If you’re anything like me, you like to hear from people in ministry who have been around the block a few times. People who have ridden the ministry roller coaster ups-and-downs, weathered the storms, been through the ringer, and have come out on the other side more seasoned, experienced, and faithful.
Brandon Wells is one of those people.
Brandon is the worship pastor at Spanish River Church in Boca Raton, Florida. And while I have never met Brandon face-to-face, we’ve become friends and I’ve been grateful for his model of pastoral faithfulness from afar.
I asked Brandon a few questions about himself and about worship leading, and I hope you enjoy our brief discussion.
Jamie Brown: Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
Brandon Wells: I’m a husband to Nicole and a dad of three daughters, Molly 13, Ava 11 and Claire 9 (I think I got their ages right). We’ve been married 15 years, almost 16 now, and serving in the church since before we were married. I have a distinct memory of every single one of my daughters swinging in a baby seat on Sunday morning while the musicians rehearsed for church. Now, I make sure to buy them 50 munchkins from Dunkin Donuts on the mornings my wife sings to pacify them while they run wild through the empty sanctuary. All of this speaks more to their service than mine. They’ve been there with me the whole way. I couldn’t have better ministry and life partners than I do in each of them.
JB: How long have you served at Spanish River Church? What is your position there?
BW: This November will mark my 5th year serving as the Worship Pastor of Spanish River Church.
JB: How long have you been leading worship?
BW: Like a lot of folks, I started leading worship when someone in my small church found out I played guitar. At the time, I only knew a few Grateful Dead tunes by heart. I was a new Christian and wasn’t familiar with the music of Larnelle Harris or Third Day or Rich Mullins. So, I got my start leading for the student ministry back in 1997. Since that time, I’ve managed to learn a few more chords on the guitar and can almost sing myself out of a paper bag (on a good day). All my training has been on the job in real time. Not always the best scenario but it’s how things shook out for me in the providence of God. Spanish River is the 5th church that I’ve served in a full time capacity. And I’ll stop there because it’s the end of August and I need to start planning the Christmas Eve services.
JB: What are the one or two biggest lessons you’ve learned about worship leading?
BW: Lesson 1: On Sunday, my job is not to get people to worship. They’re already worshiping. They’ve been worshipping all week. My role as a leader in worship is to incentivize them through a thoughtfully crafted service that their Creator and Redeemer is more worthy of their worship than any other thing.
Lesson 2: Worship has to be a formational practice whereby my heart is enlarged for God and for people. If it fails to accomplish that in my life then true worship probably hasn’t happened.
JB: In addition to serving in a church, you also work in the world of coffee. Can you tell us about this journey?
BW: I might have as much to say about this as worship but I’ll spare readers any needless detail.
For context, it’s important to know that coffee is a beverage that I’ve loved for a really long time. I’ve always been “that guy” who brings his own beans to the brunch, along with his grinder and scale and scoop. This love affair with coffee took an interesting turn about 4 years ago, when I read Tim Keller’s book Every Good Endeavor. I started to see vocation differently, mainly, as an extension of who I am, what I love and what I feel compelled to share with the world in which I live.
So, together with my wife, I started a coffee roasting company called Wells Coffee Company. One day in a conversation with dear friends, the hope of our newly minted business venture came together in the simple phrase, Drink Deeply, which we believe epitomizes what we want to see happen around the coffees we roast. Since that time I’ve discovered that one of my favorite hymn texts from Marva Dawn, set to the tune of Come Thou Fount, says “From the waters of God’s mercy, we drink deeply are made whole.” We think coffee, unlike any other beverage, is an elixir for just this experience of wholeness and so we couldn’t be more thrilled to leverage this gift from God for the good of more people.
JB: What is your prayer each time you step on stage to lead worship?
BW: Father God, renew, revive and restore all whom you gather in this place (including me) for your name’s sake and your glory, forever. Amen.
Brandon isn’t on Twitter, and I like that about him. UPDATE: You can follow Brandon on Twitter @wellscoffees
And you can buy Wells Coffee here.