worship since 2010. I love the presence of the Lord and the working of His Spirit during sincere worship, recognizing that music is a resource for worship and ministry. My wife and I love to lead worship together. We both can lead and harmonize on vocals. My wife Kelry plays hand drums and I play piano/keyboard and saxophone.
As a Worship Leader, my desire is to help lead sincerity of worship, worship in Spirit and in truth. Some entertainment can be permissive or even edifying, but entertainment is far from my goal when it comes to worship services. Music is meant to be for God's glory, including for exhortation, renewing the mind, teaching, prayer, praise and worship. My desire is to lead people to that place of abandonment unto God, experiencing His holy presence and all that comes with it, as He consumes a holy acceptable sacrifice. Worship is a life surrendered to God, but music can be a great resource to express sincere praise and worship, drawing near to God. I am cooperative and able to minister within a variety of contexts, but ministries that genuinely want the leading of the Holy Spirit unto worship will more greatly appreciate God's grace upon me.
I believe God gives His appointed leader the right vision for leading the ministry. In 1 Corinthians 14 we see part of an expected picture of when unbelievers come to a holy orderly gathering of believers, such as at verses 24-25: But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
A place that represents the Lord well is a place where the Lord is welcomed to have His way with cooperation from leadership. This seems to be at odds against assuming a modern seeker-sensitive model, in giving preeminence to carnal desires above the fear of the Lord. The flesh is contrary to the Spirit. Often in such circles, surrendering all of one's life to Jesus according to truth is not preached. Ministries using the seeker sensitive method still have sheep come through the doors, but as young sheep seeing the will of an organization that professes to come in His name focus on bringing in and submitting to the comforts of goats instills a goat mindset vs that of sheep following the Shepherd. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice, and follow Him. There are certainly times that sheep resist before they realize they are sheep (and once they know), but ministry by the Holy Spirit transforms into the likeness of Jesus, into godliness. When we proclaim to come in the name of Jesus, that He is our Lord/Master, ministry should be through Him and honor His Name. Sheep will want the real thing. Those who are born-again inwardly long for the real thing, and ideally are renewed to have more momentum in walking in the Spirit than in the flesh. All of this written, this is part of why I believe a priority of music ministry is to exemplify sincere worship, as God is intentionally fully welcome to have His way. I have been blessed to see healing, miracles, deliverances and baptisms of the Holy Spirit during music ministry in congregations and other outlets of ministry, both with and without someone speaking on a microphone to what God is doing. The Holy Spirit confirms truth and glorifies the Son. I believe there are relevant times for other forms of music ministry, but that if we call it worship, it should be so. Worship ministry sets the tone for pointing to what we are about; Ideally being about Him, loving and following Him, about His presence, His glory, who we are here to receive from... Or pick the relevant antithesis. Ideally, we are sensitive to how God wants us to minister to all, including the seeker, vs. what the carnal nature finds comfort in.
In facilitation of worship teams, I like to include weekly teachings to help us stay focused and grow in the holy calling of music ministry. Regarding team members, the ones released to minister are ideally those who want to follow God with all their hearts (they want to be filled with His Spirit; they want to be close to Him in their affections; they desire Him more than the world). Otherwise, how can they set the example in leading worship, especially off of the platform? I word it particularly to say "they want to follow" rather than that they do it perfectly. Yes God can use anyone, but outward works are not the goal, knowing God is. Who we allow to minister from the platform in many cases sets the example to the people to say, "here is what a life in God's hands looks like". Again, if "they want to follow", God's grace truly has more room for transformation. People released to minister are also given authority in what is loosed (right or wrong), accountable to the Lord, and positioned for relevant warfare. Sincerity of worship will always result in a greater exemplification of Christ than talent not in God's hands.
I believe in praying about songs, which He is faithful to direct. I love seeing God orchestrate the songs with the message without having to hear from the pastor or speaker about the topic. I do also know the blessing of cooperation when directed by the pastor in the songs. God knows what He wants to do for who He knows is coming, and how. Regarding styles of music, I just love what God is backing, whether it's gospel, hymns, contemporary, etc. Often music ministry is deliberately formulated to meet people at a soulish level, which isn't always bad since we all have unique characters, but we should be careful that it's not just nostalgic or merely pleasing musically with how a person currently identifies themselves. I love songs that give liberty to worship from the inside, out. The Holy Spirit is in the business of glorifying Jesus, so I want to walk in agreement with Him. I like to help musicians learn music well enough to be able to be more spontaneously led. I believe in preparing in excellence so we are more ready to flow, but not to press for how we want things to happen. I believe worship is more powerful when it is organic, from the heart in the moment, and not overly pre-produced, limiting a sincere sound of worship, whether in notes, rhythms, order, etc. I believe the Lord gives liberty amongst worshipers to inspire a new song, and love those moments where the congregations welcomes such worship. When given liberty, the Lord often will speak to me things to speak during worship.
I desire to help the body of Christ grow in sincere worship, and grow into what God wants music ministry to look like. He takes us from glory to glory. I believe there is a greater outpouring to move forward into than we've heard about from honorable revivals/outpourings of the past.
Summary of Music Qualifications: I began music training at an early age and have grown in experience with various instruments and ensembles, and also studied under a Music Major program in college. I play and have taught the saxophones, flute, piano/keys, and vocals. I am very familiar with chord theory, sight reading, transposing, composing, and tasteful instrumentation to acquire various sounds as an ensemble (relevant for coordinating music teams). Ensemble experience includes: wind ensembles, winds and string ensembles, leading various small ensembles, conducting a large marching band (drum major), jazz ensembles, leading worship teams of various sizes (church and evangelistically), coordinating wedding musicians, and solo work. My wife and I are capable of singing in Spanish though she is more proficient in Spanish. Regarding genre styles, I had a lot of experience in the B.C. days of most genres known to American culture (up to then) in playing, writing and recording (Rock, Soft Rock, Folk, Country, Rap, Metal (less), R&B, Funk, Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Hip-Hop, Trip-Hop, Latin, Classical, etc), but now, when the Lord is in it, and He wills it, that’s where I want to be, no matter what the expression of worship by His Spirit. At my latest position, the diversity of the church also had an influence upon the music to range from hymns, to contemporary Christian rock, to older worship songs, to contemporary gospel. In the Greater Milwaukee area, my wife and I have served musically with organizations like the BGEA, NCF, ECFA, BASICS, TBN (Mayville/Milwaukee), a coalition of hispanic ministries, and the Christian Courier. For more on what I currently am involved with musically, you can explore this website (serviceofsong.com)
Music Awards: WNHS: Varsity Band Outstanding Musician Award 98’-99’, Woody Herman Jazz Award 98’-99’, Louis Armstrong Jazz Awards 00’-01’ & 01’-02’, John Philip Sousa Band Award 01’-02’; Marquette University’s 33rd Jazz Invitational “Best Soloist of the Day” 02’; Carroll University’s “Laura Stroud Bartsch Music Award” 04’