As the Texas-based worship band 317 Collective leads worship around the state, the band’s goal is to help students gain a deeper understanding of Scripture and practical application for their lives through their message and music.
Leaders involved in the worship residency program of First Baptist Church Burleson developed the group. The band’s name, taken from the physical address of the church, reminds the group where their roots are planted.
“In 2020, 317 Collective was formed out of a small group of worship leaders and musicians from our residency program at First Baptist Burleson and has grown to include many others from local churches in the DFW area,” said Michael Glenn, who also serves as the church’s worship pastor.
‘Collective group of worship leaders’
“In regards to our name, most people ask which Scripture the name comes from, but it actually doesn’t come from a specific verse. 317 comes from the address of First Baptist Burleson, and collective describes that we’re not just a worship band with one leader, but a collective group of worship leaders with diverse backgrounds and giftings.”
The group leads worship for various ministry events around the state including Disciple Now weekends, church services, retreats, conferences such as the Texas Baptists’ NextGen Conclave and youth camps including Lifeway’s FUGE Camps at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Camp Copass in Denton.
On Feb. 9–11, they will lead worship for the Dallas Baptist Association’s Disciple Now weekend at Mount Lebanon Baptist Encampment in Cedar Hill.
“We are grateful for all the churches that allow us the opportunity throughout the year to serve alongside them through worship leadership at their events,” Glenn said.
“Through every ministry event that we get the opportunity to lead worship for, our consistent prayer is that people would have an encounter with Jesus that changes them forever and that they would leave with a deep hunger and longing to walk with Christ on a daily basis.”
Life experiences inspire songs
Their original songs are inspired by various life experiences, and the group plans to release two EP’s this year.
“The inspiration for songwriting honestly changes with every song we write,” Glenn noted. “Sometimes, we get the start of a song after we just walked off the platform from leading worship. Sometimes, it comes to us when we’re sitting and hanging out together.”
For example, he notes the band wrote the song “Won’t Let Go” after discussing Isaiah 43:2: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
“No matter what we face, how far we run, how much we constantly mess it up, he will never let go. We’re constantly inspired by God’s faithfulness in each of our lives, and we are praying that these songs will help people to love Jesus deeper.”
Ministering to teenagers particularly is important to the group, and band members desire to build bridges for local churches to use as a tool for attracting youth and ministering to their needs.
“317 Collective started from a dream of mine to raise up young worship leaders to be all that God called them to be,” Glenn said. “This is my favorite thing to do.
“I get phone calls every week from churches looking for a worship pastor, and the reality that we’re facing in the church today is that we need more worship pastors and leaders to help point people to Jesus through song. We don’t need more performers. We need people who have a true devotion to Jesus leading our local churches in worship.”
Both of his grandfathers were worship leaders at North Texas churches, Glenn noted.
“So, I pretty much grew up in the church pew. I remember being 4 years old and sitting for hours watching my parents at worship rehearsal for Sunday service. While I didn’t know Jesus yet, I knew they were a part of something special,” he said.
“When I got involved with a youth band, I started to fall in love with worship through song at a deeper level. I started to put pen to paper and write songs about what God was doing in my heart and what he was teaching me.”
Embracing worship as a lifestyle
A youth pastor at a North Texas church listened to an album of Glenn’s music. He called to ask Glenn if he would be interested in joining a church staff as student worship leader.
“God appeared to be working and revealing what he wanted me to do with my life. In February 2011, I accepted the position and have been in worship ministry ever since,” he said.
Today, as the group leads worship at ministry events around the state, 317 Collective’s desire is to help students understand the importance of embracing worship as a lifestyle.
“It’s easy to be excited about Jesus in a room full of people who are singing to him at the top of their lungs,” Glenn acknowledged. “It’s harder to do that every single day. We hope that people would walk away with an understanding that the daily personal pursuit of him through reading the Bible, worship and prayer is what truly will sustain them.
“God has been teaching me lately that he isn’t looking for the newest cool melody or lyric. He just wants us to surrender daily to him. We tend to make it so complicated, but God is just looking for a heart that is fully and daily, yielded to him.
“I think a lot of people look at worship bands that are leading at ministry events as the ‘rock stars.’ We have zero desire for that. We’re simply just a fun group of people, wanting to love Jesus better and to point others to do the same.”