Little did I know, the summer before my junior year of high school that God was going to wreck my world. It was at summer church camp that I came to a clear realization that God was calling me into the ministry. He had been drawing me to this for quite some time, but I found myself subconsciously rebelling against it. In my mind, if I sinned enough God would forget about this whole ministry thing, and move on, and call someone else instead. But, that’s not how God works. He loves to take broken people and restore them. God proves His might by taking those you least expect and call them to fulfill His purpose.
When news began to spread about my decision to embrace God’s call, everyone assumed I would be going into music ministry. I quickly passed on that idea, at least for the time being. See, I was a metal-head, rock-star wannabe. I had posters of bands and rock musicians covering every inch of my bedroom walls. I wore my hair long and played my music loud. The idea of devoting my life to singing songs in a suit and tie, in a setting where if you had drums and electric guitars, they better be turned down low enough that you couldn’t hear them did NOT appeal to me in the least.
What I did have was a desire to teach the Bible. I began to teach at any opportunity that I was given. God opened up for me some really incredible opportunities for me to teach and preach that I didn’t appreciate fully until later in life. I didn’t attend Bible college to earn a degree in church music or worship arts, but to train as a preaching pastor. When I wasn’t socializing, I eventually obtained a degree in Biblical Studies with an emphasis on Pastoral Ministry. I had no idea at the time that this approach to my education would one day shape my philosophy and approach to leading worship.
Meanwhile, music ministry was something I did, not because I felt called, but because I was a guy with a guitar that could sing. I began to discover that I was having more opportunities to lead worship rather than to preach. This frustrated me, but I rolled with it. For some time I still resisted music ministry because I preferred to teach rather than sing. I entered vocational ministry in 2006 as a youth and music minister. I was a youth minister because I loved to disciple students through God’s Word, and I also served in music ministry so I could find work, because I wasn’t talented enough in either field at the time. That’s not to say people serving in dual roles aren’t talented to do one or the other, but in my case I was not.
God helped me realize that to follow the call into music ministry was not to say “goodbye” to a teaching ministry, but that music ministry IS a teaching ministry. I began to understand the significant role a worship leader has in shaping the doctrinal beliefs of the people he leads. I studied what the Scriptures had to say on the matter, and I discovered the Bible is filled with examples of songs shaping the beliefs of the worshiper. This revelation ignited a renewed focus on my life’s calling. God clarified for me that he had given me musical abilities and a passion for the Bible and theology and it was His design for those things to be used as effective tools to make disciples.
This book is a representation of what God has shown me, and is continuing to show me through His Word about how worship leaders play a significant role in shaping the theology of the church.