He has served and he has experienced
Brandon Lyles didn't have that ideal ‘aha!’ moment that a lot of people hope to have when figuring out a career path. Instead, he journeyed from interest to interest through adolescence and into adulthood only to find them all collide in his current job as a worship pastor at Living Word Christian Center (LWCC) in Brooklyn Park.
“When I was 14, I wanted to be a pastor,” said Lyles, “when I was 16, I wanted to be a missionary. When I was 18, I wanted to be a musician. When I was 21, I knew God wanted me to do all those things.”
Lyles grew up in Maple Grove, Minn. with his parents, brother and two half-brothers. He and his family occasionally attended a church in Maple Grove called Shepherd of the Grove Lutheran Church, where he met and connected with some older teens at the youth group. Lyles said he was inspired by them and wanted to pursue a love for God like the love he saw those teens had. It wasn't until Lyles was 17 years old that he started regularly attending LWCC and volunteered on the junior high youth group’s music team.
At the age of 20, Lyles accepted the position of Intern Adviser and Music Director for an internship program he helped launch called GO Ministries, which was stationed at LWCC until moved to a church in Louisiana in 2012.
This job at GO helped launch Lyles’ career at LWCC. In his third year of working with GO, he became the Music Director and Ministry Assistant in the senior high youth group called The Rock at LWCC. From there, Lyles worked his way up to higher positions within the church.
It has been 14 years since Lyles accepted his first paid position at LWCC, and now he serves as the Worship Pastor of the weekend services and as a Worship Arts instructor of Disciple Internship (DI), an internship program through LWCC that started after GO relocated.
Lyles co-started DI in 2011 in partnership with Terrance Reeves-Chong, the current Head Intern Pastor at LWCC. In the first year, Lyles worked with six worship arts interns and has since worked with 20 more. In the worship arts curriculum that Lyles wrote, the interns learn about “writing songs, producing services, and leading bands — to the theology of worship and flowing with the anointing and Holy Spirit.”
“He doesn't care about the fluff,” said Cody Eliason, a current DI intern who works closely with Lyles to better her music skills, “He looks at your heart and is very interested in pushing you to be the best you can be.”
As an instructor for DI, Lyles is currently working alongside other staff members to train 32 young adults in different areas of ministry. The ministry pastor has also traveled with past and current interns around the state, country, and world to strengthen the skills of the interns and to strengthen his own skills.
“Young people are always like, ‘I want to change the world’ when God says ‘I want you to change your world.’” said Lyles, “Change the people around you. I want to value every moment with the people around me — my coworkers, my family, this church.” Lyles said that his ministry is in everything he does — whether that be when he wakes up in the morning and has coffee with his wife or when he talks with an intern about their training or about personal matters.
In the last 15 years, Lyles has traveled to Indonesia, England, Russia, Mexico and South Dakota on service trips — each place more than once — including several with DI. On these trips, Lyles worked in music ministry, children’s ministry, counseling and other services.
“He believes in what he is doing, and it is focused on helping people to grow closer to God and aiding them in their struggles,” said Andrew Walls, a musician at LWCC who has known and worked with Lyles for nine years, “I would probably not be doing what I do without him.”
In 2011, Lyles found himself struggling financially and emotionally after an unfortunate personal battle. He found himself looking to the people at LWCC for prayer and to God for help.
“Churches like this are full of people who have experienced just as much hell as the rest of us,” said Lyles, “If it wasn't for the people here at this church — if it wasn't for Pastor Mac and his prayer and encouragement over me — I don’t know where my kids and I would be.”
Lyles said that people in the church are meant to “serve and experience.” In his 14 years of service to LWCC, Lyles has been a pastor, a missionary and a musician. He has served and he has experienced. Lyles, who is now in his early thirties, knows that much more is in store for him than what is in front of him now, but is not sure as to what that may be. He says he is comfortable with what he has done, what he is doing and where he is going, even if he may not know the next step.
“I’m excited for what lies ahead, but am finding happiness right here and now as well.”
(All photos in this article are from the Living Word Christian Center, Brooklyn Park, Minn. Flickr ® profile found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwcc/)