Jack McComas: A life of music and worship



Music and worship have been intertwined for Jack McComas since he was a teenager growing up in the Walnut Hills neighborhood. It’s fitting the pastor and co-director of Dayton SHOP: Student House of Prayer recorded his new album, “Under the Oak,” live at the downtown location on Dec. 30. It was released on May 7.

“I’m excited to release this album,” McComas said. “It’s taken a little longer than we thought to produce it. My producer, Joel Bell, works fulltime. He’s a fulltime student. Matching our schedules together was tough. You’re always hopeful you can get things done quicker than what actually happens. Now, here we are on all the major streaming platforms. I’ve had a lot of interest, a lot of people asking about the album. I appreciate everyone’s patience.”

The songs on “Under the Oak” have their origins inside SHOP, which McComas and his wife and partner, Jenn, opened in a historic building at 212 S. Ludlow St. in January 2021.

“I’m really excited to release this album because 90 percent of the songs were all birthed in these spontaneous Godly moments,” McComas said. “Musically, this main room is such a creative environment. It’s so conducive to creativity. We love music and we love it in a spontaneous moment. We love to take scripture and we love to sing it and create new things out of it spontaneously, unrehearsed. We just flow with it.

“It’s every musician’s dream and a worship leader’s nightmare,” he continued. “We don’t necessarily practice it, we just say, ‘Here’s a chord progression, let’s go for it,’ and we do. My songs had their birth in these moments. Maybe a song came or maybe just one little verse and one little chorus that I expanded on during a silent moment.”

This is the third album for McComas, who released “Anthems from the Outpost, Vol. 1″ in 2017 and “Anthems from the Outpost, Vol. 2″ in 2018.

“We believe God speaks the ancient messages of love, hope and peace through art and music and creativity,” he said. “My music is an overflow of that. The songs have all come out of this last season. COVID was hard. It’s still hard. It has created challenges for our culture we haven’t necessarily come out of yet. It has created a lot of tough questions for people.

“You can have all the experience in the world and still not be equipped to answer these questions on your own,” McComas continued. “You really need divine intervention. Music is a platform for me to sit and wrestle with some of them. These beautiful melodies come out of the scripture and that divine mixture. These anthems really help people latch on to some of life’s hard mysteries and questions.”



Origin story

McComas has been singing, playing guitar and writing songs since his grandfather got him his first acoustic guitar when he was a 15-year-old student at Dayton Christian High School.

“It’s kind of been in my blood from my grandpa,” he said. “He wrote his own songs. My uncle used to play gigs in the Oregon District. It’s something that’s been in my heart. My wife and I both graduated from the old Dayton Christian in the Five Oaks District. When I was 17, I think I was a junior, a friend asked if I’d ever like to play for the chapel. They had a student band that got together but I was kind of shy.

“My friend convinced me to do it and that jumpstarted me leading others in music and worship,” McComas continued. “In my senior year, I led the student body at Thursday chapel. That was a new experience for me because I was the shy kid nobody really knew. All of a sudden, I’m up on stage in front of 800 people singing and leading the worship. That continued with different local churches I was at.”

McComas, who graduated from Dayton Christian in 2000, met his future wife when he was a senior and she was a junior. The couple celebrates their 22nd wedding anniversary in August.

“We were high school sweethearts,” McComas said. “It has definitely been a partnership. Around 2009, me and Jenn were at a conference up at Living Word. These guys were talking about houses of prayer and how these little prayer rooms were popping up all over the world and how they were introducing people to the presence of God and the peace of God in very organic ways.

“Not that the way I was doing it was bad, it’s just there was another way to do it,” he continued. “It was in that transition that the Lord took us from the stage to a prayer room.”



A different approach

Soon after that conference the McComas’ converted the garage of their Beavercreek home into their first House of Prayer.

“Sometimes it would just be me in the old prayer room in our garage,” McComas said. “He said to me, ‘You know how to sing in front of people, now learn how to sing in front of me.’ That taught me the value of giving my song to God first. It doesn’t have to be a big show, it’s something that starts from within my heart. Out of that it can be more natural.

“Those small beginnings were in our garage in Beavercreek,” he continued. “In 2015, we moved into an old daycare center off Dayton-Xenia Road, behind the old Dairy Queen. A couple of years after that we had the dream of doing the same thing in a bigger context in downtown Dayton. We started looking and we found this beautiful location.”

The McComas’ purchased the current location at a sheriff’s auction in June 2019. That September they finalized the paperwork for the building, which was built as an annex to the Christian Publication Association building in 1909. The space was later renovated into a nightclub and was occupied at different times by Bimini Bill’s, A-List Lounge and Envy Lounge.

“I love that we’re almost following the footsteps of the forefathers of the Christian Publication Association,” McComas said. “When they opened, they dreamed it would bear fruit for the kingdom of God and here we are some 120 years later following in their footsteps. It’s really a special thing for us to do.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or donthrasher100@gmail.com.

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