Worship, Lead, Grow
This blog is about a journey we are all on. It’s my experiences, ideas, passions, victories and failures as a Worship Pastor, Husband, Christian and artist. My hope is to encourage and motivate those on the same journey and hopefully have some fun along the way.
Every Journey is Unique
When I was in high school I made the decision that I wanted to pursue full time vocational ministry, specifically in the area of worship arts. I was given advice on which direction to take to get there by pastors, worship pastors and youth pastors and thought I had it all planned out. I decided that after high school I would go to North Central University and major in business administration and minor in Worship leadership. In the 4 years I expected to be there I imagined I would meet my future wife and by the time I graduated be ready to get married and start my life in ministry. Well…. That’s not exactly how it went.
I did attend North Central University in Minneapolis MN and really loved the school and all the friends I made there. In fact, one of the friends I made in the first few weeks of school also works with me at the church I am at now! I quickly got involved in music and remember staying up late with guys on my floor playing guitar and jamming. Some of the advice I received when I was considering going in to ministry was to pursue a business degree as a major just in case the whole “ministry” idea didn’t work out. This was really good advice and in most cases I would think that it’s a great idea, but I couldn’t do it. I struggled through a whole year of business classes barely making it through. I don’t understand all that business stuff nor am I energized by it like most of my classmates were. I really felt like I had a genuine call to worship ministry and decided after my first year of college in the freezing cold city of Minneapolis I would head south to Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas TX.
I chose to go to Christ for the Nations because they had a phenomenal worship program and it only took 2 years to graduate. That seemed like a way better solution than 4 to me. My time in Dallas was difficult but valuable. It formed me spiritually and gave me some valuable insight into church and ministry. I could probably write a whole post on just my time there! After my time in Texas I packed my bags and headed to Springfield MO to work at my Uncles church as a very part time Worship leader/ Youth leader.
Since the church wasn’t able to pay me full time I also worked outside the church. I worked as a physical therapy technician at a physical therapy clinic. That was a fun job but not exactly ministry. I had my foot in the door of a church and figured that it would lead to something more full-time in the near future. As I would tell people my goals for full time ministry, many times I was met with the advice that it’s almost impossible to find a church to pay you full time to be a worship pastor. This of course discouraged me but there was something inside me that urged me to keep pressing forward.
After about 7 months of living and working in Springfield I got a call from a friend of mine from North Central. He was a senior the year I was a freshman and had ended up in Colorado Springs working at a church as a youth pastor. He asked me if I would be interested in a youth/worship internship at his church. It didn’t take me too much time to decide that I wanted to do it! Again I packed my bags and headed to beautiful Colorado Springs!
I committed to a year internship at the church and then my situation would be evaluated and I would possibly be able to join the paid staff. I wasn’t paid for my internship but I was given free room and board from families in the church that volunteered to let me live in their homes. I got lucky and all the wives were great cooks!! The time I spent in Colorado was invaluable. I learned more in that year than I did in all my formal education combined! I was blessed to be mentored by some great leaders and to this day use lessons I’ve learned from experiences of that year. As the year came to and end the church was not able to bring me on as staff but did offer to continue working at providing me a place to live if I wanted to stay. I decided to go back to Springfield and continue working at my Uncles church in hopes of something happening to where I could be there full time.
The summer I left Colorado was the summer that if I had stayed at North Central I would have graduated that spring. Many of my friends did graduate that spring and went out to work at churches across the country. I became so discouraged that after all this time and work I have done I was still not making a living at what I thought God was calling me to. I don’t know why I didn’t give up but my call to ministry felt so strong that I just couldn’t walk away.
After a few months back in Springfield I met a beautiful girl who would eventually become my wife! I decide it was time for me to get a job that could support a wife before I got married. I ended up getting a job at a church, but not as a worship pastor, but as a graphic designer. I picked up the skill of graphic design when I lived in Colorado. I read books and watched tutorials on YouTube and became pretty proficient at design. The church was about 3000 people and provided a steady job that I actually really did enjoy. I got married the summer of 2008 and continued working as a designer. I continued volunteering on a worship team and was being given more leadership but still on a volunteer basis.
After Natalie and I had been married for a little over a year, I received a call I had been waiting for, for a long time. I got a call from a pastor in Kansas who was looking for a worship pastor. The pastor was actually Natalie’s uncle and that was how the connection was made. I jumped at the opportunity to go interview, and to make a long story short, I got the Job! That was it, my dream was being fulfilled.
I tell this story to be an encouragement to anyone who may be pursuing a life in vocational ministry. Don’t give up! The skills and experience I learned over the years of chasing my calling were ultimately what gave me the skills and qualifications to get the job I have now.
As I look back I can see exactly why God took me on such an unconventional journey to get to where I am at now. I try to remember that as I continue to chase God’s will for my life and keep in mind that every season has a purpose. Every journey is different so hang on and enjoy the adventure!