While at Camp Zephyr this month, I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Justin Graves… and his band. I’d never heard of Justin before this summer, but I’m glad for the opportunity to work with him. I actually wanted to give him props here on the site.

Here’s the deal with me. I’m probably not the best to to critique or describe the nuances or what makes one band great and another one not so great. When looking for a group to play and lead kids in worship, there are so many different directions you can go. Some musicians are really edgy… perfect for your angst-filled pre-teens and others are better suited for pre-schoolers (even though they think they’re rockin’ it for pre-teens). I consider all that stuff when I hear a kids band for the first time… but there are things that I consider far more important.

How does this band connect with the kids? Does this band simply walk through a worship set or do they lead kids in worship? Lastly, how well is this band going to work with me as a team?

Let me tell you a bit about my experience with Justin. He gets kids. He loves kids and they love him. From the stage he had the kids on their feet, bouncing and having a great time. When not on the stage, kids just wanted to hang out with him. That’s great when dealing with pre-teens.

I also noticed that he was truly a kids worship leader. There would be times during the worship songs that he’d gently guide the kids to stop clapping or swaying and focus their worship to God. He was always very aware of where the kids were and where they needed to go. He knows his craft.

Lastly, I greatly enjoyed working with him. A few weeks before camp, I was able to send him my notes and suggestions on how I wanted the mood to be when I got on stage or when I’d finish the talk. We’d chat for  few minutes before each session and discuss transitions and what we needed to do to make the greatest impact. I truly felt like I was part of a team. He cared about what the Holy Spirit was doing in the lives of these kids as much as I did and he played a huge part in making it happen.

So, if you’re looking for a worship leader for a pre-teen event, I stand behind Justin Graves for sure. You’ll not regret looking him up.

Oh, and the very best part of the Justin Graves Band is his family. It is a very family focused band and they minister together. Michelle, his wife plays bass and Gabby… well, she does a lot. She sings a little, she helps with hand motions and I think she’s their roadie… and manager. She’s five and incredibly cute. Honestly, she’s the cherry on top.

Click here to visit the site.