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November 5, 2019

Jerry's Blog: 5 Things I Appreciate About James Young

I met James Young for the first time in 1999. He was 21 years old. He played and sang in our church with his band, David’s Dance. It was clear to me then just how talented he was. What I didn’t know at the time was how significant he would become to the future of our church! 

James did not become a follower of Jesus until he was in high school (That’s an interesting story itself…ask him about it sometime). That decision to surrender his life to Jesus completely changed the trajectory of his life. His love for music, which he has had most of his life, became His purpose for serving God. 

For the last 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of being a small part of James’ journey. So it’s with enthusiasm that I share with you five of the many things I appreciate about James.

1. James is so talented. If you attend The Ridge, I don’t have to tell you this. But what I appreciate so much about James is that he is willing to use that talent in our church. I’ve said many times that music defines a church as much as anything. We are so blessed to have someone of James’ talent who is willing to serve here at The Ridge!

2. James is completely committed to our vision. Our vision is to do whatever it takes to reach our community for Christ. In order to do that, our staff and ministries have to be willing to align around that vision. I’ve never once questioned James’ desire to align our music or Sunday services around that vision. James owns our vision. 

3. James would do this even if we didn’t pay him. The reason I know that is because James has done this when we didn’t pay him! His heart is to serve God with his gifts and abilities. He doesn’t do what he does to get paid; he gets paid so he can do what he does full-time. 

While many of you would not know this, I’ll never forget it. Many years ago, we were going through a very difficult time as a church. Our music pastor at the time had to resign. James stepped in as a volunteer and faithfully led our music. He devoted 10+ hours per week, week after week (and often many more hours), without ever getting paid. We weren’t a big church. We didn’t have the facility we have today. He wasn’t leading hundreds of people into worship at the time. He didn’t do it to receive praise or attention. He did it because he knew that was God’s calling on his life. That was such a pivotal time in our church. What James did then was so instrumental (pun intended) in leading us to the church we are today. 

I’m forever grateful to James for his dedication to our church. 

4. James has a “How can I help you?” spirit. If something needs to be done, James is one of the first to say, “I’ll help.” It doesn’t matter what it is, he just wants to help. We call that a servant’s heart. 

5. James puts his family first. I’m around James enough to know that other than his relationship with God, his wife and three boys are the most important relationships in his life. He loves his family and desires to be a great dad. 

James just recently marked his 11th year as paid staff at our church (not counting all the volunteer years he served). I am so appreciative that he faithfully continues to do what he does. 

If you get a chance, let James know how much you appreciate him, too. No one deserves it more than he does. 

Whatever it takes,

Jerry