29 Sep Getting to Know our Worship Pastor
As Ben is preaching a series on worship in the book of Isaiah, we thought it would be fun to share with you a little background of our worship pastor, Doug Pierce, and his family. The following is a guest post from Janet Randall, a church member who sat down with Doug for a recent interview.
A famous line from the movie Jerry McGuire was, “You had me at hello.” It was Renee Zellweger’s response to Tom Cruise when he finished a very long appeal to her for taking him back after having dumped her weeks earlier.
A few weeks ago, when guest pastor David Uth stepped onto the stage and said, “It’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve been praying for you for 30 years!” that movie line came to mind. As Uth revealed how God has been orchestrating the formation of Storyline and the roles that he, as well as others in the church have played in its founding, I was rapt. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt when he stated that God’s hand was all over this church, it was true. My suspicions were confirmed.
I took special note when he mentioned praying over land in the Five Parks area years earlier and literally feeling the ground shake. I remembered Pastor Ben talking about the land in Five Parks which the church now owns; how the Lord guided him there and made it available to us. I have no doubt that God wants to build a church on that very spot and nothing can stop it.
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hell will not overpower it.” – Matthew 16:18
After attending Storyline even briefly, one can’t help but notice that much of the church staff and many members are not from Colorado. As I started attending various church functions and meeting more people, the phenomenon became more apparent. When Pastor Uth mentioned that he worked with our Worship Pastor, Doug Pierce, for 20 years, it piqued my interest. I wanted to know more. What’s the attraction in Arvada?
Doug and his wife, Jill, grew up in Arkansas. Doug had a band for about 10 years and truly enjoyed the ministry aspect of holding worship camps all over the country. About 8 years ago, Doug joined the staff at First Baptist Orlando. He and his family thrived there.
Doug told me over coffee one sunny, Colorado afternoon, “There is comfort and security in being a key part of such a large ministry. We fit in well there, as my worship style matches Dave Uth’s. That is, to have a plan for worship and yet be open to the moving of the Holy Spirit and willing to be spontaneous.” Doug and his family enjoyed their position in Florida and he liked the numerous opportunities afforded him for ministry.
Through a series of events, (all of which are stories within themselves) Jill realized first that God was calling them to Denver. Doug’s revelation came later. “It didn’t happen immediately, but I knew for at least a year and a half before we moved that God was calling us here,” Doug shared.
God worked some things out and eventually the pieces fell into place. So, they willingly came. He left the job he loved, packed up the family and moved to Denver. I was overtaken with the magnitude of this act of obedience.
In Orlando, Doug made a good salary, Jill didn’t have to work, and their kids went to private school. He had a huge office and lots of support staff. “We were comfortable and quite spoiled,” Doug admitted.
The cost of living and housing is much higher here than in Florida, so to help plant Storyline, Jill was willing to take a full time teaching job at Faith Bible and Doug has endeavored to raise financial support from outside sources. When I asked if he has had second thoughts about moving, he said, “No. God has been good to us. Even though we’re still settling in, we love the mountains, the people, and the work we are able to do here. Plus, after all this, I feel like I could do anything!”
I felt just a bit uncomfortable as I began to better understand the degree of sacrifice that has gone into Storyline. Maybe I felt a bit guilty because I have been enjoying the fruits of all the sacrifice. Immediately I wanted to make Doug feel more at home here. Subconsciously, I briefly took on the responsibility of making sure everyone was happy so that the building of the fellowship would go on unimpeded. But I know that’s silly. God started this and I’m sure He’s able to keep it going. Additionally, I know they will be blessed for their obedience.
“On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” – Luke 11:28
Doug has other venues for service in addition to his position at Storyline. He is very passionate about his band, Willy Pete. The band is comprised of musicians from all over the country who have come together to donate their time and talent to organizations such as USO, Red Cross, and The Wounded Warrior Project, to entertain and support our troops overseas. Even though the band is under much scrutiny to ensure they don’t bring religion or Jesus into their performances, Doug has seen God work miracles.
“I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit can be in secular music too. Being involved with Willy Pete has changed my perspective on evangelism in America,” Doug told me. “How arrogant it is for me to think that I always have to use words to win someone for Christ. There was a time when I would describe myself as overzealous,” he reflected. He used the analogy of a child standing on the edge of a cliff. “You wouldn’t aggressively go running towards that child. You’d stand back and gently coax him away from the edge.” He observed that we need to be more like Jesus in that regard; more respectful and gentler.
When I asked him who Willy Pete was, he explained that it’s a term every GI would relate to. It’s the slang name for white phosphorous used in explosives that is particularly lethal. The fire that Willy Pete, the munition, generates cannot be put out. The analogy didn’t escape me. The band’s name perfectly reflects his fire for the Lord!
The Willy Pete ministry has enticed many to ask about Jesus. Without preaching or singing gospel music, many have asked Doug about his faith and he has been able to share. Doug is looking forward to developing the Willy Pete music program, which will offer music lessons to wounded soldiers and give his team one-on-one access, to be able to show Christ’s love to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.
Doug wanted me to stress that his story isn’t special; many families have unselfishly obeyed God and moved to Arvada to start our church.
If someone you love was throwing a very special party for you, what would you do to prepare for it? You’d mark the day on your calendar, you’d think seriously about what you were going to wear and you might even go shopping for new clothes. You’d plan weeks ahead and be excited and engaged. You’d get there early and stay late. Now imagine the one throwing the party for you was God. It’s a life-changing way to think about church – well our church at least.
Initially when I started asking questions about the story that apparently started 30 years ago, I thought my investigation would lead me to discover something like a giant conspiracy, where people from across the country got together in a secret meeting somewhere and agreed to come here. Instead, I learned that you can’t boil the miracle of Storyline Fellowship down to a single story. God has been working in many lives and there’s many individual stories, each rich with miracles, emotion, obedience, and sacrifice. I am awed and humbled because I feel like God is going to all this trouble for me.
Another famous line from the movie, “Jerry McGuire,” is, “Show me the money.” I feel like that’s God’s challenge to me. When you claim to be a Christian, your actions must match your words. (Who knew Jerry McGuire was such a spiritual movie!)
So many in the Storyline family have “shown us the money.” They’ve heard God and simply obeyed. I’m so grateful to each one of them and feel so blessed to be a part of this church and what God is doing. I want to support and encourage them all.
Knowing at least part of “The Back Story” makes me want to be better – to walk closer to Him and hear His voice more clearly. There is no question that our church is special, handpicked by God: Not all churches can make that claim. Given this history, I can’t wait to see what God does next and how He uses me.