What does music ministry mean to you?

It's the priviledge of using the gift of music for the care of God's people. It's also a way to communicate the Gospel to those with ears to hear. Music is a bridge that reaches out across generations, ethnicities, and cultures to help unify the Church. We may not all agree on doctrine or ritual, but we sing many of the same songs. The rich heritage of sacred music continues to bless and edify Christians around the globe. It ministers to people.

You mentioned the rich heritage of sacred music. How do you use new music in worship?

Songwriters and composers keep adding to that heritage. Even the oldest hymn was new at one time! We keep expressing our worship in new music because worship cannot be contained. So, we "Sing to the Lord a new song." I like to use a "blended" style of musical worship in our services. This includes new music and hymns. I often arrange the hymns in a more contemporary style. We have some wonderful organists who keep the musical authenticity of the more traditional styles.

Could you give us an example of a typical Sunday set?

Our worship band plays a liturgical service with two preservice songs. A typical Sunday at our blended-style service might look like this.
As We Gather
Stop, Be Still and Listen
Our God
Songs during Holy Communion:
Amazing Grace
Create In Me A Clean Heart
That's Why We Say
Lord, Lord, Lord
Closing Song: Blessed Be Your Name

When you write a song, what ususally comes first? Melody or lyrics?

I find that often it will be an idea or phrase that helps reflect something in my life or something I see in lives around me. The Holy Spirit is constantly guiding us and revealing opportunities for us to help others. It could be in a kind word or an attentive ear. Or, it could be in a bold statement or example. Somebody needs to praise. Someone else needs to grieve. Someone needs spiritual comfort and encouragement. Somebody else needs to express thanks or joy. Music can help in all of these cases. So, reflection on these things often brings fruit in the form of a song.

Many times, as I write the words, a melody will come to mind almost at the same time. It needs to complement the lyric, flowing with the rhythm of the words. As the song takes shape, the intrumentation and arrangement form as well. Then, it's the challenge of taking what's in my mind and getting it into musical notation and arrangement. That's a whole other adventure!

What else do you do as a Minister of Music?

I'm also teaching music classes in our Early Learning Center. Classes go from our 2-Year-Old program through Pre-Kindergarten. I feel so privileged to work with these young children, helping to introduce them to the wonderful world of music. They are eager to learn, and I know music is something that will be with them the rest of their lives. I also use the methods of Carl Orff in helping the children express music through singing and movement.

Other groups I lead include our Youth Praise Band, Men's Quartet, and Brass Quartet. I also co-lead our Children's Choirs. Each of these groups bless me as much as they are a blessing for those involved. It's amazing to witness the growth God brings to people through music, and I am so proud of each of the individuals who step out of their comfort zone to give back to the Lord and the congregation with the use of their talent, at whatever level they may be. It's a God thing . . . and it's so beautiful to see.