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Singing and songwriting
Two friends combine talents on second CD
The Highlands United Methodist Church member Ben Briscoe, left, and youth minister Kyle Jones collaborated on writing songs for Jones’ second album “Made.” The CD was released in March.

To order a copy: Visit or order it from iTunes

Most clergy describe their entry into the Christian ministry as a calling. For The Highlands United Methodist Church youth minister Kyle Jones, he got a call on two separate occasions to praise God through song.

While he was a youth leader in St. Simons Island, Jones felt the Lord telling him to pursue songwriting and make an album.

“I was talking with my wife because I thought it was from the Lord and not just with me,” he said. “We prayed about it.”

Then the couple decided to answer God’s call.

“We began to pursue it and ask ‘How do we start songwriting and how do we put out an album?’” Jones said.

Based on a connection made in St. Simons Island and nine months of work, Jones released his first album “Alive” in September 2009. One move to Northeast Georgia and three years later, Jones received another call from the Lord.

“In summer of 2012, I began hearing a voice saying to put another album out,” the youth leader said.

Jones had already been writing songs with his friend Ben Briscoe, a member of The Highlands UMC in Gainesville. Then the pair contacted church member Andy McDonald, who has a private recording studio.

“We started recording in August. And we finished early 2013, January,” said Jones, who released his second album “Made” in March 2013.

Briscoe, 27, said songwriting with Jones, 29, was a growing experience.

“I never wrote anything musically before,” he said, noting he and Jones committed to writing Tuesday nights after 10:30 p.m.

They elected the late hour because it was after their children were tucked in bed. Briscoe has two children and Jones has one.

“We would sit down and get on the computer and video chat,” Briscoe said. “And we (would) actually work out the idea in song. He (would) play it out and see if that’s what I wanted.”

Both men admitted to staying up until 1 or 2 a.m.

The duo also attended a worship leaders conference, LIFT, at Passion City Church in Atlanta. There, Briscoe took a songwriting course from popular contemporary Christian music artist Chris Tomlin, who explained how he writes music. Tomlin advised him and others not to focus on writing hit songs, average songs or songs for popularity. Tomlin relayed the concept of praying before writing and writing for the right reasons, Briscoe said.

“That helped me grow in songwriting,” he said. “It was God songs that make a difference.”

Jones hopes the difference will affect others.

“My heart hopes this will be a super encouraging time to connect with the Lord,” he said.

That difference seemed apparent when Jones had a release party for his second album recently. But Jones said it was more of a worship service than a party to release the new album.

“Really that’s where my heart is,” he said. “It’s honoring the Lord and engaging people.”

Overall, Jones is pleased with the end result. His new album is a compilation of five original new songs and a remix of a song from his first album. And while he claims does not have a favorite song, certain ones fit his mood.

“If I’m in an upbeat mood and energetic, I love the song ‘Love Has Come,’” Jones said.

He also connects with the cover song, “I am Made.”

“It’s powerful,” Jones said. “To have that chorus as a constant reminder that we were made for something bigger ... is really encouraging to me.”

Briscoe said the cover song came from a true situation when he was listening to a youth group.

“One night someone was talking about how she didn’t feel she was beautiful and she felt like she wasn’t desirable,” he said. “And one thing Kyle had done at a retreat with the youth group was explain if you are a creation of God and you are created in God’s image, then you are beautiful.”

After hearing the girl said she didn’t feel beautiful, Briscoe thought youths and adults need to hear they are beautiful and know they are beautiful. Therefore, he crafted a song saying as much.

However, the Gainesville man admitted seeing how the lyrics to “I am Made” speak to others.

“What’s more awesome is God uses it to touch them,” he said. “Just those visuals make it one of my favorites.”

To hear the songs, Jones’s CD is available for $5 at or order from itunes.

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