The Rebecca St. James File:
by Tracy Darlington
Rebecca St. James, The Worship Revolution and You
"Every time we choose to worship God it delights Him, but it can also be an enjoyable experience for us too." --Rebecca St. James
It’s everywhere. In concerts, on the radio, in CD players. People all over the world are plugging in to worship music. Almost every week someone comes out with another worship album. Worship has always been vital to Rebecca St. James. Her live album Blessed Be Your Name and its predecessor Worship God transform many classic worship songs into a catchy pop/rock style, throwing in several originals as well. And if you’ve ever seen Rebecca sing, you’ve already experienced the worshipful atmosphere of her concerts. I caught up with her while she was vacationing in Australia, and even though it was the crack of dawn, she still had some great insights to share on worship and the average American.
“I believe worship is the greatest thing we can do here on earth,” Rebecca says. “It’s our human Christian calling; it’s what we’re created to do. I love worship. There is such a need for it today.”
God created us out of His desire for fellowship. He wants us to choose to worship Him. “He didn’t make us robots,” Rebecca continues. “He gave us a choice. Every time we choose to worship God it delights Him, but it can also be an enjoyable experience for us too. It’s an amazing thing to be able to worship the Creator of the Universe and feel His pleasure when we do. God delights in our praises, and for me it’s a joyful experience to worship Him.” Rebecca thinks worship is good for us because it gets our eyes on God and off ourselves. “Everybody has a need for worship. Worship is an essential ingredient in the Christian life.”
Okay, so you want to worship God. How do you do it? Rebecca believes worship should be natural, not forced. If you’re having trouble getting started, she suggests, “Think about His blessings and who He is. Just praise Him for His faithfulness and His love that He’s shown you. Praise Him for His creation. Look at the world around you and praise Him for it. I sometimes sing a worship song to Him.”
Some of the most amazing times in Rebecca’s life have been during worship. “I remember being in a youth conference years ago and singing song after song of beautiful choruses to God and just crying my eyes out because I was so moved. I felt God’s presence with me, and I loved Him so much that it just came flowing out of my heart.” Worship can be an awesome two-way experience.
A few years ago about all you could find in worship material were traditional church hymns. But all that’s changed. “There’s so much great worship material out there!” Rebecca says. “It just needs to be found and explored.”
WATCH OUT FOR DISTRACTIONS
Most of us are constantly on the go. Between work, school, sports, church & youth group activities, time spent on the computer, or watching tv, we’re being pulled in all different directions at once. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things we do, but sometimes God gets put on the back burner. “If there is no time to spend with God, cut something out,” Rebecca says. “Whether it’s limiting extra curricular activities, shopping trips to the mall, or conversations on the phone with friends, make that time. There are always things we can say ‘no’ to. Especially if you’re a teen.
“The teen years can be some of the most self absorbed years in life,” Rebecca remembers. “I know that, cause I’ve been a teen! It’s so hard to battle selfishness during that time. One of the things that is so excellent about worship, no matter our age, is that it really gets our eyes off of ourselves and onto God. If I feel that my heart isn’t quite centered on God or I’m being distracted by something, I just pray, ‘God help me to focus on You, and help me put aside the distractions’. Worship is hugely important at every stage in life, but to keep focused on Him during the teen years is especially essential.”
ANSWER THE CALL
So what if you think God is calling you to become a worship leader? What steps can you take? Rebecca is convinced, “The best place to start is definitely at church. Find a church where you can really worship God within the services there, where you get good teaching and really great worship time. If you don’t have much of a choice about where you go to church, talk to your pastor about having a worship band where you can sing current worship songs. Ask how you can get involved.”
She emphasizes prayer as a huge part of any ministry, but especially a ministry in worship. “Praying about your ministry is massively important,” she says. “Praying that it’s a God-thing, not a self-thing. Sometimes we think we’re doing something for God, but we’re really doing it to get ourselves on a stage. That shouldn’t be the motivation.”
Rebecca suggests, “Listen to worship CD’s, where you can worship God along with the music and experience worship in a new way. And don’t be afraid to start out with humble beginnings. Sometimes just getting 2 or 3 friends together, maybe finding somebody who can play a guitar, and just starting a little small group singing worship songs together can be great. That could lead to other opportunities later.”
Rebecca means it when she says, “I’m so glad for the worship revolution that’s happening around the world right now. People’s hunger for worship is so obvious. I hope to help that grow more and more by putting out worship songs through which people can really draw closer to God.”
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.