Thank you for listening to my story. It’s definitely a story of grace…
I was born in Huntsville, Alabama on April 25, 1064. My mom quit work to stay home and ‘raise me right’ as she used to say. She always took me to church. In fact I can’t remember a time we weren’t highly involved with the music and drama at our church. I grew up singing a lot. I recall singing my first solo at church when I was only 5.
When I was 10 my mom talked my dad into building her a bakeshop in our backyard. I’ll never forget the day we finished it and us standing back in our driveway, admiring that beautiful little bakery. What a look of relief and pride on my dad’s face! That was on a Saturday. Two days later my dad went to work and died of a heart attack. My mom was left alone with a brand new business to operate and a young son to raise.
The Lord used that tragic event to get my attention. I had trusted Christ as my Savior when I was 6 years old. But I had never taken my faith seriously. With my dad’s passing I suddenly realized how short life can be. As a result I committed my whole person to living for God. The Lord began opening doors for my mom and me to sing in churches and share our testimony of God’s faithfulness and provisions. We started traveling about 30 weekends a year to churches across the Southeast and other parts of the US. It was during those early years of my life that my personal faith and walk with the Lord were powerfully solidified. He truly became my best Friend and very personal Master.
Fast forward to my college years at Samford University in Birmingham. I was on a voice scholarship. Yet I had a lot of issues with my voice while I was there. I ended up having to have surgery on my vocal chords. After years of struggling, the voice faculty finally told me I needed to change my major because I would ‘never sing again.’ But nothing could have been further from the truth! The Lord completely restored my voice. I graduated with honors from that school, and a year later the Lord called me into full-time music evangelism. I began singing about 250-300 times a year while traveling with an evangelist named Scott Dawson. Scott remains one of my dearest friends to this day.
Along the way I got married, had children and asked the Lord to allow me to come off the road, so I could focus on my family. I worked on staff in churches for 18 years. My roles during those years varied from teaching pastor, administration and discipleship pastor, to worship pastor. It was during those years that I focused a lot on writing and developing my gift for speaking. In fact, I wrote my first book, Pure Praise, for the praise team at my church. At the time, I had no idea the Lord would use that book to help so many churches and people around the world.
While I was in college the Lord birthed in me a deep desire to disciple church leaders about true worship and ministry. It was from that burden that I founded Next Level Worship. That name was inspired from several pastors and worship leaders at the time who told me our books had taken their congregations ‘to the next level.’
I originally started NLW mostly as a storefront to sell our resources. But I soon began to see the huge need for a ministry that could reach and resource churches and leaders in other parts of the world, where they couldn’t afford to buy books and pay big dollars for quality training. That is what prompted me to make NLW a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. We added ‘International’ to its name in April of 2016 and formed a Board of Directors.
The rest, as they say, is history. God continues to blow our minds with the doors He is opening for NLWI. We have now taught tens of thousands of Christians about whole-life worship. And we’ve seen many come to know Christ through our ministry. The invitations keep coming to go into more and more regions and countries, to build up local leaders and provide them with the help they need. I am forever grateful.