When I first got saved I did'nt
use my musical gift at church for almost a year. I listened! I studied! I prayed! This (I believe) was a good thing for me.
I have seen talented people rush into performing in church without first receiving a foundation in the
Word and spiritual growth. Their gift works well but their life is a mess, not realizing that we have to recieve before we
have anything substantive to give. Once I really understood that every gift that I was given by God was to be dedicated
back to HIM then I could use it for HIM, then I hit the ground running!!!!
Serving as Chief Psalmist / Minister of Music
for Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center is one of the most rewarding undertakings of my life. It falls in line right after
marriage to my awesome wife Priscilla & raising my 2 wonderful children, Nia, & Gary Jr.
I had been writing & performing
music for the majority of my life, with my brothers, in High School, in College, long before I ever seriously considered accepting
Christ or considered being a part of a Sanctified Church. But once the proper introductions were made, everything changed.
By proper introductions I mean that my eldest brother, my Mom, & my 3rd
eldest brother had already become a part of Miracle of Deliverance and introduced me to the Ministry, which introduced me
to the Leader of that Ministry – Prophetess Idell Cheever. Her teaching, especially in the Bible School setting, introduced
me to a level of wisdom, depth, commitment, & close relationship with the Lord that I never thought humanly possible,
& the Church services were so energetic, & unpredictable. During the services Dr. Cheever would teach on a subject
and the Minister of Music would often spontaneously create a song that supported the message. That got my attention. After
some time of just attending services, listening , studying, praying, & applying
what I was learning to my daily life, I began to assist the Minister of Music as much as I could. Which was not a lot, in
that, this type of music was very new to me. I always equated Gospel to either hymns,
spirituals, quartet style, or the semi-pop style that you would hear on the radio. The music that I was hearing at
church was none of the above. The praise music was extremely loud & fast
with repetitive choruses instead of verses & choruses & usually sung
in key signatures that I was not used to playing. The chord patterns , even of the choir songs, were different types of patterns
than I was familiar with with my jazz, blues, broadway, folk, & classical
points of reference. I had no comfort zone whatsoever!! So when the Minister of Music quit one day, I was in a panic!
Then after months of prayer, practice & trail &
error, I began to feel more confident about what I was doing; but not until I stopped trying to imitate the previous Minister
of Music and allowed myself artistically to be myself.
My father told me when i was very young (concerning
work ethic) that "ability will get your foot in the door, but reliability will earn you a key to that door &
many other doors". So I started being the first person to arrive at Church and the last to leave, serving musically
and in any way that I could, & still try to continue in that vein to this day.