Week five was an absolutely wonderful whirlwind! We had our first band come to teach us, and while we did have one main speaker, everyone from the group shared at least a little bit of their knowledge and experience with the class. I also had one of my best friends from the first YWAM missions trip I ever did come to visit me! I led worship on the Monday morning and had a great time trying something new and creative, and we also had our second composition due on the Friday. Phew! I did get some time to rest though, with a weekend getaway with my friend to Annecy. So for this post I have included the top ten points from our teaching, what I learned from our speaker about leading worship, a video of my second composition, and some pictures from beautiful Annecy in France!
Community and Commitment – Christopher Hopper
The Key: Being a worship leader, or team member, requires commitment to God and commitment to your anointing. In order to really grow in our God given gifts and to be able to bring glory to God and bless others, we need to understand the importance of community. We should always be seeking to go deeper in our commitment and to grow in our dedication to our community!
Ten Main Points
- If you expect to have something to give, then you must invest in developing something worth giving by spending time with the person who gives all.
- We have things and people waiting on the other side of our obedience. We never know how and when God will use our obedience as a part of His plan, but obedience is ALWAYS worth it and moves something… Even if it takes hundreds of years! How are you serving the next generation? Start by being obedient to your calling.
- We must be so careful about what we speak. Words are powerful things. Don’t even speak evil untruths! We can choose what we are going to say and should never curse what the Lord has created.
- The sheep know the difference between a shepherd and a hired hand. People know the difference between someone who really cares about them, and someone who is just doing their job. This is why it is so important to plant your feet and let your roots go deep, especially if you are serving in any kind of ministry.
- If you want to know what kind of Christian you are, consider how you treat your enemies.
- We are human beings, not human doings. Do I care more about getting my to-do list done or really helping people create memories with God? The best way to evangelize is to simply love others. Perform small acts of kindness and show people they are important.
- There is a difference between a worship leader and song leader. A song leader will be musically invested and will execute a song well, but a worship leader will do that as well as be spiritually invested. A worship leader feels the weight of leadership.
- The Church will hurt you. There is no question about it. The question is, how will you respond? Keep loving our perfect God even though you were loved imperfectly by humans.
- Your anointing costs something. It is expensive. If you really want to be a living sacrifice for God to use, you must be willing to pay a high price.
- We must keep checking the past and the present, we must keep reading and we must keep studying. We have to be willing to challenge false teachings. We must remember that it is human nature to bend things to our own prejudice, to twist things to say what we want them to say. Societies of the past have had prejudices against women and against people of a different race. So we should not blindly accept their interpretations of God’s word (e.g. Junia, a female name, being changed to Junias, a masculine name, in Romans 16:7) or their depiction of certain theological leaders (e.g. Augustine of Hippo most often being painted as a white man despite the fact that he was African) that support those prejudices. God’s ways are not our ways.
What I Learned About Leading Worship From Christopher
“A Good Band Eats Together A Lot”
Christopher told us several times that the reason his band works together so well is because they have had many meals together. He told us that if we want our own group to jam together well, then we need to eat dinner together! This is definitely Biblical. Think of Acts 2:42 – “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” There is something about gathering together, and sharing food and fellowship that creates really strong bonds. Christopher’s drummer Sam also shared a teaching on ‘the house of music’ and how different instruments and positions work together to build God’s house of music. So you need the different people with different talents to come together and then you are going to have the best space for people to gather and experience God’s presence through music!
This is also Biblical when you think of 1 Corinthians 12:12 – “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” Each member of the band is part of the bigger picture, like a body, one person who represents one part can’t suddenly decide they are more important AND one part can’t suddenly decide they aren’t that important and that they don’t need to work so hard since they don’t matter as much. If we want a strong connection, if we want to better understand that we are part of one whole, if we want to value our part and the part others play, then we need to be comfortable with one another. If we want to be comfortable together, we need to spend time together outside of just work or rehearsal.
This also ties in with the idea that small distractions create big disappointments. If we want a group to be fully focused on God, we want to create an environment that has as few distractions as possible. Is God extremely upset if we miss a cue or play a wrong note? No. But it is better to keep working towards excellence so that those we are leading can keep going deeper with the Spirit without suddenly thinking about what just went wrong. The better a team works together, the more likely it is they will be able to move through whatever is going on in a smooth and distraction free way.
Christopher and his whole group definitely walked out all these ideas when they led worship for our base community night. Even when they moved from their pre-determined set list into prophetic/improvised worship, they all just communicated so well without words and led the transition so smoothly! For each song, you could tell that they all knew each other well and knew each other’s style. Before you as an audience member maybe realized that the guitarist or vocalist was going in a new direction, the drummer was already speeding up or slowing down, moving that change seamlessly. The sound was immaculate, and there were no times where suddenly the projection screen was blank or on the wrong song lyrics. Everything just flowed!
Commitment and community are such important factors when it comes to leading worship well. You want a team that is willing to truly value both. When you have a team that truly values both, then you are able to really focus on where the audience is at and what God is doing, and that ensures a deeper and richer time for people to worship of our Holy Father!
Finally, here is a link to my second composition. This song was a lot harder to write than my first song, and I really wanted to just give up on it. I had the lyrics and chords, but something just didn’t sound right. Luckily one of my leaders, who is in this video, helped me out and gave it a more funky guitar sound. I am still not totally happy with it, but my point in sharing it is this – don’t give up even when it is frustrating and hard. When you are learning something new, it isn’t just going to all automatically be amazing right away. That is ok. Just keep working on it!
All the glory to God for yet another amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and serve! May He bless each one of you on each of your own journeys too! To end this post I will share the verse that we memorized this week:
“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” – Psalm 2:8