Olympia pastor has a calling for music

If anyone in the Evergreen Christian Community congregation had the smallest of doubts about Andrew Landers’ decision to pursue music full time, Landers quickly put those thoughts to rest Sunday.

Landers, a worship and creative arts pastor at the church on Black Lake Boulevard for about four years, kicked off the 11 a.m. service with a rousing intro for lead pastor Jim Ladd, then closed the service with an equally rousing series of songs. Audience members were on their feet singing right with him.

They followed that with hearty applause and a standing ovation.

“There has no been greater privilege,” he told the congregation about his time as pastor. “It has been a profound experience for me and my family.”

And after that, Landers, 44, was at the head of a line of people, just waiting for the next goodbye hug.

Before the final Sunday service, Landers, who was the lead singer and acoustic guitar player for the church band, said he has been a professional musician for years, playing a style of music he compared with that of Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson.

After years of playing music, and being a musician who happens to love Jesus, it was time to fully vest in music, he said.

One reason that is happening now is that some things have recently fallen into place, including a tour of the Washington, D.C., area, which is set for the end of the month.

Landers said he either performs as a soloist or with his band, Mainstreet Struggleville.

“Life’s too short not to follow your heart,” he said.

He also had another reason for pursuing music: He wants to set an example for his six children.

“Leave a legacy,” he said. “Do what you love and go after your dreams.”

He joked about that with the congregation.

“It’s just so practical with six kids that it just makes awesome sense,” Landers said about his career change.

Lead pastor Ladd said this was his second time working with Landers. He had hired him to work for a church in the Denver area.

That’s when he heard Landers perform for the first time.

“He’s gifted,” he said, comparing his musical skills with that of a professional athlete, someone who is just a tier above everyone else.

“You can’t help but notice that,” Ladd said.