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Overcome – Writing Songs for a Community…and then the world.


Everytime I’ve ever led, played, or heard “Overcome” by New Life Worship, I think about the image above. It is the face of Jared Leininger, drummer for the worship team melting his heart into the heads of those drums with an unforgetable look of tears an smiles. Why?

It’s because of the power of a song and a community.

New Life Church was thriving a few years back…a growing giant – and then hit a very large speedbump. In 2006, the pastor at the time shocked his church when they learned he had had relations with a paid male escort. The church did what they could only do best…they pressed on with a new pastor…and overcame.

December 9, 2007 – not even four months after hiring their new pastor – a gunman entered New Life and opened fire. Four people were hit by the gunman’s bullets and two were killed. A church security volunteer was able to stop the incident – but the gunman took his own life.

Why? Why this church? Was it time to pack it up and call it quits? How many churches have to face their pastor paying a prostiute…a same sex prostitute at that? How many churches have to deal with someone entering their doors with a gun and murdering? How many churches have to deal with both???

Three days after the murders, the church joined together for the first time. A very bold Brady Boyd, the church’s new pastor, told congregants that they

“will not be governed by fear.”

The worship team began playing a song…a song the world knows as “Overcome”. The guitar began to play…Ross Parsley, the worship pastor, turns around and there is Jared … tears melting down his face – but smiling…knowing they words…knowing that this is a church that will overcome.

You see, I feel ridiculous every time I hear the song. I realize the so called “struggles” I have in my life…and how I think, at times, that they are so impossible to get through. Then, I see Jared’s face…and, through him, see every single person in that congregation that was there…that had to deal with both tragedies that will still to this day boldly say “bring it on. You’ve got NOTHING that my God can’t help me to overcome.”

It is songs like this that lead me to a new series on “Writing For a Community”. Catch “Part 2” of the series in the link below:

Overcome Part 2 : “Writing Songs For A Community – and then the World”