North Alabama worship team aims to unite churches
By Catherine Godbey
For the Enquirer
Seeing the nation’s growing divide — a divide triggered by everything from elections to athletics — spurred Hartselle’s Dustin Lorance to act.
“If you look at the world right now, you see a lot of division, from race to politics to sports,” Lorance said. “When you look at the church, you should see something different, but unfortunately at a lot of churches, you don’t.”
To bridge that divide and promote unity, Lorance formed Undivided Worship, an 11-person cross-denominational worship band.
“We are like a mini Elevation Worship,” Lorance said with a laugh. “Our goal is to travel to different churches and events, lead worship and unite the body of Christ.”
May 16 Undivided Worship hosted United in Christ, a community-wide event, at Falkville High School, 43 Clark Drive. The two-hour worship event featured music by Undivided Worship, a black-light puppet show and a message by Falkville High counselor Kenny Lopez. Admission was free.
“God placed it on my heart to minister in the community where he has placed me,” said Lorance, who teaches math, coaches baseball and basketball and co-sponsors Falkville High’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and First Priority clubs. “This is an opportunity to invite the community where we serve to come together to worship.”
Sunday’s event was the second United in Christ gathering. Held three years ago, the first community worship event attracted more than 200 people.
“My passion is to see the body of Christ become united on the things that do matter rather than the things that don’t, like the color of the carpet,” Lorance said.
That passion has stirred in Lorance since childhood — a time when he witnessed division and jealousy among churches.
“I saw churches that chose not to go to an event at another church because they were afraid they would lose members,” he said. “As long as you are going to a Bible-believing church, it doesn’t matter where your membership is.”
To describe the mission of Undivided Worship, Lorance recites Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor male and female, for you are all one in Christ.”
The cross-denominational unity appears in Undivided Worship, whose members represent nine churches from Decatur, Hartselle, Florence, Harvest, Danville, Huntsville and Priceville.
Along with Lorance, the team includes Lorance’s wife Hannah-Ruth Lorance, husband-and-wife Hunter and Abbie Johnson, Josiah McBee, Luther Wakefield, Jon Elrod, Justin Byrd, Madilyn Locke, Will Stutts and Clint Sharp.
In the past two years the team has led worship for children’s camps in Mobile and youth discipleship services in north Alabama. The worship group plans on playing at events for the Downtown Rescue Mission in Huntsville, Sav-A-Life Pregnancy Center and Celebrate Recovery in Decatur.
“Our goal is to serve wherever God places us. We just want to glorify God with the gifts he has given us,” Hannah-Ruth Lorance said. “We want to bring as many people as we can to Christ. That’s our heart.”
Money raised at United in Christ through food sales will benefit Falkville High’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and First Priority.
Dustin and Hannah-Ruth Lorance
Q: How do you decide what songs to perform?
A: We worship every day in the car and at home. We are constantly praying about what the Lord is leading us to do. At the start of an event, we know we want to do a couple of fast songs and a couple of slow songs, but as far as a set, we follow where the Lord is leading us.
Q: What is your prayer for Undivided Worship?
A: That we lift up the name of Jesus. We want to see kids’ and people’s lives changed. At the end of the day, we can get up and sing songs, but it’s really what we do off stage that matters. If we aren’t sharing about what Christ has done for us and what Christ can do for them, then it’s just a performance.
Q: Did the pandemic impact the number of events Undivided Worship played this past year?
A: We did several events last year, but the pandemic didn’t really slow us down. What slowed us down is we had a couple of babies amongst band members. We have a 6-month-old; Hunter and Abbie welcomed their first child in August; another band member had a baby in May of last year; and another one had one in
December. We had a baby boom in the band. We definitely have more events scheduled this year.