I’m double majoring in Biblical and Theological Studies and Music.
I took Introduction to the Bible. I realized how…I knew the Bible, but I didn’t really know it. I didn’t internalize it at all. I realized how many questions I had about it. And I realized how much I was taking it for granted and not really looking into why I believe what I believe.
It’s taken me on a crazy path. Trying to dig through the cynicism and all the stuff about the Bible and about God and about the church that I either assumed or was too scared to look into. That’s really made me delve into a lot of really hard questions.
Even today, my faith is not where I want it to be, but I know that I’m never going to stop fighting to get there.
We try to dissect who God is. We try to compartmentalize Him. We say ‘there’s no way He can actually be there because science explains this, science explains that.’ The more I realize that God is in absolutely everything, it consumes every aspect of my life. There’s no way you can do faith half-heartedly.
I’ve always loved music. But when it came time to try to figure out what I want to do with my life, the only options I saw for music were teaching, which wasn’t my passion, or becoming a rock star, which isn’t really worth pursuing unless you’re amazing. So I was lost.
During the fall of my junior year I spent a semester in Nashville at a program called the Contemporary Music Center. It changed everything for me. I saw music and the music industry in a whole new way. I used to think you could only make a living doing music if you’re like Bono. But, pretty much everyone down in Nashville has a story of moving there wanting to be a rock star. It didn’t work out for them, but through that they found this other part of the music industry they love, whether as an engineer, or sound person, or even just composing tracks for music libraries. They love it, and that’s how they make money, and they can still be in a band and have music be recreation for them. Seeing that really expanded my mind as far as what you can do with music. It got me really pumped.
Vespers was one of the things that made me want to come to Bethel. I visited Bethel during my senior year of high school, and went to Vespers. I thought it was cool and thought it’d be really sweet to be involved in.
I first auditioned to be a part of Vespers during my sophomore year. I didn’t make it. I really had an attitude. I wasn’t in a good place. And at the auditions I just kind of spoke my mind.
Afterwards, I was talking to one of my roommates, and he made me realize how much of a jerk I was being. He really challenged me, and asked me ‘Ben, if God was calling you to give up playing guitar, would you?’ When I thought about it, I realized I didn’t know the answer. So much of how I spend my time, how much of what I love and enjoy doing involves guitar. That’s what I want to do with my life. It really hit me. I became aware of how much foolish pride is in me, and how easy it is for pride to sneak up on a person, and how disgusting pride is in the context of worship. It’s caused me to check myself a lot more then I ever used to, and be willing to call myself on it.
The next time auditions came around, I tried out again and made it. So I played spring semester my junior year, and then senior year I got to be a band leader. It’s been a blast.
For me, I just love being able to pour into people in something that I’m passionate about. I love hanging out with my team, and the community it involves. It’s a funky thing, being at a Christian school. It’s so much different from the world. Even from a church. Everybody is a peer. Leading worship for that small community, it’s a funky thing. It’s really cool that we can all come together with the intention of praising God. I love being able to be a part of something so much greater.
Do stuff that you’ll skip sleep and you’ll skip food for. If I’m practicing guitar, and it’s like I could go eat, or practice guitar for half an hour, I’ll choose guitar 95% of the time because I love it. But don’t skip fellowship for it. This is where it’s been sweet to be married. Among all the other amazing things that marriage is, it reminds me of how selfish I am, and how much I need to pour into my wife. It puts guitar and music into the place it should be. If that ever comes above my relationship with my wife, she’ll tell me, which is cool, and convict me right there.
Don’t be afraid to do what you love to do. But be smart about it. Here’s God, here’s fellowship under God, and everything else is after that. The first thing under fellowship is what you love to do.