At the age of 31, as the European Vice President of one of the world’s largest music companies, I came home one night, and to my amazement found my best friend of 14 years, Elaine (also by then my wife of 5 years) telling me she had met Jesus and had become a Christian. I was confused; why? We had money, we had success, what did she want to do that for? Within three months I had gone from sneering sceptic to sound convert as I saw her transformation. I liked everything about Jesus except his music.
A few months later I attended a vineyard conference, the worship transformed me, I realised for the first time what music was really for, I was captivated, I was ruined, I had tasted the presence of God in worship. The years rolled by and in late 1993 Elaine and I planted the Hull Vineyard. By the beginning of 1998 I found that I was running Vineyard Music Worldwide as well as pastoring the local church. Now many years, and probably 50 albums later, I am as committed to the vision now as I was 26 years ago when my life was changed that day by Vineyard worship.
I was born at an early age (sorry I couldn’t resist) and whilst still a babe-in-arms, my esteemed mother used to carry me up and down the stairs counting aloud in groups of 4 and 8. (Why??) Anyway, something strange happened in my young mind and thus I became a drummer! Mothers beware!
My parents ‘got religion’ when I was four years old and I knew something had changed in our family and that Jesus was real. They had been hugely impacted by a dude named John Wimber and so our family made the 80′s pilgrimage to his church The Anaheim Vineyard in California. I was captivated by the music and songs I heard there and much anticipation surrounded the arrival of each ‘Club Vineyard’ tape to be posted through our letterbox. I loved the songs, I loved the drum sounds (big 80′s gated reverbs), I felt like I had found my tribe, and I still do!
I met my wife-to-be Kate when I was 16 at a Vineyard conference and we talked and dreamed about doing ‘music’ and ‘worship stuff’ when we were older and, well, God is good and has honoured our dreams! In 2011 we moved to Houston, Texas for 5 months and I did an internship under Casey Corum at Vineyard Music USA – a very cool time in our lives. I discovered queso and chips and three kinds of coffee at church and we hung out with some great people from all over the Vineyard in the USA. Our 3 year-old Eva learnt to say Z the American way and our baby Bea became ‘Miss Bea’ and was told by every passing Texan how ‘precious’ she was! Then in February 2012 we returned to the UK and moved straight to Hull to start working at Vineyard Records.
I’m so excited about what God is doing in the UK Vineyard movement at the moment – I can’t put it into words, there is a sense of urgency and renewed focus in the air and I can’t wait to hear the new songs that will accompany this fresh wave of the Spirit.
I started, at what was called Vineyard Ministries International on 31st March 1995. On the door step to the offices in New Malden I met, Jason Hagen (who is currently Chief Business Officer and V.P Business and Publishing of Vineyard Music in the USA) who was my first General Manager, I am now on my fourth!
Over the past 18 years there have been a number of changes from personnel to company names and location, Vineyard Ministries International became Vineyard Music UK Ltd under Vineyard Music Global and now Vineyard Records UK, moving from London to Hull.
Day to Day: I am involved with anything financial to do with Vineyard Records UK – invoices, sales, purchases, payments, payroll, paying songwriters and VAT returns. I am also Company Secretary, Office Manager and Publishing Manager – including contracting new songs and the collection royalty income from our songs, licensing our songs of others to use. One day a week I look after the day to day finances of Vineyard Churches UK&I. Finally and most importantly I make the coffee and occasionally cook for the office!
I’m VRUK’s resident geek – covering pretty much anything that makes noise or looks pretty; I can be found tinkering with the website, video editing, coming up with designs for events or packaging, tracking demos in the studio or running sound at our events.
The first time I encountered Vineyard worship was at a Heart & Skill event in Birmingham not long after the Hungry album had been released. I was a teenager from an Anglican church and after borrowing my Mum’s copy of the CD I spent many hours in my room learning the riffs to songs like “Refuge” and “You’re Name Is Holy”. Strangely the one thing I still remember from the day was to always make sure you start and finish rehearsals on time, something that I find deeply ironic now that I am part of the Vineyard. Years later I came to Hull to go to uni where I joined the Vineyard. After 3 years learning how to build websites, edit video and complete CD & DVD packaging, a job at VRUK came up and the sense that Hull was the right place for me to come to uni that I had on the open day, despite it not being the best course I looked at, made much more sense.
I am Vineyard Records UK’s Publishing & Media guy.
My first encounter with the Vineyard came whilst I was studying for my degree at The University of Hull. Through my teens and uni years I had been very much into the ‘party’ lifestyle. Over the years it had taken it’s toll on me and when I was 21 I found myself lost and desperate for something meaningful to live for, all the things I had thought were cool and fun had actually left me empty and broken. One night I found myself on my knees pleading with God that if He was real He would give me a sign and change my life from what it had become into something worthwhile, a life with hope. As I was praying a knock came at my door – it was two guys from the local Vineyard church giving away washing up liquid, they told me it was an act of kindness to show God’s love. As you can imagine this was a massive sign for me that God had heard my prayer! So I went to the Hull Vineyard and began to learn about Jesus. I soon realised that He was what I needed, and by His grace, mercy and power my life was changed beyond all recognition. My friends were so shocked by the transformation that they too wanted to know more about Jesus and five of my close friends gave their lives to the Lord as a result.
Since I met Jesus, worship has been at the centre of my life and I just love to give Him praise for who He is. I am honoured to serve Him in my work at VRUK and am truly thankful for what He has done with my life.
I now live in Hull with my beautiful wife Ruth, and daughter Lily . I love football and anything dangerous much to Ruth’s anxiety ☺
I work for Vineyard Records one day a week as songwriting coach and mentor and we’ve just launched the Songwriter Intensive as part of our focus for songwriting for the local church this year. The rest of the time I work as the Worship & Creative Director at Trent Vineyard in Nottingham and I’m also part of the Trent Band. I’m married to Helen and have three sons. I’m passionate about mountain biking and I used to make guitars for a living. I don’t like writing personal bios so that’s it!
I am a very fortunate man. My initial experience with Vineyard worship came as a session musician in the early 80′s, recording under my own name, and an assumed one as well (Happy Sanchez). Many years later, while working for an American record label/distributor, I was tasked with marketing Vineyard music. It was during this time period that I was incredibly blessed to meet, work with and befriend, John and Chris Wimber, and Jeremy Cook. Following John’s passing, and shortly before Chris’s passing, Chris asked me if I would “take over”, upon his death (he was suffering with cancer). God’s voice was loud to me during this period. He spoke to others as well, including Jeremy. I accepted the role as general manager of VMG in 1998, and remained there for almost 3 years. Initially working primarily with US worship leaders, my generous opportunities soon grew to include working with worship leaders from many nations.
The past decade has allowed me the very rich experience of friendship, fellowship, strategic meeting times, and love, with the UK staff. As the US “lighthouse keeper” for all things Vineyard UK worship, I am never disappointed with the God-honouring and heart-challenging worship that I am given to represent. It has been an absolute joy to witness the impact of VRUK worship upon the North American church. Around the world, countless members within the Body of Christ have been “undone” by the deeply honest and real worship captured and exported by Vineyard Records UK. Collectively, this beautiful song of worship has been birthed in the UK Vineyard churches. The worshiping church has much to be thankful for from the Vineyard UK movement.
I live, work and play in Nottingham where I’ve been part of Trent Vineyard for the last 10 years or so. I’m a husband, photographer, worship leader, the owner of a fine ginger beard and a connoisseur of fine ales and naps (not at the same time). I curate the Inside Worship website, organising articles, interviews and imagery to keep the site up to date and with new content to stimulate the grey matter.