Pastor Justin Unger
| More information here
Meet Pastor Justin Unger
Born in Phoenix, Arizona on February 4, 1982, Justin was the middle child of three boys.
mom and dad were Christians, and Justin
accepted Christ when he
was just a small boy.
Larry was the pastor of Northwest Community Church in Phoenix and had a huge impact on Justin.
In fact, as Justin
began writing songs as a freshman in high school, his
grandpa supplied the lyrics.
Their song writing drew them closer together.
Even so, Justin
didn't make a firm decision to serve Christ until a year later.
"Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I really didn't make it mine until my sophomore year of high school," says Justin
"High school brought me to a point of brokenness and truth."
faced major persecution for taking a stand for Christ about that time, and went to his
grandfather for advice and help.
It was then that Justin
grandfather read John 15:18: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." Justin remembers that evening as a turning point for him.
"I rededicated my life to the Lord and decided to stop living selfishly and understand my identity in Christ."
It was when he
was 17 that someone in his
church donated money for Justin
to go to a contest in Colorado for aspiring Christian musicians.
The Estes Park Christian Music Contest had 576 aspiring entrants that year.
But for Justin
, it was just a blessing to go.
"I had just finished my junior year and was planning to be a meteorologist," says Justin
"I was even checking out colleges (to pursue this career)."
intention wasn't to compete.
just wanted to take a seminar.
But when extra money showed up in his
scholarship fund, he
decided to go ahead and compete.
In the end, Justin
won 1st place out of all 576 applicants.
"I went home and had phone calls on the answering machine from record labels- already waiting.
One of the record labels flew me and my parents out to Nashville in November, and a few months later I packed up and moved to Nashville," Justin
A year passed as he
worked with label executives.
They held on-going auditions to find a voice that matched Justin's
After a full year of auditions, they had still found no one.
"No one's voice matched mine.
It was really weird," Justin comments.
"Then one day we got a press kit of this dude in the mail.
name was Ben.
After lots of prayer and meetings, Ben and Justin
became the duo: "Across the Sky".
After signing a deal in January of 2003, the band toured all through North and South America for almost 3 years. "We toured with Avalon, Mark Shultz, and more," says Justin
After 3 years of what Justin refers to as "Across the Sky University", the band broke up.
Justin comments, "I learned what it takes to be a minister of God's word through music in a Christian industry that is 90% secular.
When it comes to the business side of things and how it works at the record labels, it's all about how to make money."
felt let down by the whole experience.
time with Across the Sky, Justin
made a move that unbelievably almost cost him his
career on the spot: He
wife, Falon, was also at the contest in Estes Park, and Justin
was taken with her
the minute he
After a long-distance dating relationship, the couple married on December 6, 2003.
Now living in Franklin, Tennessee (suburb of Nashville) and in between jobs, Justin
started getting offers.
Among the high-profile offers (such as being a lead singer with the band "NewSong" or moving forward with a solo career), a church in Prescott Arizona called Justin and asked him to consider coming on staff as co-worship leader.
"Across the Sky had been to The Heights
to do a concert in November of 2004 for the grand opening of the new building," says Justin
"I remember it being a really refreshing concert."
wasn't prepared to leave beautiful Franklin.
got a call from The Heights
asking him to pray about moving his
family to Prescott and be part of the music team, Justin
says, "I thought, 'No!
I could never leave Franklin- I love it here.'"
and Falon prayed about it anyway.
Justin laughs, "Weird things happen when you pray.
You get answers."
Because the offers for performing jobs involved 200 shows a year and being away from his
wife and baby son, Justin
began to seriously consider coming on staff at The Heights
After visiting in November of 2005, Falon and Justin
both left feeling completely at home.
A feeling Justin
describes as "just something that God wanted us to do."
came on staff officially as co-worship leader on February 1, 2006.
and Falon are raising their 3 children: 3 year old Carson, 2 year old Ethnie 1 year old Nolan.
Justin's solo album, "Disengage" is played on radio stations across the country as well as being sold in stores all over America.
presently recording his
latest album: Intimate Moments.