“Honestly, I really love talking about the missional stuff, probably more so than anything else,” says Will Derryberry, a musician, singer/songwriter and worship leader based in California. The Bible says that “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45) and it doesn’t take much for Will to dive in and express what makes him tick, the kind of passion that burns deeply in his heart.
Will holds a real kind of radical love for the ones who don’t have a voice and are simply looking for a safe and welcoming place to connect. He says, I think that our community, our culture, wants something—wants people who are authentic and genuine, and isn’t drawn to the imposing, sort of, mom and dad shaking a finger, saying ‘Go to church. You need to do this.’ It’s the relationship and the desire to be known—to let others know you in a vulnerable way. In a way that’s not weird, but is just real and authentic and genuine. That’s the basis, I think, from which we (as a missional church) can go out and actually show people the love of Christ. And do what He had mentioned in Mark 12, which was—love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love others as you would yourself. So in doing that, they just partner together the way God wants them to partner together. But you can’t have one without the other.”
“To be able to take a moment, for example,” says Will, “in a congregational setting, together where we’re building each other up, where we are desperate for God (regardless of what style is being played musically)—to me, that is that essence of the new. It’s really not anything new. It should be something we’ve always been doing (as far as worshipping God), but sometimes it gets missed within the high production stuff that goes on in churches now. [Instead of] just making sure everybody stacks the chairs at the end of the service, gosh, wouldn’t it be great if we just prayed together after service instead of moving on to this or that and the other thing? For me, it’s kind of out of a desperate place that I desire this new sound—this deeper place, this simpler way of living out our faith.”
Will thinks “that [regarding the] new sound of worship, sound can mean a lot of different things.” He mentions, “It can be those deep things that are even beyond music styles.
And looking at that widow who gave everything (out of her poverty) versus those that gave out of their wealth, I think that’s how we should be worshippers—to give out of our desperateness. Many times (it’s sad to say this) worship has become music; worship has become somewhat of a business. And I start getting sad and angry for those who really want to experience God in a place that is authentic and genuine and maybe desperate [for it].”
Reflecting back to our nations’s history, Will says, “[When] I think of the days of old where the churches would go out to parks and do a ministry day, it was always this imposing ‘We’ve got to seal the deal to get you saved. And come to our church!’ The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think that there are steps in that—especially with seeds [being] planted relationally. If we don’t take our time with one another, we’re gonna miss that opportunity. We’ve got to share that radical love, but we’ve got to be okay with doing it in a different kind of narrative. It’s still Jesus; it’s still God. We’re being true to Scripture, but we’re living it out in a way that’s re-telling (but it’s actually) looking back to more of an Apostolic way of living out our faith rather than historically what we’re used to in modern-day church that’s been given information from Christendom-type ministry and doctrine and thought.”
Will hits right on target as he explains, “What it really means to be a church in the community —it’s definitely an eye opener to how important it is to just be normal, and to do what you can as a normal human being. . .just demystifying Christianity.” He says, It’s a slow process, but it’s a worthwhile process and just earning the right to be heard and trusted. If that’s the only thing that happens, that’s a great seed planted.”
Will lives his message; his words are far from empty. He’s moved by the needs of his own community and sows his own seeds through sharing music and serving the world in that kind of way. He’s part of a duo, Two on Tuesday, with Madeline McArthur (a fresh, young musician, singer/songwriter, and worship leader) who is “totally into the missional approach and creating wins and connection for community [as well],” says Will. They “press into their desire to foster a connection between people and create a safe place for people without feeling like they’re at a worship service”, Madeline says. This duo is committed to seeing healthy relationships spring up and bring the unity they both are after.
Go to wilderryberry.net for their new album coming out soon.