I was once told that a life is only well lived, when Christ is lived through it. I find it personally hard to write about myself in this type of fashion because really my heart’s desire is that my life does not reflect Marshall but rather Christ. What He has done and is doing, through, in, amongst and even despite my best efforts. With that said, I will try to recap the journey He has placed me on in the following short paragraphs.
I grew up in a small farming community outside of Saskatoon. Being born into a family with a strong faith and desire to serve the Lord, I quickly was integrated into a life that revolved around church activity. With my mother being the major musical influence as a kid, I was given the opportunity to develop my musical gifting and serve in multiple areas of the church. At the age of 13 I was handed my first guitar, I learnt a few chords and started a youth worship band. We were awful. But God was good and our little conservative church was very gracious, and after time we got better. I am very thankful for the opportunity that church gave me to develop not only my skills but also my heart for worship and the local church. It was the church I was dedicated in, found Jesus in and was baptized. This is where God released me towards ministry.
After high school, I enrolled at Briercrest College. Unaware of what I was supposed to do with my life vocationally, I figured I would spend a year there and trust God would open some doors. Well, within the first 2 weeks of school I changed my major 3 times. Frustrated, confused and oblivious to God’s plan at that moment, I found myself walking down the Worship Arts wing of the school and sat down with my Bible open on my lap. As I sat there, I heard the multiple practice rooms where people were playing different instruments and singing and that’s where it all clicked. My bible was open to Romans 12, which is one of my life verses, which says “Therefore I urge you in view of God’s mercy to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will. His good, pleasing and perfect will.” That was the moment my life changed! That’s when I found my calling, my purpose and my passion to seek God through music. I sat there in tears praying “God if this is who you want me to be. Then I’ll be it.” This was the moment when God called me to Worship.
I spent 2 years in college before I was asked to become an intern at Cornerstone church in Saskatoon. As I spent that year under Lorne Gieck, the Worship Pastor, he showed me the ropes of what a season of worship ministry looked like. I got to sit in as the church debated and struggled with Conference issues and be a fly on the wall when the church had to walk through pastoral discipline and restoration. This was the year God instilled in my heart for Pastoral Ministry.
I spent another year continuing schooling and pursing ministry in Kelowna. At that time, I was working part time leading worship for Trinity Baptist’s youth and young adult’s gatherings. After I finished my BA in Music and Worship from Briercrest, I moved to Kelowna to pursue an Associate Pastor position at Sunridge Community Church. Being a small church with big dreams of expansion, I found after a year of financial difficulties within the church, I was out of a position. Through that experience I recognized that my passion for Worship and ministry only got stronger, yet, God wanted to hone in by pruning away. I have a love/hate relationship with John 15, because as much as I need pruning it comes with pain. I remember hearing from God say, “I’m pulling you out of ministry to teach you how to minister.” This is where God pruned.
With having spent the majority of my summers at Bible Camps, I became aware of the much needed love and attention the youth and young adult communities crave and began seeking out opportunities where I can help influence a generation that was being stretched in every which way by mass media, cultural pressures and the various other vices out there. Through the years, I have been blessed to have some amazing mentors in my life. One in particular, Ed, encouraged me to seek out opportunities to mentor others. To mentor future mentors. With that, I co-created “The Furnace” which had the sole purpose to mentor, train and release young worshippers, musicians and worship leaders. Through the program we gathered 6 individuals with various levels of gifting, spheres of influence and lifestyles and brought them under a similar banner of “Worship Culture”. How do we develop it? How do we grow in it? And what does God say about it? After doing life with them for 8 months, we had a releasing time where we now see the fruits of them furthering their passions for music and worship and doing even greater things then we even imagined. The Furnace was where God called me to Mentorship.
After Sunridge, I spent over 2 years working for Disney where I was able to experience the ups and down of corporate, business side of life. I was given the opportunity to do ministry on the side and serve the local churches of Kelowna by working with their teams, partnering with their pastors and lead their rooms in worship. I am blessed to be able to sit in various service planning rooms with some great minds and creative leads and glean off of them for the past few years as we do ministry together. I’ve been able to sit down and write music with some amazing song writers and musicians. And some of my greatest joys come from opening up and allowing God to take my offerings and worship that is so small and bless so many. This is where God builds my passion for creativity.
Two summers ago I spent a month down at Bethel Church in Redding California. Being a Mennonite kid in a charismatic atmosphere I was clearly out of my element. Yet, God took me and brought me to a place where I was able to rest in His presence and once again hear a clear calling to full time worship ministry. From that summer on at Bethel, I have spent time pursuing ministry more full time and have since quit working for Disney to do so. For the past 8 months, I have been seeking out where God would want me, how I can partner with a church and engage and enhance their worship culture. As I re-engaged with church life back in Kelowna I noticed a shift in my worship. I spent 2 years working for the churches of Kelowna, establishing a mentorship program to come along side worshippers, musicians and creatives in the city and allow my ceiling to be their floor.
In September of 2012 I moved to Redding California where I enrolled at Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry. God directly called me and set me up to be at Bethel for this season to pursue the Holy Spirit, Worship, Identity, Culture, Sonship and so much more. My time at Bethel has been life changing and to watch how much I’ve grown and to hear how I’ve grown from others through a simple 8 month program speaks volumes.
I find myself often in tears as I look back at God’s faithfulness and goodness in my life and I believe that God has called me towards something so much bigger than myself. That He has called me to be an atmosphere changer and culture creator. That when we pray “Thy kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” that we will walk with this on our hearts and on our lips, bringing just that, God’s will on this earth. This is where Christ gets all the Glory!
As my life continues to get more and more full with well…Life I will keep you posted. Thanks for coming and joining me in this journey of Authentic Lifestyle Worship, Loving Each Other Deeply and Living Together Freely.
Bless you all!