I am very grateful for the addition of two staff members to the team I get to lead. Last month, Ryan Devenney joined the team as the Director of Music and Media. He continues to kill it in the areas of graphic design, leading serve teams, and providing overall direction to the future of 801South. Also, Nick Hunter joined our team as the Worship Director earlier this month.
The story of how Nick was led to 801South is fantastic!
We had been contracting worship leaders from around the area for about six months while without a worship director on staff. Prior to contracting each worship leader, I would view some form of an online portfolio for him or her, because I would not allow just anyone with a guitar to lead our crowd in worship. I had to be confident that each leader had a certain level of competency and would do an excellent job leading worship.
There was one person, however, who I did not audition. Instead, I went off of a recommendation from another pastor on staff.
Pastor Chuck Wilson officiated a funeral for a longterm member of Matthews United Methodist Church last fall. The funeral featured a solo by the newly married grandson-in-law of the church member whose life was being celebrated. Following the service, Pastor Chuck asked him for his contact information and later passed the info to me suggesting that I get in touch with him.
I met Nick for coffee one afternoon and loved hearing his story, as well as learning his heart for people. His experience in leading worship and his love for reaching people convinced me to take a chance. Without ever hearing him sing or play a note, I scheduled him to lead worship on an upcoming Sunday.
I’ll never forget the morning when Nick first led worship at 801South. He came in early, got to know the rest of the volunteers serving on the music team that morning, and plugged in so that rehearsal could begin. I was speaking to one of the volunteers serving on the production team as the band started rehearsing their first song. At hearing the first note out of his mouth, I stopped the conversation and immediately turned my head to make sure that what I was hearing was actually coming from the platform. I could not believe the quality of the tone and the pitch of the voice I was hearing. I was in awe.
Over the weeks and months that followed, we moved from contracting Nick once a month to twice a month. Every time Nick would lead worship, at least one person would say something to the effect of, “I don’t know if I get a vote, but if I do, I vote for him!” Eventually I was convinced that God had led Nick to 801South and I was compelled to offer him a position on staff. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made yet.
Not only has Nick been a great addition to the team, but we get a double blessing with his wife, Alex. She has an incredibly sweet demeanor, exhibiting both a servants heart and a passion for people similar to Nick. Alex’s parents, Stan and Debbie, also join us in worship on most Sundays and even help with tearing down the equipment.
Nick’s servant leadership as well as his ability to provide direction and constructive correction to the music team is incredible. The way that he is able to relate with every person on the production team and make others feel included inspires me.
If you have not had the chance to see and hear Nick in action, I invite you to come experience worship on a Sunday in the near future. You won’t be disappointed!