Occasionally one of those students grows up and returns to a CIY event to use their Kingdom work in service to the ministry of CIY. Merci Neff is one such student. She has led worship since she was just 12 years old – the same year she first attended a Believe event. Today, she is an up-and-coming Christian recording artist who is helping to lead worship at every Believe event during the “WITH” tour. Between sessions at one of the Believe events she took some time share with us what it’s like to stand on the Believe stage, looking into a crowd she once sat in ...
"... never give up on your dreams. Do not allow what society says about you to define you. God has given every one of us gifts and talents, and it would be a shame to allow others to downplay what He created. Ultimately, the only one who’s opinion matters is the Lord’s.
KWC: How did you know God was calling you to use your skills, talents and abilities for His Kingdom?
Merci: I have been singing for as long as I can remember! I come from a big music family, so it has always been a way that I feel close to the Lord. Music is so powerful and I knew that this was a way that I could share the Lord with others! I was taught that when God gives you gifts, you need to use them – not for your own gain, but for His.
KWC: How did you get started in music professionally?
Merci: I got started in the music industry when I was recording some songs on an album for my church in Nashville. During the recording process the producer was asking, “Who’s the girl?” And when he found out that it was me, he got ahold of my mom and told her that he wanted me to make my own album! From there we started writing and recording my first EP.
KWC: What’s your connection to CIY?
Merci: I went to CIY Believe and CIY MOVE when I was growing up as a student! There was one year specifically that I remember when a three-girl group called the Rubyz performed. I was so excited to hear them and I dreamed of what it would be like to be able to lead worship for CIY! I definitely never thought that I would be able to! Dream come true, that’s for sure!
KWC: What’s your favorite part of being on the stage at Believe?
Merci: I love being able to share God with students through music! Music is such a powerful thing and brings people together from every state, every background, every walk of life. It is amazing getting to see God moving from the point of view of the stage. You can see from a different perspective.
KWC: So, do you ever get nervous?
Merci: I get SOOOOOOO nervous! It is crazy! But I think that a little bit of nerves is good. It keeps you grounded and focused on the reason that you are there! When I get nervous, the first thing I do is ask God to calm my heart and ask Him to open the hearts of the people in the room, that they would experience Him in a way they never have before. I pray that He is glorified even if it goes horribly to our human standards.
KWC: Somewhere in the crowd, there is a Jr. high student who is looking up to you. What advice would you give him or her on using their talents to further the Kingdom?
Merci: The only advice I can give is to never give up on your dreams. Do not allow what society says about you to define you. God has given every one of us gifts and talents, and it would be a shame to allow others to downplay what He created. Ultimately, the only one who’s opinion matters is the Lord’s.
Recently published in the 50th anniversary edition of The Kingdom Worker Connection.