Podcast Episode #158: Keeping Worship Fun with Matt Stinton

Worship leader and songwriter Matt Stinton joins the podcast to discuss answering the call to lead, laying down our dreams for God's, and keeping worship fun for everyone.

Jason and Daniel discuss Sovereign Grace's All Creatures Of Our God and King and give shout outs.

Here are some highlights from this conversation.

Wrestling with the call to lead worship

When we follow the Lord, we are going to have to lay things aside. What we don't understand always is God’s big picture is so much better than our little scrap of a dream. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a struggle. It becomes clear over time and looking back you can see God’s hand working. What He has brought me into is so much more fulfilling.

Can I be creative and lead worship?

The answer is definitely yes, but there’s a balance. You have to make sure that when you are doing these creative things you’re remembering that you are leading a bunch of people who are not super creative or musical as a rule. We’re there to facilitate an encounter between God and His people first and foremost. If our creativity gets in the way of that we aren’t doing our job. At the same time, God is creative and created creativity so it’s important for us to engage that in worship; they go together. Explore and try new arrangements and instrumentation but do it in a way people can still follow.

How to keep leading worship fun

It’s easy to fall into routine and when you do that it’s easy to lose the fun. Losing track of why you’re there can steal the fun. You never know what can happen in the service, and that’s exciting. Taking things too seriously will steal the fun. A major mistake is to try and get our identity out of what we’re doing rather than who we are. If we’re trying to get notoriety and status out of it we’re doing it wrong. We’re there to make God known.

What happens when you do become known for leading worship?

It really is a challenge. You can tell yourself that you’re keeping God first but when the lights are on, and the room is electric, it’s easy to get a little starstruck ourselves and glory in the praise of others. If we are trying to get something out of leading worship it shows we are insecure and that’s something we have to work on. We’ve got to inspect our hearts and asking the Lord to keep us on the level. My prayer has been "God keep me humble and if I won’t be humble, humble me". He’s been pretty faithful to that. Nobody wants to be an arrogant worship leader, but some people end up there by accident.

How do you keep your identity in the right place?

God was pleased with Jesus before He even began His ministry. The Father was pleased with the Son before the Son had even done anything. The pleasure of the Father isn’t centered around what you do but who you are. We try to answer the question "who am I" with the things that we do. We lead worship, but do we know who we are?

What can you learn from cowriting songs?

I wrote a lot on my own until I got to Bethel where I began writing with others. Cowriting is incredibly vulnerable. You’re showing your baby to someone and they’re telling you everything that’s wrong with it. But all the great songs are written by multiple people, there is strength in it and you can learn a lot from other songwriters. You can learn a lot from other songwriters. Cowriting is a great way to learn some humility.

How is it different leading your own songs in worship?

Sometimes it’s awesome and sometimes it’s really vulnerable. Sometimes you can sing Jesus Loves Me with the right people and it’s going to blow up. Other times you’re with people who aren’t as quick to catch it. No one can sing a song they’ve never heard before, so singing a song for the first time might not get a ton of engagement the first time. Leading your own songs also helps you learn yourself because you recognize sections that fall flat and ones that are really great. When you’re song is close enough to try a chorus, why not? Give the chorus a shot on it’s own and see how it goes. It might give you a feel for what works corporately.

Follow Matt on Instagram. Listen to Anastasia's music on Spotify or Apple Music.

If you want to shout out one of your worship team members, do it here and we’ll let you know if we read it on the podcast!

Kristina Kislyanka leads worship and student ministry at her church in Washington state. She’s passionate about songwriting, producing music, and growing community within the Church. Kristina is a member of the Maverick City Music Choir. 

Podcast Episode #158: Keeping Worship Fun with Matt Stinton

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