I’ve always loved music. For as long as I can remember, I have listened to all different genres and types, from hip hop to metal, classical to jazz, rock to pop. Music has always spoken to me in ways that other art forms have not, from the beauty of the music to the artistry of the lyrics. When I had an opportunity to begin making music in my middle school’s concert band, I jumped at the chance. Although my parents weren’t big fans, I decided that percussion would be my passion. My love of music and being able to play along really shaped me in my formative years. Like many church kids, I spent many hours playing away to the likes of the Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, and of course, dcTalk. Being able to express my artistic passions at the same time that I was able to hear lyrics speaking to Biblical themes of hope, love, and grace through the difficult times (as well as an uncanny love for Captain Crunch), shaped my worldview in a powerful way.
In college, I was amazingly lucky to meet Annie, whose love of music rivaled and surpassed mine. As our relationship grew, music stood as one of the defining pillars of our relationship. However, for much of the early portion of our dating and married life, our musical talents were being used in different areas. I was in a band traveling locally, while Annie was leading the choir at her church. We both were able to worship in unique venues, and it really gave us an early opportunity as a family to celebrate what worship means in different ways. My music was not overtly spiritual, but I celebrated the beauty of Christ with lyrics and music that gave me an opportunity to engage with individuals that would likely not set foot inside a church. Annie’s music was quintessentially worship, but she has such a gift for leading people through her heartfelt worship style that extends beyond song lyrics.
My worship mantra really centers around the idea that “all heaven and all creation sing.”
We moved to Winston-Salem in 2008. As our family took shape, we brought those different perspectives on what it means to worship to Calvary. We both had an incredible opportunity to join the worship team for the Elevate service and, for the first time, we were able to serve together on a team that celebrated both of our passions: dynamic music and lifestyle worship. For 3 years, we were able to share that sweet time of serving together in that capacity until 2011, when we were incredibly blessed with our first daughter, Amerys. As our parenting responsibilities began, we had to give up serving together for a season in order to do what was right for our family. We were given a new reason to sing at that point, but as all parents know, there were songs of joy and praise as well as songs of distress and longing and suffering. As our family has continued to grow with our daughters Delaney and Keira, each moment in our lives, both good and bad, is surrounded by songs of worship.
Now as Annie leads our Exalt middle school choir, we still have the opportunity as a family to serve together. There are many rewarding aspects to our work in this area, but what’s so incredible is not just listening to our daughters sing those same songs at home when Annie is working, but also watching them ask questions in those moments of worship as they begin to see the same beauty in all of music that Annie and I celebrate.
For me personally, I’ve grown to appreciate the opportunity to celebrate God’s work in our lives in many different areas, particularly in different styles of music and how I respond. My worship mantra really centers around the idea that “all heaven and all creation sing.” I can enjoy many different musical styles while keeping my heart centered on Christ. In that way, I can find the same heart of worship in “What a Beautiful Name” as I can in “Fix You”, and both songs honestly move me to tears. What’s important, though, is understanding that God is the center of it all, the reason that any music is possible. When I “lift my eyes” in that way, God’s beauty is portrayed in so many ways, and I can only worship Him.