Q&A with Alumni James Wafford
Tell us a little bit of your CAC story.
I started attending CAC in the 7th grade and graduated in 2000. When I was in school I played a lot of sports – football, basketball, track – you name it. Outside of school I spent a ton of my time playing music. Senior year I was the Student Council President, which was really fun.
That year the school decided to do pre-recorded videos of the speeches, and that was the first time everyone at school realized that I played music, because I created a little music video for my speech.
Now, I have a six-year old son and a three-year-old daughter at the North Little Rock campus. There’s a certain sense of home and comfort here that we love.
After you graduated from CAC, you attended UALR and received your degree in business. How did music become your profession?
I thought I was going the business route, but God wanted me to go a whole different route.
I finished my degree and took the test to allow me to go get my Master’s, and missed it by six points. I took the test for Real Estate school and missed it by two points. I just started asking God, “What’s going on?”
I was pretty down in the dumps about not passing the test, and I was walking with my sister on campus. She asked if I had ever thought about getting a music degree, and at that moment we happened to be right by the music building. She convinced me to go in. I met the choral director, he auditioned me on the spot and I joined the program. I knew I needed to perfect my craft, and that experience was exactly what I needed for my future job.
You spent 12 years as the Worship Pastor at Mosaic Church here in Little Rock. What did that experience teach you?
I learned a lot about intentionality and the heart of God. I felt like I was a sponge, just soaking up everything I could. I got to see and learn about the manifold wisdom of God first hand through 35 nationalities in a multi-ethnic group of people, and it was an incredible experience.
What other music-focused things have you done in the past years?
I’ve been part of operas and worked with the Arkansas Symphony, among other things.
I was part of the Gospel Music Workshop of America Central Arkansas Chapter for seven years. Several different major gospel artists came out of that organization, and it was cool to experience that culture. A couple of years later I went to Chicago for a worship conference with the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and I realized we were all singing about the same God, even though our cultures sometimes separated us.
How did CAC help prepare you for what you do now?
The CAC experience allowed me to get into a culture. I wasn’t just sitting on the outside looking in, I was fully in the culture, building relationships and paying attention to it. My time here taught me a lot about myself and how to connect with people on many levels.
The heart and openness at CAC were huge for me. The genuine heart of God that I experienced shaped me into the man I am today. CAC taught me how to balance myself and not get too caught up in a bubble of just one way of thinking.
What’s in the works for you now?
I resigned from Mosaic last May. My wife and I both knew God was transitioning me out of the position, even though we weren’t sure where He was leading us. I’m now an Associate Worship Pastor at New Life Church and I’m in the beginning stages of learning the ideology of the church and traveling around to the different campuses.