Derek Charles Johnson is a singer/songwriter and church worship leader residing in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Although a life-long musician and music-lover, Derek’s path into a music career has been anything but typical. “Upon graduating high school, I found myself going straight into college to pursue what I thought would be a life-long occupation. But along the way, God started to burden my heart for something completely different. I came to accept that God had other plans!” Derek finished 6 years of studies at North Dakota State University in Fargo with a degree in pharmacy. After several years of being a pharmacist, he began to feel a tug to go back to school for something different. “It weighed heavily on my heart to do something within the ministry…several men and women in my family had attended Bible college and were working in the church in some capacity. I felt like God was calling me in that direction as well. I also had a huge interest in music, so I wanted to do something that involved worship.”
Derek and his family moved to attend Bible school in Ellendale, North Dakota, home of Trinity Bible College. This move proved to be the start of a new path which he now clearly felt. “Looking back, I can see that God laid out all of the steps necessary to bring my family and I into ministry. My wife and I both are active in leadership at our church and none of that would’ve been possible without God’s call.” Derek has been a worship leader at New Life Fellowship, his home church in Aberdeen since 2011.
The debut album for Derek Charles Johnson entitled “Carry On,” in many ways came about during his time of transition into ministry. “I felt like I was making this 180 degree turn in my life and God was giving me these songs along the way to encourage me and help me trust in Him. It was a totally new path and one that could often feel lonely and difficult. I figured if these songs had some meaning for my journey, they might be encouraging for others as well.” Ten songs in all, Carry On takes the listener on a musical landscape and encourages worship throughout. From the album’s upbeat opener “Makes Me Wanna Sing,” to the hard-charging “Carry On” and finally to the closing ballad, “Take Me Away,” the tracks are an encouragement to those in the Christian faith. “When I started picking songs for this release, there were 10 or so that just seemed to ‘fit’ and made sense somehow. I know there was a reason for that beyond just randomly piecing an album together with songs I’ve written over the years. These songs have a lot of meaning for me and through the grace of God I’ve been given the opportunity to share them with a larger audience.”
Derek’s personal favorites from the album? “It’s hard to choose because they’ve all been through the process of just being an idea and then growing into a full-fledged song. I have to thank my producer, Tommee Profitt, for bringing these songs to life and transforming them. But some of my personal favorites are Carry On, King of Glory, and You Are Good.”
Carry On – This song just started with a guitar riff that I had been playing around with for awhile. Once the lyrics and the concept for the song emerged, it came together relatively quickly (which doesn’t always happen!). It also felt like a good title for the album…Carry On. I love the imagery of Paul in Philippians 3:14, ‘I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ Paul’s attitude puts things into perspective for me; I can get so caught up in what this life offers and focus on my own comforts and needs.
King of Glory – In all honesty, King of Glory is just a straight-up worship song. I like it for it’s simplicity as a song that can be in a worship set and can draw people in. It’s a song that acknowledges God as King and Lord over all. He is infinite, we are finite. He is eternal, our days have a beginning and an end. For that reason, He is worthy of praise!
You Are Good – You Are Good is deeply personal for me and the journey my family and I have been on. It was one of the last songs I wrote for the album and I’m truly glad it made the cut! It really speaks of following Christ through the ups and downs and ultimately keeping our eyes fixed on Him. When it states “In the longing, I wait for You…In this in-between, I wait for You,” that’s really about Heaven. We wait in anticipation for Christ’s return…for our reunion with Him. And despite what we face in this life, the promise of Heaven far outweighs it all!
In starting a new venture musically, Derek looks to the future with great expectation. “My ultimate hope is that God is glorified and lifted up through this album and ministry. My desire is to say ‘Let Your will be done through this God. Let me get out the way so You can move through these songs and touch hearts.’ There are so many who need to know the love of Jesus and come into a personal relationship with Him. If I can be used in the process in any way, it will all be worth it.”
Carry On, the debut album by Derek Charles Johnson is available for download on iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify and several other online music sites. It is also available for purchase in CD form from www.derekcharlesjohnson.com.
If you are interested in booking Derek for a concert or event at your church or other venue, please contact this ministry directly at firstname.lastname@example.org