Bloom

By Debbi Shotlow
Worship Leader
November 22, 2018

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Where You Are Planted

As a new worship leader, I felt an unusual call to remain at my church for about two years and not visit other churches as some of my friends were doing at the time. It seemed as though every weekend someone was telling me of a place to go to hear this worship minister or that worship minister, to hear this choir or that singer, or to see how they worshiped over here at this church. I would hear constantly how the Spirit of God was moving at the church across town. God was moving at our church, but somehow I wanted more for our congregation.

Sometimes I would feel that God had His favorites in churches, and I really wanted to go. I just did not have a release to visit and see ‘the mighty workings of God’ in the other churches. In hindsight, I’ve learned that God wanted me to not glean from the other churches at that time, but that I needed to depend on Him to birth something indigenous, local and original, for our congregation.

It was not easy finding the right niche for our church. At first we tried every style we could and patterned ourselves after this group or mainstream praise and worship artist. If that did not work, we tried throwing in a country song, a rock-n-roll feel, a Gospel song here and there - you name it we tried it. I felt because of the cultural diversity of the congregation, we needed to sing songs from all styles just to walk on everybody’s street, if you know what I mean. Believe me, the journey of listening to different music styles is a labor of love in itself and it did something in me. It is a necessary thing to do as a worship leader because you want make it as easy as possible for your people to connect with God through music. I learned a valuable lesson because I really do like all styles of music now. I’ve been set free!

Within my time of “musical attitude adjustment,” I was so tired of all the music I was listening to and I wanted music to sing to Him alone. He gave me a chorus…that’s it, just a chorus without any verses. I believe I had that song for about one month, when He told me to give it to the church. Selfish me wanted a song that only I could sing to the Lord, but He told me to take it public. Little to my surprise, the verses came and an “indigenous” song was birthed in our church, and the congregation learned the song very quickly. Through this act of obedience we have birthed many “indigenous” songs. More and more, I began to introduce songs over the years and these songs have proven to be the songs the congregation holds on to.

I should tell you a little about the way that I write songs. Most of them are written in the secret place. Some of these songs were birthed through times of trials, sadness, joy, and pain. If He tells me to release them, I give them to the congregation. I truly do. I never push the songs I write on the congregation, Music Company , or the team, because I’ll let God do that. God has at times birthed songs right on the platform, and that’s always cool when He gives them to me that way. For me there is always a vulnerability when I introduce my songs to the public. I can’t explain it, but I figure it keeps me humble before the Lord. The main thing is to be obedient.

On another note, it is not wise to always do “in-house” stuff. We need to listen to other styles and influences so that we stay connected to the other musicians that play around the throne of God. What would the world do with the Parachute Band, Integrity Music, Vineyard Music and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, just to name a few? If you do your homework, you’ll see that God is breathing on these influences and many others I have not named. So, introduce your congregation to other streams and influences.

At our church we have a wide variety of music and that keeps the “music meal” interesting. Look at it this way, your “home grown music” is the dessert. The message in the madness is that if God has given you songs for your congregation, give it to them.

God will give you songs of deliverance for your congregation, He will birth in you the songs of spiritual warfare that need to be sung at the appropriate times. He will give you songs of refreshing, encouragement, peace, and healing when He wills it to be so. All we have to do is listen for the songs that are sung around the throne. We need only to remain in intercession for the congregation that God has given to us and the songs will flow.

I have since been released to visit other churches and be involved with my network of worship pastors and leaders. It brings me great joy to participate in Praise and Worship with others in the body of Christ. I can visit other churches and not be concerned if we are doing the right songs or if God is showing up or moving mightily across town.

I didn’t lose anything by staying at my church for a season, for when I visited the other churches, I found we were all in the same place. Sometimes we were singing the same songs and seeking God for the same thing, “Show us Your Face, Lord.” You see, God does not work that way. He wants to show up and spend time with His children, especially if we have invited Him into our churches.

I heard an audiotape of A.W. Tozer recorded in the 1940’s speaking about the revealed presence of God and the omnipresence of God. He said, “The omnipresence of God is everywhere in the worst church and in the best church. But the revealed presence of God was manifested in Jesus Christ and the extent to which the revealed presence of God is strongest is how much Jesus in our sermons, our songs and in the lives of the believers.” (paraphrased)

Let’s fill our churches with the power of God and reveal Him in truth by living a lifestyle of worship unto Him. The true revival fire is Jesus Christ! Make your church a watering hole for a thirsty saint or sinner needing a fill up.










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