I went to dinner yesterday with a couple. I was asked one of the most interesting questions. I thought I would share my answer in case it resonated with any other worship leaders.
How has being an Army Brat influenced the way you lead worship?
Perspective & Authority
As my father came up through the ranks of the Army, Captain to Major, then to Lt. Col. Then full bird Col. to Brigadier General then Major General (two stars), I learned a valuable lesson in authority. I would be near my dad when soldiers would walk past and salute, or step into his office and stand at attention. He treated them with dignity and respect. Then a special phone would ring in our house and I would witness my Dad saying, “yes sir, that’s correct sir, I understand, thank you sir.” When your dad is wearing two stars on his cap, and you hear him calling someone sir, you have a perfect perspective on authority, and an appreciation of how quickly that authority can shift.
Power & Responsibility
Then there were the receiving lines and change of command ceremonies. I would stand and shake the hands of royalty and military officers that had the power to start or finish wars, or at best, whose decisions had life and death consequences. Then I saw them at a school soccer or football game or coaching a local team with little kids. I think, seeing leadership from my father and other men with real power, created a healthy perspective for me on serving with authority.
Accountability & Behavior
Then there was accountability. In the military, there is a creed. If you cannot lead and manage your family, then you most likely won’t be able to lead your troops. So very early on I had an understanding that my actions were a direct reflection of my father. So how does all of this affect my worship leading?
Worship Leading Army Style
I have taken the stage in front of an audience of 2 guys eating a brown bag lunch at a college. I have also stood in front of multiple thousands of people at the Cintas Center. People ask what it feels like to play in front of all those people. My answer is, it doesn’t matter. I’ve been on stage my entire life. As the son of the Army’s top cop, I have always been watched even when I couldn’t see anyone watching. Coach Washington, my high school Physical Education teacher took a look at my report card in High School and said; “these aren’t the grades of a General’s son.” So to take a physical stage and worship God in front of people, just didn’t register as performance. It registered as responsibility. A weight that I have always carried. I realize that everything I do, in life, in silence, in secret, online and on stage will always be a reflection of my father. Not just my earthly father, but most importantly my heavenly father. I realize that while I may be in authority on stage, that I have a responsibility to serve and submit to authority at the same time. I am comfortable in my skin, because I’ve seen real leadership and real power. I lead unafraid because I’m not there to win the congregation over. I am there to do the right thing. Humbly surrender to the authority that placed me there, and be the best reflection of the ultimate power and authority. We are at war but many times those we stand in front of to lead in worship are still behind the battle line and have not received word that the victory is already ours and freedom is at hand.