Grace can be a tough word to get your hands around. But that's the word that comes up time and time again in the life and ministry of Steve Green. It's the pillar of his personal relationship with Christ, it's evident in his 20 years of music ministry, and it's a mainstay of his family relationships.
The son of missionary parents, Steve was raised in South America. "My initial recognition of need for Christ was at age 8 while attending a boarding school in Argentina. On a Sunday afternoon, I knelt by my bed and prayed, trusting Jesus as my Saviour. However, it wasn't until I was 26 that I understood the Gospel of salvation by faith alone, in Christ alone."
Steve admits that he spent 10 years - from the time he was 16 until he was 26 - saying no to God. Growing resentful of his parents' commitment to the Lord, he wanted just enough of God to go to heaven. According to Steve, "I just wanted to live how I wanted to live, do what I wanted to do. Those were my most difficult years - years of wandering and disobedience. I still tremble to think of how far I strayed from the Lord."
He is quick to point to God's grace as what has brought him from that place to where he is today. And that's simply to a place where he is hungering for more of Christ. "I want to grow in grace, in love, and in knowledge of my Lord. I want growth in holiness, having a heart that is more and more aligned with God's."
As Steve celebrates 20th year in the Christian music industry, he fondly remembers his fledgling beginning in 1984 when he established Steve Green Ministries.
"I remember making my first recording in order to have material for a live concert," Steve reminisces. "My specific calling, as I understood it, was to communicate through music the theme of spiritual awakening - the turning of hearts back to the Lord."
And that's precisely the legacy he's created for almost two decades. "I am deeply grateful for God's preserving grace to continue in what He has called me to do. The journey thus far has been remarkable. But a 20th anniversary sounds like something others have, not me. It just doesn't feel like it's been that long," says Steve.
Throughout his years of ministry, Steve's music has been honored with four Grammy nominations, 13 No. 1 songs, and six Dove Awards, Christian music's highest honour. With 23 recordings to his credit, including children's projects and Spanish-language albums, Green has sold over three million albums worldwide.
"I've been doing this for a long time now. With each passing year, I'm asking God and myself these questions: 'Is this the place where I can most effectively glorify Him? Can what I do be explained simply by natural means or is there the evidence of God's presence and power? Am I still approaching every event as if it were my last chance to communicate God's truth?" Steve confesses that he still feels a joyful responsibility and strong urgency to share the gospel, encourage believers in their faith, and invite others to God's gracious gift of salvation.
Though he feels called and privileged to share Christ's love through his music ministry, Steve's first ministry is to his family. Married for 26 years, he and his wife, Marijean, have an expanding family - 23 year-old Summer Green Schulz (husband Mark) and 19 year-old Josiah.
"My primary responsibility," says Steve "is to my family - to keep learning how to love my wife well and support my children. Marijean and I have entered into a new phase of life. We are officially 'empty-nesters'. Our roles change a bit but our responsibility to encourage and influence goes on."
And the Green family doesn't stop there. "Nine years ago my parents moved next door, due to my Dad's deteriorating health difficulties associated with Parkinson's," says Steve. "Dad went to be with the Lord in March of '04 and while my Mom has had her share of physical difficulties, she is a fantastic neighbour, praying for us while she walks every morning, and demonstrating a faith-filled life."
"All my life, my missionary parents have spoken of the disproportionate blessings they received. I, too, can say the same. God has blessed me with a soul mate and companion to share my life with, a great ministry team, dear friends around the country, gracious times of refreshing, and sufficient trials to keep me aware of my desperate dependence upon God."
While Steve has completed his 20th year of ministry, his heart still hungers for more. "We live at such a strategic time in history, with so many opportunities for ministry," says Steve. "I am striving to study and learn and prepare for whatever the future holds. If God allows, I plan to keep recording, touring, and telling everyone who will listen about the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ."
As Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." It is from the wellspring of grace that has flooded his heart, that Steve Green lives his life.