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Father-son team reach out to community through prayer center, recording studio
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: Brooks Canaday
Nate Schaefer in the recording studio at the Prayer Center in Davenport on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Brooks Canaday
Nate Schaefer in the recording studio at the Prayer Center in Davenport on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Brooks Canaday
Nate Schaefer in the recording studio at the Prayer Center in Davenport on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Brooks Canaday
Nate Schaefer in the recording studio at the Prayer Center in Davenport on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011.
DAVENPORT -- He's got his father's ear. Nate Schaefer, 22, and his dad, Scott Schaefer, play music by ear mostly, not by reading notes on song sheets.

''Nate's more multi-instrumental than I am,'' Scott Schaefer said. ''I tried to teach him, as I was, that music isn't only what you see written on a page, but it's something you pick up, use your ear, dissect and feel.''

Father and son also are definitely on the same page when it comes to their musical dreams for the Quad-Cities.

''My heart is where my dad's heart is,'' Nate Schaefer said. ''Our interests are to see this community flourish and to have a place for churches to come together to create Christian unity. We want walls torn down so everyone can worship and serve God and the community together.''

It's tough for either one of them to devote themselves to only one church or one band at a time.

''Nate's just like his daddy,'' Scott Schaefer said about his son. ''Being confined to one church is hard once you get the taste of the 'Big C' church, as we call it, and have that in your heart.''

Nate Schaefer remembers his dad going through what he called a ''transformation from being a praise leader at an individual church'' to someone who developed a larger church community focus, ''and that transformed me, too,'' he said.

''I wouldn't mind being in a band again or leading worship at churches, as long as they understand that I'm not going to be tied to one church or one group or one project,'' Nate Schaefer said.

His father feels the same way, which makes the Quad Cities Prayer Center such a perfect place for them to be.

Scott Schaefer serves as the executive director of the center, which is dedicated to ''mobilizing prayer, praise and training'' to benefit the church at-large and to ''see spiritual and social transformation,'' according to its mission statement.

Nate Schaefer is the engineer/producer of the center's Invictus Studio.

''The funny thing is that I had a vision for more than 20 years for having this recording studio, but it was my son who started it and is running it,'' Scott Schaefer said. ''Just goes to show you that God may have other plans for you, and sometimes you have to just hand it to God.''

Now, it's Nate Schaefer's dream to see a constant stream of musicians and clients coming to Invictus Studio instead of going to Nashville to be recorded, ''because they feel it's what God wants them to do,'' he said.

''I want to see Invictus Studio become a self-sustaining ministry, and my dream is to step out and make this full time, recording bands, doing commercial jingles and doing graphic design work for local companies and organizations,'' Nate Schaefer said.

He also dreams of doing more live recordings of praise bands and hosting conferences that will draw hundreds of people at a time to learn about the word of God and the role music plays to glorify God.

"God is telling us to go out into the world, and we need to find different ways to minister to the people of this world,'' he said, sounding exactly as his father did in earlier interviews when leaving Rock Island's Heritage Wesleyan Church as its music pastor to start the prayer center about a decade ago.

Hearing how he sounds like his father is nothing new.

''I don't think a day's gone by that someone doesn't say that I sound like my dad,'' he said. ''My wife, Kat, has said it often enough, and I even catch myself saying, 'Gosh, that's just what my dad would have said.'''

His dad chuckled, remembering at times how he wondered ''if Nate was listening to me or not,'' Scott Schaefer said.

His wife, and Nate's mother, Brenda Schaefer, quickly pointed out, though, ''He sounds just like you do.''

Nate Schaefer called the relationship he's shared with his father ''unique.''

''I don't think many people my age, growing up, could have been able to stand it,'' he said. ''When we worked together, he wasn't my dad, and I wasn't his son. His expectations for me were the same as for anyone else. I think being cut no slack, though, was good for me and made me learn more.''

Becoming a new father last summer also has changed that relationship a bit, Nate Schaefer said.

''It changed the way we talk now,'' he said. ''Before, it was from the perspective of 'you're young and still have a lot left to learn.' It's now from a different kind of respect now.''

One thing that hasn't changed, though, is obvious to him.

''They love the fact I'm following the Lord,'' he said.

That's a fact, Scott Schaefer said.

And it doesn't matter if they do it by ear, or by heart, ''as long as our kids love Christ,'' he said, ''we're happy.''





Chasing the dream

Who: Nate Schaefer, engineer/producer of the Quad Cities Prayer Center's Invictus Studio.

Quote: ''Our interests are to see this community flourish and to have a place for churches to come together to create Christian unity."


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