About Rick Muchow and His Friends...
Although Rick was born in San Pedro, CA., he spent
his formative years, from age 6 to 12 growing up in Greenwich Village,
located in lower New York City. It is here, in this community known
to be rich in the arts, being traditionally inhabited by musicians,
artists, and those in the acting profession, where young Rick's musical
talent and interest in music was fostered. At an early age, he studied
guitar, learned to sing, and became involved in musical theater.
During his junior high years, Rick moved back to California,
and became active in musical opportunities in San Jose, CA. During
his Senior year in high school, he performed in the musical, GODSPELL.
The Lord used this opportunity to draw Rick to Himself, opening Rick's
eyes to the truth about Jesus through one of Rick's friends who explained
what GODSPELL was based on. The summer after Rick graduated from high
school, he became a believer in Jesus Christ, turning his life over
It is encouraging and fascinating to see how the Lord
guides, prepares and molds believers through their life experiences,
so they can be fully used for His glory. Rick's attitude toward music,
at this point of his life, was coming from a secular mindset, instead
of a spiritual one, which is needed for a person who would be entering
music ministry for Christ. He needed to make the Lord his number one
priorty, and not let other passions like music come between him and
the Lord. "Rick had always thought of music as means of getting what
he wanted. In his own words, music was 'a god' to him. But all of that
changed when his guitar was stolen during the summer after he accepted
Jesus as his Savior. Suddenly there was a great void in his life. It
was a void that Rick eventually learned to fill with Christ. His guitar
was returned only after he clearly saw that his first priority in life
had to be God." Rick remembers: "Music was a god I worshiped, but now
music is a means to worship God." - encouragingmusic.com/rick/rick_bio.asps
While studying music at San Jose City College, the Lord
further developed his spiritual mindset. Rick had the opportunity of
touring with a Spanish Gospel group, The Gospel Expressions, who sang
only in Spanish. While Rick couldn't sing in Spanish, he was musically
contributing to the group effort to bring the Gospel to their audience
by playing his guitar. "God used this experience to teach Rick another
major lesson: a music minister does not have to be in the spotlight
to serve Christ."
For being a member of the body of Christ, all members
work together to serve and promote Jesus Christ. This meant that the
Lord is better served in a worship music ministry when all pool their
various talents to create a wonderful group effort for the Glory of
God, not for self-glory. This philosophy has served Rick's ministry
for the Lord well, as he not only uses his own songs for services and
CDs, which show "remarkable range and depth," but also the songs written
by the other musicians he leads and works with on the worship team.
Rick comments, "I am inspired by other songwriters expressing their
true, authentic, relevant relationship with God. The whole body has
something to say."
After graduating from San Jose State University where
he majored in music, Rick began serving the Lord as a worship music
and youth leader for Warm Springs Baptist Church for a two year period,
where he was fully convinced and reassured that he had been truly called
to be a full-time music minister. Specifically, he strongly felt called
to be a church music leader. Along with his musical talent, he also
became aware of another gift of ministry; a passion for people, which
is an important part of being any kind of pastor.
Rick's next ministry assignment from the Lord found him
in Gilroy, at First Baptist Church. After 4 1/2 years, Rick left First
Baptist Church in Gilroy, CA. to try touring America in a concert
format. This approach to ministering through music was short lived because
of the stress and sacrifices this kind of ministry demands. Rick realized
quickly, as many other Christian artists have, that touring and life
on the road demands a dedication and sacrifice which interferes with
marriage, having a home life, and didn't fit too well with his original
calling; to be a local worship music minister, personally involved with
people, a gift that he realized he had at Warm Springs Baptist Church.
Because of the above compelling reasons, Rick and his
wife decided to settle down and raise their family in a community setting,
and to serve the community through music ministry in a church setting.
In 1987, Rick Muchow was invited to join the staff at The Saddleback
Church, a congregation of 1500, in need of a music program, and a music
worship leader. So Rick went to work in developing the whole music program
His efforts at doing so were mightily blessed by the
Lord in his first year at Saddleback Church. The church grew to 3000
members, partly because of the enhanced worship experience, bolstered
by Rick Muchow's unique vision for how worship music should sound; being
high quality, seeker-sensitive, user-friendly worship music, and thus
inspire the audience for a closer walk with the Lord, feeding them spiritually
with music, which leads to the ultimate goal; encouraging more involvement,
producing worship of the Lord.
Rick Muchow, now a well-respected authority on the topic
of contemporary worship music, wears several hats in his dedicated service
in music ministry. As music worship leader /pastor at Saddleback Church,
which has grown to 15,000 average weekend attendance, he's responsible
for the "music for 5 weekend services, a midweek service and other group
meetings too numerous to mention. There are 40 active supporting volunteer
musicians, and 45 ministry staff (paid and volunteer)." The music program
has also grown to having 1000 adults, youth and children all participating
in the choirs established for adults, high school, junior high, elementary
school, and even for the very young.
Not only is Rick the music worship leader /pastor for
Saddleback Church, he is involved in other outreach projects to help
churches be effective through music to spiritually feed their congregations
and draw seekers to the Lord. Rick is the worship music leader for the
popluar Purpose Driven Church conferences, which are attended by over
150,000 pastors and church leaders, and has a section on his website,
where others involved in leading worship music in their churches can
e-mail any questions that they may have.
Julie Carr // ChristianMusic.com.