Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Extravaganza, and Resurrection Sunday had passed. A busy week of church activities was in the history books, and it was time to get back to the crazy routine many consider normal. But just one week later, a night of worship offered rest for the worn, hope for the hopeless, encouragement for the growing, and a relaxed environment for believers to give God the glory for who He is, and what He’d accomplished the week prior. None of it would have been possible without a young man’s heart for worship—and a drum set.
Bryan Ellis is that young man. The drummer for Main Street Church of God is also the drummer for an up-and-coming “Indie-rock-meets-ambient-rock-in-a-hallway-of-bliss” band composed of students from Anderson University. Week in and week out, Main Street is blessed by the ministry of Bryan as he pours all of his energy into worship, ramping up the energy on Sunday mornings at 10:15. On Saturday, April 22, he and the band he plays for—As One—led an evening service of music, prayer, and testimony that lifted up the name of Jesus alone.
From the beginning to the end, it was clear that As One was there for one reason. Through such songs as “Death Was Arrested,” “Holy Spirit,” and “Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone!” as well as an original hit now on Spotify—“Be Still”—the atmosphere in the room was truly sacred. Entertainment was a byproduct; they’re all highly skilled musicians, after all. Fun was certainly bound to happen when you bring a bunch of friends together to do what they love, yet that even that wasn’t their primary motivation. To advance the kingdom of God through worship—that’s what keeps them going.
“We want to further Christ’s kingdom in the local community,” Brie Gonda, vocalist and keyboardist for the group explains. “I think that this band has the potential to reach a lot of people, and our goal is to reach the community and turn their eyes towards God in some way. Even if it’s just making them see God for a split-second, that can actually change their life and that’s what we hope to do, and that’s where I see us going. We want to be a people that creates an environment where people can worship God and where people leave feeling different. That is something that we want to continue on for the rest of our lives. So, our prayer is that we can do that, and that we can continue to focus on Christ through it all and ultimately be His hands and feet.”
In 2014, God was already laying the groundwork for something big. Ben Leatherman and Caleb Yoder and another original member of the band had enrolled at Anderson University. While scheduling classes, the three met Brie, and Ben and Maddi Luekenga were introduced in freshman seminar classes. When Park Place Church of God, adjacent to the AU campus, needed a band to lead worship for their youth group, the history of As One began. Eventually Kris Epperson, and later Bryan, would also join the ministry.
So how did they get the name As One? Well, it wasn’t their original name. Before As One, they’d carried the names When Worlds Collide and Fusion Youth Band, each for a season. In late 2016, these AU students were discussing the possibility of recording some original music. Neither of the old names seemed to fit, so they went back to a conversation they’d had in the early days of the band. “We discussed what worship meant to us and said unanimously that worship brings us together,” Brie explains. “We also drew from Revelation 5:13, which speaks about how all creatures on the earth, under the earth, and above the earth will sing together as one. We desire to start that kind of worship now.”
On and off the platform, these young men and women are the real deal. They love each other, they love the Lord, laugh together, do life together, and make music to the King. Main Street Church of God is grateful for the opportunity to worship with them, and to continue to worship with Bryan throughout the year.
Exciting new things are happening at Main Street Church of God. See for yourself! For more information, contact the church at email@example.com, visit www.mainstreetcog.net, or call 765-644-6555.