Hey there Bethany Worship fam! 👋🏽
We really want to get to know our community better and also give an opportunity for you to get to know us on a more personal level. One easy way to do that is to click the live button on Instagram and give you some inside access to our world! We tried this out last Thursday with Zach Edmonds and Casey Paulin who hosted our Instagram fam in the studio.
Their conversation was a beautiful mix of both the spiritual and practical side of worship ministry and an inside look at who these amazing people are.
First of all, who is Zach and Casey? If you're new to the Bethany Church family or you're following us from afar, most of the time you will see Zach at our Livingston Parish campus on the weekends and Casey at our Midcity campus. You might also recognize Casey from our SPEAK video!
Here's the 5 questions that we dove into this week:
Question # 1: What's your favorite thing about leading worship?
- Zach: As worship leaders, we are attempting to lead people on a journey to connect with God. My go-to is to lead people to God's throne room and connect with the Father.
- Casey: Obviously, we primarily want to to connect with the people that we're leading in worship, the ones that are in front of us. But I really love connecting with the band and the people on the platform that are leading with me because it makes me feel unified. When we're going somewhere in worship, I want my background vocalists & music director to go to the same place with me. I find confidence when I'm moving together in the same direction as my team, and in unity, I know that we can follow the Holy Spirit in worship.
Question #2: When did it become clear that you were called to this (worship leading) and when did you start to pursue it?
- Casey: It became clear when I came to Bethany. I grew up singing in church and in choirs but I never connected singing with worshipping God. When I got invites to lead, I just thought I was supposed to sing a song, I didn't understand the worth or the weight of what I was offering. I didn't see it as "I'm worshipping God" , I saw it as "I'm singing a solo". The connection between the two didn't click for me until I came to Bethany. Pastor Jonathan and the leaders here helped me to realize that I wasn't just just singing and it's a privilege to lead people. I stopped taking for granted my gifts and realized that my worship is an offering to God. It's never just a song; its a sweet, simple offering that I'm giving to Jesus.
- Zach: Our mission statement as a church is that we are bringing all people into the life, family and purpose of God. We all have a purpose and one of our purposes is to be worshippers as believers. When we're in an environment that allows us to flourish in this, we really realize that we're all called.
Question #3: How do you prepare yourself before leading in a service?
- Zach: We're probably all guilty of trying to "wing it", but we quickly realize that doesn't go over well AT ALL! When you understand the weight that you carry as a leader from a platform, it becomes really important to prepare yourself to carry that weight. We need to soak in the presence of Jesus on a personal level. Within 48-72 hours before a service, I am sometimes fasting, and always praying and speaking with God alone. I even have 2 kids and wife and I have to pull away and focus my mind. I always dive into my daily bible reading and then often spend time in Psalms because I love the heart of David, a worshipper. I spend time preparing myself because I know that if my heart is not right the worship won't be as genuine as it should be and I wholeheartedly believe that when we do that, we see God move. When we're prepared we lead better and we really see the presence of God move in our services.
- Casey: I'm gonna take the practical side of things and tell you what I do on a practical level, beyond the spiritual preparation that Zack talks about. I have a FIERCE spirit of excellence and I realize that spiritual prep is vital, but practical prep is also very important. Especially if you're leading a campus, you have to show up prepared. That means that you know your parts, you have to know your songs, and you have to know the structure of those songs. If you're not working with tracks and you have a bit more freedom, you need to be asking yourself, "Where do I want to go?" For example: Do you want to do a double chorus? Take it up or down? Tag something? You have to think through every single song and know what you want it to feel like. That's so important to me because if I don't know where I'm going, the band also doesn't know where we're going. I have to feel confident in where we are going. So please, pray, lean in and ask God what He wants you to sing over His people, BUT also show up on Sunday morning prepared and confident in knowing where you want each song to go. You will need to be sensitive to God's presence and direction when you're actually leading but still come with a game plan that you have put a lot of thought into.
Question #4: What song is on your heart right now?
- Casey: NEW WINE. Enough said.
- Zach: Apparently Zach is loving every song on the latest There is More album by Hillsong Worship. "So Will I" and "Who You Say I Am" have become favorites at Bethany. We love you Brooke! 👊🏼
Question #5: What would you say to a young man or woman that desires to lead worship?
- Casey: I tend to be more of a serious person, so my answer is a little more serious. I don't want it to sound dark, but it's really the truth. When you step into this role, expect attacks from the enemy and know how to stand your ground as a worship leader. Your faith has to be strong and you have to be saturated in the Word and presence of Jesus. Speak God's word over yourself and learn how to fortify yourself. We say this all the time around here: it's a privilege to lead people into the presence of God. And even in our human form we don't understand the full weight of it all. I truly believe that chains break when people are worshipping and that people experience freedom, and that is no small thing! In my own life, when I was first learning and growing in leading worship, I noticed all kinds of attacks on my personal life, especially mentally. On a Sunday I would get to the campus I was leading at and I would be assaulted with negative thoughts in my mind and I had to shake it off. To young worship leaders, my advice is to be ready, be strong, and press in.
- Zach: There is definitely a weight that we carry and we don't take it lightly. It's FUN and it's awesome to see the moments when God moves in our worship, but we don't take this job lightly by any means. We're motivated by our King Jesus, who gave it all for us. Worshipping Him with our whole lives is our honor and privilege.
❓ASK US ANYTHING
This week was so fun that we plan to do it again next week- same time, same place. We received some questions from our live video that we want to unpack, and we want to open it up here as well! So if you have any more questions for us, drop a comment below and we will tackle it next Thursday on Instagram Live at 10:30!
Don't Forget: Bethany Conference is Just a Week Away!
We can't wait to lead worship and to have the Highlands Worship team lead in our house during conference on June 19th- 21st.
We are helping build and equip the local church through this conference and we would love to meet you and talk about the REAL things: like how to do ministry, how to build community, what we've done that works and doesn't work, and what we're learning.
We look forward to continuing this conversation at Bethany Conference. Bring your worship teams next week and come say hello to us! More info and registration at Bethanyconference.com.