Welcome Ricky Howsare, Contemporary Worship Leader
By Susan Shinn Turner
St. John’s has welcomed Ricky Howsare as its new contemporary worship leader. He started work on July 6 and his first Sunday in worship was July 11.
Ricky and his wife, Kimberly, are in the process of moving to Salisbury from Pennsylvania.
Kimberly, a childcare provider, is taking care of selling their house, as well as taking care of their animals: two dogs, three cats, two love birds, and a peacock. Ricky has already brought his small fish tank with him.
At 14, Ricky discovered his gift for singing.
“I established my relationship with Christ at a young age,” he says. “I was born and raised in a Christian household, and I grew up in a non-denominational church.”
By the time he got to college, he had been singing in his community. He received a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in voice from the University of Louisville. Upon graduation, he said, he had no plans for ministry.
“I always had a way with an audience,” he says. “I could have bet money that’s where my life was headed.”
For two years, he worked at the American Music Theater an 1,800-seat venue in Lancaster, Pa. It’s the secular version, he says, of the larger Sight and Sound Theater in that town. He was a full-time singer-performer. At Christmas, the singers and dancers did 14 shows a week.
“That will wear you out,” he notes.
He was struggling, he says. Finally, he shut the door to his room one day and began to pray. And he had a clear voice from God calling him into ministry.
“I never had any inkling that was where my life was headed,” he says, “but I had a peace and assurance about everything. I knew God would provide.”
A week later, he had a call from a pastor in his hometown who was looking for a full-time worship leader.
“It was a lot of risk for both parties,” he said, “but I worked there full-time for 2 1/2 years.”
He notes, “Ministry is something new and fresh for me, but it is my passion. I have never looked back. A transformation has taken place in me, the same as in anyone’s testimony. How can I use music to bring someone else to an experience of worship? How can I give God space to minister?”
He adds, “I give the glory to God. God did this in me and through me. We need to ask the question, how can church bring you as a worshipper into a place where you can have an experience with God that meets your needs?”
Although he will primarily lead the 9:27 service, Ricky has an appreciation for all types of music and all facets of worship.
“The level of collaboration with the music staff is a really awesome thing to be a part of. Ultimately, we are part of the same church.”
Away from work, Ricky and Kimberly enjoy being outdoors in nature. They’re eager to hit the local trails.