Josh Harden from HMR Chapel Hawaii

Josh is a Renegade worship leader who has been serving at HMR chapel for several months.  Here is a little bit of his story and the growth in that community.

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About two months before I became the praise and worship leader at HMR

Chapel, I had the opportunity to fill in one Sunday for Robbie. That Sunday I

was joined by one other singer and I learned that the chapel didn’t have a

permanent worship leader. I was told by heavy hearts that they had a new

person leading just about every other week. Due to my visits to military

chapels throughout the years, I honestly wasn’t surprised. I can’t speak for

anyone else, but in all the chapels I have ever visited, the worship seemed to

be the most neglected aspect of the service. From Korea to England to

Hawaii, I saw the same thing at the majority of the chapels I visited and it

was overwhelming. Before I began leading worship and I was just attending

church, I noticed the praise and worship set up the rest of service and, for

me, it could easily make or break my experience there. So while stationed in

England I started to hear the calling to lead praise and worship for military

chapels. I found that having a dedicated praise and worship team was really

hard to manage at times because the members of the team were military. If

we weren’t losing someone to deployment, they were traveling, on leave,

military training, appointments…. You get the picture… and unfortunately the

congregations fall victim to subpar worship or, in some cases, none at all. So

to hear that HMR had di-erent leaders every week and virtually no team at

times really made an impact on me. This congregation, though small, was so

energetic and wanted to worship. I was new to them, but they sang their

hearts out and I could really tell how much they were serious about worship.

After that service I had a bunch of the people from the congregation come up

and thank me and tell me how great it was to have me. I felt so welcomed

and like I was a part of their family.

HMR Congregation at a recent beach service and baptism  

HMR Congregation at a recent beach service and baptism  

It’s been a little more than four months now and the praise team has grown

to ten members and the congregation has doubled in size. I know that it’s

not just the praise and worship team that is bringing the growth, but we have

received so many compliments and words of encouragement. We have had

many families say that they are making this chapel their home away from

home. They say that they are getting the closest experience to their home

church that they have gotten since joining the service… Just knowing how

much of an impact our praise and worship team is making on these military

families is overwhelming. This needs to spread to all the chapels throughout

the military.

VMI Winter Retreat

The Virginia Military Institute is a strange place to go to college.  It’s a small state military school hiding away in the back woods of Lexington, Virginia, population: minimal.  The Institute is inhabited with young men and women who chose to sacrifice the typical college experience and set their eyes on greater things. Instead of frat parties, dorms, fast food dining halls, lack of curfew, class schedules that can be molded to sleep patterns, and over all freedom; VMI dictates the structure and stress of a military lifestyle.  These young men and women get up at dawn to do PT, wear formal uniforms to all their classes, live in military barracks and have to march to meals every day.  This is a college career that takes dedication and determination that most of us do not have.  The Keydets of VMI are a breed of people I could never be, yet I admire and one day, when I grow up, I’d like to be just like them. 

This past weekend we met around 50 VMI cadets and staff members at a small retreat center in the mountains about an hour outside of Lexington.  Renegade was invited to lead worship for their winter retreat.  It was an honor and a privilege to spend a weekend with these outstanding young people.  The speaker for the retreat was Ranger Chaplain Jon Knoedler out of Leavenworth, Kansas.  His topic of focus was IDENTITY.  Throughout the weekend we studied Romans 8, in its entirety, to discover who people say we are, who we say we are, who people say Jesus is, who we say Jesus is and Chaplain Knoedler closed it all by focusing on who God says we are. 

We were there to lead worship. In a new place, with new gear and a couple new musicians, it seemed like a daunting task, but God showed up and made it all work out.  Not only that, but the experience of worshiping with this particular group of people was inspiring.  They sing louder and prouder than most chapel services I’ve seen through the years.  These kids are not bashful in the least about raising their voices to praise our Father.  It was exciting and inspiring and only made the band want to play louder and longer than we were expected to.  In fact, during one session we got prayed off the stage, ending our set a little earlier than we expected.  Maybe some of the older staff couldn’t keep up.  Nevertheless, the weekend went on and went strong. 

During meals, along with choking down bad lasagna, we got to learn a little bit about these kids and where they want to go in life.   Some of them want to join the military, some of them want to be missionaries, and some of them still don’t have a clue what the future holds.  But they were all present in the moment and there for the purpose of discovering their IDENTITY in Christ.  For this small amount of time they were not defined by their class, or rank; they were all there as children of God, and they knew it.  Outside of the barracks walls that colored them all grey and uniform, they were experiencing and expecting something great.

We closed the weekend with a song by Christ Tomlin called “God of This City,” and my prayer as we finished was for these students to go back to the craziness that is VMI and continue to expect God to do great things.  I pray that they remember that God is God of all and this retreat doesn’t end Sunday night when they get back to their barracks room.  The great things God does will spill over and flood the barracks as they have flooded this tiny retreat center hidden in the mountains of Virginia.  As long as these kids, who already chose greatness, remember their IDENTITY in Him, then His greatness will continue. 

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this retreat.  As Renegade continues to grow, may we also be reminded of the great things God is doing, and our IDENTITY in Him. 

 

“Red, White, and Yellow float on high

The Institute shall never die

So now Keydets with one voice cry

God bless our team and V. M. I.”

  

*if you’d like to help renegade continue our mission for military chapels please head to our website and hit the donate button.  www.renegademusicministries.com

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Mission(s), Chapels, and Calling

I never thought about joining the military.  I never wanted to be a missionary.  I never wanted to be a worship leader… God had other plans.  My history with the military and military chapels has groomed me to be all of the things I never thought I’d be.  Now, I am running a missions organization serving specifically military chapel communities.  Renegade Music Ministries’ mission is to provide quality worship experiences to military chapels.  It is more than just a worship leading organization, though.  More than just music.  It is structure.  It is consistency.  It is event planning.  It is quality of service.  It is fluidity.  It is support for our chaplains and doing battle with them to keep chapel communities healthy and vibrant.  This is what we were meant to do.  We are going to serve our military communities the best way we know how.  When everything is going out, we want to go in.  We want to enroot ourselves into the heart of these communities and fill in the empty, unmet spaces and needs. 

This is the mission field I have been called to serve.  It started over ten years ago playing a guitar on Sunday mornings.  It has grown to being fully involved in several chapel leadership teams.  Over the past few years I have met several others who also feel called to minister to military communities.  Our goal is to be missionaries to these communities, and we want to invite you to join us in this adventure.  By partnering with Renegade you will be touching the lives of men and women who put their lives on the line every time they put on a uniform.  Today we are helping four chapels on the island of Oahu, and we want to continue to grow and help as many chapels as we can.  Eventually we envision Renegade ministering on every military post, base and installation, serving chaplains and their communities.  Our aim is high and our dedication runs deep.  We believe in this mission and we believe God will make an impact through us.

Please consider joining us because we cannot do it alone.  We need your help.  If we are to achieve our mission, we need to be able to sustain ourselves.  The military budget is already stretched so thin trying to keep other ministries alive.  So we are turning to our family and friends around the world.  Please consider supporting this mission.  Our young military communities need help in their chapels and we want to give it to them.  Chaplains are working hard to stay afloat amongst their many other tasks at company and battalion and unit levels.  Our chaplains are overworked and under-appreciated and we want to step in where we can to help them reach these communities for the betterment of God’s Kingdom.  Please pray for this mission.  Please pray for our service members.  Please pray for Renegade.  And if you feel so led, please send your support by going to our website: www.renegademusicministries.com and hit the donate button, or send in our electronic transfer form. 

Please help us support military chapel ministries and communities.  

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KICK OFF

We are starting something new. Something that has the potential to be a huge, life changing….thing.  Renegade Music Ministries now truly is a living organization. Our board of directors met earlier this week and let me tell you, I am excited to be working with such knowledgeable and helpful folks. The insights they were able to share to propel this mission forward excited me. They are a well-balanced group of people from all facets of life coming together to build a worship based organization for military chapels!!!!!!

Can you tell how excited I am?!

The initial meeting was enlightening. Everyone asked important and smart questions. Everyone had ideas of how to fuel this organization. Everyone had a concern about legal documentation. Everyone…..seemed smarter than me. I was beginning to get stressed out.

Then the best thing happened. As I sat in the room with them and realized I may be in over my head we took a pause. They reminded me that they were here to make this mission come to life. That I need not stress about the questions we cannot yet answer. We are all here to learn together and take this thing to where God intends for it to be. They are behind the mission of Renegade Music Ministries one hundred percent.

I was relieved.

I had never held a meeting like this before and I had no idea of how it was going to go. I had prayed about who to invite and include in this, and believed I had the right people. And then God proved it. At a moment when I was just trying to figure things out, He brought people who understand and want to help.

This is a team that God has put together to make great things happen. I cannot wait to see how we grow and what the coming years have for us. I have faith that God is going to take our energy and do wonderful things with our efforts.

Romans 8:28

Good things are happening.

God things are happening.

I want you to be involved too. We are always looking for a little help, and little prayer, a little encouragement and some little donations. Please sign up for our newsletters and email lists, I want to keep you in the loop on everything that happens. You do not want to miss what God is going to do through Renegade Music Ministries.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Robbie Phillips.

www.renegademusicministries.com

Small Successes

 

It wasn't even 6am, but I just couldn't sleep any more.  The excitement within me was too much for more snoozing.  I got up and went straight to the chapel.  The only people there were the cleaning crew and they were surprised to see me.  They were even more surprised when I started bringing lamps from my car into the sanctuary.  Have you ever piled 15 lamps and shades into a car, it's an odd experience.  

The rest of the day is a haze of set up work.  

Worship as One was that night.  

It was our first large scale event as Renegade Music Ministries.  I spent the day with some friends ironing out kinks in a sound system, and testing cables and microphones.  We staged the drums and the amps and the keyboard and the speakers and the lamps.  The idea was to transform a normal chapel sanctuary into an unrecognizable place that looks like everything a boring sanctuary shouldn't look like. 

 The lamps.  

Soon our friends at Armed to Worship showed up to begin their workshop.  I got them settled in a class room and their students started arriving.  I went back to the sanctuary, there was much more to do.  Soon sound checks would start and I wasn't even sure if the speakers were working properly.  The stress was building and my shirt was wet with sweat.

Short prayers.  

Deep breaths. 

Red Bull.  

I didn't know what to expect.  You never do.  We advertised this worship concert and workshop all over the island.  We visited chapels on Marine Bases, Army Bases, Naval Bases, and Air Force.  This was supposed to be a military community builder.  I asked all of the ministries I knew if they would play a small role.  I reached out to neighboring churches with hopes of some sort of local support.  Surfers Church, who has been a friend to me for the past few years, was even eager about a speaking role.  My local chapels and chaplains were making announcements and putting info in their Sunday morning bulletins.  But that didn't mean I had any idea of what our turnout would be like.  I told people I was hoping for 300, but would be happy with 100.  Secretly I wanted more.  I wanted huge!  I wanted everyone, everywhere to come Worship as One.  

But numbers don't matter.

I didn't even do a head count.  

We turned the lights down low and got started.

I started the event with a prayer.  All I remember saying was that if God showed up then it was all worth it.  All the stresses of organization and testing gear and advertising and people counting, and sweating, all went away.  

Josh and Juliette started singing.  

They sang their hearts out and set the tone for what became a beautiful evening of worship.  

 

 Worship as One was a small success.  It was a trial run for bigger and better things to come.  And I believe those things are coming soon.  I believe God has given me a purpose and through Renegade Music Ministries I will continue to work with military communities.  It has already been proposed to make Worship as One a reoccurring event.  I love this stuff and I love doing it for the betterment of the Kingdom.  Nothing gives me a greater feeling of accomplishment than knowing I did my best at my art to lead people to the throne.   I cannot wait for another opportunity to do this.  But now it's time to rest and start looking forward.  

How can Renegade Music Ministries reach more military communities?

How can I work harder for the next event?

How does God want to use us next?

How will He bless these small successes?

These are my thoughts and prayers.  

And I'm excited about it.