“Use what’s in your hand to establish what’s in your heart.”

- Brian Houston

 

In my experience, most musicians and creatives are also dreamers. We have dreams for our careers, our families, and our ministries. However, I think all of us have, at some point in our lives, watched one of our dreams die. It’s painful process that can cause confusion and heartache. We are often left asking God, “Where are You? What do I do now?”

 

On this week’s Worship Together Podcast, I talked to Joel Houston from Hillsong UNITED. Even though Joel is one of the most successful artists in the world, he is not immune from this pain. In fact, the death of his dream became the catalyst for creating UNITED.

 Houston: “I had a band with Mikey (Michael Guy Chislett), Marty Sampson, Luke Munns and some other friends. Everything was going great. Wonderful, to be honest. It was all lined up and then, out of nowhere the band broke up. It was heartbreaking because we had been in this band for six years and then, right when it was all happening, it was over. I remember Mikey was devastated, and so was I.

“My dad (Brian Houston) was preaching a message at the time, that he still preaches now, which says, ‘Use what’s in your hand to establish what’s in your heart.’ So Mikey and I just talked and said, ‘Let’s just throw ourselves into what’s in front of us. So we looked at what was in our hand, and it was our youth ministry. So we just threw ourselves into making Friday nights the best they could be and making the music something that we liked and that our friends liked. That essentially became what is now UNITED.”

Joel continued, “Sometimes it looks like we're not getting what we want because God knows what we need. But when you get what you need, you realize that everything you want, and everything you never knew you wanted, is in that as well.”

“Proverbs 16:9 says, ‘A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.’

 “I think for us it's actually just been a process of obedience. We've never had these dreams. If you asked me at any time along the journey, even a few years ago, how long I would be doing this, I would have said, ‘I don't know’. We're just doing it now because it's what's in our hand. And so when we were 19 that's what it looked like. When we were 25, it was still in our hand and the desire has been to, as long as it's in our hand, give the best of what we have.”

 To come close to your dreams and then watch them slip through your hands is difficult. It can be so painful that often we want to give up. In those times it’s important that we keep our faith in Him and remember that we do not labor in vain. If we are faithful with what God has put in our hand, He will continue to refine our hearts and fulfill dreams we don't even know we have yet.

 

This article was taken from the Worship Together Podcast. To listen to the full interview with Hillsong UNITED’s Joel Houston please visit Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider.

“If you lost your voice tomorrow, would your church still recognize you as a spiritual leader on Sunday?”

That is the question that worship pastor and artist Aaron Keyes posed to us at the 2017 Worship Together Conference. Through 10,000 Fathers, he is working to “raise up an army of men and women who are not only gifted musicians, but would be elders in their churches even if they didn't play music.”

Aaron believes that we have more than enough teachers, but not nearly enough spiritual fathers and mothers raising up leaders. Over the last decade Aaron and the team at 10,000 Fathers have gone beyond teaching spiritual growth, to pouring their lives into the next generation as spiritual fathers and mothers. To hear him explain it, “We are taught for our whole lives in church, grow, grow, grow. Most of the teaching, most of the training, most of the resources go to our growth. That’s good. We need to grow spiritually, but it’s not all about you growing. At some point it needs to become about you reproducing.”

After 15 years in ministry that has included leading worship around the world, writing and ministering to thousands Keyes says, "I realized that I’ve mislead as much worship as I’ve lead.”, a sentiment that many of us can relate to. You can hear more about this and a lot more on this week's episode of the Worship Together podcast. 

 

To listen to the full talk with Aaron Keyes from Worship Together 2017, please visit your favorite podcast provider or listen to the Soundcloud embed below. 

 

 

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The Worship Together Podcast is an opportunity for our team to have honest conversations about the songs we sing and the way we lead. Join us weekly as we speak with some of the most instrumental artists, worship leaders, songwriters and pastors influencing the creative culture of the church today.

It’s always funny to me that the busiest day of the week at WorshipTogether.com is Saturday. It just shows how many of us are scrambling to fill our setlist before Sunday morning. We all know that there is never enough time to plan for our services, so when I talk with worship pastors, I like to ask them how they plan their week.

On this week’s podcast, we talk to our good friend Chris McClarney. Besides being an artist and writer, McClarney is the worship pastor at one of the fastest growing churches in the country. We asked him to walk us through how he manages his week and his team.

Warning: His answer may give you heartburn.

 McClarney: “On Tuesday we’ll meet as a worship department to discuss what the weekend’s service will be about. Normally we leave with a rough setlist of maybe two or three songs.

But I’m the kind of guy who likes the idea of not exactly knowing what we’re going to do. (Which is probably making your listeners stress out.) But I enjoy the unknown. Obviously, I have the luxury of having amazing players at my church. When Stu G is playing guitar, you can basically do whatever you want.

So, Saturday night is when they finally get the set list.”

Jimi: “You’ve got to be kidding! Saturday night? Really?”

McClarney: Yeah.

Jimi: “OK. Everyone listening, do not take this advice!

So on Sunday morning, do you prep your team? Like, hey I might change something?”

McClarney: “No. Even after they have the setlist, I have the tendency to, mid-service, just decide that I want to do a different song. The reason is because I really enjoy that moment when nobody is looking at the chord chart. Nobody is looking at their iPad. Nobody is thinking about the riff their supposed to play. So all of a sudden, maybe for the first time all morning, everyone is genuinely engaged in creating worship.”

This pursuit is an interesting dichotomy. While most of us are using our limited resources to strive for perfection, McClarney (who may actually be able to achieve it) is deliberately creating controlled chaos. His goal isn’t perfection, but authentic worship.

We know that about 70% of worship leaders are part-time or volunteers. And most of those who are full-time pastors have many responsibilities beyond leading worship. There are going to be those weeks when you just don’t get to everything. Maybe you don’t have enough time to plan your set, rehearse, or pray. Maybe it’s in the times when all we can do is rely on God is when we see Him take over a service.

Have you ever had a week when your song selection had nothing to do with the sermon, yet the themes of the songs fit perfectly with what your pastor is preaching? It’s like the Holy Spirit has gone before us and taken care of what we couldn’t. It’s not always about picking the perfect song, it’s about serving God and his church with a good heart.

Praying over our worship services and planning for them is always good. But when we over plan and put all of the pressure on ourselves, we limit what we allow God to do. Let’s not forget that, at the end of the day, God understands our circumstances and our resources. In those moments of “controlled chaos,” let’s all relax and allow God to show up.

 

To listen to the full interview with Chris McClarney please visit your favorite podcast provider or listen to the Soundcloud embed below. 

SUBSCRIBE NOW ON ITUNES

The Worship Together Podcast is an opportunity for our team to have honest conversations about the songs we sing and the way we lead. Join us weekly as we speak with some of the most instrumental artists, worship leaders, songwriters and pastors influencing the creative culture of the church today.

Finding Untapped Potential

September 28, 2017

How mentorship helped make Hillsong Young & Free’s Aodhan King the leader he is today.

By: Jimi Williams

This week on the Worship Together podcast, I sat down with Hillsong Young & Free, the band born out of the youth movement of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.

One thing that always strikes me when I talk with worship leaders is how almost all of them can point to someone who mentored them before their first album, their first leadership opportunity and before their talent had fully matured. It always reinforces to me the responsibility that the church has to raise up the next generation of leaders.

So when I recently sat down with Hillsong Young & Free’s Aodhan King I was curious to see if this was true in his life. At just 24 years old, Aodhan’s songs and band have launched a new sound in worship music. I asked him about his first time leading worship at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. It turns out that he didn’t have the most promising start.

 Aodhan: "I remember one of the first times that I sang. They got me to sing Amazing Grace. I was so nervous. I still get nervous but back then I was like paralyzed. So I had my eyes closed and was singing and then I opened my eyes and I realized that I was facing the back of the stage. I don't even know how I turned around. I felt so sick that I just ran off the stage. I went to the bathroom and was throwing up. Everyone in our group knows that story."

 Fortunately, Aodhan had people who came around him.

 Aodhan: "I had leaders like Dylan Thomas, who plays guitar for United. He was my connect group leader. Everyone in the group was kind of musical and it was just natural (to play music). It wasn't ever like we're going to meet at seven to eight to practice guitar and sing. It was just that we loved music. He loved music and I loved music, so it just happened naturally.

 I remember the first time I was on a platform. Dylan brought me up to play acoustic guitar. He was playing acoustic but he plugged in another one for me.

 They might not have had me up high in the front of house, but I was learning.

Those kind of natural things that happened and helped me get to where I am now.

 It definitely challenges me to be more like that. I think of the patience that they had with me. I knew how bad I was. I was really a horrible guitar player. I couldn't sing. Everything was bad. But the fact that he had the patience to do that, I  look back and I'm like, 'wow'."

To listen to the full interview with Hillsong Young & Free’s Aodhan King and Laura Toggs please visit your favorite podcast provider or listen to the Soundcloud embed below. 

 

SUBSCRIBE NOW ON ITUNES

The Worship Together Podcast is an opportunity for our team to have honest conversations about the songs we sing and the way we lead. Join us weekly as we speak with some of the most instrumental artists, worship leaders, songwriters and pastors influencing the creative culture of the church today.

Today, we are excited to introduce the Worship Together Podcast.

Each week our team will have honest conversations about the songs we sing and the way we lead. Join us weekly as we speak with some of the most instrumental artists, worship leaders, songwriters and pastors influencing the creative culture of the church today.

This week in our inaugural episode, Jimi Williams sits down with one of the most unique and recognizable voices in worship music, Kim Walker-Smith. Kim gives listeners a glimpse of her journey with God over the past few years and describes what it’s like to balance her ministry with her personal life.

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