Check out this video to learn more about Missy, her journey of faith, and her passion for worship
In the beginning, Missy Wise knew that she had been given a gift from God, she could sing, and she was good at it. It was that passion that eventually brought the 31-year-old Shreveport woman to be the new music director at Faith Lutheran Church in Aurora; where she has plans for not only the church, but the entire community.
Growing up in Louisiana, Wise and her family were Southern Baptists. She said her parents were in the choir and as she grew she was listening to the songs with keen interest and decided that she wanted to do the same. She said the first time she sang in church, she was only 3 years-old. “They would let me go up to a microphone,” she recalls saying it was back then that she determined singing in church was what she wanted to do.
What followed was serving as a worship leader with the youth band, followed by high school. When she went off to college, she found herself employed as a faith link service leader in Shreveport for five years before she moved to the windy city.
“I think that God gives us gifts, things we are passionate about and good at. I think it’s important if you have a gift God has given you, you have to be a good steward,” she said.
Wise said she is very involved in musical theatre and it was that employment track that caused her to pause and realize it was being a worship leader in church that helped her to engage with humans. “It makes me a better actor, they help each other all the time.”
She decided to move to Chicago with her worship band that toured and led services, events, retreats and camp. She has a wide array of experience in musical theatre all over the Chicago area but said being worship leader at Faith is quite important to her. “It is important that it all works together and the things we are good at, we dive into and then it all works together. I think it’s important, if you have a gift God has given you, you need to be a good steward.”
It was at about that time that Wise said she felt God called her to be a leader, a missionary. The more I listened to God, walking faithfully with God, I realized the gifts I was given need to be used as part of leadership when we all come together as a community, with music. As humans, one of the most basic things we do, we make noise.”
While the worship leader will be making sweet noise during services at Faith Lutheran she added that her hopes are that the sounds will go further into the surrounding community. “I think it’s a great way to invite, a great way to get people in the door. If we lead songs, we can all join together to do that, so it’s a great way to reach others. It reinforces the scripture of the week, so it’s a great way that as a community we let those sink in.”
Wise said it is important to her and she sees her role as a way of bringing the community together. “It is really important to me, using worship to bring this community closer. I also want to enable people who play instruments and sing, I want to enable them and empower them to speak out more in church. I want to help people be more comfortable with leading out.”
Wise said going to church each Sunday should be a happy moment and she will be striving to make everyone’s time at Faith Lutheran just that. “Worship means were coming together and then Sunday is a way to share what we have been doing all week in a place that we know is community, we know as a community we let those thoughts sink in.
Wise acknowledges the other side of church attendance and said she hopes her music will help those in that category as well. “If it becomes about whether or not you see going to church service as a chore, or another thing on the to do list or as a way of taking an option off the list. Then it isn’t fun and isn’t a way of coming together. Your intention of what church is supposed to be has to change for it to be somewhere you want to be. You have to want to be there, a place to see a friendly face or a place where I can chill out and relax for an hour or sing some songs and hear some really important stuff. It’s a different view of scripture that I haven’t heard before. Church can’t become somewhere you are going for the look of it. Hopefully, it becomes something I want to do with my family. It’s good for my soul to be there.
The Louisiana native said coming to the windy city was a shock to her system but one she has taken calmly. “When you grow up with a bunch of hot weather, it’s really nice, a really nice change of pace to have all the seasons.” She chuckled with her last thought on the subject, “even though I moved up here in the midst of the worst winter you’ve had in 20 years.”