Tyler Roberts was only a teenager when his father, after being diagnosed with oral cancer, took his own life.
This kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to them. His family was active in church; his father even played drums there.
In the weeks that followed, Roberts locked himself in his bedroom for hours every day. He put on a purple and pink Hillsong Worship CD with Darlene Zschech on the front, grabbed his guitar and began teaching himself to play.
That’s when he realized it wasn’t the music itself that was healing him. Rather, it was the presence of God.
“My room was probably the only light in the whole house,” Roberts said. “If you walked outside of my room, it was chaos, confusion and darkness. I credited the light all to God.”
Roberts, 34, now serves as a worship leader at Red Rocks Church in Denver and plays acoustic guitar for Red Rocks Worship, the music ministry at the church. Red Rocks has penned many songs that have become staples in the contemporary Christian music scene. And this Friday, West Orange residents will be able to see Red Rocks live at Kingdom Culture, 12201 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden.
The concert is in support of Red Rocks’ 2023 release, “Ascend.”
“I’m involved with church music, yes, but it’s not the music; it’s about the way I connect with God,” Roberts said. “We believe every one of these songs can be an anchor for people wherever they are and so that’s the why. We go out and do ministry. We want to be a refreshing spirit to maybe those that are a little tired and weary. Just trying to point people back to Jesus.”
MAKING HEAVEN MORE CROWDED
Red Rocks Worship’s Winter Garden performance kicks off its “Ascend” tour.
“We’re thankful to be a part of anything that lifts up the name of Jesus,” Jon Rearden, serve team pastor at Kingdom Culture, said. “As a church, we were portable for so long that when God gave us a permanent facility, we committed to using it for His glory. When Red Rocks approached us about coming to Winter Garden, we considered it an honor to have them use this facility, and pray that it will be a great night in our city.”
Red Rocks Church, a multi-campus congregation based in Colorado, was founded in 2005. It is one of the fastest-growing congregations in the country.
The church houses nine locations, including Colorado, Texas and Belgium. The campuses also include three God Behind Bars locations, where the weekend messages and worship experience are streamed into the church’s partnering prisons.
Originally from southern Indiana, Roberts and his wife moved to Denver 12 years ago so he could take the position of associate worship leader at the church.
Although the church started with one campus, the organization rapidly expanded and hired new worship leaders at each location.
Roberts said the locations were having trouble coming together as one church with one sound. That’s when he decided to gather all Red Rocks worship leaders together every Friday for prayer and songwriting.
“It’s kind of funny now that Red Rocks Worship, the brand, the label, the movement, was really born out of us just trying to figure out how to get along and how to come together and unify on songs for our church,” he said.
No matter the song, no matter the medium, the group’s goal is simple: It wants everyone to know the only way, the truth and the life found in Jesus.
“Fill This Place” was the first song the group wrote as a team that they all fell in love with and that worked at the church locations.
As part of an online and TV special program called “Holiday Hangover,” put together for the Sunday after Christmas so nobody had to come in, the group used a couple of songs from the church.
After one of the worship leaders suggested putting the music on iTunes, Red Rocks Worship rose to No. 1 on all the Christian Gospel iTunes charts for its “The Rooftop EP.”
Shortly after, Sony Music Entertainment’s Provident Label Group called and asked to meet with the group. Red Rocks Worship signed with the label in 2017.
The group released recently its fourth big album with the label called “Ascend.”
This year’s tour will start in Orlando before heading to Gainesville and Miami. The tour will take a short break before continuing on to Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
The Red Rocks Worship travel team includes Roberts; Kory Miller, worship leader; Jes Parsons, worship leader; Jessi Robertson, worship leader; Matt McKenzie, drums; Zach Hartgraves, bass; John Meding, electric guitar; and Scott Miller, keys.
While the moment of performing on stage is fleeting, Roberts hopes instead to be a voice God can use to get people through the hardest times of their lives. In fact, it was only a few years ago when Roberts himself was going through a crisis, and he even though about leaving ministry.
But, he said God reminded him of those days in his teenage bedroom, guitar in hand.
“I really felt like God told me, ‘Hey, do you remember that CD and how in the darkest time of your life those songs got you through? Go be that for someone else.’” Roberts said. “The title of the album was called ‘Blessed.’ For me, my why is because I believe in the Lord. I believe that Jesus is the one and only Savior. I have experienced Him. I have seen things that I can’t unsee, and I can’t go back from that. I just can’t. I’m all in.”
Roberts said what Winter Garden residents can expect is simple: church.
“We’re going to have church,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, it doesn’t matter what you did five minutes ago, it doesn’t matter what you were planning to do tomorrow, it doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from. We’re going to lift up one name, and that is the name of Jesus.”