Leading Worship Through
As director of arts at Crossroads
Community Church in Schererville, Indiana, Jeff Otto '97 gives Trinity
full credit for opening the door to his career path. Though he had no worship-leading
experience before his first year at the College, he now plans and arranges
all the vocal and instrumental music for worship at his church.
"All of my previous contributions
in worship were playing the piano," he recalled. "When I was a freshman,
(former director of development) Sam Hamstra had an idea of starting a
chapel praise team and suggested that I lead it. After leading worship
on campus and at area churches, I received multiple opportunities to serve
in that same capacity."
Otto, who majored in both
music and accounting, was leaning toward the latter when he pondered his
professional livelihood, with specific intentions of pursuing a career
in banking. As a student, he became involved in Trinity's music program
by participating in the wind and honors ensembles as well as singing in
the concert choir. He soon discovered that it was God's will for him to
serve in a church within music ministry, and he enjoys "the privilege of
helping others grow closer to God through worship."
Crossroads Community Church,
where Otto has served since 2001, places most of its ministry emphasis
on evangelism and targets people who are seeking Christ for salvation.
Otto's weekly task calls for him offer music that is appropriate and comfortable
for both believers and unbelievers. Finding that balance is the key component
of his role.
"The root of all we are and
do as humans is worship because our hearts are built to give glory to something,"
he said. "Part of my responsibility is to present God's excellence and
majesty through music so that newcomers to our church will experience His
presence. I also have to guide those who are already believers into a realm
"As musicians, we don't create
worship because it begins with the heart. We facilitate worship and nurture
an atmosphere where people can express their love for God. My time at Trinity
helped me understand the importance of my role and gave me the opportunity
to grow into it."
Otto, a native of Lansing,
Illinois, lives in Schererville with his wife, Leianne.
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