Welcome to Feature Friday! This is the section of our new site where we get to gather around, learn from one another, create together and get to know each other. For the next couple of months, we will be introducing you to a different person in our region who is involved in making worship happen.
Tell us about yourself!
Hi, my name is BettyJo! My husband Paul and I have been married for eight years now and we've both lived in central New York for most of our lives. Until recently we were part of the Vineyard NY Church in Syracuse, but just last month I stepped into a new church and a new position as the Creative Pastor at the Catalyst Vineyard Church in Ithaca. There are two things I've been doing for most of my life - playing music and playing in the dirt - and I still find both to be extremely life giving!
In what way do you serve the worship team?
I lead the worship team. I lead worship and play guitar and cello.
What is a book that changed your life? Why?
The book Prayer by Richard Foster seriously impacted my life. Last year there was a point when I was probably very close to burning out. This book (recommended to me by Ted Kim) really impacted my prayer life in a powerful way and helped me become more balanced.
How did you first meet God?
My dad was a pastor, so God has been in my life since before I can remember. However, for most of my life I was pretty cynical about people who said they had real, tangible experiences with God. Although I was surrounded by people who had experienced God it always seemed like emotional hype because it never seemed to result in any real life change. To me God seemed distant. I remember vividly the first time I experienced God's love in a truly tangible way though - and it was one of the first times I visited the Vineyard in Syracuse. That was one of many experiences over the past six years that really made God real to me.
Do you write songs?
Songwriting tends to be a regular part of my personal worship so I have written a lot. I only started writing songs intentionally for worship relatively recently, though. I've been involved with songwriting circles in Syracuse for the past four years and that has been an amazing experience!
What is something that you like to do outside of your Church?
I really love growing plants and spending as much time as possible with my hands in the dirt!
What aspect of worship ministry gives you the most joy?
I love working with young and developing musicians and worship leaders and seeing them really grow into their giftings!
What is the best piece of advice or training event you have ever experienced?
Not to compare myself with other people. It sounds so obvious but the first time I heard another worship leader admit that they did this it was extremely freeing to me - I think I'd been denying that I was doing it. Acknowledging this tendency in myself was really important for moving past it and really starting to focus on what's most important.