On journey with God, Brian Hill provides the soundtrack
While cruising down the highway on life's journey, Brian Hill is content riding in the passenger seat. He's not driving. That spot is reserved for the one who ultimately has the keys, map and direction.
Hill is better suited riding in the back seat, with the top down, cranking the tunes on his Fender Stratocaster. One can picture him looking up from his guitar and over at God asking for special requests. This vehicle doesn't have a radio.
"I don't listen to music, I do music. I don't mind admitting that. It's more about the first-hand experience."
With Hill's cool, youthful attitude and hip style, the two occupants could be cruising in a black Cadillac convertible or vintage red Mustang with the wind blowing through their hair. But the fact is the vehicle they're riding in isn't a car at all. The vehicle is the music.
The most recent stop on Hill's musical journey with God has brought him and his family to Perham as the new Director of Music Ministries at Perham Community Alliance Church.
"When it comes to church music and why we do this, music is a vehicle for worshiping God. It's a vehicle for developing a relationship with God. That's why we do it."
The musical journey started as a kid for Hill growing up in Grand Rapids, MN. His older brother and teachers influenced his music style and direction. "I've been playing music all my life. That's what I've always wanted to do. Church music has been in my life the whole time. I've never been away from it."
That passion for music inspired Hill to earn bachelor degrees in music (2002) and education (2004) from Bemidji State University.
The journey continued as he taught orchestra at Bemidji High School for five years and volunteered as a worship leader at a church. "I felt a real calling for music and working with youth."
Eventually, Hill decided it was time to look down the road for a full-time position working in a church. "I felt drawn more and more to church things." That's when he found a job in Omaha, NE through a friend in 2007.
Hill's new opportunity working in youth ministry was less musically driven but suited him well-thanks to his years as a teacher working with kids, combined with his spiritual side. He was more of a preacher than anything else.
After a couple years, Hill and his wife Trudy decided it was time to move their family, Ali (7), Ian (4), Ike (2) and Avery (6 mo.) closer to home. So, the journey moved this direction.
"It's good for us to be here, It's good for the church too. I feel it's a blessing on both sides."
Trudy is originally a farm girl from New York Mills. "She's a hard worker and a great person." They met while Hill was attending junior college in Grand Rapids.
With Hill's new gig in Perham directing music, he also gets to spend time assisting as a youth minister for over 60 kids in their youth program. The perfect fit for him to balance both of his callings.
The church will be celebrating his welcome Friday, April 30 at 7 p.m. at a concert.
Hill and three other players will be performing music he has written throughout his musical journey with God. "If you listen to the lyrics, you'll get that snapshot."
If Hill's broad musical and spiritual experiences down the road of life, leading to this point in time are indicators, the soundtrack of the performance should be one heck of a ride.