My relationship with Jesus started when I was an eight year old boy. Even at a young age I always sensed a “call” of God on my life. That “call” however laid dormant for several years while I pursued other directions in my life such as a career in farming, getting married , having children, and working other jobs to make my dream as a farmer a reality. However, God had other plans for my life. At the age of twenty-four Jesus became everything to me, I could not hear, read, or study enough about Him. Out of this new found love for the Lord I surrendered my life to serve Him and to preach the gospel. On December 7th, 1979 I preached my first sermon. The following year I accepted my first pastorate and I have been pastoring ever since.
I graduated from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in 1983 with a Bachelor in Theology and continued my education at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY and graduated with a Masters in Divinity In December of 1986.
In 1992 God began to deal with me about my relationship with Him. Although I had my formal education and had been trained in ministry, it seemed like something major was missing in my life and ministry. What the early followers of Jesus were experiencing with the Holy Spirit and the works that followed their ministry just seemed like some distant story to me. I was not seeing miracles, signs or wonders, or the selfless sacrifice that acquainted their journey. I began to ask myself some honest questions. What was lacking in my life and ministry? Had Jesus changed? Was that just for the early church? Or was there something more for me and the body of Christ that I should pursue? So I pursued the Lord with all my heart and I discovered the answer to my lack was “power”, the power of the Holy Spirit. I asked the Lord to fill me with His Spirit and do the works in me and through me that He has always wanted to do, but my fear, ignorance, and denominational loyalty had not allowed. It is hard to describe the change that happened in me and my wife. I knew many would reject the changes, yet many would benefit from my own journey.
The Lord birthed in my heart a vision. A vision of a church where people could pursue the Lord and His fullness in freedom. A vision of a church whose focus would be on a relationship with Jesus and one another, and not on programs, buildings, or a denomination. A vision of a church where a pastor could hear from the Lord and lead his church without having to” vote” on what the pastor felt like God was saying. A vision of a church where quality worship experiences happened. A vision a church where the “distressed, and those in debt, and the discontented” (I Samuel 22:2) could find refuge and deliverance.
On July 16th, 1995 Living Hope Church had its beginning. For those of you who are searching for the “much more “of God may you join us in our journey to fullness.
I graduated from Cumberland College in 1996 with a degree in Music Education. I joined with Pastor Lynn in 1995 as worship leader at Living Hope Church. We started our praise team with a CD player, transparency machine, a borrowed sound system, and whoever I could find of my friends at Cumberland to come join with us that particular Sunday. It has been a tremendous journey of faith and God's guidance. God has brought some wonderful musicians and worshippers to our church at different times to help lead us into worship. I have been so blessed to serve with so many great people over the years. Our team and sound is continually changing as God changes us and grows us into who He has called us to be. My philosophy of worship is that we are all called to be worshippers of God every day of our lives in every thing we do. Music is only one way of expressing that to God and we are called to be lead worshippers. It is my prayer and hearts desire that through music at Living Hope Church we can create an atmosphere to enter in to the presence of God. Scripture tells us to "come boldly to the throne of God" and that is what I believe the church needs to do. Scripture also tells us that as we lift up the name of the Lord He will draw all men unto Him. Our job is to worship Him, to lift us the name of the Lord, and He will do the rest. May we glorify God in all we do and live our lives as God worshippers.
Hmmm....Michael Bryant. Who am I? A human being incredibly gifted in managing to get in the way of God's plan for my life! A guy who tries harder every day to be the husband, father, leader and spiritual creation that Jesus is. A man on an every minute quest to discover more of the Power of God for living this life that can be frustrating, frightening and unbelievably rewarding all in the span of a single breath!
God called me out of darkness and into Light before I was formed in my mother's womb but didn't let me in on "Phase 1" of the plan until I was 5 years old - a little Pastor's kid who simply knew he needed a Savior - I'll never forget that moment on my knees in the living room of our little parsonage near the country church where my father served. I'll also never forget the exact moment He called me to ministry 13 years later - "Phase 2". "Are YOU talking to ME?!?!" :) What a ride! What a privilege it has been to serve in churches as a pastor, a worship leader and a member at-large in this Faith journey that is so incredible. 25 years. 100 more years of serving wouldn't begin to pay the debt I owe for this Life more abundant that He has given me!
Union College was kind enough to let me graduate with a degree in Business Administration several years ago and I attended Bible College at Mid-Continent Bible College. My parents, pastors, educators, leaders and saints have prayed over and spoken life to me and I am the sum total of those prayers and lessons. I fail. I walk on mountain tops and I stumble through valleys, but MY GOD sustains me, strengthens me, encourages me, never leaves me. He has given my beautiful wife Rhonda the patience she needs to to put up with me and I am amazed every day that He has allowed me - ME - to be a father to the 3 greatest kids on the face of the earth - Trey, William & Reid Elizabeth. They are teaching me so much!
I want to be like Jesus. To borrow a catchy phrase from Martin Luther - "Michael Bryant is dead. Jesus Christ lives here." Oh...that I should attain such a mark. Keep praying!
My HEART is to show our children to love who God made them and enjoy their uniqueness. My JOY is to teach gratefulness and to see our kids possess this fruit and truly walk in it. My PASSION is to show our children that worship has nothing to do with how pleasing our voice can be, but it is a way of life. My DESIRE is to have each child feel connected and loved each time they enter and exit Children's Church. My PRAYER is for each child to boldly walk through his or her life with a humble confidence worshipping our heavenly Father with every action, every decision and in every circumstance they may face. My INVITATION is for YOU to join this amazing group either as a class member or helper!