Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Henry.
Hi Brittany, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up singing in the children’s choir, my dad was a marine and my mom was working odd jobs while she finishing school. The oldest of three I was responsible, honest, and loved to be praised for doing what was right.
As I grew older, I was praised for my obedience, Bible reading, and dedication to music ministry. I really loved God but I also really did love to be loved.
As I continued in The Way, I was set aside by church leaders for ministry in the church with music and with youth. I was called upon to dedicate my life to service in the church which required a lifestyle above reproach, consecration, and separation from what a lot of kids my age were pursuing.
After nearly two decades of service to the church and ministry, I hit a crucial juncture in life where my parents separated, my church split apart, and I found myself without a place to live.
In essence, I was kind of homeless and living out of a van. In a way, I loved being a poor, sad guitar player but in a practical sense, it got old pretty fast. I found myself feeling angry with God and frustrated.
I had a friend who let me sleep on her couch from time to time and she invited me to a party to cheer me up and I met a guy there. Prior to this life-changing event, I really didn’t drink, have sex, or party. In fact, I hated parties but this guy was the life of every party.
For years the church people told me parties were not fun and the people having them were not saved. Yet, all these people said they loved God they just drank a lot for some reason.
I was awe-struck and excited to try things I never tried. I was homeless and I wanted to sleep in a bed. I was angry with God. I was tired of being consecrated and sad.
I sold my guitars and I said I would never play again. I spent a few nights with that guy from the party and partied with him and his friends for three years.
When I came to my senses, I was broken and back to square one. Homeless, no friends, overweight from drinking, and without the only other stable man who loved me back. Jesus.
As I went about the process of rebuilding my self-esteem, rededicating my life to God, and moving into my mom’s basement, I ran into someone I used to know from church. To my surprise that person didn’t judge me for backsliding. Despite my behavior, she said she knew who I was and invited me to a retreat called, “The Walk to Emmaus.”
The 3-day weekend retreat was a time without phones, radio, or television and included workshops and prayer. It was a time of spiritual renewal where participants are prepared for a closer relationship with Jesus.
A year or two after the walk I was invited to come lead worship again for a new church and I reluctantly accepted. I met with a little opposition because of my behavior years prior but most of the opposition was from within.
It was really hard for me to forgive myself for abandoning God and my faith. However, I was free from the self-righteousness and pride I built up from having been saved at such a young age. A prophet prophesied those things had to happen for God to get the glory out of my life and I should stop beating myself up about it.
The season of life for which I was most ashamed became a strong testimony that made me able to relate to other broken and hurting people.
My salvation felt more real because now I felt sinful opposition and had to choose righteousness every day. Having not known the sin before it wasn’t really a temptation in times past. Now as a seasoned soldier in the army of the Lord I lament having known the taste of sin but I digress.
I went all in. I began preaching, teaching, and writing music again for the church. My husband found me at my new church assignment and we had two kids. He was a worship leader, youth pastor, and Bible Professor.
And the kingdom of darkness hasn’t been safe since.
However, new opposition began to unfold to my newfound freedom in Christ. Equipped with power, zeal, and fearlessness I had a hard time fitting into the churches I came from. I wanted nothing to do with self-righteousness or falsehood.
I didn’t want a formula or church business model for success. I was wary of copycat sermons, watered-down text, and the same uninspired modes of worship that made people feel safe and complacent.
Some leaders I met were people pleasers who wanted to be liked more than they wanted to do the will of God in some cases.
Some were intimidated by my natural leadership and the way people gravitated toward my talents and gifts. It caused friction. They wrongfully accused me of doing many things I did not do and broke my heart down to my very soul.
A staple of their ministry to me was an unwillingness to acknowledge wrong done and a blatant refusal to take responsibility for mistakes made.
Brittany Henry Ministries was born.
It was a mechanism where I could share the Gospel through any mode of worship the Lord empowered me to do so in. The first work of my new ministry was the release of my first studio single. Not long after that, I was launched into public ministry when God called me to organize a prayer walk in response to George Floyd’s murder.
I felt like an outsider, a maverick, and a disruptor for so many reasons.
A lot of the white churches I usually played in, didn’t even believe racism was real and accused me of being divisive. The false accusations were endless.
Some even accused me of organizing the walk to promote my single. At the time I was finishing my B.A. in communications and a lot of that work was a stipulation of my senior project but no one knew that or even cared to ask. They just assumed. Gossped.
It broke my heart. From the time of my youth I loved the Lord and served in His temple. I had the utmost respect for the House of God and His leaders. I loved the alter but few defended me. Even those I once prophesied to, prayed with, and ministered alongside.
I didn’t want to be a disruptor. I wanted to be seen as good and righteous but that was all gone now, again. Only this time I wasn’t abandoning the Lord I was drawing closer. I heard the Lord speaking to me more than ever before in my life.
I grew in prophetic gifts but I was fighting to keep my heart from bitterness.
I released two more singles that year.
Today, I continue to write music and to disrupt the notion that social justice is political and divisive. I continue to disrupt the notion that the gifts have ceased, that heavenly language doesn’t belong in a Sunday morning service, and that religion is the devil. I continue to disrupt the notion that any Godly denomination or movement is superior to the other, with emphasis on Godly.
The Bible teaches that we ought to be seekers of justice and lovers of fairness. The Bible teaches that God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh. The Bible teaches that tounges are a sign to the unbeliever. The Bible teaches the difference between religion that is acceptable to God and religion that is false, meaning God loves religion when it is caring for widows and orphans. The Bible teaches that God resists the proud and many churches inwardly believe they have cornered the market on Biblical interpretation and their way is the only and best way. No one has it all completely right in my opinion, we are all working out our salvation with fear and trembling. I would add that descent and order doesn’t mean without emotion, dance, or tongues on Sunday morning. It also doesn’t mean without women in pants or men in tattoos, ear piercings, skinny jeans, or colorful clothes. I said what I said.
I’m a conduit of change reconciling the lost to God and the found to one another. Abolishing pride in any valid God-honoring school of thought, I speak truth to the opposition and declare freedom from oppression both natural & spiritual.
Admonishing those that claim to see to see more, exhorting the believers to seek God and love Him more, inspiring the lost to know God through demonstrations of prophetic gifts, I’m a disruptor.
An artist, a flawed, standing by the grace of God, minister of the Gospel who prays, writes, produces, preaches, sings, and prophecies. This is Brittany Henry Ministries. I actually just wanted to make music and all the other stuff came about by God’s design.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve always struggled with depression. I was molested from the ages of 8 – 10 by older kids in after-school programs and that contributed to a lot of my self-loathing and insecurity. I always seemed to have this innate sense of sadness inside that never went away. As a military brat, I struggled to make new friends and connect with people. I took solace in music and the year music and God came together, I finally found something that made it better. Worship. I found the secret place.
It wasn’t easy always having my motives for playing music in church questioned and misunderstood. Over the years that honest place where I started would grow dim. The people I would meet never saw the wilderness I was born in. They didn’t know the years I spent being groomed for ministry by God.
And having always believed me to be ugly I couldn’t for the life of me understand how any woman could be intimidated by me working with their husband as a ministry leader. As a young woman in ministry, it just wasn’t easy. No matter how I dressed, or how I bent, or how I avoided a laugh or smile someone was always looking at me like I wanted their husband. It was really annoying. It still happens to this day as a woman in a male-dominated area of the church. It’s still not that many women musicians and MD’s.
Having been in it my whole life, I come in with a sense of confidence in my purpose and what God has given me to do. And some people and places misunderstand that. When I’m talking to the musicians it’s because I’m used to talking to musicians and I need to in order to communicate how I set my stuff up and how I play my set. It’s not because I want to be in people’s faces.
Then I had the male leaders who always wanted to challenge my musicianship and my theory knowledge. They want to talk shop and compare gear. These were the fleshly challenges that got in the way of the alter. The only place I actually wanted to be. This was also annoying. I’m not the best musician in the world but a lot of songwriters and artists aren’t. I’m growing in this area and I’m enjoying the growth. However, that was never the heart of my ministry either. I usually come in, do what I do, and expect the band to just follow me. It was new when people began to critique and challenge my musicianship.
Then there were places where I wasn’t anointed enough, places where I was anointed but leaders were intimidated by me, places where everyone talked about me but no one talked to me, places where the very joy of leading God’s people in worship was stomped out. Things just got harder and harder until they crescendoed into my first studio single and the birth of Brittany Henry Ministries, where I would finally be free to create music in the beauty of holiness. I could finally just play and preach as unto the Lord freely. I kinda became an evangelist traveling from church to church.
It’s been a painful and fruitful journey of faith. Always a constant push through self-doubt, I’m really just at a point where I go where God tells me to go and do what he tells me to do, and that’s all there is. I’ve learned to be okay with people’s perceptions of me. I live misunderstood and wrongfully accused. I’ve accepted that which I’ve been called to and I feel more certain of my calling to ministry more than ever before.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As a songwriter and lyricist, I’m always pushing the boundaries of words. I just want people to feel it the way God gave it to me. It’s always been about the message not necessarily the music. For me, the music is the vehicle on which the message rides on. That’s why I hate being put in a genre box. Sometimes my writing sounds country and sometimes my writing sounds gospel. I love all genres so it doesn’t phase me. I’m finishing out my Master’s at Berklee in Songwriting right now and I’m just learning so much that allows me to better convey the heart of God and that’s all I really want. I’m very proud of that.
I’m also really proud to be a mother and a wife. It’s one of the hardest things but keeps me on my knees. It’s pushed me to start pursuing work in special education. I know my daughter has some special needs and I think the purpose of the Lord for all our lives is wrapped in this area somehow but this is a new development so I’m still seeing how God is going to use this.
Beyond these things, I have a call to Kingdom business and I’ve really enjoyed entrepreneurship as well as teaching others to build their own businesses. Entrepreneurship was a major means of survival for me when I became a mom.
How do you define success?
Did I do what God told me to do? If I did then I was successful. I am successful when I’m in the will of God. Hearing from God so clearly now I’ve found that sometimes I know exactly what I’m supposed to do and I just don’t want to do it. So success for me is strongly measured by my level of obedience. I feel very successful and accomplished when I just manage to do what God wanted me to do.
If I’m honest, I also feel successful when my kids are happy, my husband is happy, and I’m in my right mind. When we all have good food to eat, gas in the car, and we are able to do the things we enjoy.
- Website: BrittanyHenryMinistries.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brittanyhenryministries/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brittanyhenryministries
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ7T9FhFD3Dyy84PvkKkIpw
The photos of me in my home studio – Madeline Brooker Photography The photos of me in worship (In the blue) – Ali Lotfe The photo of me in nature – Justin Adams of Free Voyage Photography