Sometimes it takes a single spark in the heart of one that God uses to spread something impactful to a community. The vision of Village Hymns began four years ago inside the heart of a local South Florida worship leader.
Josh Bramos pulled together a small group of worship leader friends who wrote songs for their churches. Each of us had something in common: we were writing songs for our church contexts and leading them on Sunday mornings right alongside mainstream worship songs and hymns.
We found that there were themes that were rising up from pulpits and our church communities that needed to be put into song. And so that’s what we did! We opened God’s word and kept our churches and our community stories in mind as we wrote and led songs. As we began to share the songs with other worship leaders, something amazing started to happen. We began to swap our songs and sing them at each other’s churches. We found that these songs began to resonate within our local congregations, and we started to sing these songs of our city.
As our community songs began to spread, we decided that we would make an album to celebrate the songs that God had given us. At that time, we were about 20 worship leaders strong. Fast forward to today — we have 150 worship leaders from 54 different churches. We’ve made a second album and are working on our third, narrowing down 64 song submissions from dozens of local leaders.
We started organically with a heart to encourage songwriters to write skillfully for their local churches. Currently we host three monthly songwriting workshops called CREATES. Over the past two years, we’ve hosted 32 CREATE workshops in which worship leaders and songwriters have learned songwriting mechanics and spent time co-writing and growing in relationship with like minds from all different denominations. These monthly writing groups have served as a space for multi-church collaboration, have broken down comparison and competition, and have brought about a spirit of unity in our local area.
This year, we began to see the need for even deeper community and soul care for worship leaders. Our heart is not just for new songs to be written and sung but also for worship leaders to be made new and have personal revival in their hearts. At the end of the day, the vision of Village Hymns is to see vibrant worship fuel a revival in South Florida. Our mission has always been to inspire and equip worship leaders to not only be creative but also to be healthy as they lead their churches in authentic worship.
We’ve had the joy of partnering with Church United over the past few years. Village Hymns regularly leads the worship at Church United gatherings. We also partnered with Church United in hosting two Worship Leader Gatherings this year where we talked about the importance of personal private worship, valuing our families, having deep accountability in our upfront roles, and making sure that our gifting never substitutes for good character. Our third album focuses on the things that Church United and Village Hymns share in common: prayers for unity, repentance, a move of the Spirit, and Gospel revival. We long to see God’s kingdom come in South Florida, and our prayer is that God would awaken His church once again to love Him passionately and love those whom He loves.
We have some exciting things ahead and believe that God is just getting started with the ministry of Village Hymns. I came on as the first full-time staff member of Village Hymns in July. As a leadership team (Josh Bramos from West Pines Community Church and Adam Pizarro from Riverside Church), we have been prayerfully casting vision for this next season. We have begun an eight-week internship program for worship leaders who desire intensive training within a local host church, and we’re also launching a mentorship program for worship leaders who are actively serving in music ministry and would like to grow musically, spiritually, or in their leadership skills.
We know that God has always been the one writing the story of Village Hymns, and we can’t wait to hear the songs and see the stories of His faithfulness to His Church in South Florida. Village Hymns will host a community-wide Night of Worship and Prayer at 7 p.m. on September 13 at Riverside Church, 957 Rock Island Rd, in North Lauderdale. To learn more and get involved, visit villagehymns.com.