Speaker / Worship Leader Bios
Texas native Michael Farren has spent 16 years as the lead vocalist of the worship band Pocket Full Rocks, leading worship at venues nation wide. Pocket full of Rocks released three albums with Word Records (Song to the King, Manifesto, and More Than Noise), garnering three Dove award nominations; Worship Album of the year, for both Song to the King and Manifesto, and New Artist of The Year.
As a songwriter, Michael's work has been recorded by artist such as Michael W Smith, Natalie Grant, New Life Worship, Jackie Velazquez, Big Daddy Weave, Aaron Shust, Tricia Brock, Aaron Crabb, Brian Free & Assurance, Karen Peck & New River, and Phillips Craig and Dean. He is also the writer of Finding Favour's current single, SHAKE THE WORLD. With worship hits such as "Let It Rain" (Michael W. Smith) and "Let the Worshipers Arise" (Phillips Craig and Dean), Michael's art has found a place in congregations worldwide. With "Every Time I Breathe", co-written with Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave, Michael enjoyed his first #1 single on Christian radio. Michael's accomplishments have also made their way to the big screen with the song "It's About Love," recorded by Wynonna Judd for the VeggieTales movie "Lord Of The Beans." He also appears as an ear of corn singing his song "Rock On Larry Boy" in the Veggie Tales movie "Larry Boy And The Bad Apple." No joke. In addition to his writing and recording credits, Farren has produced projects for Dustin Smith, Jennie Lee Riddle (People & Songs Opus 1), Finding Favour, Shelly E. Johnson, Krissy Nordhoff (writer of YOUR GREAT NAME), John Waller, Hearts of Saints and country artist Rob Harris. During his 16 years with Pocket Full of Rocks, Farren and the band were honored with Dove Award nominations for New Artist of the Year and Worship Album of the Year, and Farren received an ASCAP Christian Music Award for EVERY TIME I BREATHE.
"I love writing across all genres... CCM, country, southern gospel, etc.," says Farren, who serves as worship pastor at Gateway Church in Franklin, TN. "But writing songs for the Church is what I'm most passionate about. Throughout the writing process of every worship song, I'm constantly running every lyric and melody through the filter of, "Would I lead this song on Sunday?'."
Michael and his wife of 19 years, Alisa, live just south of Nashville, TN with their two daughters. Michael works as a writer/producer, while also serving as a worship pastor for Gateway Church in Franklin, TN.
Dustin is an Integrity Music Artist, Song Writer and Worship leader, who has a desire to
see the nations ignited with a passion for worship. With an unyielding love for God and
His people, Dustin has been able to cross denominational lines with his music. He has
an attitude that gives God all the glory, and that attitude transcends age, race, color
As a husband and father of three, who grew up in a Pastor’s home and has been in
church his whole life. He has seen the joys and challenges of working and growing up
in the church, but his dedication to seek the face of the God has caused him to rise as
a voice to the nations that increases the value of God in other people’s eyes.
Dustin Smith Ministries was created to teach, train and resource the body of Christ.
Through different avenues including churches, youth camps, business meetings,
conferences and concerts, the heart is to see people awakened to their true purpose
and destiny. DSM has had the honor of ministering to groups as small as 15 people
and as large as 15,000. They approach every opportunity with a desire to see peoples
lives changed. This ministry is designed to equip, encourage and empower!
Dustin has also had an international appeal and has impacted nations such as Uganda,
Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and
the United States. He has released independent albums including Healing Waters,
Open the Floodgates, Everything Inside Me and You Are the Fire. Integrity Music has
released Rushing Waters and now 2014’s Coming Alive album which is quickly setting
a standard for Christian worship. In addition, he has done teachings on a variety of
topics such as Worthless Worship, Are You God Conscious? and Function Before Title.
Music lovers worldwide are captivated, swept up in the surging wave of modern folk as heard in the likes of Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, Neon Trees, The Civil Wars and others. Organic, acoustic and packed with live energy and freedom, it's the unpolished imperfection and open invitation to sing along that has catapulted these artists into the spotlight and up the charts.
For All Sons & Daughters' Leslie Jordan and David Leonard, these qualities are even more keenly experienced in music that connects broken people with their God. Worship leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, TN, their critically acclaimed EPs, Brokenness Aside, Reason To Sing and The Longing, along with their full length albums, Season One and Live bear witness to the power of worship by the people, for the people and of the people. In the truest sense, the mesmerizing, soul-baring lyrics and acoustic styling of this talented duo are beginning to make an impact...inside and outside the church.
Fragments. Change. Growth.
Releasing in May 2014, All Sons & Daughters' self-titled studio album turns the page on a new chapter for the duo, a new season of leaning into their own musical and lyrical instincts. "We've allowed ourselves to be more creative, more reflective of who we are, while still writing songs for the church," Leslie says of the self-titled album. The album's cover art-an incredible mixed-media piece created specifically for AS&D by artist Deeann Rieves-perfectly represents the fragmented beauty of growth and decay inherent in all of life. "We asked Deeann, who is familiar with our work, to listen to the new record and paint a piece that fits what you hear. What you see on the cover is really unique. We feel like we're 'standing on the foundation of the fragments and pieces, musically speaking, building on the changes we've encountered over the past few years," David says.
Produced by Paul Mabry, All Sons & Daughters features a 'wish list' of co-writers, Stu G (of Delirious), Derek Webb, Leeland, Sandra McCracken, Jack Mooring and Francesca Battestelli. "The beauty of co-writing," David explains, " is getting some new blood in to really push us, to think differently about the lyrics."
I would be a fool / If I could be made new /Come ruin, come ridicule
Recklessly I come, I run to You - "Your Glory and My Good"
"Your Glory & My Good," co-written with Derek Webb, sets the tone for the album. "It was challenging, but so invigorating to write, and it tells such a beautiful story," Leslie says of the song inspired by the story of the woman with a bleeding disorder in Mark 5. "The older I get, the more I experience life, the more I experience my own depravity, the more I see my need for the kind of bold faith this woman had. She was rejected by society, but she knew if she could just get to Jesus, he could heal her. We don't see that kind of faith much in today's society, that kind of faith is ridiculed... so I've been really challenged by that. Even before we started writing, we knew this song would be special."
"You Will Remain," available for pre-sell on iTunes, originated from a melody shared by a local guitar shop owner, David Wood. The first song written for the record, its melody led Leslie and David to the Gospel of John where Jesus refers to himself as 'I AM.' "We were struck by the truth of it," Leslie says. "He didn't say 'I was' or 'I will be,' but 'I am.' And he wasn't overstating anything... the constant, unfailing nature of God and his goodness. We never tire of leading this one."
By the means of grace and the hope of glory /All honor and glory forever
From now to the end of the age
Inspired by a prayer of thanksgiving found in the Book of Common Prayer, the benediction that closes out each AS&D event, "We Give You Thanks," emerged with the co-writing help of Jason Ingram. "It's just such a beautiful moment when we read that prayer as a congregation every night," David explains. "We were sitting around one night and thought 'What if we wrote a chorus around this thing?' And it's just been such a cool part of the night, connecting that prayer to the chorus and seeing the congregation catch on."
More joyful and celebrative overall, the album includes two songs previously recorded live, songs that are catching on with churches nationwide now reinterpreted in studio: "Great Are You Lord" and "God With Us," both audience favorites and significant moments on their tours. In these and all the original worship compositions for this eponymous release, Leslie and David continue to pursue authenticity and honesty in the music they make.
With plans to tour with Crowder in October 2014, All Sons & Daughters take great care to make music that meets people where they are, to find the pulse of the people in the cities where they play, to serve and resource musicians and worship leaders. As always, their song charts are free online, and they continue to take advantage of any opportunity to start new conversations about what worship might look like when approached from an authentic place ...Worship as a true reflection of the heart, however fragmented, however weak, however strong.
Meredith Andrews and her husband Jacob Sooter had been thinking and praying about a move to Nashville for some time. Decision made and boxes packed, the couple found themselves not only entering the state of Tennessee, but a state of turmoil and brokenness as well. Their road to new opportunities and experiences quickly became fractured paths through low valleys, where a new level of trust in each other and a gracious God would eventually be discovered. It is from the difficult season Meredith has recently journeyed through that birthed new songs found on her album, Deeper.
Even before the boxes were completely unpacked, more things quickly stacked up. “The transition from Chicago to Nashville was more than challenging,” Meredith admits. “At that time I was pregnant with my third child. That compounded with stress and over commitment left us overwhelmed. Jacob and I found ourselves in a dark place in our marriage. We had some really hard days and a lot of questions. There were moments when I wanted out and he did too.”
In the midst of heartache, Meredith leaned on her community for help. But it was her friend and mentor Susie Larson who would speak truth and promises into her life long before the path of refinement even began.
“Susie spoke into my life about a year before I moved to Nashville. She said, ‘Meredith, I’ve been praying for you and I feel like the Lord is telling me that you’re about to walk into the hardest season of your marriage. God is going to take you to these underground places and there you will find him to be the perfect Father and more faithful than you’ve ever known him to be. You’re going to know his presence like you’ve never known it before. He’s going to take Jacob on a journey as well, and when the two of you come out on the other side, you’re going to be more unified than you’ve ever been.”
God’s promise to Meredith began to come alive during those bleak days, allowing her to cling to hope when hope seemed, at times, to elude her.
And slowly, that hope grew.
“Marriage is exposing. When you’re that close to someone, your ugly is going to come out.” Meredith continues, “That’s really intentional. I believe the Lord does that because He’s whittling away and refining us. Once you understand how to consider the other person and his or her heart, the Lord will take care of your heart too. My life isn’t what it was a year ago, and I’m thankful.”
Married now for six years, working together on a record in the midst of intense brokenness may seem, at best, overwhelming and daunting, but for this couple, it provided a welcome path towards healing. Jacob co-produced the album with Jason Ingram, Paul Mabury and Seth Mosley, and he co-wrote many of the songs with Meredith and others in their artistic community.
“I had to write from that vulnerable place because it was all I had,” shares Meredith. “I feel like it’s in the darkest seasons that God gets our attention and breaks it all down and says ‘Let’s get to the bare bones. Do you believe I am who I say I am? Do you trust me enough that even though you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I have a plan for your good?’ You can say you believe in God but if you haven’t walked through trials and hardships that actually put your faith to the test then it remains shallow. God wants our belief to be at the core of our being, confident in what we know because we’ve watched His faithfulness in the hardest of times.”
From the opening anthem of “Sunrise” to the soul-mending song “Jesus Sees”, the theme of believing God and trusting his promises is woven throughout the album, carrying with it the glimmering thread of expectation, even amidst dire circumstances.
“I’m praying that God will use this album to bring freedom,” she says. “I envision people hearing these songs for the first time in their rooms and being overwhelmed by the presence of God and by the healing and hope found there, because the only place we’re going to find true restoration is in the presence of God. Releasing our fear, surrendering and saying, ‘God I trust You. At the core of my being I trust You. Even though it goes against everything I feel and see and what everyone around me tells me, I trust You. Because You are trustworthy.’”
The road is a little less tumultuous these days, and as Meredith is seeing the promises spoken by Susie about her marriage and the faithfulness of God come to pass, she is concentrating more then ever on connecting with fellow journeyers accepting the same invitation to surrender to God and go deeper.
“I don’t want to worry about the numbers,” says Meredith. “I want to be focused on ‘Am I being faithful? Am I leaning in? Am I speaking truth and offering hope to people who are listening? I want to be a mouthpiece. I want God to use my story and use my songs to meet them in the hard place they’re at right now. That’s the goal. God has told me ‘Take care of the depth and I’ll take care of the breadth.’ So that’s what I’m focused on.”
Ed Cash. At these words the ground shudders. Trees lose their leaves. Seasons change. Backbeats begin.
Ed was born twins. He sang before he talked, he danced before he walked. He talked in key. When he hummed, birds flocked. He was a child. He was a gift. He was a melody. Even at 2 years old, he never fought, believing that any problems he had with anyone could be solved either by a Chocolate Milk drinking contest (which he always won) or a "name this Led Zepplin lyric" contest (he lost once. To Robert Plant) Sports were not something Ed enjoyed. At 4, he was quoted as saying "the manipulation of the body holds no real challenge for me. But music, the great sport that floats between our hearts and minds, our ears and mouth, THAT is a challenge." He started playing everything you could strike or strum. Nolan Ryan took to pitching. Tony Hawk took to skating. Music took to Ed Cash. He was in bands, or i should say, bands were in him. He wrote songs that made plants cry. His lyrics, even at 7 years old, were trilingual. Dictionaries were always present at shows. As were professors and archeologists.
Most of his teenage years are a blur. It is said that he was spotted traveling the globe. Martin Handford, the author of Where's Waldo, attributes the idea of his books to Ed. They were sitting in an empty soccer stadium in Rennes, France where they struck up a conversation that lasted 3 days. Ed told Martin his story. Martin wrote about it. Seeking anonymity, Ed begged him not to use his name. He lived in Argentina, loved in Germany, worked in Japan, got lost in Greenland and ended up in Mongolia where he started the sport Ragger, which involves 37 players, 3 fields, a t-shirts worth of cotton, and 9 goals. It's still the most frequently played sport there to this day. (Even Barack Obama sprained an ankle playing during his trip in 1988). After becoming a star in Spain by acting in numerous car commercials, Ed finally came home.
College tried it's hand at Ed, but the road and stage called in the key that only Ed could hear, and he responded in tune. His shows became the stuff of legends. Venues were built in hopes that Ed would play them. Bands were formed in hopes that Ed would front them. Guitars were made....You get the point. He opened for himself, was fired, then hired back as simply ED. He had 285 top 10 hits during that time in Thailand. "Ed-ding it" in Thailand still means to do something very very well. Michael Jackson, in an interview during that time, said that one night during a night off in Baltimore, he saw ED's show and after finishing crying, wrote and recorded the entirety of the Dangerous album. If one rearranges the letters on the cover of Dangerous, one gets - ED RAN GO US.
Charlotte became Ed's place of residence, though the mayor tried many to change the name of the town to Edstown. Ed, in his humility, begged him not to, settling for a new subdivision to be called Ed's Corner. They sold out of lots in seconds. From an aerial view, one can tell that the shape of the subdivision is Ed's profile. He produced a slew of records during his stay, most of them selling well into the thousands, all of them were certified Aluminum. After realizing that his talent needed wide open spaces, spaces he had found in Nashville, he moved. The day he moved began a rain that lasted for a month and a half. It's said that God doesn't cry, but the sky sure did.
He now resides in Nashville where he has continued his musical contributions. The GMA has tried to rename the association to GMECWARTG - Gospel Music Ed Cash Writes And Records, Thank Goodness. Humility won out again. He has become more and more of a recluse, having a hard time going out in public. "To be assailed by droves of people is one thing. But when children recognize you, it's hard to go anywhere. to do anything."
If you are ever in Nashville and see a rainbow, it's simply the sign that Ed has finished another song.
Scott & Lydia Ingegeneri
Scott and Lydia Ingegneri serve as Senior Pastors of Grace North Church; a multi-site church in Phoenix, Arizona. Both Scott and Lydia were raised in ministry homes. A deep passion and response to a ministry call came at a young age for the both of them. The Ingegneri's met in 2001, married in 2003 and immediately began songwriting and leading worship together around the state of Arizona. Within months of being married they joined the church plant team for Grace North Church. Scott served as Executive Pastor and Lydia served as Worship Pastor for 8 years before their installation as Senior Pastors in 2011. Both Scott and Lydia are ordained ministers with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. They have been incredibly blessed with four amazing children and considering ministering as a family their greatest treasure in life!
Scott is a graduate of LIFE Pacific College with ministry experience in a diversity of areas. He is passionate about Kingdom ministry, the Presence of God, worship, and discipleship. His dedication to the Word of God causes the preaching and teaching ministry to flourish under his leadership. He leads with a prophetic and catalytic edge. Scott is dedicated to releasing the healing power of the Holy Spirit and has experienced miracles and healing in his ministry.
Lydia is passionate about leading the people of God into the presence of the Lord through powerful, dynamic, and prophetic praise. Her heart is devoted to writing songs that will bless and edify the local church. She has led worship and preached at conferences and retreats both in the United States and abroad for 15 years. With her passion for the Word of God coupled with a honest and humorous flare, Lydia ministers the Word with conviction. Lydia is prophetic in nature, living and leading with a spiritual strategic mindset.
Benji and Jenna Cowart
Benji and Jenna have been active serving in the church for over 16 years leading worship. Their journey has taken them to churches in Florida, Las Vegas and Buffalo, NY. Throughout those 16 years they have added 3 amazing children and recently adopting their 4th from Africa. In 2013, they moved back to their hometown of Nashville, TN.
They are now both songwriters for Word Music Publishing and between the two of them have had songs recorded by Big Daddy Weave (Redeemed & The Only Name), Aaron Shust, Meredith Andrews, Selah, Vertical Worship Band (I'm Goin' Free), Josh Wilson, Finding Favour, and many others.
Steve and Shawn Reed
Steve + Shawn are an international traveling worship ministry couple based in Nashville, TN. As writing and recording artist they have release two studio projects produced by Jason Hoard (Fee, Shane & Shane, Mac Powell) with two singles “Speak To Me” and “Lord I Believe” played by multiple radio stations across the country. Selected as Worship Leader Magazines ‘Best of’ for training, they pull from their decades of serving at their local church in both paid and volunteer positions as well as their years of experience in onsite worship team consulting to them know how to truly be helpful by making things applicable for local congregations of any size. They are regular instructors at conferences such as the National Worship Leader Conference and have just completed their first book, entitled “72% Cocoa – a guide to intense worship”. You will find Steve + Shawn to be funny and practical, challenging but encouraging, real and down to earth all the while pulling on Heaven and the supernatural power of God.
Chris Clayton is a worship leader, record producer and songwriter from Fort Worth, TX.
As a worship leader, Chris has traveled throughout the United States and overseas leading worship for various events. Ultimately his heart is for the local church. Through his songs and leadership on and off stage, Chris desires for the Church to authentically encounter Christ and live in response to the Gospel.
Chris also works as a record producer and has partnered with many of todays gifted worship leaders, CCM artists and churches. He has also had the honor of working on projects with such national artists as Big Daddy Weave, Robbie Seay Band, Shane and Shane, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Jimmy Needham and Christine D’Clario.
As a songwriter, Chris loves to write for the church. He is a staff writer with The Rain Collective/Integrity Music out of Nashville, TN. He has been privileged to write songs with Michael Farren, Jennie Lee Riddle, Tony Wood, Chris McClarney, Charlie Hall, Dustin Smith and others. His songs have been featured in Worship Leader Magazine SONG DISCOVERY, LifeWay Worship Resources and Integrity Music.
Chris and wife of 15 years, Kara, have four amazing boys. You can read more about Chris at www.chrisclayton.org and www.thebedingtonhouse.com.
Danny Davis is the Worship Pastor at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, TX, where he has served for over 25 years. Lake Pointe Church is a vibrant, growing church about 25 miles outside of Dallas, with 8 campuses in Texas and hundreds of new start-ups and mission partners all around the world. Before joining the Lake Pointe staff, Danny spent the early part of his career as a studio musician, working on both sides of the glass as a singer, player, producer, writer, and engineer. He is married to Suzanne, a vocal coach/producer/co-worship leader, and has 2 grown children that are both involved in the worship ministry at Lake Pointe.
Krissy Nordhoff been an independent Christian artist and songwriter for 15 years. She developed her love of writing from the age of 5 when she wrote her first song, titled “Miracles”. Krissy grew up in the Wesleyan and Reformed churches in Western Michigan and graduated from Anderson University, a Church of God-affiliated school. Her favorite class at AU – Songwriting with Gloria Gaither.
Krissy Nordhoff has a deep love for Christian music – worship, hymns and Contemporary Christian Music. She has a personal healing testimony that added to her already sensitive compassion for others in the way that she writes songs. “Your Great Name” (co-written with Michael Neale) won the GMA Dove Award for “Worship Song of the Year” in 2012. The song also has numerous other Dove nominations, including Song of the Year.
Her most recent co-write with Michael Neale, “Mercy Tree”, was featured on the nationally televised Billy Graham special titled “The Cross” which features a powerful testimony from Lacey Sturm. Another song, “Outrageous Love”, was a Top 10 radio single on Inspirational Christian radio.
Krissy has been a piano and voice teacher for 14 years. In addition to being happily married and blessed to be a mom of three children, she spends her days songwriting, mentoring other female songwriters, leading worship and recording music. Krissy, and her family, call Gateway Church in Franklin, TN their church home.
Wisdom is the Founder of All About Worship and Kingdom Songs. He has been involved in worship ministry for over 20 years. He currently resides in Nashville and works full-time at Integrity Music, coming alongside worship leaders by resourcing them with songs.
Aaron Tomberlin is a Songwriter/Worship Leader from Nashville, TN with a heart for people.
Growing up as the son of a minister in South Georgia, he began leading worship in his early teens. His heart grew to serve the community, regional churches and worship pastors. While living in Georgia, he met and became friends with the guys who would later start the band Finding Favour. He joined the band in his early 20’s as a writer and member which ultimately brought him to Nashville. Finding Favour was soon signed by Toby Mac to Gotee Records.
During the years of Finding Favour, Aaron began the guitar pedalboard solutions company, NosePedal. Upon moving to Nashville, he decided to come off the road as a full time member of Finding Favour to pursue the new business. He has toured as a guitar and piano player with artists such as Mark Schultz, 33 Miles, Johnny Diaz, Jason Gray, Michael Farren, and others.
Continuing his passion for writing worship music, Aaron signed on as a writer with The Rain Collective- a publishing company based in Nashville with a core focus on writing songs for worship. Currently, he serves his local church in the Nashville area as one of the worship and life group leaders. He, and his beautiful wife, Katie, live in Franklin, TN.