Tag Archive | The Group

Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Every night at 10:00 p.m., my local news starts the broadcast by asking, “It’s 10:00. Do you know where your children are?” It seems to be a rhetorical question, but living in these days of increased crime and terror, it’s something every parent needs to be able to answer emphatically. Children need to be off the streets and safely home with their parents to help prevent getting into trouble.

So on Friday night, November 10, 2017, at 10:00 p.m., I was at Gatekeeper’s Total Recall Women’s Retreat where the host, Dr. Tiffany Swift noted: “The ability to yield yourself for spiritual, emotional and mental maintenance is a privilege. The grave condition of our city doesn’t have to be a permanent situation. The overload of your schedules and extended taxation of your mind both need a moment to reboot.”

There were many things I learned about rebooting at this enlightening and edifying 2-day retreat from the inspirational guest speakers and fun, interactive sessions. However, the praise and worship experience proved to be the highlight of the retreat for me. Let me explain how a group of 6 millennials provided an answer to the question, “Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” while they helped me reboot all at the same time.

THE GROUP, as they are known, is a close-knit group of gifted singers and musicians who used their God-given talents during praise and worship Friday night at the retreat. Although they are millennials, they are far from the typical “children” their age. They could have been anywhere on a Friday night, yet they volunteered to be part of the retreat, not to entertain us, but to usher us into the presence of the Lord through their ministry of songs and music. Interestingly enough, most of us who attended the retreat were literally old enough to be The Group’s parents!

THE GROUP at The Retreat: seated – Nikki, Ariana, and Liz; on keyboards – LaMonte and Anthony; and Stephen on drums

I posed 3 questions to The Group, but before you read their answers, take a look at the bios they wrote for the retreat booklet. How many millennials would describe themselves like this?

I’m Liz! I have lived in a few different countries and even obtained a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University, but all of those experiences pale in comparison to the ride I’m on with The Group! It is such a blessing to be able to learn and grow with a team that God has put together through his work and for his purposes. My hope is that you enjoy Total Recall 2017 and that God speaks to you personally about your own journey to finding completion in Him!


Hey my name is LaMonte Gray and my main goal in life is to serve and please God. I do enjoy sports, playing the keyboard and eating a nice tender steak, however there is nothing that I enjoy or value more than being in the presence of God and his people. He has always been my everything and my hiding place. There is nothing that I could ever put before him in the life that he gave me.


My name is Stephen J. Starks. I have always been around the glory of God, and God gifted me to play drums. I’ve been blessed through my years of playing to play with and for many great musicians and singers, but nothing has blessed me more than playing with the great group that I play with now. I have a deep hunger and thirst for Jesus that is being fulfilled! …. Hey beautiful people! My name is Nikki Starks, and yes, I married our drummer. I enjoy being a part of ministry with my family. I consider myself to be a people person; I love spreading God’s love to whomever I can, however I can. Although singing is one of my gifts as part of the group, I am excited to be exposed to the many other gifts and ultimate calling that the Lord has for me.


Hiya folks, my name is Ariana Ward. So far during my 20 years of living, I have experienced some great heartache and pain, but God brought me out. Because of certain decisions, I am now a mother of 1. I am a singer, bass player, a full time college student and most importantly a lover of Christ. Everything in my life has led me here with The Group, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


I am but a man after God’s own heart, named Anthony Ward. Alias: Tony Kartez. God has gifted me with a mission of love, to share His heart with the people of this world via music, service, and creativity. Each day He reminds me that there is nothing I can’t accomplish through Him. So I take great pleasure in learning new ways to edify the gifts and talents He’s generously blessed me to possess, so that I may give them back to Him and His people without void.

Like I said, how many millennials would describe themselves like this? So yes, the women who attended the retreat were blessed to be ushered into the presence of the Lord by these kids. It was a praise and worship experience like none I’ve ever had in the past, and as I listen to brief excerpts of the worship experience I recorded on my iPad, I am still in awe at how God’s spirit entered that room on that Friday night and ministered to us through them. Of course I was so caught up in the moment that I did not record the “best” part, but maybe you can catch a glimpse of what I’m talking about by watching the clips below.

PLEASE NOTE: I really had no idea when I was recording that these videos would end up on my blog. Forgive the very amateur nature of the video and just enjoy being in the presence of the Lord through our praise and worship experience that Friday night.






So now, back to my interview. But first I need to mention that the retreat was actually the very first time The Group led a praise and worship service other than at their local church. For all practical purposes, this was their first public appearance as worship leaders… WOW!

It’s surprising what you can learn about a person just by asking 3 simple questions. I’ve known 5 of these kids since they were born, and all are members at my church, New Covenant Outreach Ministries. Related by blood and one by marriage, The Group is not your typical group, and their answers are very uncharacteristic of what you see in the media from the ‘typical’ youth of today.

Q1: How did The Group come together? Combining 5 minutes of conversation in response to this question, it can be summarized like this:

A: We could easily and appropriately say that we are together because God said so. A lot of things happened to get us to realize that God picked each one of us to be here. Our individual journeys with music and worship were for the most part separate. We grew up in the same church, but never worked together unless it was under the watchful eye of the Pastor’s wife during a holiday program. God took the time to reveal his plan in ways that were unique to each of his little children. In retrospect, it is such a blessing to be known by such a loving and careful God, who really does order our steps for his perfect purposes. We were off doing our own things—one of us too pregnant, another too scared to sing outside of her head, some too busy navigating the trials of marriage, others too focused on everything God had to say other than music—yet God brought each of us face-to-face with his plan. If anything our union is a testimony that you are never “too” anything for God to hit the master reset in order to give you a new purpose!

Q2. What would you like for the world to know about The Group?

A: We exist to cultivate the heart of worship and have a heart for God’s people. We are actually all related and like each other.

Q3. Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

A: Thank you, readers for reading and jumping in to a story that is being laid out before our very eyes. We are just a group of young people trying to do what God called us to do, and we want to share this burden with you—so please pray! Pray first that we are able to grow together under God’s direction and headship so that we can reach the goals he has set before us. Secondly, pray that we have the faith to believe for his provision. We have very practical individual and group needs in order to keep moving forward in this journey. So please join us in petitioning—better yet, bombarding heaven so that those needs are met, and that we are able to do what God called us to do to the best of our ability. Not only will that improve the music God gives us to create, it will be a bold testimony to each and every person we stand before. It’s not always easy. In a worldly sense we are young and trying to get started. We get scared and nervous. We also need instruments so if you feel led to bless us to continue to bless God’s people, don’t hesitate to be part of this harvest. Please consider donating to help us reach the young (and not so young) through our music as ambassadors of His presence.

THE GROUP (from left to right) Anthony Ward, LaMonte Gray, Stephen J. Starks, Nikki Starks, Liz Hunter, Baby Areah, and Ariana Ward.

If you would like to make a donation to help The Group move forward in their ministry, you can do so through my Paypal by clicking here.  I assure you that 100% of the donations will go directly to The Group.

I’m pretty sure the parents of these “kids” are thankful to be able to answer the question, “Do you know where your children are?” with an affirmative, “YES, they are working in the spirit of excellency in the ministry the Lord called them to do.” After all, this is The Group… Created by God.


BONUS AUDIO – Songs (Breakthrough and Weary Soul) composed, produced, and performed by The Group!