by Jen Rose Yokel
For worship leader Lindy Conant-Cofer, everything begins and ends on the mission field. When you talk to her about spreading the gospel, she lights up with excitement. She brings over a decade of experience working with YWAM and campus ministries into everything she does, and the music she makes with her band The Circuit Riders grows from one simple mission: “Everyone deserves the opportunity to know who Jesus is and what he did for us… We’re all ambassadors of Christ carrying his glory, carrying his light.”
Conant-Cofer first experienced the call to missions when she found herself searching for God in 2007 and taking a gap year to explore the possibility of becoming a missionary. A little Google searching led her to YWAM, and in their training program she encountered the love of God in a whole new way. “It was like the blinders came off my eyes and I finally understood how much God loved me, how real the love of Jesus is… I finally understood evangelism.” Emboldened with a new passion for missions, she made her way to Kona, Hawaii where she served with YWAM for four and half years, and eventually landed in Southern California, where she and her husband now run a discipleship school and outreaches to college campuses.
The music part of the story happened by accident.
“We were doing campus outreaches and we all sing together,” she explains. “And between YWAM, Kona and college campuses, people were like ‘Where can we get your music?’ and we’re like, ‘Nowhere!’ So we finally did our first album Every Nation and it was so fun to watch people’s response to these songs that were birthed on college campuses.” This debut album highlighted a decade’s worth of YWAM anthems, songs about going out into the world to serve and share Jesus’ love.
If Every Nation was the album about the mission, Conant-Cofer would say their new album Driven by Love, is about the meaning behind it, the “why” to their debut’s “what.” Songs like “Obedience” and “Driven by Love” emphasize that spark of passion that she felt in missions school, and the compelling love of God that births the desire to see people reached.
So it’s no coincidence that her band name carries a nod to the original traveling ministers. When considering the role of music in missionary work, Conant-Cofer looks to a historic example. “John Wesley was a circuit rider along with his brother Charles Wesley. One of them would preach and one of them would literally put the other’s sermons into songs, because songs have the ability to infuse the heart in a very unique way.” Songs sometimes put words to the feelings people experience, give voice to what their hearts need to sing. And from her perspective, the future of worship music and evangelism is stunningly bright.
“Not only are amazing worship songs about to get written by people across the world, but I believe we’re about to see songs that disciple people and influence culture. You think about all the old hymns… they’re rich, they bring conviction and bring you to a deep revelation of God. I think we’re gonna see an increase in creativity and authenticity. I’m excited to see what God’s gonna do with music in the next decade.
As for the mission field that first compelled her? She believes it’s even closer than we may think. “For so long we thought missionary means I gotta get on a plane and go to Africa, but God might be calling you to minister to your neighbor. God might be calling you to reach people in your work space. In one sense, I actually do believe we are all missionaries.”