Written by Ben Johnson, HeartSong Orange Team Band Leader
Coming into my freshman year at Cedarville, I knew I wanted to keep doing music in some capacity but wasn’t sure what all my options were. I decided to audition for HeartSong, not knowing much about what they actually did beyond music, and I got a spot on one of the teams to play bass. That year we spent time learning and memorizing a whole playlist of songs. Each semester we traveled to a handful of youth camps and churches on the weekends to serve as the worship band and to spend time connecting with those at the church or camp. Each weekend out, my perspective began to shift as I learned from those on my team. More than just being a talented worship band, HeartSong was concerned with communicating the livable reality of the Gospel to each person we encountered on campus and the road.
Unfortunately, that was the year of COVID, so the HeartSong teams were unable to travel during the summer. Instead, the Lord used the time I was spending at home to really work on my heart. Mainly, He grew in me a genuine desire to know Him through His Word.
Fast forward to now. This is my third year serving on HeartSong, and I have the absolute joy and privilege of leading the Orange team (Caleb, Sarah, Lincoln, Mitchell, Carissa, Paul, Chayton). They have each served incredibly well this year. We’ve spent many many hours rehearsing music, setting up equipment, learning from HeartSong training sessions, and traveling to and from camps and churches – all for the underlying goal of sharing the Gospel. After each weekend out, it is sweet to reflect as a team on the ways the Lord worked in and through us. It’s both encouraging and challenging to me to see the ways each of them are walking in faithful obedience to the Lord.
While they have each worked diligently to hone their craft, it is often the specific encouragement about character qualities that has a more lasting impact. Last night we took a few hours around a bonfire to go around the circle specifically encouraging each person. Some common themes that kept coming up were:
- delight in the Word that flows from a desire to know God
- compassion that flows from witnessing firsthand the kindness and mercy of the LORD
- humility that flows from satisfaction in the approval of God rather than man
- vulnerability that flows from a deep confidence in Christ’s righteousness
- joy that flows from a grateful heart for the LORD’s many good gifts
- genuineness that flows from an understanding that people are a gift from God
- careful speech that flows from a desire to build others up
I always tell people, my greatest joy as a team leader is being able to watch the Lord conform people more into the image of Christ. A team leader from last year encouraged me to study Colossians 1:28-29 to prepare for summer tour:
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
The Lord has used that passage to help reorder my priorities in ministry. More than anything else, it is my desire to work diligently to live out the reality of the Gospel – warning when necessary and teaching when necessary – and that others would mature in Christlikeness as a result. Over the last few years of serving with HeartSong, it has been my experience that when this first thing is first, everything else works itself out according to the Lord’s perfect will.
HeartSong is truly a unique ministry that allows us to impress from a distance but impact up close. We have worked hard this year to prepare for ministry this summer on the Transformed Tour, and it is our prayer that the Lord would use us to point others to the actual life-changing hope of the Gospel.
We hope to see you on the road! If you haven’t already done so, please register for a city near you!