Monday 31 October 2011


I was driving to work the other day and got to thinking on the subject of Heroes of the Faith.
Most of us are familiar with that passage in the book of Hebrews about the heroes of the faith as talked about in the Old Testament. People like Abraham, Isaac, Moses, in fact there is a brief synopsis of a number of famous Bible Heroes who did extraordinary things, by faith. 

Ordinary people 

The interesting point made about these people is that they "died, not having seen the fulfilment of the promise". (Heb 11:13) Ordinary people, being extraordinarily obedient to God without actually seeing the out working of their obedience, but trusting Him none the less.

I sometimes think we have a tendency to put far too much holiness on these great faith  people, (that these people were a cut above ordinary folk with a special handle on God) when they had very real struggles in every day life, just like me.
That led me to thinking about people in my life. People that I have had the honour to meet and rub shoulders with over the years who have been great witnesses of Gods power and love. Ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

Heroes of the faith 

My friend Brenda

 Brenda is a sweet old friend of 80+ who never  goes a day without a smile on her face and a kind word. Brenda had to give up her home because she could no longer get up the steps due to the pain in her back, hips and legs. She used to say to me:" …Oh I'm alright, God is so good, and I'm really very fortunate because there are so many people worse off than me. "
Brenda came to me once and said:" I really admire you and your family. You have such love for Jesus, it encourages me so much!"
I was really taken aback. This beautiful woman who at her age and in her pain still has an amazing relationship with Jesus. I said to her:" You know Brenda, you are my role model and hero. If I can get to your age and still love Jesus the way you do, I will have done well."
Interesting isn't it? We come across  so many people who on the outside are very ordinary, normal people but inside are solid strong God fearing, Jesus loving folk who I look up  to as living heroes.

Ken Bytheway

We can all aspire to be like Ken, who recently went to be with Jesus. Married for years, and faithfully attending church so as not to upset his wife, Ken was himself not a believer. When his wife passed away, Ken (by now already retired ) began to really delve into this faith his wife had. He was prompted to give his life to Christ and became so aware of Gods love in his life that he gave himself over to study of the word, and then became a scripture teacher at the local school. He personally influenced at least 2 of my kids in their journey with Jesus. I loved Ken, he loved Jesus, and was a true worshipper; he was my hero.

Heroes defined

I read this statement the other day in a devotional:
"Heroes of faith do not seek their own glory. They recognise that their life is an instrument for use by the living God."
We're a funny bunch, you know. We look to people who perform well in Sports, and declare them heroes. While they may have conquered the sporting field, they have actually never performed a heroic deed. 
You see, it's not the outward greatness that makes you a hero, it's what happens on the inside, and in the places where no-one is watching you. The glitz and the glamour are for the rich and famous, but the real heroes are those who daily lay their lives on the lines for our safety, security, well being, etc. the unsung heroes like our soldiers who fight wars on behalf of innocent defenceless civilians, or people like fire fighters and rescue specialists who, every time they attend an emergency to save lives, put their own lives at risk. These are the people who regularly save lives at the peril of their own.

And then there are those who go into battle for us on their knees. These are the unsung heroes of the faith, many of whom we'll never know about until we get to heaven. People like my mother, who prays for her children, grand children, and great grand children every day. People like the intercessors at church who fervently go into battle for those who can't themselves, praying for the sick, the needy, Governments, law keepers, the list goes on. In some way I can't help but think that these are the people who keep the World turning.

Bob Carlisle used to sing a song, the words of which go something like:
 "I can stand tall
On my knees, I can see forever, on my knees, I can face it all,
I feel like I can climb a mountain cause on my knees the worlds a
little smaller and I stand taller on my knees."
David Meece sang about the "Unknown soldier;
His words are few, he saves them 'til he's home and on his knees,
That's where he's a warrior; and he fights to see them free.

He's the unknown soldier, the unsung hero, the brother on the street,
He's the unknown soldier, the holy warrior who will never sound retreat,
He's your unseen comrade, and his triumph will be sweet,
He's the unknown soldier...

Both writers capture something of the heroism that goes on when no one's watching.
You too can be a hero of the faith. You can be a part of God's rescue team saving lives from the devastation of eternal separation from His Love. Go on, be a hero!
Now there a challenge.

 Have a great week.

Saturday 29 October 2011


I have been a worship leader for over 3 decades. If someone had asked me 20 years ago for a definition of worship, I probably would have given a different answer to the same question if asked 10 years ago, and definitely different again now.
I think my appreciation of worship is much more full now than it has ever been.

The early years

I was brought up in a traditional Dutch Reformed church. As a young child I had some, although very limited, exposure to Pentecostalism.
When we migrated to Australia, my parents found a new freedom in worship, and they decided to visit a number of different churches. As a result we became quite ecumenical; that is, we worshipped at a number of different denominations.

Worship was differently defined in different churches. I distinctly remember as a young boy the minister would always use the word "Worship" in relation to taking up the collection. "We will now worship the Lord with our free will offerings". So the only form of worship I knew as a kid was the one that cost me money.

Young worshipper

Some years later when I gave my life to Christ I began to understand what worship really was ( or so I thought): 3 fast songs followed by 3 slow songs in which the Spirit would move...
Then a number of years after that again I understood that worship was actually the whole music service before the preacher got up the preach. And if you didn't have the right ingredients or formula, well then you didn't have the spirit of worship on you. I was confused.

True Worship

It wasn't until I spent 5 years at an Anglican church that l really began to get a fuller understanding of what true worship is.
My Priest at the time, Father John, used to say to me:" People have a different way of connecting with God". That's the part where people get that tangible sense of the presence of God. I used to love seeing people "connecting with God" at different places in the service. Some responded in the music (my bit) others in the couple of minutes silence after the music-a kind of quiet reflection time; still others during the communion or the prayers.

It was interesting to see where different people responded to the "tug" of the Holy Spirit. It is this "connection " that points to true worship.

To kiss the face of God

I see true Worship as attaining close intimacy with our God. When we are in true worship, we are in His presence, so much so that you can almost sense His breath upon you. To me true worship is to "Kiss the face of God" it is the ultimate close intimacy, where nothing else matters.

When I kiss my wife intimately, I close my eyes and I absorb her. She and I are one. It is a beautiful example of totally giving yourself. This is what worship is totally giving yourself to Jesus in total intimate surrender. As worship leaders, you and I have the privilege and the honour of bringing people into His throne room; Into the very Holy of Holies. I love that! This is a good opportunity to capture God's heart. This is how I see worship and you and I have an amazing opportunity to experience it this Sunday.

Have a great week!


Sunday 16 October 2011

Are you desperate enough?

What drives me?

I ask myself the question why do I do what I do? What motivates me? What gets me out of bed in the morning? What drives me?

Other than the obvious answers of : I have bills to pay, my wife makes me, because I would be bored, etc, a deeper look at this question is required.

In every area of our lives there are things that make us tick. There are things that we are passionate about.

I love good coffee.

I love coffee so much that I was willing to make the decision to buy a good machine and find a really good roaster and grind and blend my own bean. The result is that people love coming for coffee at my place, because they are going to get as good a coffee if not better than one they pay money for at a coffee shop.

I am good at my job.

My boss and I started our business virtually from scratch, and we now have 6 stores employ some 33 staff and have a fleet of trucks on the road delivering goods all over the place. we are passionate about our business and want it to succeed and do well. We are keen to have the right people with the right attitude working with us so that our business prospers and in turn our staff share in the profitability of the company.

In order for me to stay on top of my game, I do a lot of research and development. I invent new products and look at ways of doing things better to achieve a better outcome for the client. In turn the clients love our ideas and purchase our product.

There is a cost.

Every time I have an idea, it may well cost us money. Some of my thoughts have cost our company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately they have been successful and we are on the way to making a profit from them.

There is a risk involved. Every time I have an idea, there is a risk that it won't succeed. That the idea is just too far fetched that people won't see it and therefore embrace it, and no matter how good my idea is, it doesn't get off the ground, and the money spent does not bring a return.

We do our homework well.

We research thoroughly. We build prototypes and test them. All these things because we are desperate to succeed. And then we market the new product and train our staff in the features and benefits of that product.

Are you desperate?

When you are desperate to achieve goals in life, you will do anything for that. Look at great sports people or famous inventors, scientists who have discovered life saving technologies or drugs.

As a Christian you are no different. You have a similar calling. Not only in your life as a student, professional, factory worker, checkout operator, but in your faith.

We all want God to do great things in our lives. We want to see the Holy Spirit move mightily in our lives, families, church services. We want to see healings, we want our churches filled with people who need Jesus.

Or do we??

How desperate are you?

How much do you want to see God move in your service? How much do you want to see the Spirit release His power in your Praise and Worship?

Are you prayed up? Daily? Are you seeking God? Daily and earnestly? Are you making changes in your life that fall into line with a holy calling? Are you doing the R&D; getting into God's word, seeking Him, communing, fellowshipping, meditating on Him?

Yes just as I mentioned all the prerequisites for success in business, there are requirements for successful church.

Proverbs 8:17 : I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.

When Lachlan asked me the first time if he could marry my daughter, I asked him what he was prepared to give up to marry her. His answer was hockey. Some months later when he asked me again if he could marry my daughter, I asked him the same question. This time his answer was: "I will give up anything and everything to be with Bethanie"

I am writing this blog from Bethanie and Lachlan's home.

What are you willing to do to see a full and vibrant church of people making strong inroads into your community, where the worship is great, and the Spirit of God manifests himself daily?

Have a great week.


Thursday 13 October 2011

Another milestone.

Today my family passed another milestone.
Yes, it's official. Everyone in my family is a worship leader.
I have had the privilege of leading worship in churches for many years. As a young father I was privileged to see my wife become a worship leader. She was a little uncomfortable about doing it, but when she launched out she was awesome. Not because I said so, but because people responded to her leading and the Spirit of God was present in the place and that is always a good sign. Her season as a worship leader was not a long one due to the pressures of motherhood. Tambrey spent many years alongside me as a backing vocal. Her support has been invaluable.
Joining the team
As our family grew up, it was so cool to see them join with us on the stage in various capacities as singers and musicians. Now they are all adults. My eldest 2 are married and living away. But I have seen both my big girls bring congregations into the presence of God as worship leaders in their own right. My eldest daughter Zoey is now a worship leader in her church in the town where they moved to 9 months ago. I also hear that the pastor of my second daughter Bethanie recently called her up to the stage to lead the congregation in song. Bethanie was a worship leader in our church before she married and moved away. 
Alexie and Jordan are still at home with us, and Alexie has been leading worship in our church for a little while. She is serving her apprenticeship well a d is a confident worship leader. (I have written a blog about her first time as worship leader a while ago, and I will post it on this site soon.)   
The latest addition to the team
Today I was privileged to see my son Jordan lead worship for the first time in our church. He did an amazing job! I'd like to think I have had something to do with them becoming worship leaders, however this is not true in the sense that I never encouraged them in it. It has always been the church leadership that has encouraged and called my kids into this ministry. 
So there you have it. We are a family of worship leaders. Maybe it's because they have seen me get so much satisfaction and joy out of this ministry that they have felt comfortable in going into it too. Whatever the reason, I'm glad. The ministry of worship is in good hands when we see young, dedicated keen Jesus lovers enter into this ministry.  It's not because they are my kids, if you are a worship leader, you too have a responsibility to pass on the baton to other up and coming leaders. Not to create clones, mind you; but to mentor and train them into their own unique calling. 
God bless you in your calling. Yours is a unique and Holy calling, give it your best and encourage others in their call as well. 

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Holy satellite navigation (Seeing things from God’s perspective)


Looking at the obstacle

In business as well as in life we come across all kinds of obstacles that hinder us or try to prevent us from reaching certain goals. These obstacles can range from situational to emotional to physical and spiritual. Obstacles are a nuisance and can be down right debilitating; overcoming the obstacles, a challenge.

I'm sure you can look back even at the last 7 days and recognise situations that haven't gone to plan or even went in quite the opposite direction.

What was your response? Or should I say what was your reaction?

The book of James tells us right at the beginning to "Count it all joy, brothers, when you come across all kinds of tests"

But I’m Different

"Well that's easy for you to say, you haven't seen what I'm going through right now!" And you're right. I don't have a clue what's going on in your life: but then again you don't know what my struggles are doing to me either.

But I have learnt something special that I want to share with you today.

Have a look again at James chapter 1 and verse 2, now read the next 2 verses: James 1:3-4

3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Whoa there! Step back a minute! You mean that if I endure this tough season with patience and prayerful consideration, that good will come of it? Well, yes that's what my bible reads... I have found in life and am finding more and more, the importance and the value of looking past the obstacle.

Examples from History

I want to draw your attention here to the book of Ruth. When she tethered herself to Naomi her mother in law, even though they both were widows with little or no hope of a future, the obstacles in their lives had been great, they had lost everything. a stranger in a strange land, a foreigner with no possessions and no future and a bitter past. Her attitude was: "your people will be my people and your God will be my God." obstacle words? No words of hope and determination. What did the testing of her faith bring? Only the richest dude in town! She ended up lacking nothing.

When Jesus hung on the cross, what did he say to the penitent thief? "today you will be with me in paradise". Don't you think that kind of weird when you really ponder this? I mean, here were 3 men crucified, suffering the most painful torturous death imaginable, and Jesus looks past His pain, and sees the thief with Him in paradise.

Little Obstacles

We think we're doing it tough when we get a flat tyre on the way to work or someone we thought was a friend spreads malicious gossip about us, but I scarcely think we really understand what real suffering is about; especially suffering for our faith.

Where am I going with this? Little obstacles in our way are opportunities to honour God and grow in spiritual stature. Without the tough times we would not be half the people we are.

I know a lady, a dear friend, 70+ years old and suffering with cancer. Suffering? There is little left of her, she can't keep food down, there are artificial bits added to her body to help make life comfortable. I asked her how she deals with this. She said: " I don't know why God hasn't healed me yet, but every time I have to go to the hospital for chemotherapy or treatment, I look for someone I can encourage and talk to about the goodness of God. I think this is my mission field ."

Don’t blame God

This beautiful lady does not blame God for her obstacle, she praises Him in it. I'm not saying she's hyper faith, she's certainly not in denial, how can she be? But she loves Jesus and knows that whatever she faces, she is a part of God's bigger picture, and she has her part to play in it. She rarely misses an opportunity to attend church, and she always looks amazing.

This lady has her eyes firmly fixed on the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Count it all joy... Keep your eye on the call... You have a holy calling, and obstacles will get in your way.

I see the Bible, God's Word, as a kind of holy roadmap. The Holy Spirit is like the voice on my Spiritual Sat Nav.

When God directs you to go somewhere, He usually means for you to get there. And when you stray off the directed path, the Holy Spirit gently re-writes the route to your goal. When you come across obstacles in your way, preventing you from reaching your holy calling, God's Word is there. His Holy Spirit is the voice in your ear to direct and guide your path.

Are you listening? Are you hearing the voice? Like the Sat-Nav, He never loses patience, he's just saying:" take the next turn..." and directing you back to the call.

Have a blessed week.


Tuesday 11 October 2011

Love is the principal thing (Part 2)


In part one of this blog, I started to speak about the reasons why we are in relationship with Jesus, and everything that is involved and included in this...that Love is the principal thing. I then left you with a challenge...

Did you do it??? Did you read and meditate on Psalm 91? Isn’t it the most amazing piece of scripture? “He who dwells in the secret place of the most High...” and right down to :” With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation” Such love, such intimacy...

The Challenge

Why did I challenge you to read this psalm? You are a worship leader, whether at the front leading the singing, or at the back, keeping the beat, or somewhere in between, you are a worship leader. If you can get a revelation of what this psalm is saying, then you will find it much easier to communicate that love and intimacy to the church today.

Worship leading can be a real struggle. Why do I do it, especially week after week, and especially when the congregation seems so unresponsive, and unappreciative? The reason I keep coming back to this wonderful call is the title of this blog: Love is the Principal thing.

Response to rebellion

As a parent, I have experienced in my own children rebellion, un-appreciation, ignorance of my instruction, un-responsiveness... but never once did I stop loving them, never once did I give up reminding them, encouraging them, disciplining them, loving them. Now that they are older, and mostly independent, they have a much greater appreciation of what Tambrey and I did for them all those years ago. In doing what we did, we helped to build their character and personality, and we helped shape their sense of intimacy with Jesus.

Worship-leading is not that far different. You have an amazing opportunity to impart into this congregation principals of worship, grace, mercy and love. Even though it may seem to be falling on deaf ears, your job is not to reap the harvest, yours is to sow and to water and to nurture. Many is the time when I have walked away from the stage exhausted and drained, feeling that the worship had gone absolutely nowhere, and wondering if God was in the place at all. Then someone would come to me later and say: “Erick that worship really ministered to me today, thank you!” Wow! The challenge is: am I doing this for earthly reward or for a heavenly one?

The Principal Thing

Today I have been reading a book by English author Adrian Plass. It is called “Jesus: Safe, Tender, Extreme” He makes this statement which really brings home my point about the principal thing: “The sacred and mystical truth is that when we Christians touch each other, we are touching Jesus. When that touch is the touch of care and love, heaven smiles on us...”


John 15:12-17 says this (Words of Jesus, written in red): “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from the Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”

How strong the instruction, how beautiful the promise, how pertinent the reminder. The very instruction Jesus starts with is the same as the one He concludes with: “That you love one another”. Bear in mind, dear worship leader, that this is a command. See, sometimes with your family, your worship team, your congregation, your Pastor, things aren’t going to go the way you planned or even wanted. The principal thing is love. Let love be your guide and your motivator. This week you have the opportunity to bring your congregation into “the secret place of the Most High”. Whether your worship experience is a fantastic time or it all goes pear shaped, remember: LOVE IS THE PRINCIPAL THING.

God bless you real good, and have a great week!


Monday 10 October 2011

Love is the principal thing. (Part 1)

Greetings from China!
As I sit here in my comfortable hotel room in China, listening to Worship music streaming through my computer, my thoughts are with everyone out there today who is at Church, participating in the anointed worship, diligently prepared by you, our faithful Worship Leaders, taking in the anointed Word of God, a message in-season, prayerfully prepared by our Pastors, refreshing us from the week past, and re-charging us ready for the week that lays ahead.
This is my second week away from the Studio, and I really miss Darin, Suzie and Chris. These guys are the high-light of my week! We talk with each other, joke with each other, share Jesus with each other, pray together, eat together, laugh together, and we share our thoughts, experiences, highs and lows of life, the church and specifically aspects of Worship leading.
We are in this together
In all of this, we all feel very much a part of you and your world as you join us on the Worship Leaders Podcast each week. It is an honour to have you join us each week, sharing those experiences, and allowing us to encourage you from the Word of God and by the example of our own lives. Thank you!
There is really only one reason why we record the Worship Leaders Podcast each week: you! We are so passionate about this thing we call worship; the act of falling on our faces before a Mighty, awesome, majestic, righteous, loving God; a God who is not too busy to be intimately interested in every part of my life, who knows the very number of the hairs on my head!! (Matt 10:30). Our desire is that as we share that Passion with you, that it will rub off onto you, encourage you, build you up and charge you up in your holy calling.
My Week in China
It has been a busy week here in China. I have spent the past week in a half star hotel. The bed felt like it was made up of layers of re-cycled worn-out carpet, there were things not working, and every night upon my return to my room there would be an array of business cards slipped under my door with photos of scarcely-clad women on it and telephone contact numbers. As if! I have been married to the most amazing woman in the world for about 28 years! No one could come close so I am definitely NOT interested. I ended up that week with a sore back and neck, tired of walking through the Fair I was attending. So now I am in a 5 star Hotel, enjoying some of the creature comforts like a comfortable bed. (Phil 4:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound!)
The thing about all this is that as I am away from family and daily routine, it is easy to forget the things established at home; Prayer, devotions, giving myself to the study of God’s word. And yet here it is so much more important even than at home. I am in a strange land, with strange customs, where communication is difficult at the best of times and almost impossible most of the time! So I need Jesus, my constant companion; and the Holy Spirit in me to guide me to the right people, the right business deals, keeping me safe from danger, and keeping me safe from myself.
I am not alone!
Am I on my own? Yes. Am I alone? Certainly not! Jesus said: I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Heb 13:5) See, no matter how I look at it, Jesus loves me, this I know! He is my constant companion and my guide and protector. The reason why we record the Podcast, the reason God gave His Son, the reason Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me; the principal thing is LOVE!
At the completion of reading this, I challenge you to do something radical: Get out your bible, and read Psalm 91. All of it. Then take some time out to meditate on it. This is one of the most wonderful Psalms about the promise of God to those who are intimate in Him... but I am giving it away. I dare you! And let us know what you have discovered.
God bless you real good this week.

Sunday 9 October 2011


Attitude or Gratitude. 

Has there ever been a time when you were preparing for worship when you said to yourself or to God; "I just don't want to do this thing today". 
I know there have been times when I have felt exactly like that. 
For example the time I had to prepare for the worship service and the only resource given me was a song book with about 30 songs in it, 28 of which I didn't even like. I had a real attitude attack and it wasn't pretty. I ranged from frustration to anger to snide remarks about the music director; I was full of stinking thinking. 

The point is that this sort of attitude was not and is not helpful when trying to put together an anointed worship service. In fact, it won't work. The Devil knows that in true worship, you are a direct threat to his kingdom. When people enter in to true worship, when they see Jesus, when the Spirit of God moves in the church service, the devil is left powerless. So he will use any tool possible to thwart great worship. 

Apologizing to God

My first response when I realise that I am falling into his trap is to apologise to God. Literally: "I'm sorry, Lord. This is just not helping you or me. Please forgive me and help me to bring the songs you want to this service. "
See, then I can change from attitude to Gratitude. I can begin to thank Him for who He is and what He is going to do in the service. I can thank Him for leading me to the correct songs, regardless of the choice before me. 

Let me say right here, dear worship leader, that I do not subscribe to the notion that only the thirty songs in the current song list that the music director ( or whoever) has given me are the only songs relevant for our congregation in this season. They may be anointed, they may be great, but so are the thousands of others that have been written to honour our king, to present to Him our thanks and praise, to bring us into the place of falling on our knees before Him in humble adoration, repentance of convicted sin, or intercession on behalf of others. 

How many songs in your repertoire

I recently met a music director and Worship leader who has 5 music teams in his church. He has a plethora of people who are involved in the music ministry in his church. He also showed me his song list. He has over 450 songs that he makes available to his worship leaders to choose from. As he said to me: "With 5 different teams, I have 5 different worship leaders, each of them having their own style and method of tapping into God. The congregation is really responsive to each of them, because they are so different, and no 2 worship services are the same. We love it that way, God really moves in different ways each Sunday" 
They say variety is the spice of life, and I agree! 

Mirror Jesus in your Worship

It is really important that when preparing for the worship service, our attitude has to reflect Jesus. 
If you are finding any of the emotions I have mentioned earlier creeping into your preparation, do what I do; put the music book down, pick up your bible, some great devotional material, and whatever else you can get your hands on, and clear and cleanse your mind with the Word. Repent, pray, seek, forgive, love. 
Then get back to your preparation, but earnestly seek God and ask Him what He would say to your congregation this Sunday. If you have a 30 song list as I did, satisfy the quota by putting a couple of songs from that list in. There are old songs that carry a great anointing; even hymns. Songs that people remember and don't have to look at an overhead screen to read. Use these familiar songs to lead people into the presence of God. 
Remember God can work with Gratitude much easier than with Attitude. 
You are an anointed Worship Leader. Follow these principles, pray up and get excited, and see God move in your worship of Him!
God bless you, have a great Sunday. 


Saturday 8 October 2011



On the week of the 20th July 2011, I was saddened by the news of the passing of a great friend and brother in the Lord, and a wonderful praise and worship leader on his chosen instrument.
Bruno had been diagnosed just not that long ago with Mesothelioma, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelium. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.(courtesy of Wikipedia)
He didn’t get much notice about his impending appointment with destiny, but he spent his last months on this earth talking to anyone who would listen about his Saviour, Jesus Christ, and how we can have the True Peace that only comes from God.

Bruno was a worshipper. He was possibly one of the most anointed sax players I have ever known, and he had a revelation of Jesus, and the power of Praise and Worship. In his own way, Bruno was actually a Worship Leader. You see, there is a common misconception that the “praise and worship leader” is just the one who organises the songs and stands up the front leading the congregation in the prepared song list.
I want right here and now to dispel that myth. Anyone who occupies the “stage” whether you are the song leader, a musician or a backing vocalist, you are a Praise and
Worship Leader. Yes, even the drummer is anointed to lead worship on his instrument. How? By playing your instrument to God, and worshipping Him with your instrument you are being a praise and worship leader.
An old pastor of mine used to say: “Leaders lead by example”. You know, even when you are not occupying a spot on the stage, and are standing in the congregation, you are still called to
be a Worship Leader right there from where you stand. Your very act of worship will encourage others and lead them to do the same.

I loved the way Bruno played his instrument. He was Jazz trained, and knew his way very well around the Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophone, as well as the Clarinet. We invited him to play on one of my albums. One of the songs  is a jazz number called “Let’s not limit what we are” . Bruno came in and said what do you want me to play? Darin played him the song, and said “Just play as the Spirit leads”.Darin pressed the record button, and Bruno played. By the time he had finished, we were in tears. The anointing was so powerful in that Studio, we were overwhelmed. Bruno knew how to worship God with his instrument.
20 years ago, I was in the same church as Bruno. I remember even then in worship, the Spirit would come on him as he played. The result was that people would be released, there would be healings and other miracles.

There are 4 keys to Bruno’s ability to be a praise and worship leader with his instrument.
1) Bruno was a true worshipper. He had an alive and active relationship with his God and Saviour. He knew about the amazing Grace of God that saved him and he was grateful for it. He loved his Jesus.
2) Bruno was skilled in his instrument. He was well practised and well rehearsed in the instruments he played as well as having a good knowledge of the songs.
3) Bruno was obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. When the anointing came on him, he did not back down, or quit, he played and played to God, to the best of his ability.
4) Bruno did not outplay his anointing. He knew how to be sensitive; when to play, and when not to play; when to play loud and when to play soft. His playing was not ego driven, it was not to show off, but to honour God and worship Him. .
These keys apply not only to Musicians, but also to singers.
Fellow praise and worship leader, we can all learn from Bruno. Like him, you too are called to be both a worshipper, and a worship leader. Get close to Jesus this week, and ask Him for a new boldness in worship. Love Him passionately; not just on Sunday morning, but every day. Worship Jesus in Spirit and in Truth, and allow His Spirit to reveal in you new facets of God’s Glory.
To the memory of Bruno, Have an overcoming week.
God Bless you real good, and keep on striving to be the best praise and worship leader you can be, whatever your role in the team!

Friday 7 October 2011


Recently I had the honour of being in the music team with my Daughter leading praise and worship.
Whilst she has been leading praise and worship at the church youth group for some time now, she has little experience in leading praise and worship in a Sunday morning service. Let me tell you: She did a great job. God was in the house, and you could sense the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.
Working Together When Leading Praise and Worship
Alexie does not really play an instrument, but she has an amazing voice. The challenge with being relatively new to leading praise and worship and not playing an instrument is that there can be a tendency for “Gaps” . These can quickly lead to awkward silence if the leader is not on the ball, so this is where I stepped in. With guitar and microphone, and having a very good idea of where Alexie was taking the worship, (We had practised all songs prior, and she had communicated what she wanted to achieve and how she planned to do that), I “filled in the gaps”, allowing for a smooth transition while she “caught her breath” so as to speak.
The Keys to Leading Praise and Worship “Tag Team”
The key to the success of this session was in two parts: I had to remain in the background. It is important for anyone who is supporting up and coming worship leaders to allow them the freedom in doing what they are doing, and helping them to achieve that.In other words, let help them discover their leadership qualities. When Alexie looked a little unsure, I took over, gently so as not to make it obvious, and as soon as she regained her confidence, I stepped back and let her take over. Tag team.
The second part is that it important for the up and coming
worship leader to be teachable. Alexie was both humble and gracious enough to allow me to help her, and step in. Sometimes I could see a questioning look on her face, almost uncomfortable saying “Where do I go from here? How do I get to the next step?” I merely took the reigns, directed the band and we continued on.
In a way, because Alexie and I are related and we have shared the stage together over the years on many occasions, she is comfortable around me and knows to trust me. I had to make absolutely sure that I did not abuse that trust. This is another important key to Tag Team Worship Leading.

Reproducing While You are Leading Praise and Worship
My fellow worship leader, I encourage you as you read these blogs and listen to the Worship Leader Podcast, look at the members of your team, and find people who can be trained up to lead worship. Whether in a Youth Group, a Home Cell, a mid-week meeting or a Sunday service. Remember you can’t be there all the time, and the congregation loves variety. (I mean, I don’t eat peanut butter at every meal! ) Be prepared to do some Tag Team when leading praise and worship. This may be as simple a beginning as your ‘apprentice’ leading just one or two praise songs at the beginning of the service. As they become more confident, loosen up the reigns and let them take more on. You are always there for them to fall back on.
And make sure that you get together both before the service to plan, and after the service to analyse. Don’t use the after service to criticise your apprentice for short falls or hiccups. Chances are that if things didn’t go to plan, and the music wasn’t brilliant, they are already punishing themselves. Use every experience to build in readiness for the next one. Tag Team when you are leading praise and worship is very important and can be amazingly affective in bringing your congregation into the presence of God.
The outcome of Last Sunday? My wife and our Pastor came to me after and said: You two worked really well together leading praise and worship this morning…” We were a team with a unity of purpose. And when the people dwell together in Unity, God commands the Blessing!
Be sure to tune into the latest podcast, and have a listen to the ones you haven’t downloaded yet.
God Bless you real good and have a great week!
Erick  (And keep on leading praise and worship to His glory!)

Sunday 2 October 2011



I love to lead worship. I love the fact that under the anointing of the Holy Spirit I have the opportunity and ability to bring people into the awesome presence of God, to be touched by Him, ministered to, healed, set free and to see yet another facet of His glorious beauty. 
And yet each time I do, there is a feeling, almost of anxiety, nerves, will I do it right, will I honour God, will what I do be good enough? I don't know about you, fellow worship leader; maybe for you it's different. Maybe it's easy to select your songs, to think of the right words to say, to pray the right prayer, to tap into the Holy Spirit. 


For me, the week leading up to the church service is a whole week of preparation. Not that I piously sit in front of piles of books and devotional material at every spare opportunity, or that I spend hours and hours in my prayer closet, (I don't actually have one of those), praying and interceding. I'm not that Holy. Maybe if I was, or maybe if I had the time, my preparation and lead up would be much easier.  
However, I do think about the coming Sunday often, and I will shoot up silent prayers like: "God, what songs would you have me do this week? What are you saying to me, to this congregation? Lord be present in our worship this Sunday, I can't do it without you!" 
In 3 decades this hasn't changed. In fact, if anything, I have become more conscious of the weight of what I do. The ministry of leading worship is for me more than just about picking my favourite 4-6songs for the week, arranging them into masterpieces of instrumental magic that will enrapture the congregation into emotional rollercoaster rides of pure enjoyment and amazement... I'm just not that good, and it's not about that!  

I am increasingly aware that this Sunday morning, I have one opportunity to honour God, to prepare the hearts of the congregation to receive the anointed Word of God from the preacher of the day; to set the stage, as it were, or to create an atmosphere for great things to happen in our service; for hearts to be changed, for spirits to be renewed and refreshed, for God to do amazing things in my Church, for the lost to be saved. 
I view this opportunity as a great honour, and a tremendous responsibility. 


Maybe I'm the fool. Maybe I've put too much emphasis on what I do? Maybe it is only about picking some songs that the congregation will like to sing along to, so as to get them quietened down, focussed, ready for the collection and the church announcements??? 
I have seen what happens in congregations when careful prayerful preparation has gone into the song service and I can easily compare that to other services where that hasn't been the case. I'm not saying that God can't move where He wants to, He certainly can and does. However, when I read scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament, I see what is required of this who would minister to the congregation in the house of God. 


If you want God to do great things in your church this Sunday, you will have to do some work. 
This for me includes prayer, self examination, and confession, reading of the Bible, checking out my devotionals, and going over my song list. Most times I will do a final list early on Sunday mornings. I may have a short-list of about 12 songs leading up to that day, but by 6:30am on Sunday morning I will have it down to the final list. 
Now I must add here this one thing. Worship Leading is tremendously rewarding for me. It is exhilarating, rewarding, exhausting and fun. Yes, fun. I get a real buzz from doing this. It is not all serious piety; it is fun. I believe God wants it that way. Why would He ask us to do something (other than a specific thing) that has no enjoyment in it? He wants us to enjoy His presence. After all, who else than His kids can get an audience with the creator of the Universe so readily?  We are privileged! Let's enjoy the audience. 

This Sunday, think about your preparation time, both physical (song list and arrangements) and spiritual. The better prepared you are in your heart, the more God can and will use you to draw people to Himself! 
God bless you, have a great week!