unite

Benji and Jenna: Church @ Buffalo





Benji and Jenna Cowart may not be Western New York natives but they are convinced God is doing something special in their new hometown of Buffalo. Moving to Buffalo after helping to plant a church in Las Vegas, the Cowarts serve as Worship Leaders in their local congregation encouraging unity and passion for Jesus in our region. Their latest CD release titled, “Letters to the Church at Buffalo” came out of a desire to minister to and encourage believers in their own congregation (The Chapel at Crosspoint). Their message? God sees your effort to serve and love Him even when others don’t. It’s a message they believe God is speaking to not just their church but to the Church at Buffalo. Benji explained, “It has been really exciting to see churches of various denominations coming together and partnering to plant new churches and partnering to carry out Kingdom endeavors. I lived in a lot of different places throughout the country and I have never seen churches partnering together under the same mission like I have witnessed here in Buffalo.”
     The Cowarts drew inspiration for their new CD from the little things people in their own congregation did to express love for God. In one of their already popular tracks on the CD “They Will See God” the Cowarts sing, “Blessed are you who have chosen to choose the right way no matter the cost, you do what you say when you say what you do, not counting the gain or the loss. Blessed are they who hold on to faith when everything is coming undone, day after day they stand in the face of the wind and the rain and the storm, they will see God, they will see God.” The lyrics point to the conflict believers often face and yet remain faithful to Christ and finish strong even when no one is looking. Benji explained, “In the beginning of this project Jenna and I wanted to do a recording with just she and I as a married couple ministering together but this project grew into something more beautiful. When I went down to Nashville to write songs, I realized that I just wanted to write songs that would work in my church and the churches in the WNY/Buffalo region. As I sat in the writer’s rooms with the songwriters, I would just begin to tell Buffalo church stories…stories about people in our church and how they lived out the Gospel doing things like recycling water bottles so that they could send others on missions trips….or the three brothers (two have since passed away) who drive an hour, one way, to show up at our church and work on our grounds keeping team every Thursday morning simply because they just want to use their gifts out of gratitude for what God has done for them. All of the songs that we wrote on that trip just came out reminding me of Buffalo and the people that comprise the Church at Buffalo (in the same way that Jesus referred to the church of a city in the book of Revelation).”
     In terms of the CD being a letter to the Church at Buffalo, the Cowarts explain it has been a process of wrestling with two questions in the context of their own church and the greater Body of Christ in our region, something they have been working through collectively with other churches for some time. “Our church along with many other churches in this region has been walking through a process where we have been wrestling with two questions. What does God want for Western New York? And what would it look like if God got what He wanted? We have landed on this as an answer— that every man, woman, and child would have multiple opportunities to see and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Western New York area. With that being said, it becomes very obvious that no single church can possibly accomplish such a huge undertaking. We all have to be a part of this process and start treating other churches’ wins as our wins and other churches’ losses as our loss. It is too important a task and the times are too urgent to be competing with other churches. It has been really exciting to see churches of various denominations coming together and partnering to plant new churches and partnering to carry out Kingdom endeavors. I lived in a lot of different places throughout the country and I have never seen churches partnering together under the same mission like I have witnessed here in Buffalo. It’s not perfect and we certainly have not ‘arrived’ in the whole area of working together but it has come a long way over the past five years,” explained Benji.

The seven song album, “Letters to the Church at Buffalo” is presently available for download on iTunes and the physical CD should be available by the last week of June to purchase at The Chapel and other Christian music vendors in the area. At this point, the Cowarts are not doing any public concerts but are content leading their local congregation in worship each week. However, the Cowarts also lead the Vintage Band (college and college age ministry) and will be playing at Kingdom Bound on the Park Stage on Tuesday morning August 2 at 10:00 a.m.. As Benji explained, “We are worship leaders first and our calling presently is to the local body. The irony is that I was that guy who said I would do anything for God ….except, be a vocational minister… and here I am, and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. That’s just how God does it I guess.”