Hey, John; how did you learn to play the guitar? The short answer is, Johnny Cash taught me how to write songs and Neil Young taught me how to play the guitar. But actually, there is much more. Alan Bing the Music King in St Joseph Missouri was my first band teacher from fifth through eighth grade. He was awesome! I learned much about performance and being an artist from him. My high school band experience was awful. I didn't participate my senior year and was really aching for musical interaction with other musicians. Even though I didn't play the guitar yet, I got a lot of inspiration and encouragement from Eddie Van Halen. Crazy, right? it's true, though! My mom played the piano and my dad played the guitar. During that time of no creative writing classes or playing the trumpet my senior year, Dad taught me how to play The Wildwood Flower on his guitar. I played it non-stop and began jamming with friends. I was even invited to play the trumpet with our local Cortez Family country band, but I couldn't jam on trumpet because I had no real working knowledge of music theory. I got an awful Global electric guitar for Christmas that year and played it constantly. After I moved out on my own, Dad bought two acoustic guitars. I thought he had lost his mind! He said I could pick one of them to take home with me. That Ibanez V300 is still my favorite guitar. One day that summer I was at Mom and Dad's house and wrote a song. It was a great song. I had no idea how I could have possibly written such a good song! It had to have come from God. I knelt down and prayed right there by the easy chair in the living room. I thanked God for the gift he had given me and had no idea what to do except promise him to always use the gift for good and not for anything bad. An incredible feeling swept over me. I didn't have the words to explain it at the time other than it was a Jesus thing. I worked hard, got married, had children, and played the guitar and wrote songs in every available moment. I was in some garage bands and blues bands which turned into a series of really good three piece power trios playing bars and for private parties and benefits. I knew there was much I didn't know about music, so I enrolled in music classes at the local college. While in college I played the baritone in marching band, sang in the school choir, was in classical guitar ensembles, the pep band as a guitarist and the jazz band too. I taught a class about cowboy music as an employee of the Allied Arts Council in St Joseph, Missouri. I performed as a classical guitarist for art shows, dinners, and concerts. I attended incredible guitar master classes with Christopher Parkening, Anthony Glise, Marc Regnier, Miguel Rodriguez and Larry Beekman. It was during my MWSC years that I was asked to begin a Suzuki guitar class. I taught Suzuki guitar lessons for three years. I also taught summer arts program courses in computer music and beginning guitar. I taught private lessons on bass and guitar at the college, at Bentley Studio and in my home. I began attending church with my three-year-old daughter and was asked to begin a youth hand chimes choir. I also taught music for our vacation Bible school, became our first choir director that wasn't sitting behind an organ, and we also added a contemporary worship service. After college, I got a job in Kansas City, Kansas teaching vocal music to kindergarten through fifth-grade students. I led the classes with a guitar and taught students instrumental music with rhythm instruments, keyboards and guitars. We put on some awesome programs that the students helped to write. It was an amazing time! I was given the opportunity to be a part of the district-wide First Things First initiative, which was a major transformation of the way Kansas City School District educated students. I had an idea for an enrichment program which would take advantage of this new opportunity for creative teaching and learning, bringing in experts from the community to teach from the perspective of their profession using life skills to address the teaching standards and goals we had as public school educators. My building principal and teaching staff at Quindaro Elementary embraced the idea and we entered a new era of learning and renewed excitement about going to school. Next, I decided to go into education leadership and become an elementary school principal. I received a master of science degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Education Leadership, Elementary. I aced every class! From being a less than average student who hated school to becoming a 4.0 graduate teaching school, this was another miracle! During the six years of teaching music in Kansas City, Kansas I lived and attended church in Platte City, Missouri. After visiting the church I asked the contemporary service pianist if I could bring my guitar and join her for worship. The two of us, the pianist from the traditional service, the music minister, and the sound guy began to grow the worship ministry. Soon we were in need for a full-time worship leader. After much searching and trying a few people for the position my pastor asked me to consider the job. I was surprised to be asked, but after praying about it I couldn't say no. It made sense to me that all my experience to this point had prepared me for what was ahead. For thirteen years I was a music pastor. We added a third Sunday morning service, purchased land and began to have our evening services as often as possible in the barn on our future building site. Our production ministry expanded to address technical needs of contemporary worship. We hosted two churches in our youth space until we all just got too crowded. By then they were well established and moved out successfully. Through the local minister's alliance, we had community wide-wide worship services and outreach ministries. I was blessed to be successful in adding teams and processes to grow the church and the worship ministry, teaching and learning all along the way, with much love, prayer and support from an amazing congregation of dedicated worshipers of Christ. I was in a worship study cohort of worship leaders in the Kansas City area for six years and we still remain close to each other today. The worship workshops and classes I have attended are too numerous to mention. Although I have moved on, the ministry of the church continues to grow. Life in Platte City is good with several amazing churches and one of the best school districts in the state - which is prayed for and supported by the local churches. God is so good! Currently, I have a non-music day job and am the guitarist for Calvary Temple in Kansas City, Missouri. I am also the guitarist for live events with good friends in a contemporary Christian group called Tory Creek. I have strong ties with local churches and church musicians and lead a rich life of music and ministry.