Summarized: I have been serving in music ministry since 2009, and regularly leading worship since 2010. I love the presence of the Lord and the working of His Spirit during sincere worship, recognizing that music is a resource for worship and ministry. My wife and I love to lead worship together. We both can lead and harmonize on vocals. My wife Kelry plays hand drums and I play piano/keyboard and saxophone.
As a Worship Leader, my desire is to help lead sincerity of worship, worship in Spirit and in truth. Some entertainment can be permissive or even edifying, but entertainment is far from my goal when it comes to worship services. Music is meant to be for God's glory, including for exhortation, renewing the mind, teaching, prayer, praise and worship. My desire is to lead people to that place of abandonment unto God, experiencing His holy presence and all that comes with it, as He consumes a holy acceptable sacrifice. Worship is a life surrendered to God, but music can be a great resource to express sincere praise and worship, drawing near to God. I am cooperative and able to minister within a variety of contexts, but ministries that genuinely want the leading of the Holy Spirit unto worship will more greatly appreciate God's grace upon me.
In facilitation of worship teams, I like to include weekly teachings to help us stay focused and grow in the holy calling of music ministry. When the lead minister of a ministry gives permission for someone to minister, they are giving them authority in the atmosphere. I believe it is very important for worship team members to sincerely want to follow God. As they follow God, they are setting an example of leading worship (not just a song), and by way of learning to follow the Lord, they are positioned to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit during times of music ministry. I believe in raw obedience, including regarding to who should be on a worship team, but based on principle, I prefer that someone already uses their gifts in music to worship the Lord in their personal life before they are publicly ministering (or performing in the name of ministry) through song. I like the idea of helping build bridges between having a gift and being ready to minister on a worship team, such as separate events to worship together without a congregation present.
When at liberty to do so, I ask the Lord about what songs He'd like. God knows how to produce the right outcome. I love seeing God orchestrate the songs with the message without having to hear from the pastor or speaker about the topic. I also believe that God speaks to those in authority, and that those under such a person's authority in that ministry should receive the grace of God upon that person and cooperate with directives (of course that are not contrary to the Word), including directives with song choices.
Worship music should be from the heart, rather than trying to duplicate a recording, or someone else's expression of worship. Often music ministry is deliberately formulated to meet people at a soulish level, which isn't always bad since we all have unique characters, but we should be careful that it's not just nostalgic or merely pleasing musically with how a person currently identifies their self. I love songs that guide language for us to worship from the inside, out. Inwardly, we cry "Abba Father!". As we are walking in the Spirit, our soul is also crying in sincerity, "Abba Father!" The Holy Spirit is in the business of glorifying Jesus, so I want to walk in agreement with Him. I like to help musicians learn music well enough to be able to be more spontaneously led when they are at liberty to do so. I believe in preparing in excellence so we are more ready to flow, but not to press for how we want things to happen. I believe worship is more powerful when it is organic, from the heart in the moment, and not overly pre-produced, limiting a sincere sound of worship, whether in notes, rhythms, tempo, highs, lows, instrumental moments, order, etc. I believe the Lord gives liberty amongst worshipers to inspire a new song (inspired by Him), and love those moments where the congregations welcomes such worship. There is a difference between creativity and deeply Spirit-led worship that ministers (likewise in teaching) grow in, but I believe the goal is to worship in sincerity, knowing that sincere worship opens us up to more vividly receive the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When given liberty, the Lord often will speak to me things to speak during worship. Further on the topic of Spirit-led worship, I believe the Lord leads us both before ministering, and during ministry. The Lord knows perfectly how to prepare us to minister.
I desire to help the body of Christ grow in sincere worship, and grow into what God wants music ministry to look like. He takes us from glory to glory. I believe there is a greater outpouring to move forward into than we've heard about from honorable revivals/outpourings of the past.
I wrote a document here for a friend who was asked to help a ministry transition more towards Spirit-led worship. Please feel welcome to read it.
Music Awards: WNHS: Varsity Band Outstanding Musician Award 98’-99’, Woody Herman Jazz Award 98’-99’, Louis Armstrong Jazz Awards 00’-01’ & 01’-02’, John Philip Sousa Band Award 01’-02’; Marquette University’s 33rd Jazz Invitational “Best Soloist of the Day” 02’; Carroll University’s “Laura Stroud Bartsch Music Award” 04’