Back in March of 2009, I made the plunge to leave good ole’ Mississippi to be an English teacher in Barcelona, Spain. I decided to leave behind so many things that made me who I was back in the States. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was a musician when I got here, mainly because I associated a lot of my running away from God with music.
I pretended like I had never seen a microphone before and at the beginning it was incredibly refreshing but you can only run from who you really are for so long. I got to start over and figure out who I actually wanted to be as a person outside of the music game. It was an incredible gift to learn who I was in Christ without feeling the necessity to sing about it.
My past with music is a bit weird. I started leading worship at 15 and been doing it off and on ever since. When I was 22, I started playing in bars and began a cover band called The Colonels (I know, can’t get more Mississippi than that). To say the least, I struggled big time with the double lifestyle of being in a party-style bar band and a worship leader. Sadly, I started leaning heavily towards the party lifestyle and neglected God for awhile. Because of all that, I was very skeptical about jumping back into music.
You think you’re tired of singing ‘How Great is Our God’. Try moving to a different country and singing it constantly in another language.
One day I was eating with some friends after a church service and without even thinking, I let it slip that I was a musician. They had been in need of some for a few months but I had decided to keep my mouth shut. To make a long story short, I’ve been playing every Sunday since that slip up. Christ has confirmed me about who I am in Him and also the musician that I am in Him.
It was incredible to be confirmed in an area where I had screwed up in the past—also known as grace. Strangely enough, I was really excited when the Lord said to me, I want to use in the area of music. Of course I had my doubts, but I was definitely interested to see what He had in mind.
After being in the worship team at my church in Barcelona for a bit, something started happening in me. Basically, I was getting pretty tired of rotating between the 10 or 12 songs we seemed to always play. On top of that, most of them were english songs translated into Spanish that I didn’t even like that much in English.
You think you’re tired of singing ‘How Great is Our God’. Try moving to a different country and singing it constantly in another language. Looking back, this was the pivotal moment when God planted the seed of Proyecto En in my heart. Who would’ve dreamed that God would lead me from a place of being a little tired of the same old translated songs to now where we’ve almost completed a huge first step in the project!
More naturally than a southern boy catching a big fish, God started writing songs in the worship leader’s hearts of our church. Songs not with any major goal or vision other than to reflect what God was doing in the hearts of the people in our church. We started writing songs and the response from our people was unexplainable. It seemed whenever we worshipped to one of the songs God had given us, it would completely ignite the hearts of the people and their worship was so powerful.
The really cool thing was, the people felt like all of the songs were their songs (as they should). They weren’t songs that a few of us musicians wrote but rather reflections of worship that we as a church shared. The person on the back row had just as much a part to play in all of this as the drummer or the songwriter. We were living the dream of what is true corporate worship.
The person on the back row had just as much a part to play in all of this as the drummer or the songwriter. We were living the dream of what is true corporate worship.
I remember a really powerful service one Sunday morning where it seemed like the people were just so content with sitting at the feet of Jesus and that’s all they wanted! It’s a mental picture that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. A church actually content with the presence of God and nothing else really matters.
The next day, Mondays being my day off, I spent time in the basement (our sanctuary) replaying the images over and over in my head of our people just sitting in His presence with huge smiles on their faces. Later that day God put a song in my heart where the chorus just says ‘The greatest desire of my heart is only to be where You are. The only goal of my life is to just sit at your feet’.
That next Sunday we played that song called ‘My Treasure’ in worship and after seeing the response of the crowd, I knew God was doing something powerful. We all felt so moved because we had a song to sing that was ours and that spoke of what was stirring in all of our hearts from the pastor to the children. It wasn’t a song that I had written about my own experience but it was our anthem as a church that God had put within all of us.
It was incredibly humbling to know that I was such a small piece of this huge puzzle. A movement of finding profound pleasure at just sitting at the feet of Jesus was happening in our church, and it began with humble hearts longing for more of it. With a huge grin on my face, it’s so much fun to look back and say it was only the beginning of something really special!