Other Encounters at the Worship Seminar
Thu., Jun. 9. 2016 11:29am EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer for ApologetiX here again.
As I mentioned earlier, I attended a worship conference this week at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge PA. I was there with three other members of the worship team for my church, New Community Church in Wexford PA, although we encountered attendees who came from many states, including as far south as Alabama and as far west as Illinois.
There was a chapel service every morning, and it was really awesome to hear a congregation singing together with such passion, partly because so many of the people in the pews were worship leaders themselves. The final song on the last day, the old hymn "Be Thou My Vision," was particularly powerful, and I almost got a little teary-eyed.
I picked up a lot of great insights, perspectives, and concepts at the conference, and met a lot of fine people. I was also surprised by a few encounters that I'll share here.
Before I go further, you have to remember that no matter how old I get, deep inside I'm still the same nerdy kid who listened to records and tapes in his parents' basement and could only dream of one day singing in a band. So I guess you can call these close encounters of the nerd kind.
At lunch on Monday, our church's director of music, Greg Macaluso (you can hear him playing piano on our new single, "Amos") mentioned to a lady named Stacey at our table that I sang with a Christian band called ApologetiX. "You're that J. Jackson," she exclaimed incredulously. "J. Jackson of ApologetiX?"
It turns she's the mother of one of our longtime fans, who started listening to us as a young teen. Once she told me his name, I immediately recognized him, because he's an acclaimed bagpiper, and I tend to remember all of the acclaimed bagpipers I've ever corresponded with. :) He's currently in Glasgow, Scotland, having won the grand prize in a big piping competition — a round-trip ticket and two weeks' tuition at the National Piping Centre.
Later that day, a man named Steve came up and asked me if I was the lead singer with ApologetiX. He said he'd seen us at our concert at the Albion Fair in Albion PA. I asked if he meant the concert in 2005 or the one in 2015. He said he'd been to both shows and really appreciated our ministry.
Finally, on Tuesday, another guy approached me and asked if I was with the band ApologetiX. His name was Brad, and he said he'd seen us play an outdoor concert in Millvale PA years ago. Even though that show was way back in 1999, I remembered it well, because of a couple things that happened to me that day.
But Brad remembered it for different reasons. He was a new Christian at the time and said it was his first encounter with "Christian rock." He hadn't realized you could combine those two words. He remembered us playing "Enter Samson" and even recited one of the things I'd said to Keith in one of our comedy routines that day.
That concert was inspirational to Brad, and that's inspirational to me, because Brad went on to become the worship pastor at a well-known local church and the lead singer for Red Letter Hymnal, a band that played main stage at each of the huge Creation concerts last year after winning a nationwide competition.
I'm always amazed when I meet somebody who knows me because of ApologetiX and likes the band. Of course, I am infinitely more amazed that I am known and loved by God (1 Corinthians 8:3).