A Look Behind the Leader: Glenda R. Williams

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

williamsGlenda WilliamsWorship during this COVID-era has affected church worship leaders and the people they serve in surprising ways. Even those online.

"I hope that people find ways to worship even if they're not in a physical church space," said Williams, worship leader at Kingdom Life Ministries on Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

"People are meant to worship in community, but praise and worship is cyclical," she offered. "Your private worship will pour into your public time and vice versa. You should be 're-fueling' either way."

The pandemic with its social distancing requirement has reduced the numbers of persons actually in the the Kingdom Life building on Sunday mornings. But online viewers have been "huge," according to Williams.

"Normally on livestream I'm seeing two to three hundred people," she said of the church, co-founded by pastors Daniel Parker and Doriane Parker-Sims.

The coronavirus has reduced their worship team rotation, but usually it consists of five additional vocalists and five band members, led by music director Dale Bell. Williams' responsibilities include selecting music and scheduling team members. But she also assists in developing their musical gifts, including training opportunities.

"I'm not a vocal instructor, but I can teach dynamics – not just singing the notes and words but how you sing to convey a message," she said.

Songs in the non-denominational church's current catalogue include "The Everlasting" (by Fellowship Creative) and "WayMaker." The latter was written by Nigerian worship leader Sinach and has been recorded by numerous artists. The anthem won a Gospel Music Association Dove Award last year.

THE WILLIAMS WAY

Uncommon book CoverWilliams’ book was released last yearGlenda came to West Michigan via her native Chicago where she was born and raised in church music.

Her first stage solo came when she was 5 years old during a church Christmas program.

"I don't even remember before that if I knew I could sing," she said. But like her mother, "I've always had a strong voice."

Singing in church and school choirs and six years of piano lessons kept her busy. She recalls that in her early days, she wasn't allowed to sing anything other than church music.

A graduate of Southern Illinois University, she was leading worship in a church in the college town of Carbondale, IL when she got a call from her brother Marvin.

"He was one of the planters of a church in Grand Rapids called Tabernacle Community," she said. "They wanted me to come there and lead worship."

And so she did and remained worship coordinator there for five years. For two of those years she also did a worship internship at Kentwood Community Church in Gaines Township.

Then she came to Kingdom Life Ministries, where she assisted Kenneth Henderson and then succeeded him four years ago when he left for Madison Square Church.

Glenda is married to Michael Williams (yes a Williams married a Williams) and the couple has two children, teen-age daughter Zamar and younger son Jude.

MULTIPLE TALENTS

Glenda has spread her creative wings in several directions. She's a prime mover behind the
local "Uncommon Worshiper" conferences she has directed for the past several years.

     
 

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"There are classes, worship times, panel discussions....and we've even done 'lunch and learn' sessions with special guests," she said.
Her devotional book "Uncommon Prayer, Uncommon Presence" was released last year.

"The scripture behind 'uncommon' is that we are a 'peculiar' people (I Peter 2:9 KJV)," she noted. "God made us uncommon so we don't have to present church to the world wrapped up in the world. We can be authentically who God called us to be."

A POSTURE AND PLACE FOR WORSHIP

If you find yourself unable to be in a church building for worship with others, look at Psalm 150, Williams suggests.

"Praise Him in His sanctuary, praise Him in His mighty heavens... anywhere and everywhere God expects worship and praise from us."

A frustration for any worship leader is when those leading are not matched in passion for worship at a given time. "You can't pull people who don't want to be pulled....and that goes for congregations as well."

But most satisfying are those times when "I barely have to call His name and He's in the building," she smiled. "...when you can feel the faith and the expectation in the room."

Unity in worship is the goal – and a reward.

"People all the way in the back don't think their voice is important during worship time, but it really is," she said. "Being in one accord and in unity is where God shows up the most."

Editor's note: If you have a suggestion of an area church music/worship leader for a profile in this column, please contact us and tell us who and why!
     
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Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Author: Terry DeBoer
About:
Terry is a journalist/feature writer for newspapers, magazines and websites, with a background in radio broadcasting. His usual beat is arts and entertainment, specializing in Christian/gospel music. A married father of two, he is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan Contributing Writer: West Michigan Christian News August 2011 – Present Feature writer: -Mlive.com (website and various newspapers) 1988– 2016 -Spotlight New Christian Music Magazine 1997-2008 -Church News Editor, Church Herald Magazine 2004-2009

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