Growing up in a Pastor’s family, I knew how church ‘worked’! I knew how to pray the right kind of prayers and sing the right kind of songs. However, my parents always reinforced the fact that I needed to have a personal relationship with God from which everything else flows.
I was ten years old when our church had just branched out and there wasn’t a recognizable worship team around. At the time, I was a kid who knew how to play three guitar chords, with a single straight forward rhythm to go along with it. I was asked by my Pastor (Dad) to help out with the guitar. So, there began my journey into what I would later discover to be my calling: A son who worships!
It was an amazing period of learning to make myself available and touching my Father God’s heart, no matter how unprofessional I sounded. A few years went by and got a bit better musically, but more importantly I was hungry to learn about worship. I took every opportunity to learn from my father and any other worship leader around who was willing to share with me. As a result I grew in my understanding of what worship was really about.
When I was thirteen, one of the lead elders in the church came up to me and asked me if I would like to lead worship the following Sunday. I was really scared of taking on such a responsibility. I prayed about it and God spoke to me about being used to lead thousands into His presence. This was a word that was confirmed by a prophetic word in the church as well. Having that assurance, I stepped off the edge and dived in knowing that what I had wasn’t the greatest, but what I lacked God would supply.
I had amazing leaders over me who would come alongside me to encourage me and occasionally correct me. By the time I was fifteen, I was leading worship regularly and began writing songs of my own. As I delved deeper into who God was, I found leading worship was not about me trying to drum up a feeling God’s presence; neither was it a crazy sprint to get through a list of songs in half an hour. I slowly began to see it as something that was God driven and God centered.
Through the crucial years where education seemed to rule everything in my world, God really ministered to me. In my sleep, God would give me songs of hope and deliverance to keep me going. As I grew I found the grounding fact in my worship ministry was the time I spent worshiping God personally, not corporately. It did not rely on my skill to effectively lead a time of singing worship songs. Worship was no longer about the music; it was about a God who was worthy! Worship became an overflow of the heart, not an emotional high on a few up-tempo songs and soulful lyrics. By the time I was eighteen God had used me to lead worship in churches all over India, as well as help train younger worship teams.
In 2002 God took me to London, to do my undergraduate studies. While I was there God really blessed me with an amazing church. For nearly two years, I basically sat on the bench and did nothing. In this time, I really got a chance to get back to my little quiet-times and receive from from the Word of God When I was finally asked to join the band, God had already chipped away the big “ME” that had crept into worship. I was made aware of how easy it was to drift into selfish ambition and gratification. I was so used to being ‘up there’, that it took a few years on the sidelines to get my perspective right.
Now that I am older (hopefully a lot wiser) when I look back, I have had the privilege to lead worship with some really amazing people, and have been blessed by people who have mentored me and spoken into my life. The reason I share these things is that you may be cautioned and encouraged in your walk. I hope my story shows that its so easy to get “used to” worshiping and forget the point of it all. As long as we are willing to be trained, the Lord will teach us His ways. He will make it plain and clear before our face. At the end of the day, worship is all about God- for an audience of one! The more we see of God, the more our hearts expand with adoration and worship of our Maker. So in closing, I give thanks to God for His amazing work in my own life, and look forward to a lifetime filled with praise and worship of my glorious God!
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