An Unexpected Calling: John Volez of Westwinds Church

Photo via John Volez's Twitter account.

Photo via John Volez’s Twitter account.

Once a month, the communications department of Spring Arbor University (SAU) hosts a convention for its majors around key communication topics, often referred to as “Com Con.” The keynote speaker for the October Com Con was John Volez, pastor at Westwinds Church. Volez and his wife have been married 27 years and have three kids. He and his family moved here from California. He has always enjoyed public speaking and playing music in front of a crowd, but becoming a pastor was something he had not considered.

“I didn’t really know I was going to lead something until people started asking me ‘Have you considered this? You should pursue this.’ I started listening to them and thought it was something I could do,” said Volez.

Volez has had many musical and speaking engagements in the Jackson area. He is also an author, and has published several books with Abington Press the last couple of years. His most recent book, called “Quirky Leadership: Permission Granted,” was published last year. In his words, it is a “non-leader leadership book.”

“Really, what I want to do is empower people to lead in the place that they’re planted and lead in the way God has made them with their personality and quirks, as opposed to aspiring to be some kind of leader that they’ll never really be,” said Volez.

Volez leads a festival in Jackson called Folklore and an event with public schools called iCreate. iCreate hosts poetry writing contests within local schools. The teachers pick the winning poems, which are then given to Volez and other musicians and songwriters who turn them into songs.

“We get all the schools together and play the songs at the Michigan Theatre. We give away over $10,000 in guitars, guitar lessons, and art scholarships,” said Volez.

His biggest goal for Westwinds for the next ten years is for the church to have a face in the community and, most importantly, for Jesus to have a face in the community.

“I want everybody in the town to know who Westwinds is, what Westwinds is doing, and really by proxy, know what Jesus is doing and how he’s changing lives,” said Volez.

A young girl's poetry is honored in iCreate Poetry program, a celebration Volez helped found.

A young girl’s poetry is honored in iCreate Poetry program, a celebration Volez helped found. Photo via Mlive.com

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