By Brad Reynolds
Music is the fire that fuels our feet. It moves our minds and spurs our souls. It anchors us in times of turbulence. It soothes us in times of pain.
Music is the thread that binds us together, joining hearts to hearts and hands in hands.
They say that silence is golden. But music is divine.
“Music is one of the great gifts of God. I’m still amazed by the power of music, and I’m 59 years old,” says Wylie Galt Gustafson of Conrad.
If that name doesn’t ring a bell, the voice most certainly should. Wylie has enjoyed a successful country music career as the leader of Wylie & the Wild West, and he became internationally famous as the man behind the Yahoo! yodel.
Music has been Wylie’s ticket all around God’s green earth. So come Sunday, you’re likely to find him offering his gratitude up to heaven in prayer and in song. His talents make him a more than suitable worship leader at Conrad Baptist Church.
“I play pretty much every weekend, especially this year,” says Wylie, whose country music gigs are limited in the age of COVID-19. “What I’ve found is that music connects people to their faith and to God, but also to each other. People have really tried to keep some normalcy to their faith. They need to worship.”
In March 2020, Conrad Baptist closed its doors (as required) in the midst of the pandemic. But worship didn’t stop. The church took two weeks to regroup, and then began holding parking lot services, in which attendees could gather to worship safely outdoors. Not long after, limited indoor attendance was allowed with unlimited attendance through online streaming.
“We are used to being a church of fifty members,” says Wylie. “Online, we’ve had some Sundays with several thousand views.”
Wylie says it’s a blessing to provide music—faith-based or otherwise—to folks, at a time when so many have been shuttered inside.
“Music has become more important than ever as a salve for our loneliness,” he says. “For me, music has always been a refuge, especially in times of uncertainty.”
The same is true of his faith.
“Faith tells us that we can trust in the Lord, and it’s going to be okay,” he explains.
He says it’s refreshing to see people live their faith in this time. When the chips are down, we discover what’s truly important.