You command Your love to shine, till all that’s dark
Becomes bright as day
— Justin Rizzo | Leaning
 
 

Justin was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where he developed a passion and love for music at an early age. He began playing a variety of instruments and started leading worship at age 12. he released five albums and been featured on multiple compilation projects, along with writing and producing two full-length musicals.

 

In addition, he travels extensively to lead worship and speak at conferences and events around the world . Justin is currently a full-time staff member at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, Missouri, where he serves as a worship leader, songwriter, composer, and blogger.

Photographs featuring Justin Rizzo

 
 

The Story Behind The Event

In 1975, my wife and I headed for California to attend seminary after graduating from Michigan State University. When we got there, we both had to work and my wife, Cindy having been a vocal music major, was able to get a job at the school teaching voice. One of the other teachers she worked with was a guy named Peter York. Peter was an accomplished guitarist and played with “A Band Called David” . This was at the time when contemporary Christian music had first started. Their band traveled with accomplished groups such as The Second Chapter of Acts, Phil Keagy, Michel and Stormy Omartian, and Twila Paris. Years later having finished seminary and living back in East Lansing, the Second Chapter of Acts was going to perform at the MSU Auditorium. My Wife and I went early to see Peter and to help the band set up. I met Annie Herring and the rest of the band. Later on that night I clearly remember standing there with thousands of young adults worshipping the Lord and saying to myself, I wish I could make this happen. It was an absurd thought at the time, as the cost for such an event was more that I made in a year, but that desire never left me. Not long after that I became part of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship and was introduced to a level of worship that I’d never known before. I was captivated by it. Now while I was called to be a pastor, I found that worshipping seems to have the power to access people more profoundly than other things, so when it comes to telling people about the Lord, I’m all in but my preference has been to bring then into the Lord’s very presence. I’ve now pastored going on 40 years. Presently, I have my son stepping into my place and I’ve said to God, “Is that it?” My minimal contribution? The Lord said No. You ca now do what you haven’t done before and that is to simply make a way to bring others into my presence, hence: The Gathering.

-Pastor Ed Reynolds