By Denton Josey, Page Editor
The Jeff Berry Band returned to Abilene Tuesday to kick off Unite, a worship service at Fountain Gate Fellowship Church geared towards college students.
Jeff Berry led worship for 11 years at Grace Bible Study at University Baptist. Now he and his band tour the country full time and lead worship at the Heights Baptist Church in Richardson.
Brandon Hawk, leader of Unite and college minister for Kingdom Life Fellowship, asked the band to start Unite this semester because of its history with Abilene.
“Jeff has our heartbeat,” Hawk said. “He’s such a man of God; we’re honored just to have him come and play.”
Berry said he’s glad to come back to the place where he has so many memories.
“I’m thrilled I get to come home and have so many friends,” he said. “It was where I got my start in ministry.”
The focus of Unite is to bring college students together for worship.
“Our heartbeat is to love one another and come together rather than divide,” Hawk said.
There are more than 300 christian churches and three Christian colleges in Abilene, Hawk said. “Our heartbeat is to unite the city to God and to one another,” Hawk said, “to see the barriers and the walls come down so we can put our differences aside and concentrate on what we agree on.”
Hardin-Simmons University student McKade Marshall, senior accounting major from Abilene, is the manager for the Jeff Berry Band. Marshall said Berry led worship last year at Unite, formerly Late Night, and Hawk wanted the whole band to come out this time.
“He is definitely one of the most sincere worship leaders,” Marshall said. “I would say his heart is in the right place.”
The Jeff Berry Band, going on seven years of being together, earned air time on the radio in Dallas and tours the country full time. With all the success, Berry said the focus hasn’t changed.
“Our goal is to lead people to Christ through music, so if we can do that, I think we’ve accomplished our objective,” Berry said. “The whole purpose of Unite is to celebrate unity within the body of Christ.”
Hawk and Berry said they both have a passion to see college students love God and love others better. They said their ministry is supposed to draw people of all ages to Christ.
“We want to see people passionate about Jesus in Abilene,” Hawk said. “We believe Unite is a place where people can come and experience the power and the presence of God.”