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John Rzendzian, Youth pastor/guitar
John currently plays acoustic guitar and leads worship at church and for Jr. High Camp in the summer. John also is the lead singer and plays both electric and acoustic guitar with the band Z.P. (zao psephos= living stones).

"My early musical memories begin at about the age of five when I enjoyed singing in the car when going for a ride. I remember my grandmother saying that someday I would be a great singer. Now I can't say that this 'great singer' thing has come true yet - no one has encouraged me to try out for "American Idol" - but Grandma did see something in my future that I would come to enjoy and share with others.

Growing up was hard for us financially, so the only musical experience I got was listening and singing to 45s on the record player. Boy did I dream that some day I would be on stage opening for Journey, Aerosmith, Boston, Bad Company, Alice Cooper and many, many more .

When I was in 8th grade I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and from then on I had a passion to move forward in music. Not for myself only, but for God's pleasure. It started off with getting a five-dollar guitar with 4 bass G strings and a little varnish. That's all I needed - I would sit for hours on the street corner with my out of tune guitar and write songs that I thought for sure would save the world. That only lasted for about six months until someone said that I needed different size strings that needed to be tuned. That was a breakthrough for me! Another breakthrough was when I could not afford guitar lessons and someone gave me a chord chart. I was a guitar player from then on! I could only play 3 or 4 chords, but that's all I needed to start with in order to experience the world of music.

Not only did I work hard at playing the guitar, but also in other musical areas. I enjoyed 4 years of choir, and received the National Choir Award, 4 years of high school musicals and even sang the National Anthem at a football game. But out of all my high school experiences, the one that I enjoyed the most was being a CIT (counselor In training) at Interlochen Center for the Arts. What an incredible experience, working with students who had great musical talent. It was definitely a highlight for me musically.

After high school I continued to work hard on guitar rhythms, vocals and chord structures. With some college under my belt and a good job, I decided to get married to my sweetheart, now my lovely wife Cheryl. I also continued to work on vocal things. In 1996 I created a two-member group called "His Grace" and sang to "canned" music at the local churches in the area. This lasted for about two years until I was called to lead worship and start a praise band at one of the churches (Grace Community Missionary Church of Bad Axe) I had sung for.

This change led me to seek God's calling in my life, which I've discovered is to be a youth pastor and music minister. For the last ten years I've kept busy writing songs for a personal CD project called "Convinced" and five other worship CD projects. In that time, I've had a lot of hands-on training in dealing with band issues and worship concepts.

After much training, hard work and some good old fashioned failures over the last ten-years, I find myself in a position to do what I have always desired to do - play music with others and for others. Today I am grateful to God, who has given me the joy of music and to use it in partnership with His plan. "

Z.P. is Cody Wessels (lead guitar), Penny Schmidt (vocals), Sherry Crann (bass), John Rzendzian (guitar and lead vocals), and Kent Gabrielson (drums).