J: Like everything else with the magazine, we’re going to have a really open dialogue about whatever God wants us to talk about. This issue is Undone and it’s all about worship and learning to worship, and being at the feet of Jesus, and going to the throne of God. It’s like, How do we be who God’s calling us to be and how do we live this life of Worship? So, we’re just going to have a conversation and I just thank you so much for being at the center of this.
B: I’m so honored—ridiculously honored. Thank you so much. Well, I do have something on my heart that might kick this off in a direction. You were talking about what God can do in the blank space, you know, of the seasons that we enter. And I think in my life, personally, I feel like I’m constantly stepping in and out of seasons of drastic breakthrough and seasons of the complete opposite in terms of what I’m seeing. The past two weeks have been, in a worldly sense, really, really, really horrible. We found out two weeks ago that we miscarried our second baby. And to make things worse, we’re trying to process and my wife has been waking up a lot with severe anxiety attacks. It’s just crazy how like what I’m learning about the Kingdom and what I’m learning about the Lord is that He may not cause the horrible things that happen to us, but He is so excellent at crafting beauty after it happens and while it’s happening and even probably before it happens.
I wasn’t even processing the name of your next issue and then when I sat down, you reminded me that it’s called Undone. It’s insanely beautiful because I realize that the Lord is so kind and so good. If I can express in a Kingdom term what I feel right now, it’s completely undone, because I don’t have much to even distract me from the face of God right now because I do feel like I’m in one of those pressing seasons of like “Oh man, everything’s falling apart in terms of around me.” But when the Lord said that He’s nearest to the broken-hearted, I cannot express how much we feel that right now as a family.
My encounters with Him—my worship has been firing on all cylinders and He’s using a lot of these horrible things to drive us into His heart. And so, it is not coincidence that we’re going through that when we’re having this conversation because I feel more raw and more vulnerable than I have in a while, but I think there’s a lot of beauty to that, too. So, I wanted to set that up because I’ve learned with worship-leading, especially in the church, that one of the fast-tracks to take a congregation into new depths of worship begins with vulnerability on the platform, every time. In art, vulnerability is literally the number one value, that if that’s off, then your art is going to suffer for it. It doesn’t matter if you’re leading worship or writing, so I wanted to introduce vulnerability into the atmosphere here and hitch our wagon to it and see where it goes.
J: That’s beautiful—thank You Jesus!
B: I’m really, really honored to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and even when the things started falling apart for us, I just had this conversation kept like a milestone in my spirit. [I knew it was going] to be a powerful conversation and I thought, “I’m going to be able to process some of the things we’re going through—even just through talking about how good [God] is.” I guess that’s my intro.
J: Thank You Holy Spirit for that. I love it—it’s such a great introduction because I think it is that vulnerability place and I’m with you. I don’t think that God “causes” these things. I think He’s just there to sort of carry us through and to just walk with us. I think also that God cries over us. I think He laughs and all of that occurs. I think this is what the church needs to hear—it is a breakthrough! We do not have everything figured out. We are not perfect Christians or perfect people and we are going to argue with God and we are going to throw fits and we are going to cry and we are going to say, “God, how could you have done this to me of all people when I am trying to be the leader?”
B: For whatever reason, Lord knows He has given me these specific platforms to speak from right now mainly to the church. There have been so many seasons where I literally am just driving around asking Him, “Why me? What on earth do I have together that You’re entrusting me to stand in front of these people and pull them closer to You?” And I think what God has been teaching me is that the lie that I used to believe is that being a leader or a forerunner in something meant that you were together. When really (this is what’s brought so much permission and courage to my heart) it’s not about being together, it’s about being unraveled and radically entrusting what we have to the Lord. And it’s the amount that we do that is actually what promotes us into being great leaders.
It’s hard because in church, we do have this specific rule system (almost an unwritten rule system) where you always have to step into the same persona every time you walk out on the platform in front of people. And I’m not trying to demonize that or say that is a horrible thing, but what I will say is that I’ve seen vulnerability instantaneously, the millisecond it’s introduced, completely unify what’s happening on the platform with what’s happening in the congregation. It’s so beautiful. And that’s what I love about what God’s doing in the artistic realm right now. That does go in partnership with art in the world and also art in the church. But what I’m seeing is that we’ve got a lot of people that believe that they are trapped in doing art in the church and that means they can’t do art in the world or we have people doing art in the world and that means they can’t do art in the church. And what I think the world needs to see is people operating in radical obedience because I think both is needed.
My view is that art is breathing. What I do on the platform inside the church is me inhaling and what I do outside the walls of the church is me exhaling. And so if I only exist outside the walls of the church, then I’m eventually gonna be a dry, lifeless, zombied person because I’ve only been exhaling. And if I only exist inside the church, then my lungs are gonna be over expanded and they’re gonna need to release somehow because that’s our whole commission to be here—to love the lost.
I don’t have a specific answer on what that looks like for me yet. But I know that the Lord has been faithful in maneuvering me and promoting me properly and I’ve stopped trying to promote myself because I have hurt myself enough times to know that He’s way better at promoting than I am. So when He gives me a platform in the church, I take it. When He gives me a platform in the world, I take it. I’ve found a lot of beauty in both of them.
J: Oh my gosh, what a beautiful conversation! I think that really distinguishes who the bride’s called to be. Because we need to be the same no matter where we are. Right? We need to look in the mirror—and that reflection coming back needs to be the same person that you see in church or in your business or wherever we are. We need to be the same person. The message might shift slightly, but that’s about being Spirit-lead.
B: One hundred percent! The cool thing about walking in freedom, especially if you’ve been given any microphone or any means of having your voice elevated and shared with the world, is when we do choose that, Kingdom is represented every time. It can be represented through our mourning, it can be represented through our victory, it can be represented through our joy. The only separation for me exists in, “Am I choosing to walk in freedom through what I’m going through or am I choosing to walk in slavery through what I’m going through?”
The closer I get to the Lord’s heart and the closer I try to understand the Lord’s heart, the more I long to let go and walk in freedom, and trust the persona that I’m striving so hard to create and trying so hard to represent in front of these different people. I’m trying so hard to get to the place where I completely entrust and abandon that to the Lord and believe that that interaction in itself is what’s going to thin the veil between Heaven and Earth and these different arenas.
One thing I’ve learned about the world right now is that the meter that kind of pings when people are being dishonest with who they are, that is fully functioning in the world right now. It is forcing us Christians to make sure that we’re bringing our true selves to the table when we’re talking about the Lord, and I think that’s only going to help forward the Gospel, it’s not going to hinder it. I just love that. I do love that process.
J: Oh man, it’s beautiful. I just think that this area here is an awakening. We’re starting to have this breakthrough. . .you’re trying to walk it out and I think you’re not alone in that. There’s a lot of us that have felt something’s been off and we’ve asked the question, “What are we missing here? Something’s missing.” Slowly but surely, we’ve started to recognize that this connection needs to be made—we need to be the same person all the time, and how does that happen? Now, it’s happening and we’re still trying to figure it out.
B: I can’t tell you how many times this topic has kept me up at night. And what I love about this conversation and where it’s headed is that these are the things that I feel like the Lord has been deeply working out in me just in the past couple months. It’s like one of those really fresh things that the Lord has been teaching me because I still experience this to such a frustrating degree. I would get offended when I would pour everything that I had out to the Lord on a platform and be met with skepticism and crossed arms from the congregation. I even wrote in a journal entry some feelings I had to process with the Lord. I’m like, “Lord, I feel like if I can’t put into a picture what I feel like I’m experiencing when I’m leading worship right now, it’s that I walk onto that platform with no clothes on and I’m met with crossed arms and judgmental gazes.” That’s what I felt like was happening and that was the beginning of my really honest process with the Lord of maybe finding some healing. That’s where He lead me through these Scriptures like Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Then love My sheep. And it just took me into this journey in because what I noticed in my worship leadership—I began leading worship when I was angry. I left the invitational method of leading worship and I started trying to force it and it wasn’t working. And what I realized in that moment was that where I thought in that season the Lord was telling me to corral that church, forcing them into their next expression of worship overall as a church, He was teaching me how to worship in the face of adversity. I’m sure it had something to do with them, but I think it had more to do with me. And that comes in mind with one of my values with worship which is humility. (I have four values—heart, humility, beauty and bravery. I’m constantly taking my worship and running it through those lenses.)
What I was neglecting in my worship was humility because I thought that I had it figured out and the church didn’t. And when I realized that, and I started looking at how Jesus spoke to people in His ministry, He didn’t force the woman at the well to change, He gave her an invitation to change, and when she looked into the eyes of compassion, she couldn’t walk away the same. So me as a worship leader, I have to lead the same way. These are things I’m on the cusp of implementing right now. It’s not something that I can say “This is gonna be your byproduct after twenty years of doing ministry that way.” In twenty years, hopefully I’ll be able to say that, but what I can tell you is that at ground zero, it frees me before it even messes with anyone else. It helps me walk in freedom; a worship leader has to learn how to walk in freedom if they ever wanna guide people into freedom. Those are some current things I’m going to the mat with the Lord on.
J: Oh, it’s just so good.
B: I don’t recommend everyone getting tattoos or anything like that, but I have this one here that says Servant, and it’s funny because I walked through this long season of being angry. I walked through it and I didn’t want to look at this tattoo that whole season. Then, I felt the Lord in a moment. I was getting ready one day, I looked in the mirror and I saw it. It was one of those things where the Lord was like “Remind Me why you got that again.” And I snapped back to when I got it—I got it as a reminder. It was such a sweet Father/Son moment of like Okay, remember. It was another process, especially being in an artistic craft where there are lights and haze and there’s this cool factor and all these things. Which, I don’t despise those things. I look at those as excellence and art. But at the end of the day, if we (in all our different spheres, whether I’m an IT engineer or I’m an artist or I’m really good at admin) lose sight of the fact that the most free I can be is serving His sheep and loving His sheep, then not only are they going to miss out on something, but mainly I’m gonna miss out on something.
I do believe that love is the purest form of freedom. And if I’m letting anything get in the way of that, especially my preferences of how I think worship is supposed to look and sound, then it’s just prolonging the process the Lord has me there to influence in the first place. He’ll still get it done because He’s good, but it’s just gonna make it take a little longer and I’d rather it not. So, yeah, I’m experiencing a lot of freedom in stepping on a platform and inviting His people into worship rather than forcing them into worship. I’m encountering the Lord regardless right now, which has really been a beautiful thing.
J: So, so good! Every time you say something, there’s 10 things I want to ask. There’s just so much there.
Individually, as an artist, you have an edge. You do have an edge; I’m not going to tell you what your edge is because each artist, each person has to figure out their edge for themselves. But as the bride, I think that’s our edge, that we have to [get humble]. It’s in that humility, it’s in that surrender, it’s in that listening so we can hear the Holy Spirit. And it gives us obedience. When we’re humble, we’re obedient. They all go together, it all works together so God can create such a powerful person in that.
B: You know, that is so beautiful because there is a handful of Scriptures that I lean on pretty heavily when it comes to my approach to worship. I love that Scripture tells us that God no longer desires burnt offerings, He desires broken hearts—contrite, flat hearts. There’s so much permission with that Scripture. The thing is, with a burnt offering, there is striving required and there is a heck of a lot of work required. What’s crazy is that the world is already trying to break our hearts and the Lord has literally woven Himself into the fabric of that process and it’s turned it into worship…if we allow it, if we stop striving, if we stop trying to produce a front that says, “I’ve got it figured out and together.” It’s the opposite. And 10 times out of 10, I don’t know what’s going on and I simply wake up and say, “God, I just wanna be submitted to You.” That is when incredible things happen. He never fails. He never doesn’t show up. It’s this daily wrestle of realizing, fighting that constant anxiety that creeps in when I don’t have myself or things around me figured out.
If I can just get the Gospel down into a statement and I can look into the eyes of hurting people, I just want to tell them that one thing, “If you’re broken, you’re in a good spot right now to receive freedom and don’t believe what you’re maybe perceiving the church to be, don’t believe what religion perceives itself to be…you’re worthy of love right now…” I do think the world needs to hear that desperately. I think that a lot of church people need to hear that desperately, too. We’ve got two mission fields right now.
J: We totally do! For me, it’s a burden that I’m completely honored to carry.
J: It’s because I remember the “done.” God shows up when we’re done and God showed up for me completely.
B: Yes, and I think it’s funny because maybe for someone who picks up this magazine and sees oh, Worship leader talking about how to live a life of worship, instantly, people are probably expecting this 5 step process to get your church really stoked on what you’re doing—it doesn’t exist. What exists is a broken individual submitted to a good God—that is the secret. There’s nothing else. My heart comes alive when I hear testimonies like [yours] because I wrote a line in a song on the record that came out that’s “Perfect scars like works of art.” And, if I can say anything looking into the eyes of an individual that is done, it’s to believe that that line is true for them, whether they can see right now or not.
I had this crazy moment with the Lord where I was that song—that was a season of my “done.” I would wake up with these whispers in my ear going after what I believed. There was a constant spirit of comparison that was flooding my heart. Everything was trying to get me to not only walk away from what I love, but to walk away from what I believe. It was this crazy thing that I could not find purpose. I was like “This is where I end. This is where my story, my testimony (if that’s even a thing anymore)—this is where it all stops. I’m gonna be that guy that washed up.” These are real things that I was believing, and it always happened at night. I sat down (I was making a record at the time) and I just wrote this song.
I was like “God, I’m going to speak to You because I know in my heart of hearts that You are real, that You are here. And so in the face of the adversity, in the face of me questioning everything I know to be true about You, I want to write a song about grace even though that is the furthest thing I feel.”
What He began showing me was that the one thing that every single experience had in common was that I perceived a lot of “together” people making simple, life decisions that made them Christians and that was it. I just completely (even as a kid) couldn’t buy into it. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand what was so beautiful about that life. And when I started writing this song, I kept seeing it—imagery of scars everywhere. (My wife fell into a fire when she was a little baby and so she has skin grafts all the way up her arms. Most people can’t see them now, but they’re very much there.) We were at dinner one day and I was just staring at them, realizing how beautiful they had become over time, not because they healed, but because they were there. It was absolutely beautiful.
The revelation I had with grace is that Jesus showed me that out of all the imagery He could’ve chosen, from like a perfect, still lake to anything perfect that He’s ever created in creation, He chose a bloody and battered Man. And I had to come to the realization that He chose that image for a reason and the scars that He bore, all of a sudden I started to compare them to all the things that I was shameful to still carry from my past. Then I started looking at things in a different light and I realized, Oh my gosh, this is the revelation that the things that I have disregarded as being imperfections, flaws, He has woven into the fabric of grace. And that is why He chose that image for us to cling to. And maybe we’re just doing things wrong. Maybe it’s time to be undone at the feet of Jesus. That’s the bottom line—it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. The closer I walk in step with that, the closer to the Lord’s heart I feel. The more I feel His heart for people around me.
J: Yeah. Wow, it’s just beautiful because there was a time where I was really ashamed and sort of embarrassed about my scars and the Lord told me, “No, no, it’s part of your story.”
B: Thank you for sharing that with me.
I have come to the realization that a life without contrast and texture is a blank canvas and a blank canvas is not that much fun to look at. But my goodness, a life with contrast and texture is absolutely a work of art. And He uses depth, He uses height, He uses it all. That is one thing I know to be perfectly true about the God that we serve.
I think this is why it’s been hard for me to make friends because I sit down with people and unless the conversations are this potent, I find very little to cling to. I sit down with people for coffee all the time and I probably scare some people away because I guess I view things through a different lens. I just don’t do surface well, and maybe that’s why the Lord’s called me to be a Worship Pastor because I can’t do things any other way. I’ve just found so much beauty in the depth.
J: Oh, absolutely. That’s so good! I think that’s probably another thing that sets you apart. I love having these conversations that are real.
B: When you’re commissioned with starting a movement that sets people free, the thing that’s going to kill us is when people aren’t walking in freedom. I deal with that daily. It’s a really hard fight, but I’m really honored that He’s entrusted me with bringing a voice to that table. It’s a deep honor to be chosen.
J: Oh, it so is! It’s exciting because I can see waves of truth that are coming—waves of freedom that are coming. Right now, it’s like we’re the beginning of the wave. We’re starting this wave and it’ll keep building and building. Pretty soon, that wave is going to get so big, it’s going to start covering people and [they’re] going to want to ride [it]. It’s something that’s building in the church, and it’s building for humanity
B: Couldn’t agree more.
J: We can’t bring healing to the nations until we bring healing to the church because it’s the church that’s going to heal the nations. We can’t heal if we don’t receive healing ourselves. Fortunately, God’s on the fast-track right now. It’s going to seem like it happened rapidly, but it’s because we’ve been laying the ground work for so long. That ground work is what people haven’t seen.
B: Yes, and it’s also a very hard position to be called into. If I could have recorded a lot of the conversations with my wife for the past 5 or 6 years in ministry, a lot of our processes within the communities we’ve been called to, we haven’t gotten to see the harvest. The Lord calls us into stir up the soil and sprinkle seeds and do all these different things, and then He leads us on. And I just, for once, I want to see the harvest of all of this brutal work. That’s a very fleshy part of me speaking when I say that, but it’s conversations like this—it’s the way that the Lord weaves in these friendships and relationships where all it takes is one conversation for me to be reignited towards that call. And I go home excited to continue dreaming. We’re not meant to do this alone, so it’s really encouraging when you get to cross paths with other forerunners and people that are tilling the soil. It’s dirty work, it’s hard and it’s frustrating, but my gosh, it is so so so fulfilling at the end of the day. And I know we’ll see the breakthrough.