When Travis Cottrell was growing up in Boone, North Carolina, he did what most kids do: he launched game-winning three-pointers in his driveway basketball goal. He found animals in the clouds and wondered what it would be like to pilot a plane straight through them. He stood in his front yard and air-directed the marching band. And at one point, when he was seven, he even thought about being a NASCAR driver.
But by the time Travis was a teenager – his love for music firmly established – the Lord made His calling on Travis’ life very clear. Travis surrendered to ministry, and he’s known the joy of serving the Lord and leading His people in worship since he graduated from Belmont University in 1992. What has happened in the years since is something Travis will never get over. It’s been a crazy, wild, wonderful adventure, proof positive that when Paul says God “is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine,” well, he’s not kidding. Travis and his family have learned that lesson firsthand.
Over the years Travis has sung with singers who are way cooler than he is. He’s written and arranged projects for choirs and praise teams and felt nothing short of astonished by the opportunities he’s had to work with creative, inspiring people who are way cooler than he is (I mean, Max Lucado? Amy Grant? Cindy Morgan? Come on. That’s dream-come-true stuff right there). He’s even gotten to perform and record in places that are way cooler than he is, with Carnegie Hall and Abbey Road at the top of his you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me list.
For the last fifteen years Travis has served as worship leader at Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live conferences. He and his team have been grateful to minister with Mrs. Moore in all 50 states and in several other countries as well. Travis also served with Mrs. Moore when she was national spokesperson for the National Day of Prayer in 2009. He’s produced several albums for Living Proof and counts his involvement with Mrs. Moore’s ministry as one of the greatest joys of his life. Sometimes they’re like Billy and George Beverly; sometimes they’re like Ellie Mae and Jethro; but no matter the event or season, they pray that they’re always joyful, surrendered, and chasing the move of the Spirit wherever the Lord takes them in ministry.
In addition to his writing, arranging, leading and singing, Travis has managed to carve out time to record several solo projects, including Found, Ring the Bells the Dove award-winning Jesus Saves Live (his second Dove award, and one of his sixteen nominations) and When the Stars Burn Down, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Praise and Worship charts. He released his first book, Surprised By Worship: Discovering the Presence of God Where You Least Expect It (Zondervan) in the fall of 2010. He’s hoping to nap sometime in 2014 and is working to get that on the calendar.
Travis’ most recent honor came from his alma mater, Belmont University, who awarded him the 2013 Encore Award – an award given to a School of Music alum for achieving excellence in the field of classical music. This award is given to only one alumnus each year. This was a recognition Travis never saw coming, and one that he will always cherish.
Embracing the rich traditional hymns of his childhood, along with modern music of today, Travis uses a blended style of worship to help lead people from all generations and backgrounds into worship. His ministry is fueled by his desire to see this generation of the body of Christ come together for a place of unity in worship…using all of what God has ordained for His praise. And truth be told, there’s nothing that would make Travis happier than if you left an event where he led worship and couldn’t remember his name. Because more than anything, Travis longs for people to know, love and worship the Maker and Lover of our souls. That’s his passion, and ministering to God’s people is his great privilege.
Travis serves as Worship Pastor at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, TN. He and his wife, Angela, have been married for 20 years, and have 3 children – Jack, 16, Lily Kate, 13, and Levi, 10, and 1 dog – Flash, 11. His current favorite hobby is to stay busy volunteering at his kids’ school…encouraging kids at play practices, basketball games and tennis matches. When he’s not writing music or leading worship, Travis likes to dance in the kitchen with his wife, sing in the car with his kids, laugh like crazy with his friends – and marvel that God would be so gracious to use a boy from Boone to help make His name famous.
He prays he’ll never get over it.