Everyone knows the lead guitarist in their favorite rock band. Next to the lead singer, the guitarist is often the most popular and well known figure in the band. The guitarist usually gets all the ladies and young kids idolize their heroic axe men with posters that cover the entirety of their walls. Bevan Binder and Kees Groenewegen are both guitarist yet they are taking a different approach than the glamorous fantasies of most aspiring musicians.
Binder and Groenewegen are both seniors at Bowling Green State University who believe that praising God with their music is more valuable than achieving commercials success and becoming famous.
“After I transferred to BGSU from the University of Cincinnati, I met the Lord,” Groenewegen says. “And music provided the medium for me to express my joy.”
Groenewegen is involved in a campus ministry at BGSU called Impact. The ministry provides men and women’s bible studies, a hangout night, an outreach to teens in the juvenile detention center and a large group meeting on Thursdays during the semester. The Thursday night meeting is where Groenewegen gets to play worship music.
“When I first got involved in Impact, we would worship to YouTube videos and sing along with them,” Groenewegen says. “I thought live music was so much more passionate. So, in my junior year I introduced live music to Impact.”
Groenewegen added that the response from students attending Impact to the live music has been very positive and that people seem to really enjoy the full band sound created by multiple guitar players and a drummer playing simultaneously.
Bevan Binder had similar sentiments about the importance of worship music, or music sang and played to praise God. “It’s a way to connect with God,” Binder says. “I don’t fully understand how, but it is some sort of conduit to get close to God.”
Binder plays guitar for H2O church, an on-campus church that has a service at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings and also has small group sessions throughout the week called Fusion groups.
“I look at H2O as my ministry,” Binder says. “I do not get paid for it and there are plenty of times when I would rather sleep in on a Sunday. But I think those are the times that really count, the times when you are sacrificing of yourself.”
Both Binder and Groenewegen shared their excitement for when there is a large group of people praising God.
“It is really awesome to hear everyone singing to God in a unified voice,” Binder says. He also added that it was really cool to be a part of allowing people the chance to do that with his music.
Groenewegen echoed Binder’s comments. “When you get a group full of broken, passionate people who are searching for the truth worshiping together, it is a beautiful thing,” Groenewegen says.
Groenewegen also shared one of the modifications he made to his guitar. His Mitchell acoustic, came with a name brand sticker on the headstock. “I took the sticker off and used my wood burning tools to burn a cross into the wood,” Groenewegen. “Then I burnt in Ephesians 5:19.” The verse reads ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord.’
Groenewegen concluded in saying, “I hope this guitar can be used to play hymns and spiritual songs and share the love of Christ through music.”