This Sunday, St. Luke is honoring Jeff Greunke for his 25 years of service as the Director of Worship Arts. To commemorate the occasion, we asked the worship team to share their memories, photos and thoughts about what Jeff has meant to them. Due to an overwhelming response, there will be multiple posts.
With almost 300,000 churches in the US (I looked it up!), it’s safe to say that there are many people that do what Jeff does. As I ponder this, I’m left with a thought. What’s so unique about Jeff? Lots of people sing and play the piano. Many can lead a congregation in vibrant worship. But for those of us that have had the experience of working with other music directors and worship leaders, Jeff is truly something special. An unremitting task master, to be sure–but one with a heart of gold and a sense of humor to match. Through these qualities, Jeff not only manages to coax a pretty decent product out of us each and every Sunday, but he also does it in a way that inspires and motivates us to keep at it. Week in and week out. Year in and year out.
Why is this? It’s simple. Before we ever sing or play a note, Jeff rarely misses an opportunity to share the relevance of a particular song choice with the team and how we’re going to embrace that Sunday’s theme as a basis for leading worship. Jeff ensures we not only sing and play well together, but also that we know we do so to lift up others in praise to the living God.
The fact of the matter is that there are many, many talented and accomplished musicians who can and do lead their congregations in singing praise. And Jeff certainly belongs on that list. But what sets Jeff apart are the relationships he cultivates and the ministry that happens with his team in the quiet spaces between songs and rehearsals. What Jeff does is far more than play and sing. What Jeff does is minister.
Scott Dunmire, Electric Guitar
Our praise team is a family who shares joys and concerns and prays for each other. There are intense practices but also there are times of joking and silliness in practice when Jeff breaks out playing all kinds of music and people start singing along. Or jokes that sometimes are funny. Ha!
Thank you Jeff for leading us in worship week after week.
Thank you Jeff for not making worship just about music, but for teaching us about what it means to worship in spirit and truth.
Thank you Jeff for being a great leader and friend.
What can I say about Jeff? Well, in one 2 hour rehearsal, he can have me laughing, flustered, listening intently to his instructions, friendly bantering, all while giving my best the entire time. Jeff creates an atmosphere of fun but also an expectation of hard work. Hence, the roller coaster ride of my reactions in one rehearsal. Jeff has really pushed me in my abilities as a singer for the last 5 years on team. I am grateful for a director who is willing to stretch his musicians, to expect more when he knows they are capable of giving it. A big thanks to Jeff for putting up with all of us musicians and expecting our best every time we play or sing.
Kristin Hallman, Vocalist
Jeff is a servant leader. He is open to collaboration and allowing other people to come forward and grow in their creativity and talent.
He is not someone who needs to be in the spotlight but works with everyone to put forward a product of excellence, all the while being conscious of keeping Jesus as the focus. As a musician, he is gifted and intuitive and sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in worship.
I first met Jeff when I sang in the choir and he was the pianist. We worked more closely together on a production of Godspell. Joel and I have shared life together with Jeff and Kelly for many years. Our weddings were a few weeks apart, we went to many Christian concerts together, participated in small groups together and, as we added children to the mix, god-parented each other’s children. We’ve shared in celebrations and times of crisis and stress. Life is sometimes messy, and I am so thankful to be blessed to do life together. So, to me, Jeff is much more than a worship leader. He is also a friend and a brother. My life is richer in knowing and serving with him.
Join us in celebrating Jeff Greunke’s 25 years of ministry on Sunday, May 7th at the 11 a.m. service.