Back in the days when she was a shy and introspective child, Merryll Loy enjoyed just blending in with the congregation in the sanctuary at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus, content to soak up worship songs and sermons at Saturday evening services—and to occasionally think about the supper that would follow.
Cozy in the warmth of her close-knit family, Loy spent her early years storing up memories out of the spotlight: singing and writing songs, playing on her uncle’s farm, swimming, camping and “dancing around to Fleetwood Mac on some old Bose speakers” with her three sisters.
Now 24 years old and a worship associate at Southeast, Loy still finds it easier to be in the background, but she sees that God has always been coaxing her to go boldly into the ministry work that is tailor-made for her abilities.
Throughout her growing-up years, Loy volunteered in the Children’s Ministry. After attending the University of Louisville, she graduated from Ozark Christian College in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies.
“Along the way, Southeast’s College-Age Ministry taught me so much about Jesus’ life,” she said. “I’m not sure if (Pastor) Justin Weece realizes this, but his sermons played a huge role in my not looking back.”
Loy’s enduring dream of becoming a singer/songwriter changed during the summer of 2016, when her involvement at Southeast led her to want know Jesus more deeply.
“All the while I was serving during my childhood, I do think I loved God—but it wasn’t until I was faced with some hard decisions that I truly jumped in fully with Jesus and my relationship with Him began,” she said. “I had some dreams, and some relationships, that were very worldly. If Jesus is real, then my life needed to look completely different. God has been so gracious to me in that process. I remember thinking: If He is real, this will cost me my life. If He isn’t, then this will all be a waste.
“Right then, following Jesus cost me something, and it was scary, because I had doubts,” she admitted. “In that pain, doubt and fear, Jesus revealed Himself in the realest way—so real that I turned away from it all and stepped through the doors God was opening in ministry. I lost nothing and gained everything.”
Looking back, Loy began to realize that the Holy Spirit had been using sermon after sermon to help prepare her for that specific season in her life.
“I’m so thankful for Bob Russell, Dave Stone and Kyle Idleman because they’ve helped me see and understand the Kingdom of God,” she said. “I’ve listened to them preach the Word of God almost every weekend since I was born. All those years, the truth was being spoken over me and was living in me, whether or not I obeyed it. Since then, He’s been redeeming everything.”
Today, as a worship associate, Loy sings during worship services and helps many Southeast church groups prepare their worship services and special projects throughout the year.
She is grateful that God has “redeemed the purpose” of her musical aspirations by enabling her to compose such tunes as “Letting Go” on Awaken Worship’s “Won’t Stay Silent” album.
She has a front-row seat for witnessing the power of the Resurrection in people’s lives. She hears stories of God at work and sees people doing what they were made to do—worship the Creator.
“I get to partner with the Holy Spirit to help push back darkness so that people can hear from God, see Him for who He is, and see who they really are,” she said. “Most days, I cannot believe this is my life. While it can be hard, I’m so thankful that I get to do this.”
Loy hopes that her work compels others to want to know Jesus more deeply, fortified by a specific hope for anything they’re facing.
As she journeys through her current season of personal growth, she keeps Habakkuk 3:19 in her heart: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
“I feel the Lord reconstructing everything I ever thought about Him, myself and others,” she explained. “He is showing me the places in my life where I fear, and replacing it with a new faith that’s going to change everything. I’ll be able to walk down into the valley and back up again with Him, and with more steadiness. He will continue to refine me and show me that He is truly with me. I’m going to walk out of this time of my life with a deeper faith, and I’ll never be the same.”