By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Justin Unger has spoken at The Gathering in Antelope Gymnasium, where Grand Canyon University students gather weekly in a small and intimate setting to sing, pray and worship.
He is familiar with GCU Worship Arts students he has placed at various churches in the Valley.
But he never has witnessed Chapel in GCU Arena, a much larger venue with a much larger gathering. On April 1, he’ll get his opportunity – only he’ll be the center of attention.
That’s the day Unger will lead worship and also be the speaker for Chapel, which meets at 11:15 a.m. Mondays and is open to students and staff. It figures to be much like the appearance of Scott MacIntyre, the former “American Idol” finalist who sang and spoke at Chapel in October.
Unger — whose “Always Good” album, released in 2017, can be found here — has been writing songs and performing them for 15 years and also is the founder and President of the Likewise Worship Collective, a nonprofit ministry designed to train and place worship leaders at various churches.
His organization has partnered with GCU and had a direct role in the placement of several recent Worship Arts graduates, such as Mallory Denson, the new Worship Director at Paradise Church in Phoenix, and Ronnie Petkovich, Worship Pastor at Living Faith in Prescott.
Why is the ministry called Likewise? It comes from the numerous Bible passages where we’re told to “go and do likewise.”
“I train and develop worship leaders to do likewise,” said Unger, adding that he has placed more than 100 and continues his work thanks to the generosity of donors.
Unger, his wife and four children live in Huntington Beach, Calif., but he was born and raised in Phoenix and is Worship Pastor at Bethany Bible Church, not far from the GCU campus.
Unger will be the last of five first-time Chapel speakers (marked by asterisks in the listings below) during the spring semester. Here are the schedules for both Chapel and The Gathering:
CHAPEL (11:15 a.m. Mondays)
Jan. 7 — Brian Mueller, President, Grand Canyon University
Jan. 14 — Josh McDowell*, Josh McDowell Ministries
Jan. 21 — No Chapel (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
Jan. 28 — Noemi Chavez, Seventh Street Church, Long Beach, Calif.
Feb. 4 – Dr. Tim Griffin, Vice President, Pastor and Dean of Students, Grand Canyon University
Feb. 11 — Dewayne Hawkins*, Life Givers Church
Feb. 18 — No Chapel (Presidents Day)
Feb. 25 — Danielle Rinnier, Director of Spiritual Life, Grand Canyon University
March 4 — Jodi Hickerson*, Mission Church, Ventura, Calif.
March 11 — Jay Pathak*, Mile High Vineyard, Denver
March 18 — No Chapel (spring break)
March 25 — Chad Moore, Sun Valley Community Church
April 1 — Justin Unger*, Likewise Worship Collective
April 8 – Worship
*–First-time Chapel speaker
THE GATHERING (8 p.m. Tuesdays)
Jan. 8 — Danielle Rinnier, GCU
Jan. 15 — Aaron Koehne, GCU
Jan. 22 — Worship Night
Jan. 29 — Braelyn Armenta, GCU
Feb. 5 — Jon Demeter, Redemption Church, Peoria
Feb. 12 — Kelsie Doan, GCU
Feb. 19 — Worship Night
Feb. 26 — Jaci Curran, GCU
March 5 — Jared Ulrich, GCU
March 12 — Worship Night
March 19 — No Gathering (spring break)
March 26 – Dr. Tim Griffin, GCU
April 2 — Seniors Night
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.