An Interview with David Bonfa, Director of Worship & Arts

Today we're excited to share an interview with Dave Bonfa, Director of Worship & Arts at the180. Dave's musical talent, heart of worship, and passion to serve are invaluable as he and the team lead us in worship at the180.

Give us a brief description of who you are and what you do day-to-day.

My name in David Bonfa and I am a pharmaceutical consultant by day, husband to my elementary school crush Kathy (15th anniversary this year!), father to 2 amazing little girls, Dalia Eva (8) and Olivia-Rose (11), by night (cue rip open shirt to unveil Super Dad outfit). When I’m not working or being a dad you’ll probably find me on the soccer field or playing music.

How did you come to the180 Church?

Pastor Domenic and I go way back. We used to play in youth bands and traveled to conventions playing and leading worship together with some great musicians and leaders. Domenic was actually my best man at my wedding in 2001. Throughout the years, even though I may have lost my best friend to Western Canada, I knew God was preparing him for something incredible. Almost 14 years later we find ourselves working together (as we always imagined) and I look forward seeing what God has in store for all of us at the180.

What is your definition of worship at its simplest?

For me, “musical” worship is about creating a moment where there are as few distractions as possible so we can reflect on God's love. There is no greater blessing for me in leading worship with my team than being able to create a safe place for people to be able to release all their inner worries and issues, to spend time focusing on what God is calling them to, and to reflect on how a song’s lyrics apply to their life in that moment.

What is your hope for the worship at the180?

My hope is that the worship team can create a space where lives are changed and those changes are noticed by neighbours, family members and co-workers. Living a life OUTSIDE church gatherings that reflects how you live IN the church is hard to find. As Dom often reminds us, "we are called out of the world to go back into it."

How do you prepare to lead worship with the team at the180 each week?

I normally try my best to choose songs for the team that follow the theme of the message but I’ve realized that the current mood or moment I am sensing as a focus tends to work out with the message... The one thing I dislike is the habit of selecting songs only because they are great to play - the message of each song may differ and releasing several themes throughout a worship set just because they are a good fit in terms of key or tempo doesn’t make for a well-directed time in worship.

What instruments do you play?

I started playing guitar in 1990 and served in my church as a musician on a team. After a couple of years I was given the opportunity to lead worship and never looked back. I can also play piano and drums when needed.

Who are some of your musical influences?

I have been influenced by bands like Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Prince, and John Mayer. The first time I heard Paul Baloche live in Kanata, ON on acoustic was also a huge musical influence for me. That moment made me realize there is more to being a good musician than pure talent - the ability to use flow and simplicity to create intimate moments is far more valuable than musical ability alone. I have also been influenced by Tommy Walker and Israel Houghton (and also want to give a shout-out to an incredible songwriter and worship leader I’ve had the honour of playing alongside, Phil Aud).

What is a verse or a Bible story that inspires your passion for worship as you lead the team?

That would easily be John 4:23-24: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” I love how Jesus reminds us that God cares about worship as a way of life.

If you are interested in becoming part of the Worship Team at the180, we'd love to hear from you! Fill out the form on our Serve Team page and indicate that you are interested in serving with worship to be contacted for an audition.