Jeremy

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By Faith

“Faith sees things not as they are, but as they will be.” This is the quote that has been on the sign at a church which is on my way home along Fenton Rd.
 
In addition to where she got her red hair, people regularly ask me how we chose Faith's name. Well, it's pretty easy. Faith is Annette's middle name, but it is also the name of the church I attended for most of my life, Faith Reformed Presbyterian in Quarryville, PA, and of the church we loved so much in Lincoln, NE, Faith Orthodox Presbyterian. Both Faith and Sophia were born in Nebraska. Before moving there for Annette's job offer after Christmas of 2008, Nebraska was nowhere near being on my radar! Why did God move us there? Many reasons, of course (many of which have yet to be fully revealed, I'm sure), but one certainly seemed to be the ability to become established and comfortable starting a family. It was also where my music ministry began to grow.
 
Moving halfway across the country from a small farming town in southeast Pennsylvania to a small city south of Lincoln, NE also meant not only packing up my long time music studio (and saying goodbye to many disappointed students), but the even more difficult part of leaving my entire family. We've come to understand that it was a necessary cleaving, though we are always so thankful to visit or have them come to visit.
 
We lived in Nebraska for 5 and 1⁄2 years. Leaving the comfort of a good paying job with the state, a lovely home, a good situation with my work, and the place where we welcomed Faith and Sophia into this world was difficult. One of the very hardest parts of moving was leaving our wonderful church.
 
The move from Nebraska to Michigan was a leap of complete and total faith. Annette's father's health was rapidly failing. Her parents needed someone to help watch over their home and acreage just south of Fenton. So, we moved here with no immediate job prospect, and our lifesavings to get us by. In God's providence, James passed away the day we arrived, and the truck was unloaded by the pastor and a handful of helpful members of Tyrone Covenant Presbyterian Church and family in the middle of a drenching rain. I eventually found work in insurance, only to be injured in an auto accident a few months later. God provided through all of that. And, as I regularly mention to others and remind myself, God made His call to ministry very clear during that time. My disability recovery ended in October, just over a year and a half after the accident. Right around Christmas is when I got the phone call asking me if I would be interested in sending my resume. That of course led to this incredible experience as your Worship Director.
 
During these past nine months, I have learned so much. I have grown and been stretched in ways I never thought possible. Growing pains are a necessary part of life, but the key is to know that we always come out stronger. The pain develops character. Any struggles are quickly replaced by triumph.
 
Recently, the staff at HUMC took the Strengths Finder test. My two highest categories are Learner (#1) and Context (#2). I've always said “You know it's a good day when you've learned something new.” Talk about hitting the nail on the head! I say this to myself and to the hundreds of students I've been blessed to teach over the years all the time. And, I believe it was in the description for Context where it was stated that I try to leave something or a place in a better place than when I arrived. I do believe that HUMC is in a better position to move forward now than back in January. These many changes that have taken place were necessary. Change is inevitable. It was (and is still) time.
 
So, why did I rather suddenly choose to leave? Was it because I was unhappy or frustrated, either with someone or something? No. It's because I have known for a little while that God placed me here to be the person to help this church transition. For so many years, particularly following my college training, I avoided contemporary music and worship. God, in His infinite wisdom, has broken down some of my walls, some of my pretenses and misgivings about certain styles of music. I've learned that one of the best ways in which God will not only help us to grow but also enable us to serve in a stronger capacity, is to place us outside our comfort zone. I'm sure it was fairly obvious to many, particularly those first 6 weeks or so, that I was well outside my comfort zone. I was surprised and very blessed to hear that my last week there was what one long-time member knew the worship could become. There were many factors that impacted the challenges I (and the church as a whole) faced, but I realize that since I did not grow up with contemporary music and since it's not my strength musically, there would soon come a time that, by myself, I would begin to peak; and I simply could not let that happen. God revealed to me that HUMC could hire a young, part-time Worship Leader to hopefully bring in some of their own musicians. This would also make room in the budget to update and upgrade the equipment at the church. After I had begun to understand all that, the Lord opened a door at a church which is a better fit musically for myself. My training was in classical music, and included choral and orchestral conducting. I toured and recorded albums with a classical guitar duo for 8 years, (though I still love to play all kinds of styles of music, and was in bands during college, much to my professors' chagrin). Granted, even though there will be other, different, but somewhat substantial challenges, I am excited for the possibilities. I'm even more excited to see what He has in store for our church at Highland UMC.
 
This verse arrived in my inbox on Monday:
Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
 
I hope that sums it up. I also hope and pray that the Lord will continue to provide for you as you continue to follow His will. Remember to encourage each other. Do not complain. God commands us not to. He knows each hair on our head, and He is good, all the time.
 
The song says, “By faith we see the hand of God.” I can see it clearly, looking back over these 9 months. I also see it in His provision for the future of this church. Do not worry, for worrying accomplishes nothing good. Instead, read Hebrews 11:1
 
Faith in Action
11. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
 
And thank you. God bless. In Christ Alone, Jeremy Hutson

next generation of worship leaders 1

Raising up the next generation of worship leaders, Pt. 1.

By Jeremy Hutson

There are two primary ways to actively encourage growth in a church: from the outside, and from within. Both are effective and necessary. Both require significant resources, dedication, and time. Both involve a short and long-term plan.

Churches have historically been a place where people not only learn about God and His Word, but also to appreciate and understand music. Music is a gift from God. He created and organized it. He made it a form of artistic communication that is personal and social (congregational). It is both scientific and creative. He gave human beings the ability to hear music, to understand it, to grow in our knowledge of how music works, what can be done with it, and what it means to us. And, for Christians, He prescribes it as one of the ways we are to worship Him.

There are vast references to music in the Bible. We know that it was actively used in Worship services. Gifted musicians are noted in many passages.

Music, in general, is one of the most personal, controversial, and often opinionated elements of a person's life. Very few people can graciously accept criticism about their music. It's usually a matter of either “I like what I know” or “I know what I like”. The other side of this can be “I don't like what I don't know” or “I know what I don't like”. When it comes to music in Worship, this can be even more true.

In the church, understanding and peaceful acceptance of the music we sing requires both knowledge and wisdom. Both come from God; but of the two, wisdom is likely the more difficult to teach. Paul writes in Romans 12 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” James tells us “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

I'll save further discussion on music in Worship for another time... (on to part 2)

next generation of worship leaders 2

Raising up the next generation of worship leaders, Pt. 2.

(Guitar Lesson Ministry promo)

By Jeremy Hutson

Part of the job of any leader is to raise up others, to enable them to give what they have to offer, even to help them become the best they can be at something. One of my great desires and privileges as a professional has been to teach music, particularly to young people (specifically children and youth). We have a tremendous opportunity here at Highland UMC to do that. We have already seen participation from current and former youth in our Praise Team. What a great blessing! Seeing the youth and children involved in our Worship services has also been a blessing. Yes, a lot has changed, but God maintains His people. He never gives us more than we can handle. He loves His people and wants us to grow in Him.

I would love to see others from within the church join in leading our Worship. And some day, I hope see others filling in as Worship leader from time to time, singing and playing the guitar.

With Josh Ray's assistance, I have formed a Summer Guitar Lesson ministry. At first, this is being offered to the Middle School and High School youth. In time, I have a goal of expanding this ministry to adult members, and eventually using this as an outreach ministry to the community.

Our Summer Guitar Lessons starts this coming Wednesday, July 5 (5:30-6:15) for Middle School, and Sunday, July 9 (3:00-3:45) for High School. Both will be held in B1/B2. The cost is only $50, and will support the Worship budget. Please contact Jeremy by email at jhutson@humc.us, by phone, or even Facebook, if you are interested.

 

To God be the glory,

Jeremy D. Hutson, Worship Director

17 01 06 Music Ministry Goals

There exists so many possibilities for music ministry here at HUMC, and one of our goals in the process of developing that ministry is to include more people – children, youth, and adults, of various ability levels – in our worship and in programs outside of worship. I also wish to include a wide variety of styles, which can range from classical music and hymns, to folk and Celtic music, all the way to current contemporary arrangements for a full band. Please contact Jeremy preferably by email at jhutson@humc.us or at (402) 205-2742.

 

To get specific:

  • The praise team can change shape depending on the music we do; in other words, we would love to include other instruments. That can change depending on what music we are doing. There are times when a flute or violin might be nice, for instance.

  • Developing a youth praise team is a major priority for both Josh and I, and would also be a tremendous asset to our youth program here.

  • It would be wonderful to start a children's choir, something my wife Annette and I developed and led at our previous church.; and I would love to see an adult choir form.

  • I would love for more people, both instrumentalists and singers, to be involved in special music, offertory, prelude, and postlude.

  • In order to prepare people to serve in the music ministry, I would love to see a music lesson ministry begin here. We have the room for it, and I think there would be a high level of interest. Think about something cool like the “School of Christian Rock”. Fun, right? Other styles, too, of course.

  • Lastly, I have been approached by multiple people regarding the drama program which was once strong here. My wife Annette would be a very capable leader, and together (and with the help of those who are served in the past), we could revive that wonderful ministry opportunity.

 

One goal is to prepare for the major church calendar events, Easter and Christmas. Newer groups could prepare for those, along with the praise team and individuals.

 

As noted above, please contact Jeremy preferably by email at jhutson@humc.us or at (402) 205-2742.

 

Thank you, and “In all things, Christ preeminent”

 

Jeremy Hutson

16 12 22 Intro from Jeremy

"The Staff Parish Relations Committee search team is pleased to announce the hiring of Jeremy Hutson as our new full-time Worship Director. Jeremy will have responsibilities over the worship planning and music program of HUMC. He will also be working to engage youth and children in music. We warmly welcome Jeremy, wife  Annette and two girls, Faith and Sophia and pray God's blessing upon them. His start day will be January 2. Jeremy introduces himself in the attached letter. Merry Christmas everyone!"

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A warm and joyful greeting to all of you here at Highland United Methodist Church!
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and our God in the ministry of music.
Music is a gift that God created and gave to all of us. We celebrate and worship both corporately and individually through our music in the singing of hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs.

My wife Annette, our two girls Faith (6 ½) and Sophia (5), and I have lived in south of Fenton for the past 2 ½ years. We moved here from Nebraska to help care for my father-in-law and be caretakers of the family homestead. In God’s providence, James passed away the day we arrived, and we rest in the comforting promise that he is restored and in Heaven. Annette was working for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (which is why we moved there, away from my hometown in Pennsylvania), and I was teaching at a college, giving private lessons, and doing the stay-at-home dad thing when I wasn’t teaching. We attended Faith Orthodox Presbyterian, where we both sang in the choir, and I directed and was head of the Music Committee for many years.

We moved to Michigan on faith alone, and with no job prospect. I began working in the insurance industry after a few months. Again, in God’s obvious providence, I was injured in a car accident in March of 2015. The rehab lasted until October of 2016. In that time, I began to hear more clearly a call to music ministry that had begun about 20 years ago at a Christian conference.

A little back story/bio: Both Annette and I graduated from Covenant College; it took me (ahem...) 14 years to marry her. After college, Annette returned home to Fenton for a while, and began to pursue her career. I began graduate studies in music, and started building a teaching and performance career. I have been blessed to serve on the faculties of The Lancaster Conservatory of Music, The Csehy Summer School of Music, Philadelphia Biblical University, The Pennington School, and Southeast Community College. Even more importantly to me, I had built a music studio that began in the basement, and eventually became a thriving, full-time music lesson and recording studio. I love doing recording work, by the way, both as a musician and as producer/engineer. In addition to performing solo, in 1998 The Pedrick-Hutson Guitar Duo was formed with one of my grad school colleagues. We toured and recorded 3 albums, which can still be heard on public radio worldwide. There were the various college bands (with embarrassing names... ask my wife!), loads of student recitals (which I loved to produce, and give these students a chance to do their thing in front of an audience), a fun variety of musicals, and other performance groups my favorite of which was an Irish house band at a fantastic restaurant in Beatrice, NE (if you ever happen to be in the area).

It’s all about Romans 8:28, really. God does work all things for the good those who love Him. And, we rest in the faith of the saving grace of His son’s sacrifice and the work of the Holy Spirit in us to both love and follow Him, and to follow His call for our lives. His direction and timing may not always coincide directly with our plans. But His way is better, and we grow through the trials. I am so thankful for the previous experience I have had in music ministry, but even more so for the ability to dedicate my life to the work of God in His church and in music.

I want to get to know you and create lasting relationships. Please do not hesitate to reach out. I desire your input and your participation. There are so many great possibilities for our music ministry in worship, with youth and children, and as outreach and evangelism. We will connect, grow, and serve together, here within the church, and in our communities, work, school, etc. What a blessing it will be!

Praise the Lord!

Jeremy Hutson

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