Hands stretched into the air, tears fell from eyes and music thundered in the lobby as scores of people crowded inside Movement Mortgage’s headquarters Friday for a night of praise and worship.
A band of Movement team members took the stage, belting melodies that evoked God’s presence and urged the people to lose themselves in worship. They sang. They played guitar. They beat drums. And they prayed.
The audience, which numbered at nearly 250 responded in kind, living out the company’s core pillar of putting God first. As the crowd moved to the rhythm of the beats, they uttered praises to God. They clapped. They praised the Lord with raised hands. They shouted. They jumped.
For the next two hours, it continued: Movement team members filled the lobby of the National Sales Support Center in Fort Mill, South Carolina, bringing with them friends and family and babies and neighbors.
From the stage, leading the band with his raspy and soulful pitch, Movement concierge Drew Jordan admitted the scene Friday was far beyond what he envisioned four months ago when the idea for a worship service at Movement struck him.
Jordan’s hope was “to create an atmosphere of freedom where people can encounter God,” he said the day before.
The National Sales Support Center became a makeshift sanctuary with chairs that lined together like pews. A stage stood at the front with a projector displaying the words to worship songs. The lights were off, allowing lamps to give ambiance to a prayer corner cordoned with black drapes.
As the service began, Chief Talent Officer Chris Allen greeted the crowd, and issued a challenge.
“I dare you tonight to dance and to worship in a powerful way,” he said. “Tonight, we just want to lift up the name of the Lord. I dare you to lift up your hands.”
Siobhan Saulsbury did. She’s a Movement processor who comes from a banking background. None of her past jobs ever hosted a praise and worship night for employees. Movement doing it, she says, is “invaluable…something you can’t even calculate.”
Chris Barnes, a recruiter in the company’s Talent division, drove straight to Movement from the airport after a recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee. When he arrived, he says, he was mesmerized to find the cafe and lobby so transformed.
“It’s great to be a part of a company that allows this…that encourages this,” he said once worship ended. “It’s unfathomable.”
‘Do not be afraid’
Unfathomable? Maybe. But not improbable when the company lists God as its first priority, and whose president never shies away from sharing his faith.
CEO Casey Crawford put his beliefs on full display Friday when he took to the stage mid-service and gave God glory for His divine timing — the worship night had been canceled twice before it was rescheduled for Nov. 11.
“That God, He has better timing than we do,” Crawford said.
Referring to the contentious election season that saw Donald Trump declared president, Crawford said the stage was set for Friday’s worshipers to gather together and embrace God’s presence — bridging race, class, politics and whatever else divides the nation.
“Do not be afraid,” he bellowed four times. “Claim the promises (God) has for us in His name. When we are singing words (to songs), we’re speaking mantras of truth of how good He is. Let yourself be wrapped up in His love, be carried in His arms.
Receive the love of your heavenly father.”
Changing the corporate culture
Jordan got the idea for worship night this past summer after Movement’s executives returned from a trip to Uganda, East Africa.
“I’ve heard people talk about…how they found some sort of community here, and that’s really what worship is to me,” he said. “It’s just a community coming together to acknowledge their common ground, which is Jesus.”
He ran the idea by Allen, who for a long time had been in talks with Crawford about hosting a Movement worship night. “(Chris) literally looked at me and said, ‘Make it happen,’” Jordan recalled.
For the next few months, Jordan coordinated rehearsals with nine Movement team members who would make up the worship band. He created a setlist of songs and used his network to ensure a hulking stage made it to Movement HQ before Friday.
But Jordan admits that he’s a vision person, not a details person. To fill the gap, he leaned on his good friend, processor Christina Gregor, who corralled a small army of volunteers to help turn the entryway of a mortgage company into a space where hundreds celebrated their faith.
Jordan hopes Friday’s worship night will be the first of many. As he spread word about the event, some of his friends were incredulous, asking if his company was really letting employees do this.
Jordan’s answer: “No, they’re not letting us do it, they’re empowering us to do it; they’re not letting us do it, they’re backing it and pushing for it and promoting it,” he says. “We’re changing the corporate culture with this.”