In my nine years (plus a few months) of being a part of Gateway Church, our Senior Pastor, Robert Morris, has ended every sermon with the phrase: “What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today?” I feel like that question has permeated me to the core of who I am. I have found that by asking this question of the Lord, it has drastically changed my life in so many ways. I’m amazed about how involved God wants to be in my regular, everyday life. With that said, I now have this question: “What are God’s opinions about the areas of my life I may have failed to ask Him about?”
I have determined and purposed in my heart to submit my life to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and ask Him daily about what He wants to say.
I am a worship pastor and a songwriter, and I’m extremely honored to be a part of leading Gateway Church in worship. I am also honored and humbled to have been able to write songs that our church sings to connect them to their Father in worship. This honor also carries a large responsibility, and I do not bear it lightly. I view leading worship as stewarding God’s Bride in worship. It puts things into perspective to view it like that. People don’t need to hear from me; they are God’s children, and He is the one whose voice they should hear. I feel like my job as a worship leader is easy. I’m the one who helps pull up their chair to the Lord’s table so they can have a seat and communicate with Him themselves.
I’ve said that this job is easy. At least it’s easy if you have the directions to the restaurant and you know the seating assignments. If you haven’t made a practice of hearing the Lord, it may be difficult. Drastically speaking, I think sometimes as worship leaders and songwriters, we can rely on a good song list and a catchy hook to inspire people to worship rather than a legitimate encounter with God. In planning our worship services, how often do we ask the questions, “Lord, what are You saying to Your people?”, “What songs do You want us to sing this weekend?” or “What’s Your heart beating for today?” You may not hear His answer immediately, and if you don’t, how far are you willing to press in for it? Without having a word from God, you have nothing to offer His people. With a word from God, you can lead them from their various stages of life directly to the table of the Lord where their lives will be forever changed.
I make it a habit to always ask the Lord what He’s saying. I ask Him as I plan my worship lists, as I’m writing songs and especially as I’m leading worship. It seems like God enjoys changing plans on me just to see if I’m still paying attention! During worship services, my wife, Alena, and some of my close friends in the band, know exactly when I’m hearing the Lord. For some reason, when I press in to hear God, I unintentionally tend to look up and to the left. They tease me about it, but when they see me “checking in,” they know we’re about to go somewhere outside of the plan! A lot of times the Lord will impress a scripture on my heart to share with the congregation (I always lead worship with my Bible at my feet). He may want me to exhort or encourage in some way, or He may want me to stop singing and allow the band to prophesy on their instruments. Spirit-led worship leading is exciting because God is exciting! I have found that even with time constraints, as many of us face in modern-day church life, we can begin and end on time and still experience a deep move of God. God is a God of order. He loves when we worship, and He wants His people to have an unforgettable and undeniable experience with Him. Always respond to the Lord, and never default to what you know within yourself. I believe that God is always speaking in worship, but we must listen and follow His leadership.
I’ve been asked a few times, “As a worship leader, how do you measure your success in a worship service?” My answer is simple and in the form of a question: “Did I lead worship to a point when I was able to step away from leading and join with the people in the congregation to sit at the table of the Lord and hear His voice?” As leaders, we most likely know when this happens. Sadly, I can’t say it happens every time. I can say that I have a burning desire to be overwhelmed by the presence of God to the point where my own strength gives out. I want to be the one who hears Him and communicates His heart. My prayer is that you will join with me, and together, we can be a part of what God is doing on the earth.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.