Beginning in June, in the lead-up to next year’s Canadian National Gathering, musician and worship leader Jeremy Benjamin will be spreading a musical message from the Heidelberg Catechism to Christian Reformed Church congregations across Canada.
Accompanied by his wife, Lara, and their two children, Benjamin will be driving an RV and stopping every week along the route to visit and sing his songs at Christian Reformed churches and local Christian schools.
A feature of each stop will be teaching the crowd to sing “I Am Not My Own,” which comes from the first Q&A of the Heidelberg Catechism. The thousands of voices will be recorded for inclusion on Jeremy’s album launching next spring.
The “I Am Not My Own Tour,” based on Benjamin’s song, will begin at Charlottetown CRC on Prince Edward Island. After Benjamin has visited nearly 50 churches, the tour will pause in British Columbia in October. It will pick up later in the year to make additional stops at CRC congregations and schools in Ontario and elsewhere before ending in May 2019 at the CRC Canadian Gathering in Edmonton, Alta., where Benjamin will serve as the worship leader.
“I am absolutely delighted and surprised and and excited to see what God is doing here,” said Benjamin, who served for several years as worship leader at Talbot Street CRC in London, Ont., until deciding a year ago to make his living solely as a songwriter and musician.
Going out on his own, he landed a deal with True North records and has had the chance to write several songs.
However, something else happened as a result of the popularity of “I Am Not My Own.”
“Going on this tour was not on my radar until late last year when I began to see the amazing response we were receiving from views on YouTube and elsewhere of my song,” he said. “Churches from all over were asking for music for the song.”
It became clear to him, he said, that “the song filled a need in the church.” It became “a vehicle to speak and learn about the Heidelberg in a meaningful way.”
Not only that, he added, “but I saw that it bridges a generation gap—people of the older generation have adopted the song, even though it is upbeat and contemporary, and it has given them a way to share what it says about comfort to younger people.”
Realizing how many churches were singing his song, he had an idea: Why not find a way to record many of the voices singing it in churches and settings everywhere, and include those voices in an upcoming album.
During this time, he connected with Darren Roorda, Canadian Ministries director for the CRCNA, and mentioned how his song was catching on. From there it didn’t take long to come up with the idea for the “I Am Not My Own Tour.”
Going on the cross-country tour this summer will be a challenge for Benjamin and his family, but he is grateful for the chance to join worship teams for morning services, to perhaps teach them some songs and to learn from them.
“I believe it is the corporate worship experience that connects us to God,” he said. “During this tour, we hope to be showing and reminding people of something bigger.”
Benjamin will offer acoustic concerts of his songs in the evenings, as well as perform at Christian schools.
The tour will help to raise awareness of and engagement in local ministries while also raising funds for the work of World Renew.
“This tour will not just be about singing to God, but also directing our mission efforts to local and global contexts. . . . As we travel, we see what God is doing in the CRC across Canada,” said Benjamin.
“This is about understanding the vision of what Christ has called us to be as Christians and as churches,” added Roorda. “We are not our own but are called to “wholeheartedly live for him.”
Visit iamnotmyown.org to learn more, sign on, or to find tour stops near you.
About the Author
Chris Meehan is a freelance writer and commissioned pastor at Coit Community Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.