…Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2
Seeking a creative leadership role with a relational, innovative, progressing local church ministry or organization where a big vision flows out of a warm heart to reach this generation and the next.
- Worship leader for large venues of up to 2,000 per service from the piano, keys, and acoustic guitar in modern worship settings (1989-2018).
- Church planter: developed teams and tools from scratch for two new churches (1989-1990, 1994-1995).
- Multi-campus: served as a campus worship director (1993-1994), directed worship leadership process for offsite venues (2003-2007)
- Multi-venue: launched, developed and coached worship and tech for 7 different worship options, including video venues and additional space for unique styles of worship. (2003-2007).
- Technology: Installed and upgraded audio, lighting, video, and printing operations in several settings including church plants, church launches of campuses, and for large meeting rooms. Projects exceeded $100k. (2000-2013)
- Mentored and developed worship leaders who became worship pastors, staff members, and leaders. Collaboration with a team to build farm systems, raising up young leaders. (2000-2015)
- Associate Staff: directed bands, worship orchestras, and administrative tasks, planning and scheduling, administration.
- Guest worship leader, successfully leading with existing volunteers and worship leaders in various settings.
- Blogger/Media: Blogged at Rich Kirkpatrick’s Weblog (RKblog.com) (2005-2017), a blog ranked consistently in top 50 Christianity blogs in the nation, influencing leaders and creatives on topics of faith and culture. In 2015 mentioned as a “Top 75 Religion blogger” by Newsmax. Recognized in 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2017 as a “Best of Best Blog” by Worship Leader Magazine. Successfully produced quality podcast WorshipMythbusters.com (2011-2013)–a discussion format for worship leaders and pastors on various topics from the practical to theological.
- Author and writer: Authored the book, The Six Hats of the Worship Leader which is currently used in Christian colleges for worship training. Articles appear on Churchleaders.com, Sharefaith.com (100k subscribers), Worship Musician Magazine, Essential Worship, ChristianityToday.com on leadership, HighCalling.org on the workplace, and ChurchMarketingSucks.com (2011-2018).
- Speaker/Presenter: Presented at conferences on worship leading and social networking: National Worship Leader Conference (2012-2017), The Worship Conference (2012), The Forge Conference, Ocean Grove, NJ; The School of Worship, Murrieta, CA; Unbreakable Family Conference, Wildomar, CA (2011). WorshipTogether.com, Overland Park, KS; All About Worship Retreat, Olathe, KS. (2010). IdeaCamp, Irvine, CA; Saddleback Worship Conference, Lake Forest, CA (2008). Currently teaching webinars with Worship Team Training.
- Director of Communications: Led department for a multi-site, multi-venue megachurch, developing a web presence, social media, and branding as well as creation of internal systems to organize the flow of communication at all levels. (2003-2007, 2013-2014)
- Freelance Creative: Consultant in social networking (2010-2015) developing online presence and systems to manage social media, copywriting for a technology company, and authoring blog posts for clients.
- Center for Church Communication: Writer and Regional Network Coordinator (ChurchMarketingSucks.com) assisting churches as a volunteer in the Southern California area. (2010-2011)
- Executive management team: served to help oversee and develop budgets and strategic planning for a megachurch (2003-2007).
- Department management of up to 300 volunteers and up to 6 employees (1995-2010).
- Caregiving: trained and experienced in hospital visitation, spiritual counseling, weddings, and funerals.
- Discipleship of leaders: men’s groups, small groups, and one-on-one mentoring.
- Preaching/Teaching: an effective speaker, trained and experienced in expositional biblical teaching and preaching in modern settings.
- A Beautiful Liturgy, co-founder. The project released in 2016. A Beautiful Liturgy Music (ASCAP) publishing. Song “Lord Have Mercy (A Modern Kyrie)” featured on SongDiscover, January 2017.
- Five-song EP “Drink The Divine” released in March 2012 under Epic Stache Music (ASCAP).
- Single “Wonder of Worship” released in November 2011.
- Artist management of EP “My Oh My” by Emilie Kirkpatrick (2011), “Disguises” (2013)
- Multi-church regional live worship CD “Concert of Praise” at Hill Country Bible Church, Austin, TX (2003).
- Solo CD “Vision” produced from songs from Valley Bible Church, Pleasanton, CA (1998).
- Choral arranger, vocal coach, session singer and soloist in contemporary music.
- Proficient in chart creation, incorporating horns and creative instrumentation in modern worship.
- Rich Kirkpatrick Band—5 piece band with original material (1997-2000).
- Tehilla Music, Administrator at CCLI and worship music catalog. (founded in 1997), Published catalog under Epic Stache Music (2012-2015) and A Beautiful Liturgy Music (2016).
- Modern Pantomime Productions: Musical Director for theatrical group, Palo Alto, CA (1993).
- Vocal coach, music theory tutor.
- Vocalist and keyboardist for hire for various church, studio, and live settings.
- B.S. Bible and Theology, 1993, San Jose Christian College (William Jessup University), San Jose, CA.
- A.A. Music, 1991, DeAnza Community College, Cupertino, CA.
- Phil Mattson School of Music, 1986, Spokane, WA (Music Vocational School) Music Performance.
Full-Time Ministry History
- Pastor of Service Production and Communication Centerpoint Church,
Murrieta, CA (2013-2014). 2000 level
- Worship Pastor Sunridge Community Church, Temecula, CA (2007-2010) 700 level.
- Worship/Communications Pastor Neighborhood Church, Redding, CA(2003-2007) 2000 level.
- Worship Pastor Hill Country Bible Church NW, Austin TX(2000-2003) 4000 level.
- Music Minister Valley Bible Church, Pleasanton CA (1995-2000) 850 level.
- Worship Pastor/Church Planter Church at Mission Peak, Fremont CA (1994-1995) 150 level.
Bi-Vocational Ministry History
- Contemporary Worship Leader/Musician – Our Saviors Lutheran Church, San Clemente, CA (2014-current) 200 level
- Interim Worship Director Venture Christian Church, Murrieta, CA (2011) 200 level
- Assistant Music Minister & Music Assistant Crossroads Bible Church, San Jose, CA (1988-1989; 1993) church of 1500 and 3000
- Worship Director (South Campus) & Music Assistant (Main) South Valley Christian Church, San Jose, CA (1990-1991; 1993-1994) main at 1500 and campus at 500 level.
- Worship Leader/Church Planter Marvista Community Church, San Clemente, CA (1989-1990) 150 level.
Awards and Noteworthy Activities
- Hope Gives Health, a medical mission trip to rural Ethiopia, produced a 16-minute film. (2011),
- “Blog tour road trip” with Gateway Community Church, Austin, TX (2010).
- Executive Advisory Board for Integrity Media (2009).
- Awarded a full scholarship to Phil Mattson School of Music, challenged out 1st-year of school’s courses and program (1985-1986).
- Down Beat magazine national student musician award winner (1983, 1984, 1985, 1989).
- Conferences: Story, IdeaCamp, Re:Create think-tank, Saddleback Worship Conference, Willow Creek Arts Conference, Catalyst, Worship Together, Maranatha Workshops, Saddleback Purpose Driven Conference, Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Granger Wired Churches Conference, Leadnet Forums.
Current Assessment Stats
- Spiritual gift mix: Discernment, Prophecy, Shepherding.
- Strength Finders: Strategic, Belief, Confidence, Relator, Activator.
- Myers-Briggs: ENFP.
- DISC: D/I.
My personal story – a story of my journey of faith.
No matter where I go, I’m your child.
No matter what I do, I’m your child.
No matter where I end up on this earth,
Because of Jesus’ blood, I’m your child.
By Rich Kirkpatrick
This little tune came to me one morning during the routine of driving to church at Sunday dawn. The week and night before haunted me with insecurity, guilt, and shame. My mind was full of lust, fantasy and fear and all because of the weight of the work in the ministry and my feeble attempt to rise above the mire. I failed the mental battle. I fell emotionally into a dark place. I asked God. “Why would you even want someone like me to lead worship in front of these people?” It was as if my heavenly Father had a song ready for me to sing before I prayed to him. A clarifying, freeing, and loving thought entered my mind. “Rich, it’s because you are my child. ”
There was a long pause on that gray-sky morning. In fact, it felt as if the pause punctuated profoundly. Then the above song flowed from my lips. Grace touched me. For the first time, I understood that truly my life ceased to a game to be bested. Proof of God’s love and joy shined on me not because I could perform and impress him or anyone else. It was simply because I was his kid. My life, ministry, and heart took a little different turn that morning. But, the journey did not take a straight line. I perceived in a moment what the psalmist penned in Psalm 40. Yes, God “heard my cry” and “lifted me from a pit” of darkness. And, a song he gave me. Praising God in song is a gracious gift.
In over two decades of professional ministry, both bi-vocational and full-time employment, my legacy is that of the pioneer, learning things the hard way. I am a first generation son in the ministry, fatherhood, and manhood. These all are exposed in my yearning and seeking God’s approval by way of attempting to impress. Unconditional love–like that little song I sang–ring true in my heart and mind, but not always in my immediate experience. Strangely, feeling this love does not fall easily for some of us. In fact, it takes a real faith to believe it. Unconditional love is just something hard to keep in mind, which is why the Eucharist, or Communion, is so important. The story of love has to be retold. Even our own stories have to be retold. So, here is a little bit of my story and journey in faith.
A “Summer of Love” Lost
My birth did not arrive in the best of times for my mother. “Summer of Love” of 1967 arrived as I did to a mother of two toddlers who recently divorced. The father left us. In fact, chose to never be part of the life of the three boys he helped bring into the world. We did not exist. My mother shared in our loss but deepened by her own childhood story. Her mother disappeared, and her father never knew her. Fatherless begets fatherless. My mother was left alone, poor and on assistance from the government.
The tough choice to move into a house with her former mother-in-law, my grandmother, was also a serendipitous event. A couple doors down one direction were a fundamentalist Baptist church and on the other side was an older couple who were part of the Jews For Jesus. Eventually, my mother found her faith in Christ at age 25. Our family would never be the same by her choice to follow Christ.
My mother was hired at the church preschool, and for some reason, a lady with means was her same size so she had fancy castoffs and her wardrobe shined. There was a day she went to the welfare office to end assistance. There was likewise a day that over my crib the men of the church prayed. They prayed that I would enter into the ministry. I never knew about this until later in my ministry years. That was a good thing since I might have resented those men slightly for that prayer. Why not pray for me to be a doctor, engineer or teacher? Ministry calling is not a jacket you can just hang in the closet.
Mother’s friends at church decided to matchmake a bit. Here enters God’s grace in the form of a bachelor in his 30s who loved to be footloose until this point in life. They fell in love. Ron was gentle, energetic and eccentric. He said to us he fell in love with the three of us boys as much as he did my mom. That grace from God was such good fortune for our little, broken family of four. You see, God is the kind of god that chooses a man who is a professional boys counselor at a boys ranch to help raise us. God is indeed a Father to the fatherless. A new family of five moved into a little brown house.
The “little preacher” kid
Two faith events marked my childhood journey of faith. At age eight, the Sunday school class asked if any of us wanted to give our lives to Jesus. It was logical that I needed Jesus to pay the debt of my sin. I knew this was a decision I wanted to make and did with intellectual freedom. In fact, it was as if my emotions were not attached in time to it. It was a genuine faith decision, however. My pastor baptized me while making a quip about how it would be nice to see me. I could only stand so tall as a kid. Smiling chuckles echoed in the church that night.
Then, at age thirteen in the summer, a combination of scary 1970s Christian “Left Behind”-like films, serious sermons, and extended youth events stirred me. God was pressing hard on me as I spent a long time in prayer one night. All the emotions I did not feel at eight avalanched over me. I felt a terror and a peace like never before. I woke my dad up at 3:00 AM and told him that I was choosing God. He sat up in bed, and in his usual gentle manner affirmed me. The next day I was at my grandmother’s house and could not stop talking about God. A girl and a relative prayed to give their heart to Christ with me. My teachers at the beginning of my eighth-grade year expressed that something seemed different about me. Soon, I was called “little preacher” for my obsession and big red study Bible my dad bought for me.
Suddenly, music found me. All at once, the world of music invaded spaces never previously accessed. The Christian school I attended in Junior High loved to sing and worship at the chapel time, with hands raised in sincerity. I found myself in the back, having my soul and spirit moved by watching all of this strange expression. And, somehow seeing people pray like Jesus was sitting right next to them in a good way contrasted with the little Baptist church my family attended. Soon, I was no longer just a mediocre trumpet player using a hand-me-down instrument but grew to love singing and took up the piano as well. I would practice to the irritation of my brothers. It clicked.
In high school, by God’s provision, my school received a government funding as a jazz magnet educational program. This meant personal tutoring, recording sessions, and travel with a singing group that consistently won national contests. All of this contrasted a church experience where music lifelessly echoed in large vibratos. It proved odd that all the musical and artistic things I acquired were integrated into my faith at that time. My soul ached for this convergence. Nonetheless, hearing of the burning of rock records down the street solidified the fear kept the two apart.
Cancer, Hospice Care, and ABC News
My dad, Ron, gave me his long last name but not his athletic skills. Once, he snuck me in as his caddy to carry his bags in a tournament, and I witnessed a hole in one from a shot from the top of a large incline on what I remember having to have been a par 4. My dad was a cool dude, even if he kept wearing those tie-dyed jeans a decade too long. As if three boys were not sufficient, two more boys came. Then the long 12-year honeymoon ended. My dad faced cancer. He fought it hard, even flying for what used to be experimental treatments in Mexico. That treatment landed him an unflattering spot on ABC News.
The summer I turned seventeen our family shared the torment of seeing dad lose his batter to cancer, after receiving hospice care in a hospital bed in the living room. My bedroom was closest so the moans for more morphine at night haunted me. Mother knew how to administer the drugs, due to her training as a health assistant for the elderly. Her mercy in this time still astounds me. Never have I seen a person as strong as she was. It was tough for dad to give up, too. He needed us to let him go. And we did. Cancer got the best of him.
Occasionally during that summer, I would relieve my mother so she could get a break from the constant care she provided. I did not have a car or a driver’s license yet. I was jealous that my older brothers could take off and work or do whatever outside of our small home in East San Jose. This captivity changed me, however. Facing death changed me. It changed me to see my dad of over 200 pounds wither away to less than 70 pounds at the time of his last breath. The pain of it all was too much to bear it seemed. Had God abandoned me? Why was family fatherless once again?
I had no idea how to grieve and what to expect. My youth pastor for some reason would not look me in the eye, only glibly pointing out my loss for the ears of others. I nearly lost a close friend because I kept the loss of my dad from him and he found out months after the fact. There was the recurring dream of trying to dress my dad for my wedding day. He was in his tux with me, but somehow I did not have the strength to drag him there. We all want our dad to notice us. To see us. In fact, my dad for all his athleticism was shy about coming to our sporting and music events. I pleaded with my dad. Finally, my badgering paid off, and he came jaundiced with a cane to see me sing–his only time doing so. He was the only one in the room that mattered. Now, he was gone. I was terrified to think that God might be gone, too.
It was my father’s words that made me, however. He saw a life of ministry and leadership and thankfully through my uncle I had heard his blessing before he died. Yes, it would have been better to be present to hear the words first hand. Regardless, my dad gave me some words. He was proud that I was a musician, he said. He saw me speaking, too. One can never imagine how powerful a father’s word turns out to be until they are tested.
Coming of age: Music and Love
My final year in high school I focused on my music. Church and youth group seemed irrelevant more and more. My daydreaming, my music, my friends, and a job filled my schedule. I did things and said things I am not proud of and experimented with alcohol or the first time. The church was a habit more than it was relevant. Hurtful events and political drama in my home church did not help the case.
Graduation came along. For a moment, it seemed I was on top. A full scholarship to a music school and I won placement right into the second year. Even my grad ceremony saw my name mentioned as much as the top honor students for the music arrangement I put together for the event. The church did not seem to ever recognize or desire my music. Why would they, anyway? I was a teen. So, it seemed the “little preacher” now modified his story and dream. My goal changed and I planned to open a production company that composed jingles. That would keep me from life on the road and off the stage. Or, so I thought. A chuckle could be heard from heaven.
While at music school, this young woman wrote to me. The importance of her letter comes from the years of fumbling pursuit of her affection in high school. Her curly red hair and green eyes simply undid me one day back when I was 16. My music student friends were drinking on the beach, hanging out one night. She was there, of course. I clearly remember seeing her between me and the crashing waves as the sunset appeared. The epiphanies of all epiphanies overcame me. The idea that this was the girl I was to marry. That was then. Now, she writes me? We ended up writing nearly every day after dating at winter break. A well-timed kiss did not hurt the process.
In the letters from this lovely young woman tapes and sheet music would come as well. For some reason, contemporary Christian music never reached me. Now, as I dealt with the loneliness of being over 1,000 miles from home, my Sony Walkman tugged at my heart with fresh songs. One of these songs I perused at school in a practice room. The girl next door and her pianist pounded on my door. This girl asked for the song at that very moment, leaving with the sheet music. She ended up singing that very song at her senior recital. She also successfully got several other students and me back in church. God revealed music as something powerful and as “his song” not mine. He just wanted to give it to me so I could share it with many.
My provision for being on my own at a music school in a strange city lacked. One personal loan was supposed to carry me through the second semester, but the delay in its arrival left me literally impoverished. My landlady took my musical gear as collateral. She took pity on me which allowed me a roof over my head. I also looked like her musical ex-husband, which she told me often. This boarding house experience is a book in itself, with a scary Vietnam vet, former prison inmate and other room-mates that would not be first on the list of any parent of a young adult.
Miracles happen. I stole snack food from the office drawers at the music school a few times. I was the janitor at the school. It appeared a couple instructors knew about it. So they kept restocking their trail mix. One day, a wad of money appeared on the bulletin board in a plain envelope. It simply had my name in Sharpie on the front of it. This reminded me of some scenes after my dad’s death. God surely never forget me. Nonetheless, I was a prodigal. One day I was particularly hungry and full of angst. I prayed in haste, “God, come on, can’t you even give me five bucks to eat?” A few seconds later the mailman pushed letters through the slot in the door. My grandmother wrote to me. In the letter was a five dollar bill. I ate well that day.
One night, like what was typical in this period, I was drunk as I read my Bible. It was the red study Bible my dad bought me during my “little preacher” middle school years. By this time, it required duct tape to hold it together. The sinking feeling that the prodigal son felt was in my heart. I laid on my bed and confessed. “God, I do not even have the strength, will or heart to give my life to you. Please help.” He did. And, lucky for me he sent a young woman to my rescue. Without her sending those songs, who knows how different my story would be today.
I did not plan on leaving pizza delivery for ministry, but…
After writing letters all spring semester and spending coins on the pay phone to chat, being closer to this girl who wrote me finally came in the summer of 1986. As young adults, this young woman named Tammy and I grew to love each other.I pursued her in high school. Now, she sought me. How great for me! We sang in the young adult choir together, served in the teen ministry and found friendships together with church friends. It was not my plan, but the new Worship Pastor had me singing my music in front of the entire church. Eventually, he saw my talent for copying music by hand and hired me away from my pizza delivery job.
This was my entrance into professional ministry. It was not my plan, either. Neither was the invitation to talk to a church planter about leading worship with him in southern California. At that time, “church plant” and “worship leader” sounded unfamiliar. This young Greek pastor with his Connecticut accent launched me into a life of ministry. My young love interest and I were ready. We often prayed for a life together, and now that chapter page turned. So, our honeymoon year was spent planting a church on a beach in San Clemente, California. That was over twenty years ago.
The next chapter…
Over the past years since we have raised a daughter to become a successful graphic artist and a son to his third year in college. And, on top of that my wife has moved from being the trailing spouse to the lead administrator at a thriving Christian school in Torrence, California. We are excited about our new home in the Long Beach, California. Our journey carried us to Southern California, the East Bay Area, central Texas and eventually back to Southern California. What a trip! We have served in two church plants, and a couple megachurches as well. There have been some triumphs, bumps, and even wounds. Some of these are deep, and we are still seeking and finding God’s grace. In fact, God’s grace is finding us. We simply forget. That is why we all need to retell our own story of love and grace.
Remember, I am the first-generation ministry, man. So, pioneering narrates the story of my life in leadership. My passion for the church today is this. I have the trials and errors to share with a whole new generation of ministry leaders and servants. The years of seeing some those I’ve led enter into ministry and grow closer to the dream God has given them fulfills me like nothing else. More of this focus is my future, I believe. This is a new chapter, but the activity is still the same: To raise up those who will carry on the work bigger than me, beyond me, and even instead of me if need be. The curtain is raised on this new chapter. Things are exciting. Honestly, some of this feels terrifying at times.
The human condition means I must understand that “God loves me as I am, not as I hope to be” as the author Brennan Manning has said. My confession is that being God’s child is one thing. Living as one is another. My story is one where I need to constantly be reminded of grace, and as a leader, this is a shared journey people take together. I suspect we are on the right track when God’s unconditional love goes from intellectual theology to loving him and people. This is what our worship songs hope for us to live–loving God and others. Our dream as a family is to be with and in a community that wants this as much as we do. For that, we are grateful for our church, friends, and family. And as a child of God, I am hopeful in anticipating the next steps God has in store for us. Keep stepping.