Killeen, Texas is a unique city as it is a military town that brings military personnel and civilians. It was especially the case for Donovan Jones, a 21 year old from New Jersey who moved to Killeen in October 2020. Donovan said he believed it was God’s choice for him to come to Texas where he became the Assistant Worship Director at Destiny World Outreach Center (Destiny WOC).
It was a huge culture shock for him, especially coming from an environment that was predominantly African American to an environment that is multi-cultural. He grew up in Newark, NJ and lived in Sicklerville, NJ for four years.
Donovan has played music almost all of his life. He plays the drums, piano, guitar, and xylophone. He has been a drummer since he was seven, and became a full time drummer at his local church when he was 11 years old. While he was developing his skills on the drums, he was developing his skills in singing. He sang with a group called Special Ensemble— a group of young people who sang various genres of music and toured the United States to sing at different events. This included singing at the New Jersey Nets games, opening up for Tye Tribbett and Donnie McClurkin, performing twice and winning the McDonald’s Gospel Fest in New York once, and touring the east coast with a gospel play, singing the National Anthem at the Madison Square Garden, and singing the National Anthem for the New York Knicks.
During this time, Donovan developed in leadership, vocal capabilities, social skills, and his personal relationship with God. After the group disbanded, he became a praise and worship leader at his local church. He has been a worship leader since he was 15 years old.
Connecting the Dots
He received his pastoral ministries degree from Nyla College, while minoring in Biblical Studies. Donovan became one of the adjunct worship leaders at the college. Launching his own ministry called, Donovan Jones Ministries where he began to sing in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, and, and Connecticut. During his freshman year, he connected with a church in Trenton, New Jersey where he served as worship leader for two years. After he resigned from the church, he started to conduct virtual worship sessions via live stream. This was in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. From September 2019 to January 2020, he had 96 engagements. Soon, he was contacted by three churches to serve as a worship leader, one of which was Destiny WOC.
The church in Trenton, New Jersey, matured him in serving and learning how to bring people into the presence of God. However, he said “The one thing I missed out on was knowing community in the presence of God. I did not understand what it meant to be a part of a church family.”
Home Sweet Home
After being contacted by Destiny WOC, he was given the opportunity to sing at the church and see the church in action for a week. “When I came for that week, I literally felt like this was my home…I really felt like these people loved me for who I am, not just for my gift, not for bringing them into the presence of God, but because of who Donovan Jones is.”
In churches, Donovan explained there needs to be a balance between the focus on ushering in the presence of God and the focus on fostering community. “God tells us to take communion, and the root of communion is commune—to be together.” He believes that God has put me in this place to experience a love that I never felt before through the community that is fostered by Destiny WOC.
In the months he has been worshipping with Destiny WOC, he has seen how the church impacts the community with its food pantry, evangelism, and church services.
He worships from a posture of surrender, from a mindset of gratefulness, and from a heart of thanks and praise.
“Worship is what I was called and made to do.”
Worship Is Real
He added that worship “is not just a ‘follow me” or a ‘follow me as I follow Christ”. But it’s a ‘watch me and you respond.’” He considers that as being a lead worshipper. “I worship, and then you respond. I start first, and then you go,” he said.
“Worship is not a song, pad or piano. To me, (worship is) when God just moves, when God gets the glory out of it. “Worship is (in) the actual church service. (Even so,) worship is a lifestyle. Anything I do, it is worship when God gets the glory…it’s an honor to worship.”
The worshippers he looks up to are Pat Barrett, Bethel Worship, and Amante Lacey. A vocalist he looks up to is Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Jeremy Riddle inspired him to play the guitar.
Projects of Love
In 2017, he released his single called “First In My Sight.” In March, he will be releasing a content video on YouTube called “Grace, Love, Joy, Jesus”. It’s a live recording he did in August 2019 regarding the grace and love of Jesus, the joy of having Jesus, and Jesus himself.
On Good Friday, he will release a video of a song called “Sacrifice” regarding Jesus being the sacrifice.
Donovan encourages worship leaders to be consistent in your private time. “Your private time shows on the stage and at the church. If you spend more time in the presence of God, then you can go deeper. Worship is not just giving; it’s also receiving.”
You can contact Donovan Jones at:
FB: Donovan Jones
YT: Donovan Jones Ministries