WHY WE EXIST

ABOUT LIKEWISE

Likewise Worship exists for the purpose of discipling worship leaders that God is calling to shepherd His people. We aim to equip and develop followers of Jesus and gifted musicians to lead humbly and creatively in their contexts for the purpose of unifying the local church through music and worship.

THE LIKEWISE TEAM

JUSTIN UNGER

Pastor, Founder & Executive Director

Justin has been committed to the local church for over 17 years as a worship pastor.  Passionate about unifying the Body of Christ with the gift of music, he has learned to stand firm amidst the cultural and traditional challenges that many churches face in regards to worship and the Sunday gathering.  He is a pastor of pastors and has a heart to disciple, equip and encourage both young and seasoned worship leaders  that are called to serve the local church.

Justin serves primarily as the Executive Director with Likewise Worship and also as a Speaker & Consultant for churches that are struggling to bring all generations together in worship.

He is married to his wife Falon, and together they have 4 beautiful children.  Visit www.justinunger.com to learn more about Justin’s music ministry. 

JOSHUA JAMES

Pastor & Lead Director

Josh has been leading worship and growing as a pastor for the last ten years. A graduate of Grand Canyon University with a BA in Christian Studies, he has a heart for discipleship, particularly for investing in young worship leaders. Josh is currently serving as the worship pastor at Hope Church in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Josh serves primarily as the Lead Director with Likewise Worship, helping oversee the Phoenix collective gatherings, the ministry vision and curriculum, and our “Connection” branch, bringing worship leaders and churches together during the interim season.  

Josh and his wife Brynne currently live in Phoenix Arizona.

NINA WATERS

Administration & Accounting

Nina has been serving in various ministries in the local church for over 30 years.  She has a heart to serve the body of Christ and loves helping others.  Nina worked as a legal secretary and in the recruiting department of a large Dallas, TX law firm for 10 years.  She and her husband, Tommy, have owned their own business for 18 years.  The organizational skills, attention to detail, financial and administrative experience she has gained over the years bring a much needed asset to the Likewise team.  Nina and Tommy have been married for 39 years and enjoy spending time with their daughter, son in law and four beautiful grandchildren.

JOSH WATHEN

Connection Director

Originally from Quincy, Illinois, Josh felt the call into full-time ministry when he was fifteen years old and has been actively serving the Lord in worship ministry since 2015.

Josh began leading worship with Justin at Bethany Bible Church in Phoenix, Arizona while pursuing a bachelors degree at Grand Canyon University. In 2017, God planted Josh and his wife Hannah in Orange County, California where they have been pastoring at Calvary Church of Santa Ana ever since.

Josh serves as our “Connection” director for churches across the country that are needing assistance in worship staffing and  temporary placement.

JAMES PARKER

Pastor & Area Director - San Diego, CA

James was raised in Prescott, Arizona, where he met his wife, Maren. He and Maren have two little boys: Henley and Benson.

James grew up around the Church, but discovered a relationship with God later in Highschool. Times of corporate worship played a huge part in James understanding God’s grace and truth. James’ restored relationship with his dad is a big piece of his testimony to God’s healing and freeing forgiveness.

Studying music in college, James finished an internship and got connected to Cornerstone Church, where he served nine years as the full-time worship pastor. James was licensed as a pastor in 2019 through the EFCA. James is now the Area Director for Likewise San Diego, and loves seeing leaders from different Bible-believing Churches strengthen each other in community. A part of the Area Director role includes leading worship locally, and the Parkers are grateful to be connected to Venture Church, where James is the worship pastor.

James and Maren were married in March of 2012 and are both passionate about listening to and caring for those in worship ministry as well as their spouses. They desire to be a safe place for leaders to connect, relate, and be encouraged. 

The Parkers felt God’s call to the San Diego area in 2020 and they are excited to join what God is doing in and through Likewise Worship!

BEN SWEET

Pastor & Area Director - Orange County, CA

Passionate about God and his beautiful wife Lauryn, Ben is the Worship Pastor at Voyagers Bible Church in Irvine, CA. He has been in ministry for 10 years, leading worship and pastoring in the local church in multiple capacities. Involved in student ministries, programming teams, and adult ministries, Ben loves God’s church and is passionate about leading God’s people to greater intimacy with Him.

Likewise Worship Collective has been pivotal in his life, marriage and ministry, walking with him through steep peaks and valleys over the past 3 years. His desire is to help see the ministry that loved on him, love, support, and equip other worship pastors, wherever they find themselves, right now!

EPPIE VICENTE

Pastor & Area Director - Northern Arizona

Eppie lives in Prescott Arizona and has been serving faithfully as a worship leader for over 15 years all across Northern Arizona. He is passionate about bringing all generations together to worship in Spirit and in Truth. He loves the local church and deeply desires to see the Body of Christ unified, specifically by breaking down the walls of division between churches in Northern Arizona.  Eppie has been married to Colleen for over 31 years and together they have 3 children. 

CHRIS & CARRIE HERRINGTON

Pastor & Area Directors - Phoenix

Chris and Carrie Herrington are Midwest natives who moved to Arizona 13 years ago.  They met 25 years ago in music theory class during their freshman year of college.  Chris has over 20 years of full-time ministry experience, serving primarily in worship, college, and camp ministries.  Carrie has previously worked in church administration and office management before deciding to homeschool their children. Currently, Chris is the worship pastor at Illuminate Community Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. Chris and Carrie have been married over 20 years and have three children, Colin, Charis, and Cuyler. They love traveling and building memories as a family, especially in the mountains of Arizona and in Southern California.  Chris and Carrie have a passion for worship and discipleship that has led them to become part of Likewise Worship.  As the Phoenix Area Directors of Likewise, they are excited to pour into the worship pastors and leaders in The Valley.  Ultimately, they would see God exalted through worship and through lives lived on mission for Him each day.

MARTHA IRVINE

Coaching Director
Voice Development & Women in Ministry

Martha is an Arizona native and Pastor’s Kid who grew up serving in the church and leading worship alongside her family. She loves the local church community and a passion for worship through singing.

Martha earned her Master’s degree in Contemporary and Commercial Voice Training in 2015. She has been coaching worship leaders and teams as well as teaching private voice lessons at the college level. 

Martha serves as the Likewise Voice Development Coach and Women In Ministry Mentor. She is excited to equip and encourage Likewise worship leaders to find vocal freedom and establish sustainable, functional based techniques that give them the tools they need to maintain vocal health and joy in singing. She is also grateful to mentor and support other Likewise women who are also serving in worship leading roles.

She has been leading worship for over 20 years and is currently serving as the worship leader at Pinnacle Community Church in Phoenix, AZ.  When she is not singing or teaching you can find her hiking, hanging out with her 11 nieces and nephews, or sitting in a quiet corner with a good book, her Bible, and a cup o’ joe.

HANNAH SWEDENSKY

Social Media Host

Hannah has had a passion for worship ministry since she was in high school. This passion called her to Arizona in 2018 where she received her Associates Degree in Worship Arts at Grand Canyon University, and is currently finishing her Bachelors Degree in Marketing and Graphic Design at Arizona State. Hannah currently serves at Central Christian church as the Young Adult Worship pastor!  

There are THREE Pillars to LIKEWISE WORSHIP…

COLLECTIVE

We host gatherings in multiple cities each month designed to equip and empower local worship leaders with the practical tools and encouragement they need to lead effectively in their communities. 
 
One-on-One mentorship is made available to each worship leader as we seek to not only experience growth in our leadership, but also maturity in our walk with Jesus.  Having accountability and a safe place to process certain struggles is vital to the health of these worship leaders’ ministries and marriages.
 
Annual retreats are offered to Collective worship leaders! Our annual Likewise Worship Leader Retreat is a 3-day getaway tailored to the worship leader’s need for restoration, renewal, and encouragement. The annual Likewise Marriage Retreat is an opportunity for worship leaders and their spouses to have their marriages strengthened as they are paired with and encouraged by our Likewise Mentor Couples during this time together in the mountains.

CONSULTING

It is our desire not only to raise up healthy and humble worship leaders, but to promote a biblical heart of worship and unity in the local church.
 
Cultivating a new heart of worship in any community is long, hard work. Many of the issues that arise in churches boil down to a “heart problem.” 
 
We offer consulting services that include a “diagnostic” evaluation of a church community, an understanding of the problem, and a practical solution. It is our desire to walk alongside churches through this process with an end goal of a healthy worshipping community led by a healthy and humble worship leader.  

CONNECTION

Our goal for each Collective worship leader is for them to join a worshipping community and serve there faithfully. One of our main passions is raising up and sending out worship leaders.
 
The Local Church plays an important role in this! We offer interim worship leading help for churches in need. We also function as the connecting point between local pastors and worship leaders. 

THE COMMAND

Throughout Scripture, the people of God are commanded to worship in Spirit in Truth (John 4:24), to be unified (Eph. 4:1-3), to encourage one another by singing together (Col. 3:15-16), and to bring a sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15). We are to do all of these things with a spirit of humility, with the interests of others in mind (Phil. 2:3-4). 

THE PROBLEM
There is great division in the church today and much of this division is caused by our different preferences, especially when it comes to music. Our consumeristic culture has suggested that the Church exists to meet all of the believer’s “needs”, which turn out to be preferences. This puts enormous pressure on worship leaders to make everyone happy each week with the songs they sing and how they are sung. 
 
This impossible task has proven to wear down worship leaders over time. The expectation to perform is burdensome. One in every three worship pastors are currently experiencing symptoms of burnout, and some have left the church never to return. This burnout causes many problems in the ministries, families, and marriages of these worship leaders. 

THE SOLUTION

The role of a worship leader must be to help the body encourage one another through songs that are true about God and true about themselves, regardless of style. Because it all comes down to the “heart” of worship, a worship leader must be a disciple-maker. If the role of a worship leader continues to equal “performer” or “rockstar”, we will struggle for unity in our consumeristic culture. Together, we must adopt a biblical heart of worship.

We believe that worship culture and philosophy is set and maintained by the worship leader. Likewise exists for the development, discipleship, and mentoring of this next generation of worship leaders and their families. The goal of our time spent with these worship leaders is to raise up those who can lead a multi-generational gathering with a shepherd’s heart. We pour into these worship leaders in three distinct ways: monthly gatherings, one-on-one discipleship, and annual retreats.