The Jeremiah Olsons from the Goshen, Indiana, Grace Brethren Church are featured this week in the South Bend newspaper. Here is a short excerpt–to read the entire article click here.
SOUTH BEND — This is what independence means to Jeremiah Olson.
He’s onstage in front of a throng of people — guitar in hand — singing praises to the Lord. It could be a concert. After all, Jeremiah and his wife, Marcie, are members of the indie contemporary Christian band 40 miles north.
But it’s not a concert. It’s a church service.
Jeremiah serves as praise leader at Grace Community Church in Goshen. He’s held the position since 2001. Along with other members of the worship team, he leads the congregation in singing praise and worship songs. Their lyrics attest to God’s greatness. They also encourage every member of the band and each person in the congregation to get personal with God.
When Jeremiah asks the entire congregation to stand, everyone in the gymnasium-size sanctuary rises as one.
Each song’s words scroll across the bottom of overhead projection screens located on both sides of the stage. But most of the congregation know the lyrics by heart.
They stand, many with arms outstretched and eyes closed, singing along with Jeremiah and the rest of the worship team.
Singing praise and worship songs is a powerful and intimate experience — it’s as if each member of the congregation is having a melodic conversation with God.
Jeremiah says he sees the same reaction from audiences at 40 miles north concerts. And Jeremiah thinks he knows why.
“These people work every day around people who don’t know Christ,” Jeremiah says. “Sometimes they must feel like sheep among wolves.”
The sanctuary truly becomes a sanctuary on Sunday mornings. These people need this, and Jeremiah’s role is to help them find shelter in praise.
Grace Community is where Jeremiah believes God wants him to be every Sunday morning.
“I might miss two Sundays a year,” Jeremiah says. “And that’s because of family vacations.”