Every organization has a history. This is Ours.

We're often asked "How did you start coaching?" Let me tell you the story.

I, Dave Helmuth, had just graduated from high school in sunny San Antonio, Texas. My pastor's wife was our worship leader and she had just had her fourth child, Ben. She said to me one day "Dave, I'm out and you're in." And that day I became the worship leader.


Two and a half years earlier, I tore my ACL. Back in 1988, that meant 6 weeks in a full leg cast, which ended my drumming life. So I learned how to play guitar in those six weeks. And now, I was now the worship leader. At the ripe old age of 18. So I went to every Kent Henry conference I could find - I even slept in my Honda Prelude to attend one of them - and read magazines and books on worship. After starting off as a chemical engineering major at the University of Texas at San Antonio, I switched to Music Education in my second year. I continued to lead my small-but-mighty worship team every Sunday for 7 years.

When I graduated (in six and a half years), I moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter started working part time as a worship leader. This was the first time I had any mentoring, though it wasn't in worship as much as in leadership. I grew fantastically through that mentoring and have had several cherished mentors since.

I took on a second church job at a mainline denominational church that was starting a contemporary service. It met on Thursday nights, so I could keep my Sunday leading job too. During my first staff meeting, I got a call from my brother in law telling me that the world trade center was on fire. It was 2001.

One of our tech volunteers was an executive at the world's premier AV company, Clair Brothers. One night he said to me "Dave, you should go around to churches teaching them how to do what you do."

A few months later, on May 22, 2002, I officially started Ad Lib Music.

I had grand dreams...timelines for launching Ad Lib Europe and Ad Lib Latin America. I knew that churches and leaders all across the US and the world needed coaching. I had taglines like:

  • To bridge the gap between the mountain top of the conference and the trench of the weekly service
  • It’s like a double espresso for your worship ministry
  • Extinguishing the Burning Questions of Ministry with the Water Bucket of Truth
  • Trench help, strategy room perspective
  • Simple love and pure devotion to Jesus

That last one would remain as a part of our current mission: In simple love and pure devotion to Jesus, we are eradicating isolation and burnout so that leaders bear much fruit.

I knew that being on staff at a church would limit my ability to lead an organization of worship coaches, but I just had to figure out a way to help, to walk alongside the scores of worship leaders. I knew they could thrive if they just had someone to coach them. So based on the business coaching model, I created a model where I could help churches through worship coaching.

On July 31, 2002 I started a year of coaching with our first church, Ephrata Church of the Brethren.

Later that year, I received a call from a church of 1000+ and took on an interim role as a Worship Pastor. This was hugely important for my development, but it put Ad Lib Music on hold.

Once my assignment there was complete, I was ready to launch back in to Ad Lib. But my new bride was wiser. After fumbling for a year trying to get part time jobs to support my worship coaching dream, I got a full time job processing loan applications. All I could do was guest lead at churches and work my tail off at a job that I hated, but that gave me a much needed work ethic.

Next, I joined a company that was known for it's extensive training program. I wanted an inside look at a company that was doing training well to see what I could transfer to training worship leaders. It also had the side benefits of wearing green aprons and having as many lattes as I wanted. The year I worked there, it's former CEO came back to "right the ship." Being there during this time taught me the value of organizational leadership, clear vision, and healthy culture.

Then, on November 21, 2008, my store closed.

And with full support of my wife, Ad Lib Music launched full time.

For the next five years, I worked on improving our systems and programs. Many churches and leaders were helped! On July 1, 2009 the first Worship Fertilizer email newsletter was delivered to 805 people.

On July 24, 2013 I received an email from a leader who was interested in helping. He said "perhaps I could do more to participate in Ad Lib now that I'm not travelling as much." After many conversations and some good Mexican food, Richard Paul Rowe would become our very first coach on November 1, 2013.

Over the next several years, Andy, Brian, Jay, Jeremy, Jim, Kevin, Loren, Theresa, and Tony would join the coaching team. The difference in going from "just Dave" to an amazing team of gifted coaches has been nothing short of a revolution!

In December of 2014, I took on a 3-year role of half-time minister of worship at a church, and my role in Ad Lib transitioned from being the primary coach to the organizational leader with the coaches doing the majority of the coaching work.

Today, we offer a full array of services from guest worship leading, to hiring, to audio training. We are creating a model in central Pennsylvania that will be implemented in regions across North America and eventually, Lord willing, the world. It is our desire to have thousands of coaches serving every church community in the world.

From humble beginnings and a desire to simply love God and help people, it is our determination to completely eradicate isolation and burnout so that leaders everywhere glorify the Father by bearing much fruit!