It wasn’t too long ago that DREAM Label Group/DREAM Worship released the all wonderful album, Marble & Mortar Vol. I & 2 (read the TBAP review here and here). The incredible people behind the awesome songs, 29:11 Worship, have been writing for their local church and community from the inception of 29:11 Church. Zion Rempel, the Creative pastor took the time to tell us a bit about his personal journey and ministry in 29:11 Church and worship team, in the chat below.
Miranda ~ Hello! Pleasure to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Zion: Honored to be here. Hello there, my name is Zion Rempel. I am the Creative Pastor at 29:11 Church in Tempe, Arizona. I have been a part of this movement from the very beginning. It has been incredible to see what it has grown into—from a small Bible study that met in our living room, to a thriving community over just the past five years. I am married to my beautiful wife, Kirstyn, who is our Family Pastor, and our little man, Maddox, just turned 1 a few weeks ago. We love doing life and ministry together, and cherish all the challenges and adventures that church planting brings.
Miranda ~ How did you come to make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior? What particularly led to this moment?
Zion ~ You know, I have grown up in the church. I think finding myself in full time ministry has been quite a journey. In fact, there was a time I was even running from it. I had seen in so many times and places the heartache of ministry while growing up, and I remember telling God as a pastor’s kid, “I will never do this.” The irony right? I even chased a career in the medical field, got an undergraduate degree shooting for medical school, and set my life up for a completely different track, only to find that I would lay that future down. Nothing else would fulfill my call. Where I am now, is exactly where I am supposed to be.
Miranda ~ How did you come to be the Worship leader of 29:11?
Zion: It has been so cool to be a part of this from literally, the very beginning. I remember sitting in local coffee shops and drawing logos on napkins. I remember pre-launch meetings, writing and dreaming vision. I remember launch night, where it all started in our living room. And, I remember piecing together our first project ever: Living Room Sessions: Volume I. I love that writing songs for our community has always been a part of our culture, even all the way back when all this was just getting started. We have come a long way since then, but, I have a sacred place in my heart for the Living Room Sessions, because it reminds me of where we came from, and everything has to have a beginning.
Miranda ~ I take it 29:11 stands for Jeremiah 29:11? Why this verse though? Is there a story of why this verse is special to the local church and worship group?
Zion: Yes, 29:11 refers to the Jeremiah 29:11. This has been a foundational scripture for us from the very beginning. If you look at the context, the prophet Jeremiah was speaking to a people in bondage… giving them a hope and a future in realizing that the Lord had not forgotten about them. I think we live in a time and culture of bondage, and people are asking for the same message – that someone would see their heartache, and know their pain. The Lord has not forgotten them. In fact, He has provided a solution of eternal hope and future in Jesus. The PLAN, the HOPE, and the FUTURE was and always will be Jesus.
Miranda ~ Congrats on your new album, Marble & Mortar Vol. 1& 2! (Read the TBAP reviews here and here) What led to the creation of Marble & Mortar, and why split it into two volumes?
Zion: Honestly, the creation of the collection of music featured on Marble & Mortar was a fairly organic process. We are always writing music and celebrating what God is doing in our community through lyric. This collection of songs as merely the songs we have been singing as a church. And I love how the Holy Spirit works, because as you piece them together like a tapestry, they begin to show an overall narrative God is trying to display. The two volumes merely came from feeling like, as a team, there was too much to offer for just one edition. Sometimes, it’s easy to miss songs on an album journey, because it gets long. We all know the track we skip on even our favorite albums. We were hoping to help people walk through every song’s purpose a little more thoroughly by splitting it into two separate journeys, but also an entire overall journey if you put them back to back.
Miranda ~ Why the title, Marble & Mortar?
Zion: I remember marveling at the Roman Empire when I was in grade school. And I found it interesting that, after such incredible power in a certain time frame, all that remains is the marble columns used to hold up their palaces and temples. Everything else, all of their worldly attempts for glory, and organization, governances, and culture… it all faded with the rest of their civilizations. But even now, with a modern world surrounding them, those columns remain.
I love that Jesus is the foundation that has stood the test of time, and will stand the test of time. He always was, and always will be. And to know that I can call Him a friend of mine is unreal. I want to build my life on Jesus as my marble, and be held together with Him as my mortar. Only He can carry the weight of what is going on around me, because He already has. I love that every song on this album goes back to Jesus. Jesus as the Messiah, the words Jesus said in the Beatitudes, the power of Jesus’ name, the depths of His love… Jesus is our foundation, and our Marble and Mortar, and I can’t wait for the world to hear that.
Miranda ~ What do you hope listeners will walk away with as they listen to Marble & Mortar?
Zion: I am so encouraged by the disciple John’s words at the beginning of the gospel he penned—that the Word was with God in the beginning, and that soon that Word became flesh. Jesus was there in the beginning, He was there when man was created, He was there when man fell, AND He was already anticipating the cross. The cross was always going to be the solution. I find such encouragement in that truth. I love that Jesus, even in the Old Testament, was always the main character. With continuous foreshadows of His sacrifice, and His teachings, and His character, Jesus is it. Through the pressures of this church planting process, I think we as a community began to discover the importance of bringing it back to Jesus. It was always Jesus, and will always be Jesus. Jesus is the foundation, the solution, the beginning and the end. As a songwriting team, we found that this truth was what our church was anticipating. I hope that as people listen to this album, in every track, that they see Jesus. Nothing but Jesus.
Miranda ~ What inspires 29:11’s music and what’s the principle behind your songwriting?
Zion: I love that our songwriting team at 29:11 is not anything really that special, nor does it include anyone that special… it’s just a small team of musicians and believers writing into lyric their relationships with Jesus. The heartache, the triumph, the joy and the brokenness. I think those conversations are one of the primary places of inspiration we draw from. We also love to draw imagery and intimacy in our interactions with our Savior. I love taking a concept we have revisited over a thousand times, and just by saying it a little differently, giving people a totally new perspective. Giving people new revelations of the unchanging and timeless Word of God is our aim.
Miranda ~ What should we expect from 29:11 in the future?
Zion: Honestly, I think we are still discovering the answer to that question. One thing I do know is that songs are still being written for this time and place we are in, and we cannot wait to share them again.
Miranda ~ What advice do you have for a local church worship group just starting out and believes they’ve been called to release music to the world as you do?
Zion: I think the greatest piece of advice I would give is to never lose sight of the reason why your team is doing it. It’s easy in a culture that seeks affirmation and praise to get caught up writing for the wrong reasons. The moment we start writing music for the sake of writing music, we have lost the point. Write for your community. Always keep what the Holy Spirit is saying to you at the center of your focus. When you are writing for your community, the church outside of your community will be the overflow of what’s already happening.
THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!)
Coffee or Tea? I am an artist… I partake in both.
Gym or Outdoor? Outdoor always… the gym gets old, and it smells weird.
Sneakers or Boots? Boots. Always boots.
Running or Walking? Running (I find I need to fight to slow down in life.)
Cereal or Fruit? Cereal… cause CARBS.
Movies or Books? Movies…. It’s a hobby of mine.
TV or Magazine? TV. Netflix. Need I say more?
Summer or Spring? Neither (again, I am an artist… I prefer fall and winter)
Rain or Snow? Rain… I am a firm believer that rain produces lyric.
Blazer or Leather Jacket? Depends on the day. Right now I am wearing a leather jacket.
About Zion Rempel
Zion Rempel is the Creative Pastor at 29:11 Church in Tempe, Arizona. Zion helped to plant the church 3 years ago, and has watched his ministry grow in both resource and effectiveness to become an influential creative community in the East Valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area. As a prominent songwriter and worship leader, he has mobilized and overseen two live recording projects and a number of stage productions. Zion is married to Kirstyn Rempel, the Family Pastor in his community. Zion and Kirstyn constantly enjoy doing ministry alongside one another, and empowering the future of the church to be the now, as well as parenting there one year old boy Maddox.