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Salvation through song
Local musician and minister Joey Nicholson spreads the gospel beyond the walls of a church
0119 Nicholson
Joey Nicholson of Gainesville has been nominated for three Momentum Awards for his worship music. The awards are put on by the online Christian community, Indieheaven .

0119Nicholson I Glorify The Name - Joey Nicholson

Joey Nicholson performs "I Glorify the Name."

Expanding the body of Christ and spreading the passion for the Lord with music is what the Rev. Joey Nicholson loves to do.

The Gainesville native has been performing his own style of Christian music for years now and is finally getting recognized for his contributions.

Nicholson has been nominated for three Momentum Awards: Male Vocalist of the Year, Acoustic Artist of the Year and Worship Artist of the Year.

"You either have momentum or you are losing it and I just believe we have been like rolling down a hill with it," Nicholson said.

The third annual Momentum Awards is put on by the online Christian community, Indieheaven. The Web site is dedicated to independent Christian musicians and the Christian music scene.

The five finalists in each category will be selected, for the first time, from fans and a panel of select industry personnel, according to www.indieheaven.com.

Nicholson recently released his first album, "I Know You Will," and has found popularity with the CD and various songs through the Web site.

"‘I Glorify the Name’ ... sums it up that no matter what we go through, that we glorify the name of the Lord," Nicholson said. "‘I Know You Will,’ is the title track. (It) is based on Psalm 5:12, ‘I know you will surround me with favor like a shield.’"

The winners of the Momentum Awards will be announced March 29 at the CIA Summit, which is a Christian music seminar in Franklin, Tenn. Nicholson also is nominated for four awards at the eighth annual Kansas City Christian Awards.

Nicholson said his current music inspirations are Christ Tomlin, Hillsong and Matt Redman.

"For the most part I would say (my music is) nondenominational," he said. "As it says in the Bible, ‘I become all things to all men.’ With my heritage here in Gainesville at Central Baptist ... my heart and my heritage is there and, of course, I minister to Lutherans, to Methodist, Presbyterian, charismatics; we become whatever we need to become to worship Jesus and to lead others into his presence."

During the summer, Nicholson and his family, including his four children who range in age from 10 to 27, take mission trips. He has worked with World Vision, a Christian relief organization.

He said it is just one more example of reaching out as a Christian, through music, to minister to others.

"That is what God has called me to do, is take leading worship to the nations," he said. "If it is anointed music, it can reach into the heart and bring them closer to God."

Nicholson has been playing music since age 11.

" I remember telling my dad, one day I’m going to be a minister of music ... little did I know so many years later — 2005, I believe, and (Central Baptist) had their spring revival and I actually led the music for the entire service.

"So looking back on it, it is pretty neat the way the Lord works over so many years or over a lifetime."

Longtime friend Tim Watkins, who has led worship with Nicholson in the past, said Nicholson doesn’t perform for the personal accolades but to spread God’s word to others.

"He has a very good heart for the people as far as leading them into worship," said Watkins, a worship leader and member at Mercy’s Call Ministries in Talmo. "That’s what he wants to do, not just perform. It’s not a performance thing for him; it’s just a worship and inviting people to worship with him."

Watkins, also from Gainesville, and Nicholson met while attending North Georgia Worship Center, which is now Providence Church in Gainesville.

"I think he is very accomplished and writes a lot of his own music and of course records also," Watkins said.

Currently, Nicholson does not attend a specific local church but said he believes God will lead him to the right church home.

"One thing that I do believe is that we are the church, but we do support local churches," he said. "I feel like you need to be in a church and you need to be planted, but if somebody is going through a situation where they are not in a church now I don’t want them to feel a condemnation.

"Some people have home churches and that’s OK with me. We are the body of Christ; we are the church."

Nicholson formerly served as the minister of music at the North Georgia Worship Center.

"I have actually been ministering in music for probably since about 1989," he said. "I started here in Gainesville, and the past 10 years specifically I’ve been involved in church worship music and leading worship at church."

Many Sundays, Nicholson and wife Angela spend time traveling to different churches throughout the Southeast and even made a stop at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston. The family also has spent time in Florida, Tennessee and Missouri to perform, teach and train worship teams.

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