Muchow, Rick : Healing Grace Alive at Saddleback
Rick was born in San Pedro, California in 1957. At six years old, he and his mother moved to Greenwich Village, the famous community of artists, actors, and musicians located in lower New York City. It was in this environment that Rick learned to play the guitar, started singing, and discovered something called musical theater. At the age of 13, Rick moved to San Jose, California in 1970. He utilized his talents throughout the community by playing his guitar and singing, but his true love was still musical theater. Not surprisingly, God used Rick's passion for theater to open up his eyes to the Gospel. In 1975, during his senior year, he was performing in the hit musical Godspell when one of his friends explained to him the meaning behind the musical production. Rick became a Christian that year. Rick's attitude toward music was one of the first areas of his life that God began to change. Rick had always thought of music as means of getting what he wanted. In his own words, music was 'a god' to him. But all of that changed when his guitar was stolen during the summer after he accepted Jesus as his Savior. Suddenly there was a great void in his life. It was a void that Rick eventually learned to fill with Christ. His guitar was returned only after he clearly saw that his first priority in life had to be God. Rick remembers: 'Music was a god I worshiped, but now music is a means to worship God.' After graduating from high school, Rick attended San Jose City College with a view toward majoring in music. Throughout these years he toured with a Spanish gospel singing group called Gospel Expressions. Although Rick could not speak Spanish, which meant that he could not sing any of the songs, he was blessed with an opportunity to play his guitar for the group. God used this experience to teach Rick another major lesson: a music minister does not have to be in the spotlight to serve Christ. In 1979 he graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in music, after which he was asked by Mike McGuffee, senior pastor of Warm Springs Baptist Church in California, to join McGuffee's church as the music and youth minister. It was during his two years at Warm Springs that Rick received an assurance from God that his life's purpose was to be a full time music minister. From Warm Springs, Rick traveled to Gilroy, California, where he went on staff as music minister at the First Baptist Church under the leadership of senior pastor Dr. Thurman George. After 4 1/2 years, Rick left First Baptist Church to tour America in concert. This approach to ministering lasted only for a brief period of time. Rick's wife, Laura, expressed a desire to raise their family in a home rather than having to continue coping with the ordeal of life on the road. Fortunately, it was at about this same time that Pastors Rick Warren and Glen Kruen from Saddleback Church approached Rick and asked him if he would consider coming on staff. In September 1987, Rick Muchow accepted the invitation and has been the church's musical director and music pastor ever since. Rick left a church of 300 to join the staff at Saddleback Church. At that time there were 5 volunteer musicians, a secretary, Rick and a congregation of 1500. There was no music program to speak of, and because the church did not have it's own building, the ministry had to rehearse in various church member homes. That year, the church experienced it's largest numeric growth ever and expanded to 3000 members. Now over 1000 people are involved in the Magnification Ministry in total. That includes 500 participating kids and 125 adults through the choirs for adults, and high school all the way down to preschool! There are 40 active supporting volunteer musicians, and 45 ministry staff (paid and volunteer). Rick is now managing a music ministry that is larger than most churches and providing music for 5 weekend services, a midweek service and other group meetings too numerous to mention. The church itself has grown to 15,000 average weekend attendance and over 54,000 on the mailing list. Rick is also a contributing editor to Leadership Magazine.