Who Is Donald Zimmerman?

Where do you serve? For how long?

I came on staff at Doxa Church right after it was born last year in 2015. I've been leading worship for 17 years and coaching worship leaders for 7 years.

Tell us a little bit about your church. What is a Sunday gathering like?

Doxa is a church of missional communities, and we're working hard to have great Sundays while simultaneously equipping people to live for Jesus in the everyday stuff of life. We have lots of young families, with college students, young artists/professionals, and older generations in the mix as well. It's the most economically diverse church I've seen, with CEOs and homeless singing alongside each other. 

How do you personally prepare for Sunday gatherings?

Our sermon series is chosen months in advance, so I try to first familiarize myself with the primary themes of the book of the Bible we'll be in. Our teaching pastor, Jeff Vanderstelt is really helpful in providing a 3-4 sentence overview of each Sunday at the beginning of a new series, so that becomes a guiding document for setting liturgy, selecting songs, and even writing. We do a Thursday night rehearsal to prepare for the upcoming Sunday like most churches. Many of the key volunteers that play with me regularly are also in my missional community which is helpful for personal relationship and connection. We eat and laugh together a lot.

Sunday mornings we get line checked, run through the set with the necessary transitions, and then I lead a liturgy meeting with all production and worship volunteers. We talk about the big idea and purpose for the day, hear an executive summary of the sermon from Jeff, take communion together and then pray for the church and the gatherings. The prayers are informed by the central theme.

What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome as a song leader?

Leaving a church I helped plant and served in for over a decade has been the hardest thing I've ever done. Add to that all of the unique challenges that come with a replant , and the reminders of how much I need Christ are unavoidably near at hand. A replant is a beautiful thing because it's such a tangible picture of God's redemption, but building a worship culture among hundreds of people takes time, and it requires steady, patient, and faithful leadership. God has been very kind and gracious to our church thus far, and I'm expectant to see what a church of people on mission can do for the Eastside.


Donald Zimmerman is the Worship Pastor at Doxa Church in downtown Bellevue. Donald moved to the northwest with his wife and kids in early 2015. He’s led worship for 17 years in churches of all sizes and loves investing in leaders, and helping artists find their place in ministry.

He coaches worship leaders all over the country and blogs about leading artists in the local church at zimmermanband.com