Thirteen years ago, Jeremy Camp led a night of worship at Calvary Chapel in the Vail Valley. The crowd, like the church at that point, was small. Though both the church's always-smiling Pastor Tommy Schneider and the musician were following different paths, they both had the same mission: to share God's love with the world.
A lot has changed since that evening, for both Calvary Chapel, whose members have increased exponentially, and Camp, who has found mega success in the contemporary Christian music scene. He released his first album 10 years ago and since has had 25 No. 1 radio singles, made six more albums - including a Christmas album released in September - and has led worship around the world. Camp has gone from playing in front of a few dozen people in small town churches to taking the stage in front of anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 people in giant arenas. But for him, it's not about the numbers, he said. If his music can touch just one person, that's what matters.
So how does anyone, even a devout Christian, stay humble in the face of such success?
"There are so many things in this world that try to distract you," Camp said. "The great thing is I have great people around me. My wife, for one, will slap me around. I have multiple pastors who are amazing, and the people I surround myself love the Lord."
Reading the Bible on a regular basis keeps Camp focused on God, he said.
"When reading the Bible I realize it's not about me," Camp said. "When you stand in the word of God and see what Christ has done, you can't go and take credit. It had nothing to do with me, it all has to do with Jesus."
On Sunday night, Camp will perform an acoustic concert at Calvary Chapel in Edwards, a celebration of Calvary's anniversary.
"I'm very honored to be here," Camp said. "They have a vision for this area that's amazing to me. They've sat me down and told me all the things God is doing here and I love to see their excitement. I'm excited to see what God's going to do."
Camp is no stranger to Calvary Chapel --his father, Tom, has been a Calvary Chapel pastor in Layfayette, Indiana for 22 years, and Camp, who is also an ordained pastor, attended a Calvary Chapel Bible College in Southern California for two years following high school.
'Serving the valley ever since'
John David Webster, the assistant pastor and worship leader at Calvary Chapel has known Camp for 15 years. He thought a concert by his friend would be a special way to celebrate the church's anniversary.
"A lot of people see ministries or churches and don't see all the hours and hard work that goes into it." Webster said. "We wanted to celebrate that with Tommy. He felt the call to come out here and help, and he has been serving the valley ever since."
Webster expects between 500 and 700 people to show up on Sunday evening to see Camp perform.
"Most of the concerts Jeremy does are really big," Webster said. "This is a chance for people to see a storyteller's side of Jeremy, and to meet his family," Webster said.
Camp is in town for five days with his wife, Adie, who is also a musician, and their three children.
On Wednesday, Webster picked the family up at Denver International Airport. While they waited for their luggage in baggage claim, a familiar song came on the airport speakers: Camp's hit song "There Will Be A Day."
"I was like 'what is going on?'" Camp said. "A lady walked up to me and said 'I love your music and I want you to meet my friend. She was on drugs and alcohol and one of your songs changed her life. Now she's sober and full on serving the Lord.' For me to hear that when I fly in, to hear my song and talk to a young lady who is serving the Lord now, using her experiences to help others, that's what's humbling. That keeps you humble."
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at email@example.com.