As a small child, Josh sat on the edge of a church pew dangling his legs. His mother sang and great-grandfather played guitar on stage as Josh plucked the strings of his ukulele from the front row. Wide-eyed, he looked back toward the congregation. Their hands were lifted high and their voices clattered as they sang the goodness of God. He was only five, but Josh could feel the Lord in a special way.
Moments like these—moments of complete surrender— would resonate with him when he became a missionary kid in a French-speaking world.
“Worship allows you to connect with God in a way that is different from any other," Aldrich said.
Now almost 26, Aldrich is returning as an appointed Mission America Placement Services (MAPS) missionary. He will be a music director with Horizon Music, a traveling worship team based out of Paris. Horizon Music is a branch of ministry from Eglise Horizon church as they believe for moral, social and spiritual revolution across Europe.
With a population of over 60 million, France is the largest country in Western Europe. But, according to Operation World, only one percent of the country’s inhabitants are Pentecostal. Half of the country claims to be Roman Catholic. However, Aldrich said that most of the French people do not understand what it means to be born-again believers with a personal relationship with the Lord and do not regularly attend church services.
Meanwhile, France faces high unemployment, especially among the nation’s youth. According to FocusEconomics, France has twice the unemployment rate of the United States with over 10 percent of the nation being jobless.
“France is so lost and there is not a lot of hope,” Aldrich said. “France has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe and a lot of young people don’t have jobs. It’s also very dark spiritually and a very large number are involved in the occult.” According to New York Times, the French professional clairvoyance organization, Institut National des Art Divinatoire says 100,000 men and women are practicing clairvoyants in France today—four times the number of Roman Catholic priests. INAD estimates that about €3.2 billion are spent annually on their advice.
As a ministry rooted in the same mission and values of its church, Horizon Music travels to French-speaking countries to create a worship atmosphere that challenges young people to go after God and reach their cities with the gospel. Besides traveling, the band has also produced a live worship album and its worship leaders have opened for notable artists like Jesus Culture and Martin Smith. As they continue to grow and impact the French-speaking world, the goal of Horizon Music remains the same: “the presence of God is what we want, to grow closer to him daily, be led by the Holy Spirit, and through worshiping God create an atmosphere that lives and hearts are transformed and chains are broken.”
Josh plays lead guitar, writes songs, arranges and provides talkback during live worship.
“I have never been on a worship team where I could write songs with them and feel the Holy Spirit guiding us throughout the whole process," Aldrich said.
The process leading up to his involvement in Horizon Music started during a youth camp in France in 2006. At 15 years old, Aldrich felt that God would call him to write music with his best friend, Jeremy Giordano, in the future.
In the fall of 2013, that opportunity finally came when he received a call from his friend. Jeremy was a worship leader and music director at the Eglise Horizon church and asked Aldrich if he would be open to coming back to France to help write songs for the church’s new live worship album.
The rest is history. Josh arrived in January of 2014 as an intern through the help of SAGU’s Intercultural Studies department. Soon thereafter, Horizon Music recorded their new album, Declaration, with the help of Josh as a songwriter, arranger, and lead guitarist.
Since the album’s release, Josh has traveled with the band leading worship for some of the biggest worship conferences in France and French-speaking Europe.
After completing his internship, Josh knew that the Eglise Horizon church was where God was calling him. After graduating from SAGU, he began raising funds as a MAPS missionary to go overseas. In the spring of 2016, Josh went to work with his parents at Continental Theological Seminary in Belgium and Eglise Horizon on weekends. After coming back to raise support, Josh met his goal in November of 2016 and is now serving an 11-month term with Eglise Horizon in France.
Josh said that one passage that has always stuck out to him as a musician is 1 Samuel 16:23. “...David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.” (NIV)
“I think there’s a really powerful aspect of anointed worship that allows you to worship the Creator with all your heart and you can just let the Holy Spirit change you. I know this is where God wants me to be,” Josh said.
Horizon Music is writing their second worship album. After they complete recording, they will tour Europe, including Belgium, Switzerland and parts of France.