Ansen Lancaster, a senior worship major and the current SGA worship leader, has a passion for music, prayer, encouragement and seeing people grow in the Lord. His interest in music began with listening to Christian radio stations while he was growing up, which allowed him to enjoy Christian music that he did not hear much of on Sundays due to attending small churches. In the sixth grade, he started playing the alto saxophone in band to avoid taking a fine arts class, and music has been an important part of his life ever since.
Lancaster’s parents, one a biology teacher and football coach and the other a special education teacher, recognized his interest in music and encouraged him to pursue it, despite it being so different from what they had experience with.
“When I started to show an interest in music, my parents…really recognized that I had a passion for that and really pushed that for me, so that I could have every opportunity to succeed with music,” Lancaster shared.
In addition to encouraging him, they also paid for the various instruments, and Lancaster now plays several: drums, saxophone, sousaphone, guitar, bass, and piano. He shared that his two favorite music genres are worship music and songs performed by their own writers, because he appreciates the genuine emotion that both genres can portray.
Lancaster first began to play with the SGA band last year as an occasional extra guitar player. Then, this school year, his good friendship with Parker McGoldrick, a senior Biblical studies major and the SGA chaplain, gave him the opportunity to take on the role of the SGA worship leader.
McGoldrick and Lancaster met in the music lounge at the beginning of their freshman year, and McGoldrick shared that because of their friendship and their experience serving together in the SGA previously, it seemed natural that they should serve as the SGA chaplain and worship leader this year.
“When I was thinking of running for SGA chaplain, he was a large part of my decision, because if he wouldn’t have done it, it would have been hard. We’ve worked together for three years, and we’re such great friends, and we think the same way, and we know what to expect in the same way,” McGoldrick said.
Lancaster said that McGoldrick helped him to get connected and to express his hopes for the SGA.
“I knew when Parker was chosen…he was thinking about bringing me on for SGA. He brought me into the circles and had me meet some of those people, a lot of whom I already knew, but once we got acquainted with those people, I was able to share my heart and share my vision for SGA, and then here we are,” Lancaster said.
Through the SGA, Lancaster has been able to use his heart for music to serve others by encouraging them to give glory to God.
“When we’re leading worship in chapel, and I look out, and I can see people who are truly engaging with the Lord, and who are just having an encounter with God in that room—that is my all-time favorite part of SGA,” Lancaster said.
Lancaster also enjoys the opportunity to encourage people who are outside of his normal sphere of influence.
“It spreads beyond SGA—I think that’s part of why I love being a worship leader so much. Watching people fulfill the purpose for which they were created is one of the most fulfilling things that I have experienced in my life,” he said.
In addition, Lancaster has been encouraged himself by watching God work in the lives of his friends and witnessing how God has changed their hearts.
Christian Frey, a senior broadcasting and digital media major, also met Lancaster early in his freshman year through a concert at the involvement fair, and they are now close friends and housemates. According to Frey, Lancaster has a heart for encouraging others and for prayer.
“[Ansen] is very good at affirming people with his words, and he’ll do it in a very timely manner,” Frey said. “Right after you play a show, or you do well on an exam, or something like that, he’s very quick to—right after it happens—affirm you.”
Frey explained that Lancaster also has way of praying in group settings with a genuineness and honesty that impacts the people who are listening.
“He’s very gifted in the way that he’s able to talk to God in front of people, and just the way that he’s able to even encourage people through his prayers, whether he’s praying directly for you or just praying for something you’re a part of,” Frey said.
In addition, McGoldrick emphasized Lancaster’s sensitivity to others.
“He’s good at sensing what’s going on, and so whenever anybody is hurting, or uncomfortable, he’s the first to go there and show them compassion and make sure that they’re comfortable, or help them in their pain,” McGoldrick said.
While serving in a leadership position in the SGA, Lancaster has also been challenged to look beyond his own personal goals and to help set the tone for the next generation of Cedarville students.
“Being a part of SGA really has given me a bigger vision for the school as a whole. The breadth of it is just something that you can’t really see when you’re down close, just kind of focused in your own little part of Cedarville,” he shared.
Lancaster also expressed a hope to leave Cedarville even better than he found it, and that the incoming students will be equipped to step up and continue the vision of the school.
“This 2016-2017 SGA is trying to set the pace for the next four years of students who are coming through Cedarville—really influencing the freshmen who are here now, so that by the time they’re seniors, they will then do it again for the incoming freshmen,” Lancaster said.
When Lancaster graduates and leaves Cedarville in May with a worship degree, he will take his leadership experience from the SGA with him and look for work as a worship pastor at a church, where he will continue leading and setting an example for others through his heart for ministry and service.
Kellyn Post is a sophomore English major and an Arts and Entertainment writer for Cedars. She is happiest when drinking tea, listening to music and reading old books.