Early on, it was clear –
Music was the most direct and passionate expression of my heart towards God.
I landed in Nashville, TN at the beginning of the Contemporary Christian Music movement and found a home among that creative community of Christian musicians. While writing songs and performing whenever and wherever possible, I was approached by MYRRH Record label, a new division of WORD Records, and offered a recording contract. I gladly accepted, bringing along my fellow band members. As a metaphor for the work of the Holy Spirit, our drummer proposed the name “Fireworks” and we were off!
Over eight years, through several group incarnations, Fireworks maintained its core emphasis on transparent ministry, meaningful songs and great vocals. We recorded five albums and traveled the country, ministering and performing in churches and Christian music festivals as part of a second wave of the “Jesus Music” movement which had swept America and Europe. (more about Fireworks)
Whether writing, singing, leading worship or teaching, the path has always been about God and music.
After marrying my high school sweetheart, Vickie, and starting a family, I disbanded Fireworks to find a closer-to-home career in the burgeoning Nashville studio session singing industry. There I met fellow vocalists Bonnie Keen and Melodie Tunney. We shared a bond in the Lord, loved our blended sound and began pursuing session work as a group, calling ourselves “First Call,” which was a studio term for the A-list singers who are called first for jobs. I don’t know if that was youthful audacity, confidence or both — but it worked! In addition to our studio work, we were soon developing our vocal-centric sound, writing, recording and touring, bringing along our growing young families.
Over the course of our career and ministry, First Call, in several member configurations, has recorded fifteen artist projects as well as numerous joint collaborations with many of CCM’s premier artists. We have also been honored with three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, multiple Grammy nominations and have toured the country many times over as well as performing internationally. (more about First Call)
Rock or renaissance, pop or hymns, in praise
and worship, the style is not the thing.
What matters is
the intention of the heart towards God,
the submission of the voice and
the collaboration with the Holy Spirit.
Stepping a little further outside the box, I wrote and recorded a solo project, fusing a contemporary sound with my love for Early (Renaissance and Medieval) Music. The result was the eclectic release, “Images of Faith,” which was nominated for Leadership Music’s “Nashville Music Award” for creativity and excellence.
Vickie and I established Images of Faith Ministries through which I traveled nationally and internationally, performing and coaching musicians and artists through workshops and seminars. (more about Images of Faith)
Our ministry became a training ground for me and a sign of things to come as I soon accepted a position as worship leader and creative arts pastor at McLean Bible Church, a thriving Washington, DC area mega church. I’d led worship many times during my career as a Christian performer, but the job of being a worship leader as a member of a church staff was new to me and I had a lot to learn.
Worship leaders are required to function spiritually, creatively, musically, administratively and relationally — all while keeping a listening ear to Heaven.
During my sixteen years at MBC, I advanced to Director of the Worship Department where my staff and I built a vibrant worship community which included a team of dedicated worship leaders and instrumentalists as well as choirs, praise teams, ensembles, special event and outreach groups from a diverse range of cultures.
Worship services at McLean Bible Church
Guest Lecturing at Liberty University Music Department
MBC photos: Peter Rice
Happily for me, I also had great opportunities to train other worship leaders and singers.
Broadening my teaching trajectory, I’m excited to be developing a new platform for coaching worship leaders, teams and singers. Besides sharing through my blog, and other resources, I’ve created a soon-to-be-released online course for aspiring and currently practicing worship leaders.
My course provides practical and spiritual methods worship leaders and teams need to problem-solve and excel in their calling.
I’m thrilled to make this course available and my commitment is to offer the best of what I have learned so far to assist others on their own God-and-music path! (more about the course)
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and I hope to connect with you in the days ahead!
PS. Before you go, I’d love for you to sign up for my email list to receive news and updates on available resources. And I hope you’ll enjoy the Fireworks, First Call and Images of Faith scrapbook galleries below.
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