Serving the Voices Blog

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SOUND The Emcee

SOUND The Emcee
By Nick Greenwood

As a pastor who oversees music in a local church, I get the distinct privilege to regularly walk with a group of musicians – some of the most creatively minded people! My role as a pastor in the church is not to ensure that excellent music is made or even provided to the congregation for their worship experiences. The offices of the Church (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers) are to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-16). Therefore, my job is to ensure that the musicians we touch are being discipled in the Lord. If that is happening, the rest falls in to place as He builds it.

I’d like you to meet Mike…

Mike and I meet up every couple of weeks for a lunch or coffee to talk about faith, ministry and life. Besides being my friend, he is a musician within our church. Mike has an involved testimony and part of it includes how God used music to call him closer to Himself, particularly through Hip Hop. So these days, Mike is making himself available to those in our community who “do” Hip Hop. As an artist himself, Mike is learning how to love the artist more than the opportunity to do art. And his quest is leading him to a place where the genuine love and servitude he gives to his unbelieving Hip Hop community is resulting in artists flocking his way. God is positioning him to be a hub of influence, and it’s exciting to watch! Mike shares his time and the Hip Hop beats he makes with other artists that need them.

Mike is a different brand of fan.

Check out Mike’s Music on Facebook – SOUND The Emcee

Guest Blog For ‘The Sound Opinion’

I was brought up in a Fundamental Baptist church in the midwest. Music in which the driving beat was on 2 & 4 was “the devil’s music.” At one point, I was even told by my youth pastor that the old southern gospel group “Acappella” was bad to listen to because of the rhythm and syncopation they used. Keep Reading…

God Took My Voice Away?

In 2004, God took my voice away.

My introduction in to church ministry was through an older worship leader named Bobby who invited me in to a mentoring relationship after I graduated high school. Despite Bobby’s constant efforts to curb my natural tendency to glorify myself on stage, I began to find my identity in my ability and opportunities to lead worship for our student ministry of 400+ high schoolers. Three years later, after a few rounds at community college, playing in local bands, and quite a bit of worship leading, I decided to enroll at a 4-year school to study “CCM” (contemporary Christian music). there I joined an emo band, straightened my long hair, and wore tight girl jeans. Oh yes, size 11. But by the end of that year, God had begun to steer things in a new direction. Two things began to happen simultaneously. One, He birthed the beginning of the RYFO vision in my heart, and two, He began to take my singing voice from me.

By the end of that first year away at school, I was taking steps to transfer (to a Bible school), while suffering with a quickly deteriorating voice.  Arriving at Bible school that next year, I was physically unable to sing or sometimes even speak.  What had once been my identity and idol, was supernaturally ripped from my throat.  I saw several doctors in downtown Chicago, seeking help and healing, endured not-so-fun cameras being shoved down my nose, and medication that just didn’t help.  The doctors were unable to explain my issues.  So they dubbed it “unexplained severe vocal fatigue”.  In an environment (Bible school) where I probably would have sought recognition and value from being a regular worship leader for the student body, I was blocked and rescued from myself.

I have this distinct memory of standing, not-singing (unable to) Matt & Beth Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name” with the student body during a mid-week chapel service.  As “we” sang the bridge section, I began to weep…

You give and take away.
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say,
Lord blessed be your name.

It was in that moment that God and I got really honest.  My heart was broken.  I missed singing.  I was bitter that God had allowed me to loose my voice.  I felt lost, not knowing what talent I had to offer Him any longer…  And I was finally able to praise Him in spite of my circumstance.  As I read those words on the screen, I cried and cried because I finally meant them.

God knew that as long as I desired to be a rock star (for my glory), I would be unable to serve Him for His glory.  In His wisdom He knew that in order to minister to “rock stars”, I had to not be one.  This is my journey, not a blanket statement of right/wrong.  God knew what I needed, and I still praise Him for it.

I continue to hope and pray that He will restore my voice, in His timing, when He feels that I am ready to sing for His glory alone.  But until then, I am in awe of the opportunity He’s given me to serve other “voices”; some who live and sing for His glory, and others that have yet to.  God is good, and He is deeply committed to restoring relationship with us.  He’ll do what He needs to in order to draw us to Himself.  Lord blessed be your name.

serving the voices,

Nick Greenwood

PAX217: RYFO’s Inspiration

Video Length: 5:28 | PAX 217 STORY from Jason Shelton on Vimeo.

In 2000, I received a compilation album with 2 songs on it from a band called PAX217.  I became their fan, instantly.  I went to countless shows and wore their record out.  As a young musician, I had an aspiration to rock like they did, and an admiration for who I perceived them to be.  PAX217 was a voice of inspiration, calling their fans to be voices of change in our world.  When God placed the idea of RYFO on my heart in 2004, the first person I thought to reach out to was Dave Tosti, lead singer of PAX217.  He didn’t know me, but I had a sense that Dave would resonate with the vision.  So I found his email address online, sent him an email…and he responded.  A couple months later, we met together for the first time (on my birthday).  Since then, Dave has been a big encouragement to me, and has even spent a season on the RYFO board of directors.  I am thankful for this band and how they ministered to me in several different ways.  It’s an honor to be a part of their story.

Serving the voices,

Nick Greenwood

Are You RYFO?

“Are you RYFO?”

Whenever someone tweets the word “RYFO”, we see it. I guess you can say that we kind of stalk ourselves. We just like seeing the RYFO story that is playing out across the country. One of my favorite tweets to see comes when a band has been invited by a fan via twitter to crash at their house for a night (generally, this is kind of a creepy ask). But on several occasions, we’ve seen the bands respond with “Are you RYFO?”. This warms our hearts. It’s exciting to know that RYFO is becoming a trusted name in the touring artist community. Bands know that RYFO Host Homes are safe and restful places to be…void of creepy super fans. I am grateful.

Serving the voices,

Nick (at) ryfo (dot) org

Serving the voices – origin

Serving the voices.

I can remember where I was when God gave me the tagline for the RYFO ministry idea. Before kids, my wife Emily and I were renting a small cottage at the time within walking distance of the beach in southern California. I remember that I was pacing between the living room and eating area, talking to myself and working through the ministry philosophy with the Lord. And BAM, it hit me… (more…)

Are you sucking the life out of musicians?

Summer tour season is here! Many of us have bought tickets to our favorite festivals, and are excited to see our favorite bands and discover new ones. But I am reminded of something as I think of the exciting Summer festival culture. Festivals are designed for music listeners to consume music by the truck load. Multiple stages are timed to allow crowds to come and go in waves with the start of another band’s set. We go from stage to stage until our ears bleed, our feet hurt, or we collapse because we forgot to drink enough water. We carefully outline what bands we can see based on stages and set times, and do our best to not miss our favorites. There’s an art to it that I’m personally not good at. I try. Most of us can get so focused on ‘consuming’ all the music that we can, that we miss incredible opportunities to (more…)


Last week.

I sat there in amazement as I watched quite possibly one of the world’s best lyricists pour his heart out through his autobiographical set list. Amazing. Yet so empty. So lost.

My heart, filled with a sensitivity that sees the degree of emptiness in so many artists, demanded a response. That faithful Spirit was tugging once again. A reminder of what God has called me to. A reminder of what Josiah needs from you and I.

For as long as I can remember, going to shows for me meant spending the couple hours praying for the artists on stage. I love music, but I was never really enthralled by it. Instead I was distracted by the question of where the artist was at with the Lord – not for me to judge, but to wonder.

It’s a hard thing to publicly lead and privately struggle with a vision I have yet to see complete clarity on. When RYFO began, we set out to support struggling Believers. Friends of mine had fallen hard. I wanted to create a solution that would derail the inevitable touring pitfalls. What if we could bring Christians around them, filling their lives with care. Love. Connection. Encouragement. Support. Accountability – all good things. Then they’d be fine? Are those verbs, nouns, whatever they are the answer? Or is something else? Was there something more central that I had missed…were my efforts misaligned… (more…)