28 June 2014
Jordan Koller spends much of his time planning and executing Ridge Point Community Church’s “weekend experience.” “That’s what we call our worship ministry,” explained Koller, worship arts pastor at the large church just east of Holland, Mich. whose facility is easily visible from the I-196 expressway.
The Michigan native is responsible for leading the church’s three nearly identical worship services: 6 p.m. Sat. and 9 and 11 a.m. Sun.
Koller has two full-time and two part-time staffers in the worship-music department as well as a couple of interns plus volunteers. Typically there are 8 to 10 musicians up on the platform in their worship ensemble.
“Two electrics and an acoustic (guitars), percussion set, bass and keyboard, one or two extra vocalists, and we also try to incorporate other instruments,” said Koller of the occasional violin, cello, mandolin or harmonica.
Ridge Point also has an adult choir ensemble, a kids choir and a brass group that periodically contribute to the music presentation.
“We’re really quite free here,” said Koller of their song selection and various artistic approaches in worship.
“The idea of having different experiences for our people – singing new music or songs that span the generations…using creativity not just to wow or woo people but as an expression of how God made us.”
Ridge Point doesn’t shy away from using hymns, Koller says. But he is always on the lookout for newer music that works well in a worship setting.
Songs that have been getting workouts of late: “Cornerstone” and “Oceans” (both from Hillsong) and “I Will Look Up” by Elevation Worship.
“Stylistically we’re more modern worship, but if there’s something out there that would work well or fits a theme, like a Mumford & Sons song, I like to incorporate that.”
Koller and his worship staff have a sermon/message schedule well in advance so they include songs – especially near the end of a service – that connect with the day’s theme.
The non-denominational church draws more than 2,500 worshippers each weekend: a lot of ears to keep musically in tune.
“Music draws on our emotions and the music part of worship is a way to really connect,” he added.
“It takes you somewhere, it’s a great way to tell a story or a testimony of who God is and draws us together in a unifying way.”
Ridge Point’s executive pastor Scott Potter notes Koller’s talent and commitments. “Jordan takes seriously his role in developing a service that glorifies God and helps others come into a deeper relationship the Father,” said Potter.
“Our worship band from week to week is all-volunteer and he skillfully helps them to develop their talents and works to the strengths of each member.”
WORSHIP WITH PASSION
Koller’s ground work has smoothed the way for a fall concert by the noted Passion Band featuring singer-songwriter Kristian Stanfill. The worship team from the massive Passion conferences is doing a fall tour which includes an Oct. 16 stop at Ridge Point. (Tickets available via www.itickets.com ).
“This will be the first time we’re hosting such a big concert,” said Koller of the church’s 1,500-seat facility.
Brad Jones, student pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, is expected to be part of the concert-speaker combination.
MUSIC: A CONTINOUS PURSUIT
Koller is a pastor’s son and grew up in the Kalamazoo area involved in all areas of church life.
“I started playing music in youth group, and that’s when God got a hold of my life and I went to Cornerstone (University) to study music.”
He led worship while in college and attended Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. His first job out of school was at the large Calvary Church near the Cornerstone campus in Grand Rapids. Koller has been at Ridge Point for two and a half years.
Songwriting and singing with his own band (www.jordankollerband.com) has also been a part of his artist’s palate.
“I always have wanted to give those (musical) gifts back to God so I’ve written original music for the church to sing,” he explained.
His group released a five-song project (“Wait For Me”) several years ago. Now his band is gearing up to complete a full-length recording.
They’ve performed at the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids and also at the Big Ticket and Unity Christian music festivals.
Who: Jordan Koller, 32 – married to Dana, two children
What: Worship/Arts pastor
Where: Ridge Point Community Church, 340 104th Ave. Holland. 616-395-2600; www.ridgepoint.org
How: Plan and lead music in worship, oversee worship/music staff
Philosophy on the role of the arts/music in worship: Worship is our response to who God is and what he is doing as evidenced by everything we say and do. One of the ways we do that is with music and singing – it’s the one thing that you’ll find in scripture that we’ll be doing in heaven. It doesn’t mention anything about preaching! We will simply be joining in on what’s already happening with the angels around the throne.
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