Jonathan and Melissa Helser are passionate lovers of Jesus and believers in people. They live in the woods of Sophia, North Carolina with their two children, Cadence and Haven, and their two labradoodles, Solomon and Ruby. The name Helser means people of the woods. Their family loves to savor life by exploring the woods around their home together – frequently taking hikes, packing picnics, and going on adventures to the creek.
Their mission as a family is to live from a place of wholeheartedness, fully connected to the Holy Spirit and each other. They long to empower those they encounter with the truth that Jesus died to be with us and vibrantly lives inside of us. He is the One who affects every area of their daily lives, whether in the hidden ways they cultivate their lives and home to the ways they lead the Church into the presence of God.
In 2007, Jonathan and Melissa hosted their first discipleship school called the 18 Inch Journey, named for the distance between the head and the heart. They give the majority of their year to discipleship. One of their strongest desires is to see the children of God walking in the fullness of their identities and building strong, sustainable friendships with Jesus that will continue to serve them their whole lives. These schools center around three things that the Helsers and the Cageless Birds pursue year-round: discipleship, creativity, and community. In the last decade, the 18 Inch Journey has grown beyond just a two-month school and now includes a first and second year school, camps, and retreats. The Helsers’ heart is that these schools would empower everyone who participates to live their lives as a powerful people, connected to their hearts and dependent on the Holy Spirit.
Jonathan and Melissa love the global Church and are passionate about leading worship around the world. They have been writing and recording music for fourteen years—their first album, The Awakening, was released in 2005. Since then, the Helsers have released eight albums, including their most recent project, The Land I’m Livin’ In, in partnership with the Bethel Music Collective.
Jonathan and Melissa teamed up with Bethel Music in 2014 and have been featured on various Bethel Music albums such as VICTORY (“Raise A Hallelujah”), We Will Not Be Shaken (“No Longer Slaves”), and Starlight (“Catch the Wind”). They enjoy traveling internationally where they’ve consistently participated in events like Bethel Tours, David’s Tent, and Big Church Day Out. Jonathan and Melissa long to see a generation encounter the love of God. Their music reflects their desire for the Earth to look just like Heaven.
In 2013, Jonathan and Melissa founded a missional community of artisans known as the Cageless Birds. As a creative community who live and work in Sophia, NC, The Cageless Birds are devoted to wholehearted living and cultivating the arts through writing books, recording original music, handcrafting leather goods and pottery, roasting coffee and creating visual art. All of the proceeds from these goods enable us to continue leading schools and discipling hearts.
Jonathan and Melissa lead this collective not only by speaking into the projects they produce, but also through intentional friendship and consistent discipleship. More than raising up artists, Jonathan and Melissa are raising up confident sons and daughters. Jonathan says, “Our measuring stick for success is how much family is being produced in a ministry. The more Heaven comes to Earth, the more Earth will look like family.”