“The music started, the back lights came on and the next three minutes were pure bliss.”

Ethan Severin, a 20-year-old sophomore from Dallas, TX never would have guessed that his time at JRLC would have led to THIS. His dreams in high school were to record music for a secular record label, but earlier this month he found himself leading worship and energizing a crowd of thousands with an amazing solo at the Designed for Life Women’s Conference.

Designed for Life is one of the premier women’s conferences in the nation. Hosted by Pastors Debbie and John Lindell, the DFL Team and James River Church, the conference was held at JQH Arena, one of the largest venues in southwest Missouri. JRLC students were an integral part of the conference and Ethan’s involvement was, as he called it, “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

He went on to tell about his experience at the conference, “Being on a stage like that, completely drains you. We would get off the stage and pass out on the couches, drenched in sweat, like man, we are going to have to do this again in two hours.”

But when asked where he found strength to do it all over again, he replied

“Jesus. 100%.


“After a while you forget you are putting on this great performance, and you just start having fun. I was having fun, just having a blast.” In front of a packed arena, on the second day of the conference Ethan was leading a song that has yet to be released to the public and loving every minute of it. Why? Because he was experiencing an opportunity he never thought possible, through an avenue he never could have dreamed. He was singing to an energized crowd, but for an audience of one.


“Sean Keith plays jokes like none other. “ Speaking about James River Church’s Worship Pastor and the laid back atmosphere behind the scenes at DFL. “Don’t fall asleep in the green room if Sean’s there. He’ll pull a prank on you.” Not only did the worship team get to goof off and hang around backstage, but Ethan also recalled the significance of gleaning from the conference sessions with world-renown speakers Christine Caine, Priscilla Shirer, Charlotte Gambill and Cece Winans.           

Looking Back

“There’s no way I would have been able to do any of this had I not come to JRLC. I came so close to signing with a little record company and I would have been struggling with that. It’s so cool to see how God has kept me from certain opportunities and put me in the right ones. If there is one thing I’ve learned its that church ministry isn’t what I thought it was.”

Ethan’s freshman year he was a part of the stage tech team for DFL 2013. He grew in his position and slowly gained trust from his leaders and peers. In sitting down to talk with him, it is evident that Ethan’s willingness to serve from the beginning has placed him in the role he is in today. Understanding the in’s and out’s of production and live performance grew from a foundation of his servant’s heart.

What the Future Holds

Ethan finished with this thought, “The success of James River Church is evident to other churches in the nation, and it’s so cool to be able to say I was a part of that for 2 to 3 years.” He plans to take the principles he has learned during his time at JRLC back to his home church in Texas to become the Worship Director for their growing program. Ethan says that he hasn’t left his dreams of signing with a record label behind, but he knows, guided by Christ’s plan for his life, he is building the local Church and accomplishing dreams beyond his wildest imagination.


Want More? Subscribe to the JRLC Blog!

Similar Posts

How Emily Jenkins was Designed for Life
Arianna’s Story


Nice post about Church Ministry Isn’t What I Thought It Was.Thanks for sharing here.

Leave a reply