As a 10th-grader leading music for his church youth group in Acworth, Ga., Zach Norman realized worship music was his calling.
Norman, now 22, has played the drums since he was in elementary school. He had been a part of the music at youth group before, but it had always felt more like a chore.
"I dragged my feet at practice," he said. "I just wanted to play drums, but I didn't want to do it at church."
Norman's life changed one summer at church camp. His parents were divorcing, prompting a move across town, and he was about to start the year at a new school. Feeling fragile and lost, he made the decision to follow Jesus and returned to his weekly youth group with a new passion for his faith.
"I had this experience where I connected to worship on an indescribable level," Norman said. "Everything I was singing was hitting me. It all made sense, and God made sense."
When he led worship for the first time as a changed person, he looked out at his peers and saw many of them with their eyes closed, their hands raised, their arms open. Some had smiles on their faces, others were moved to tears.
"I think it was because they were no longer looking at someone who's just singing because they have to," Norman said.
Norman went on to study at Liberty University in Lynchberg, Va., where he was part of the worship band Seventy-One that toured the country. The Atlanta-based musician will hold a concert at 3:30 p.m. April 13 during the Arts Alive Creative Arts Show at LowCountry Community Church in Bluffton.
Norman writes many of the songs he performs, and he says his music is influenced by Christian bands, such as Jesus Culture and Passion.
"I'm an individual. God has made me to be Zach Norman and no one else, so I've embraced that in the way that I write music," Norman said.
One of those goals is to sing about Christian beliefs in a new, fresh way.
"In worship music, there's a thing we always need to sing because we always need to remember -- like God's love, his faithfulness, the cross and our identity in Jesus -- but we don't want to always be recycling the same things that we've sung before," Norman said. "We want to capture the power of that same truth that everyone sings about in a different way."
Married to his high school sweetheart, Norman is a full-time worship leader, who travels across the region to perform at various events, including camps, retreats, convocations and church services. They are members at Passion City Church, which hosts the annual Passion conference.
Follow reporter Laura Oberle at twitter.com/IPBG_Laura.