Ed Nicholson Bio - ChristianMusic.com
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Ed Nicholson is a gifted, driven Christian song writer, performer and worship leader who got an early start in knowing Jesus and learning what it means to be involved in Christian ministry, following the examples of what balanced service to Christ can be, set by his pastor father and mother, both committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, creating a legacy of serving the Lord. This legacy, ED Nicholson comments, "burns deep inside me and helps keep me at the foot of the cross."

Nicholson's musical talent was of course noticed by his choir director / organist mom, who introduced him to singing and performing for an audience, where he first experienced the joy of pleasing the Lord; "feeling His pleasure," a spiritual motivation that has fueled Ed's passion to serve the Lord through music throughout his musical career.

In 1992, Ed went into an active Christian music concert ministry in the mainstream Christian music commercial arena, becoming a founding member of the Christian rock band, 3 Crosses, where he was able to use his musical gifts of composing and singing to continue to experience the joy of pleasing the Lord. For the band, Nicholson was involved in composing more than 20 commercial Christian songs, with some elements of worship included in some of them. "Just Another Sign of the Times," "The Stone Was Rolled Away," "God's House," "Strangers in the House," "Bring Me to My Knees," "Seven Days" and "Calvary" are some of the big hits performed by 3 Crosses band.

For 5 years, Ed Nicholson was an intricate part of the active, demanding, successful Christian concert music ministry of 3 Crosses, a band on the verge of breaking into the big time Christian rock music scene. Because of their successful hits on the commercial Christian music charts, the band found themselves in the spotlight, touring with other big name Christian artists such as Petra, Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, d.c. Talk and The Newsboys. However, Ed Nicholson felt a restlessness, an undeniable feeling that the Lord had a different path in mind for him, as the wild hours, demands of touring on the road away from his wife, and the market-driven Christian music industry didn't seem to fit anymore with his personal life and his mindset for what service to Christ in a more balanced music ministry should be for his life. His passion and focus for Christ needed another avenue of expression, in a different way.

In February of 1997, Ed Nicholson left 3 Crosses in search of what the Lord's will was, concerning his music ministry for Jesus. Ed explains, "I left the band, disappeared from Christian music and started seeking out where God wanted me to be next. My journey was long. I must say it was hard, eye opening, refreshing, restoring to a point. I burned with the desire to serve God with my music but not seeing beyond the CCM marketplace, I continued writing with friends in Nashville, and getting my songs cut by other artists."

However, as one door closes, the Lord, ever faithful, will open another door. While writing songs for other artists, Ed Nicholson was asked to help local churches in the northeast area to set up contemporary music services. The Presbyterian Church at New Providence, a small town in New Jersey, not far from New York City, offered him "a deal that he couldn't refuse" at the time, and he found himself being the new worship leader in this small church, built in 1737, which opened new opportunities up to him musically as an artist, for a much more expansive music ministry of outreach, which boosted his efforts to change the culture, that he never could've imagined, being supported by a church community, as well as the Lord Himself.

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Ed Nicholson, his wife, Tracy settled in Providence and began serving the Lord in the same place for the first time in a long time, as well as strengthening their marriage and starting a family. The Lord's plan for Ed's new way to serve Him happened in a place where his wife Tracy could directly support and be a part of it, which is important to Ed, because seeing God in his wife's life has always allowed balance in his own. "For me the balance has always been my wife, Tracy. She supports me wherever God leads me, and we've always felt like our ministry was being together and then, hopefully, letting God affect those around us through His grace in our lives. When I was playing in rock clubs, I could tell she didn't like it, but she prayed for me and in her silence to me, God heard her cries. Now I spend my time in worship, a desire that God burned in my heart; something that's always been a huge part of her life. Whether I'm singing at a concert or planning for the worship services or songs I'm writing, it's just so great to have a helpmate like that. Then now through the birth of our son and passing on the legacy."
 

While Nicholson helps to grow, nurture and develop all aspects of the worship music of all the services, Tracy is active in the SALT youth program, which Ed and the youth pastor provide the worship portion of this Sunday night small group program. Ed also has a hand in planning the youth music needed for various programs, for the youth and by the youth, such as the Youth/ High School Praise Team that leads one Sunday every six weeks.

Being responsible for the worship music in the three diverse morning services; one traditional, one acoustic contemporary and one contemporary led Ed Nicholson to the new world of composing meaningful praise and worship music for services, a different experience from commercial, hit radio Christian music. He shares his compositions with the congregation, as the Lord gives them to him. "As God would have it, being exposed to so much worship music, I have felt inspired to write some myself and God has blessed me with a few worship songs. I have about six or more worship songs now that I rotate regularly in the worship schedule."

While the music on his new CD, OUT OF MY HANDS is composed in a contemporary Christian rock style, his next planned CD, HUMBLE (title song written by Nicholson & Ralph Barrientos) , will be praise and worship songs, which this reviewer can't wait to experience.

Church outreach to youth, the unchurched, and the community at large also is part of Ed Nicholson's calling as a worship leader. Before the horrendous attacks of Sept. 11th, this conservative Christian community of New Providence, home of 5 other churches, didn't mix much in Christian fellowship and support. "Christians had sort of adopted this separatist attitude of hiding behind the walls of these beautiful grand building we've built. God seems to be bringing down the walls, bringing us together especially after the events of 9/11. Change is happening and it's good to be a part of it."

Ed Nicholson observes that God is moving so powerfully through worship in this worship revival being experienced in the northeast. In his own services, which he jokingly calls "Ed's Chaos" when things are sometimes hectic, because there is so little time between services, and when the equipment sometimes hiccups, "the Lord always show up and makes His presence known. I love the fact that it's so much about the Lord and so little about us."

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Being a worship leader has brought home the truth to Ed Nicholson that the worship experience is a powerful tool for evangelism. Quoting his friend, Professor Martin Sanders, Ed Nicholson relates "when unbelievers enter into true worship they experience God's love in a way and with an emotion that they never felt before. It is a place of safety, an escape from the harsh realities of life. In this safe haven, they find God's peace, something they experience for the first time. They feel the pull of God's Spirit in that safe haven, a longing to be in that place is planted in them and they long to return to it again and again."

So what is found in worship is a peace and an experience of the Father's love, two very powerful, meaningful states of being for human beings. Nicholson says, "You reach out to the community of believers and unbelievers around you in worship to God, and through His power, evangelism just happens. Not beating people over the head with the Bible, but people entering into worshiping God, and for us to allow His spirit to evangelize the community; you come into contact with allowing them to find that safe place."

Besides being a rather busy worship leader for church services, for youth programs and for the Senate Chaplain's weekly Washington D.C. Bible study, being involved in various community concerts, Worship Festivals, performing concerts of his music etc., Ed Nicholson and his longtime song-writing friend, also from 3 Crosses, Ralph Barrientos, through The Presbyterian Church at New Providence, funded by other churches and private foundations, have created a nonprofit company, Creative Vision Media, / Creative Vision Ministries (1737 Records). Creative Vision Media brings live music to the community as an outreach, while Creative Vision Ministries is a record label which helps to develop and promote independent Christian music artists, with the goal of "affecting our culture as opposed to assimilating our culture. Not trend followers, but trend setters."

Creative Vision Ministries: Having a lot of experience in the Christian music arena, knowing every aspect of the business behind the music, Ed and Ralph are involved in the whole process of making records, from start to finish on every project, using this control they have to reach their goal. "We're just not a record label, we are more like a mission organization that supports a coalition of artists. It is our job to serve that artist though all the aspects of development. We are booking agents, record label PR agents, and in some aspects, managers."

It follows then that they are looking for creative artists that are "ministry driven" with the mindset of seeking God's way to 'affect the culture.' These creative artists may not necessarily fit into the music industry box, and may need time to develop naturally, but compose their music in new and fresh ways that help them to stay true to themselves, as they create with the creative passion coming deep from within their souls, given to them by the Lord. Ed Nicholson advises, "Just concentrate on creating from the heart and listen to what He's trying to teach you. The best songs come from deep within our souls."

For being in a Christian music ministry requires artists to focus on this gift of passion for making music to promote the Gospel. Ralph Barrientos explains, "We need to concentrate on this God-given passion, because as God gives this gift to us, we should want to give it back. It is our act of worship as artists. I think if we seek Him in a constant state of thankfulness for the gift of being artists, He will open up the right doors for us. Ed and I have seen that so many times through both success and failure. God is in control and it's all about being on the journey and moving closer to Him."

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