Music has always been foundational to who I am. From an early age my
parents would sing songs to my brothers and me and always encouraged us to
pursue music. As a young adult, my dad learned to play guitar solely because he
wanted to play some of the songs of one of his all time favorite artists, Keith Green.
The wonderful worship music of the 1980s became his go-to, so when my
brothers and I came along, that is the music we were raised on. I’ll never forget all
our dancing and singing to those iconic, oldies worship songs; there is nothing like enjoying some beautiful music that glorifies God. Thanks to that 80s worship music, and more importantly my parents, I quickly gained a deep appreciation for music and for worship. From a young age, I remember closely watching my parents worship together. It didn’t matter whether it was listening to hymns at our small Mennonite church or jamming out to the likes of Keith Green, Rich Mullins, and Petra, worship was always so real and so powerful in my household. To this day I thank my parents for this upbringing; it has taught me the importance, power, and intimacy of worship.
Throughout my life, I am constantly learning more about God and developing my faith with the help and instruction of leaders, pastors, friends, and of course my parents. As a young believer, I understood, or at least I thought I did, who God was and why we ought to have faith in Him, but one thing that I struggled with was the concept of God’s presence. I had plenty of head knowledge about God, but I didn’t
know what it was to be in relationship with God, to be in His presence. High school
was a weird time for me; there were plenty of ups and downs, but looking back I know
God was working through it all. I like to think that those ups and downs led me to one
of the most important experiences of my life.
It was the summer of my sophomore year of high school, and I was going with
my church’s youth group on a youth retreat to Columbus, Ohio. The week was full
of service, evangelism, fellowship, and worship; it checked all the boxes. It was a fun
trip, my older brother was there, I had a good relationship with my youth pastor, and I
enjoyed all the typical youth group shenanigans. However, the worship that I experienced on that retreat was something different. Every night when we worshipped together, it seemed like I could feel my heart tugging more and more. Then, on the last night we had a longer time set aside for worship, and after getting a couple of songs into the set, I suddenly found myself on my knees, sobbing. I didn’t know what was going on with me or why, but right away my youth pastor, Rick, who was an incredible mentor for me in high-school came to my side. To my surprise, he didn’t ask me what was wrong or ask me what I was doing; he just dropped to his knees next to me and prayed. I immediately realized the Lord was there with me in a way that I had never experienced before. It is so hard to verbalize, but I like to say that in that moment of
pure worship to God, I got to experience just a tiny itsy bitsy taste of what His
glorious presence is like. To this day it was one of the most transformational
moments of my life. Since that experience, I have felt a deep calling to lead worship
with my guitar and my voice, so that God can be praised and we can experience the
depths of his wonderful presence.
Fast forward a few years to 2017 and my freshman year at Grove City College.
I was eager to look for whatever worship opportunities I could find, and by this
time, I had been following in my dad’s footsteps by learning guitar over the past
few years.The Lord provided worship experiences above and far beyond my
expectations. In my four years at Grove, I have had the pleasure of participating in one of Grove City’s chapel worship teams, several All Campus Worship events, and the Warriors For Christ worship group. These incredible opportunities have been some of the biggest blessings of my time at Grove City, and some of the people I have worshipped with over the years have become lifelong friends.
Adam is one of those dear friends that I have had several opportunities to worship and play music with at school. My sophomore year I had gotten to know Adam from several different groups on campus, we were both on the college’s Orientation Board and did a couple coffee houses together. Then in the fall semester of my junior year, Adam brought me along to help him coordinate a 24 hour worship event and to play with a “spontaneous worship group” that he had initiated. Obviously I was excited for the opportunities to worship and I was happy to help my friend, but by no means was I expecting the story that Adam was about to tell me. I vividly remember getting a meal with Adam and just listening to his story from the very beginning. All I could do was sit back and be in awe at how the Lord was already working through these songs. When Adam asked me to be a part of this project, I had to take some time to think and pray about it, because I was in a very busy time of life. After spending some time talking with the Lord and consulting with friends, I felt the Lord wanted me to be a part of this project, and the rest is history.
It has been a pleasure to work on this album, and I am so thankful for everyone that has been a part of the process. I know full well that God is doing big things through this music. In one of the practices that Adam and I had over the summer, we were jamming out to Coming Home, and I had a vivid image in my head of children dancing and singing to this music just like I would do when my dad played his favorite 80s worship songs. It is my hope and prayer that all those who listen to this album will join us as we dance and sing and worship our Almighty God.
"I like to think that those ups and downs led me to one of the most important experiences of my life."
"Every night when we worshipped together, it seemed like I could feel my heart tugging more and more."
"...in that moment of pure worship to God, I got to experience just a tiny itsy bitsy taste of what His glorious presence is like."
"All I could do was sit back and be in awe at how the Lord was already working through these songs."