Name: Michael J. Saunders
Position title: Music Pastor/Worship Leader
Church Name: Destin Assembly of God - Destin, FL
Church attendance: 200-250
Sr. pastor's name: Jason L. Poole
The number of people involved in the music area: 25
Full or Part time: Full-Time
How long have you been in this current position? 6 years and 7 months
Tell us about your church: Destin Assembly is a vibrant, multi-cultural, spirit-filled, family church, placed in the heart of Emerald Coast to REACH the lost, RESTORE the broken, and RELEASE people into purpose.
Tell us about your background:
I am a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with more than 20 years of music ministry. My musical history is from a classical and gospel background. I attended the Settlement School of Music in Philadelphia, PA and the New England Bible College. I am currently attending the Northwest Florida State College to continue my study in classical and music writing.
I currently serve as Worship Pastor/Young Adult Pastor at the Destin Assembly of God in Destin, FL and work with the West Florida District AG Music Department.
How is the music dept. structured?
Our music department consists of a host of volunteers including Frontline Singers, Sanctuary Choir, Praise Band, and Audio & Visual.
Tell us about your rehearsals and how you plan for various church events.
Our Frontline/Choir rehearsals are on Thursday nights weekly. Praise band rehearsals are on Sundays. I use Planning Center Online to schedule all of the rehearsals, events and music. This helps me keep the entire department organized. I try to plan Sundays at least two weeks in advance. For church holidays, I plan 4 months in advance to give enough time for us to learn the material.
Where do you look for new music?
I use various resources to get music. We are members of music clubs such as Brentwood-Benson, Prism Music, Word Music, Integrity Music, and a host of others.
I also try to attend at least two music conferences a year to get some of the latest songs. My biggest resources, however, come from fellow music ministers. They will say "Hey man, have you heard about this song?"
Besides music, do you have any other arts active in your church?
Besides music I serve as an Associate Pastor, assisting our Senior Pastor in other duties to minister to our great congregation at Destin Assembly. I am also the Young Adult Pastor for our church age ranges from 18yrs - 35yrs.
What has been the biggest reward of music ministry?
I believe the greatest reward a Music Minister can have is to:
1. Develop an atmosphere in the house of the Lord for people to be refreshed, restored, and renewed in their faith in God. They can then receive the message of hope for their life.
2. Mentor others to develop their calling to the music ministry and use it for the Kingdom.
What is your biggest challenge?
Because of the various schedules some of our volunteers have, it is a challenge to consistently get everyone in place every Sunday.
What was the last book you read?
Of course my first answer is the Bible. However, I am currently developing study group material for our Young Adults. The two books I am in right now are:
Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper and Connecting the Dots by The Thread Series.
What are some hobbies/interests you have outside of church?
I enjoy our beautiful beaches, hanging out with friends, the gym (trying to get in shape! Ha!), and playing wii. My favorite hobbies are collecting coins and trains as well as learning new computer programs to make music easier to learn.
Since I live in a beach community, I love seafood and grilling out. My weakness is desserts. My favorite restaurants are the Cheesecake Factory and any good barbecue place.
What is in your iPOD right now?
Currently, I have over 7,000 songs on my iPOD. I am currently listening to the following: Donnie McClurkin, Trent Cory, Israel Houghton, and Youthful Praise.
What are 5 worship songs that your church is singing right now?
1. Wrap me in Your Arms - Martha Munizzi
2. Happy Song - Kim Walker
3. Jesus Medley - Donnie McClurkin
4. Holy - David & Nicole Binion
5. Today is the Day - Lincoln Brewster