When Bishop Philip Jones first offered Michael Brymer a job as worship leader at St Andrew’s Church in Little Rock, AR, Brymer said “No thanks, I’m going to become a home inspector.” Over the next few weeks, Bishop Jones offered the position to Brymer several more times. Brymer continued to turn the offer down until a word from the Lord convinced him to accept.
Brymer, who will be one of the worship leaders at this year’s Winter Conference, has now been the worship leader at St. Andrew’s for more than nine years. We recently sat down with Brymer to learn why he joined St Andrew’s and what the Lord has been doing in his life and ministry.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a missionary kid that grew up in Mexico, where my dad was a worship leader and a church planter. My parents divorced when I was seven and I moved to the US when I was 13.
I grew up in a singing family, often picking up the drums or a guitar when told to. I was always involved in music and knew this is probably what I would do.
I attended the Art institute of Houston, and got a degree in commercial art. I moved to Arkansas after art school and that’s where I met and married my wife Karen.
I spent the next years of my working life in ministry, first as youth pastor, and then for 10 years as the music leader at a charismatic Baptist church in Little Rock, AR.
In 1990, we moved our family to Phoenix to help my brother with a church plant. We had mixed experiences in Phoenix, and in 2000 when we moved back to Little Rock, I went to work remodeling houses and doing anything other than being a part of a church staff. I was pretty burned out at that point.
What convinced you to take the job at St Andrews?
After turning the job down several times, +Philip asked me to lead worship one Sunday morning. I thought it was a one-time thing and that it would be fun, so I accepted. The music that morning was terrible. The monitors weren’t working right and I didn’t know much about this Anglican thing. But the Holy Spirit showed up and when my wife and I left we said to each other “maybe we should start attending church here.”
The next day I had a meeting with +Philip and two other leaders in the church. I came dressed in my remodeling work clothes. When all three of them showed up in suits, I realized this was a job interview. So I thought “Ok, I’m going to sabotage this thing, and if I still get it, it’ll be clear that this is what God wants me to do.” I proceeded to answer their questions as bluntly as I could.
Now, I have to backtrack a little bit here. Four years before, I had received a prophetic word from a trusted friend, who said “You feel like you are penned in a fence. You were meant to run in an open field. Beware of anyone who tries to fence you in.”
Halfway through my interview with +Philip and the other leaders, +Philip out of the blue turns and points to me and says “You know what I love about St Andrews? There are no fences. It’s like I’m running in an open field.”
After that, I was in.
What gets you up in the morning (energizes/motivates you)?
I love Jesus, I love my family, and I love to lead worship – that’s all I have the energy for, that’s how deep I am. I’m older now and have seven kids, so I don’t have energy to care about other stuff.
I like being where the Holy Spirit is. I get excited to see what’s going to happen.
My favorite words on Sunday mornings are “Please Stand.” That means we are going to do what we need to do. It doesn’t matter what didn’t get done, it’s go time.
What is the most encouraging or memorable thing that happened in your life and ministry in the last year?
There’s not a particular moment that comes to mind. It’s been a hard year, but I have seen over and over again that God is faithful. He is consistent and He loves me in spite of me. That’s the most encouraging thing: knowing that He knows that it has been a hard year and doesn’t hold it against me.
What person has most impacted your life, and why?
My wife and my kids. Growing up, I was on my own a lot. My dad was very ministry-centric and my mom was not around very much when I was in my teenage years. God would put people in my life, but aside from my older brother, there weren’t many people who were consistently there.
My wife and kids have shown me love, acceptance, forgiveness and mercy. Being a father has opened up for me how much God loves me, for if I who am evil know how to give good gifts to my children, how much more will my Father in heaven give good gifts to me (Matthew 7:11). They are gifts to me, not because of what they do, but because they are. They have shown a whole new realm of God’s goodness to me.
What is one accomplishment in the past that you are proud of, and what is one thing that you would like to accomplish in the future?
I am proud that I will have been married 29 years in May. I have the best marriage in the world. My parents split up when I was 7, and I didn’t know to what extent that impacted me. I’m also proud that my kids love each other.
In the future, I’d like to stay married for another 29.5 years. And to keep receiving mercy from God.
To register for Winter Conference 2016 visit http://www.theamia.org/winter-conference.html