Live Talk Ep. 30

Worship Ministry Life with Charles Billingsley

Join Dwayne Moore for this week’s Live Talk show where he welcomes recording artist, worship pastor and friend Charles Billingsley to the show. Charles shares stories from his career in worship music, and tons of helpful tips for worship leaders today. Some of the topics discussed include worship vs. performance, the pastor/worship leader relationship, responding the Holy Spirit in worship, and much more.

LINKS:
Charles Billingsley website: www.charlesbillingsley.com
Next Level Worship: www.nextlevelworship.com

Live Talk Ep. 30: Worship Ministry Life with Charles Billingsley

Announcer:

This is Live Talk with Dwayne Moore. We’re talking worship on a global scale.

Dwayne:

Hey everyone, welcome to Live Talk. I’m Dwayne Moore and we have a one of my dear friends today with us as our guest that I will be interviewing. His name is Charles Billingsley. He is a phenomenal vocalist. But his heart is bigger than his voice, I mean, this guy gets it when it comes to ministry. He gets it when it comes to leadership. And he’s going to be sharing some things that he’s learned over the years with us and it’s a great interview. You’ll enjoy that today. Thank you for joining us wherever you are watching around different parts of the globe today. We appreciate you tuning in. I woke up this morning just thinking that this is the day the lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Now that’s a choice we make to rejoice, right? So let’s make that choice today and hang with us for the next about an hour and enjoy just a good conversation with a quality guy that that will encourage you today. So we’ll be right back with Charles Billingsley. Thanks.

Announcer:

Live talk with Dwayne Moore. Biblical, worship, perspective.

Dwayne:

Hey everybody, welcome back to Live Talk We have a great show today. And we have my longtime friend, Charles Billingsley here. It’s been a long time.

Charles

Yeah, it’s been at least what, 25 years?

D

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I remember when I met, I think the first time I heard you sing was Scott had you come in, but anyway, we’ve worked together. Scott Dawson, had you come into a conference. But we’ve worked together many times since then.

C

Oh, yeah. All kinds of stuff. You’re conferences. You know, other conferences, your church. You were at a church.

D

You did a Christmas concert at our church. Man, it was amazing. I know my 17 year old, he was 17 at the time. I didn’t think he’d like, you know, you know, our style of music, but he loved it and I said, okay, Charles is reaching across the generations. It was cool.

C

Good.

D

So you are in Lynchburg, Virginia. Yeah?

C

Yeah. Lynchburg, I’m at Thomas Road church, as the teaching pastor, so I teach once a month, and then lead worship once a month. And then the rest of the time I’m on on the road, just doing concerts and conferences and what have you. But yeah, our base is Lynchburg. I’ve been in and out of here for 20 some odd years now. It’s kind of funny, but I moved here originally in 2002 for Doctor Falwell, and I was the worship pastor of the church. And then after three years, I left and went out to shadow mountain church in San Diego to be the worship pastor for David Jeremiah. And then after that, I came back and spent another ten years right here in Lynchburg at liberty and Thomas Rhodes is the worship pastor and working with liberty and all the things there. And getting that in working with the center for worship there are worship degree and was here for a long time and then and then went back out to San Diego again to help Dr. Jeremiah again for another couple of years. And then after that just decided to go on the road full time, like that’s how, you know, I started the first 12 years of my career. And then in the process of that, Jonathan Falwell called me and said, look, why don’t you just come back, make this your home base, be here, half the time. And you got all the freedom you want to do your thing, but I want you to preach once a month and lead worship once a month, and I said, man, that sounds like a great idea. And so we’re back here based here. And I’m kind of in a halftime role at the church and it’s just been a really great balance for me. I love it.

D

Man, it sounds like it’s really hitting all your strengths. And I love it when I see a guy or gal, reach a point in there in their in their development of their life and their season of life where they can really focus on the strengths. It sounds like that’s what the Lord has helped you do. And I love it. I mean, you were intentional with it, but ultimately he opened the doors for you. It sounds like.

C

Yeah, it’s kind of funny. I told my wife, when I left Shadow Mountain to go back on the road, I told her, if I had my, you know, just if I could just write my dream situation, I would love to be on a team as part of just an executive role there as far as helping write the vision for the church, but I really didn’t want to be full-time at a church and I told her if I had my absolute dream, I’d want to preach once a month and lead worship once a month for a church and be gone. And no kidding, yeah, I came back to Thomas Road. They just scheduled me to come back after I left shout them out just to sing and be back with the church. And Jonathan pulled me in on that Monday, Jonathan Falwell, that is pulled me into my old office and he had never, he had never moved a single thing. It was exactly the way I left it two years prior and he said, look, this is your home. But I’ve been thinking, I know you want to do the road thing. So here’s what I was thinking, then he offered me that situation. And it was exactly what I told my wife that I was praying for. It was a, it was a pretty neat moment, and that’s when I knew, okay, we’re just going to come back here and make this our home. So we did.

D

That is an incredible story. Wow.

C

Yeah, it’s really, my jaw hit the floor when he said those words because he had no idea. I hadn’t told anybody. Except my wife. And then he just flat out offered me the very scenario that I was wanting. And that’s a rare occasion for anybody’s career, really, but I just felt like it was the Lord confirming in my heart that I needed to just be here. And so this is our home and this is, you know, we’ve just built the house, so I don’t reckon I’ll be going anywhere for a long time.

D

So Charles, how many kids do you have and what ages are they at? I’m not sure that I remember that. Y

C

Two boys. Yeah. One just started his career this week in San Diego. He’s a graduated from UCSD in San Diego. With a commercial real estate degree. Oh wow. He just started his just started his career with a company called Realty Income out in Del Mar. So I got one son living in San Diego. My other son is a junior here at Liberty. And so he’s a journalism major and he’ll be graduating a year from May.

D

So you still have not only great friends in California, you’ve got a son in California. You got plenty of reasons to still travel to California from time to time.

C

Yeah. And you know what? It’s good. I love San Diego. We have a lot of friends there. And but I’ll be honest with you, I’m kind of glad I don’t live in California right now. It’s taxes and the stuff and people don’t realize there’s great churches in California, like really great churches. San Diego and Temecula and that whole from Irvine down is kind of the Bible belt of California and you know you got your Saddlebacks and your North Coast and the Shadow Mountains and I mean there are some great churches out there. So the church is very much alive and well in the California, but unfortunately the politics are just out of control.

D

Yeah, you know, it’s kind of like a compare it to people that’s not been to Africa. They hear Africa and they assume it’s one thing about all of Africa and Africa is very diverse place. And I know it’s that way in California. I live in Alabama. It’s quite a bit different culture in California as much as very far away from where I live on the other side of the country. But that doesn’t mean that all of California is one way, but I do know that there are some great churches there. I’ve been in there’s also a great schools there. I’ve been to California Baptist university and spoke there. I had a great experience and the people are, you know, it’s just I walked in with know what to expect when I first went to California and I well, these people are what I’d call down home.

C

They’re not.

D

They probably would appreciate me saying that about it, but they were just good people. I really enjoyed it.

C

Listen, Californians are a blast because they’re just, they’re very laid back. It’s a crazy, fast paced world out there with all the big cities, but honestly, they’re really laid back about it. It’s kind of fun. I mean, like even San Diego traffic, you know, you rarely see people honk on anything. I mean, I remember one situation. I was sitting at a light and nobody was moving. Nobody. And I discovered, after a while, after we all just ended up going around. The guy at the front of the light was just like asleep, totally chill. And nobody’s honking or anything. They’re just like, oh, I guess the dude’s sleeping and so we just kind of go around. Usually people would be freaking out and honking. But now they pretty laid back and saying Ye go.

D

But now the weather is bound to be warmer there. I mean, I can’t say that I’ve actually been in San Diego very much, but I mean, compared to Virginia. But what about the climate? I mean, did that not…

C

I mean, that’s part of the draw. I mean, that’s why everybody lives there.

D

Well, that’s what I was wondering about for you though, because I know much as you enjoy Virginia, I mean, come on. You left California climate, didn’t you? So that might be kind of challenging.

C

Well, it’s a huge draw. I mean, it’s 70° and sunny every day of the year.

D

Well, that literally what I thought. I wasn’t sure, but I thought so.

C

Oh yeah, in fact, I’ve always said the easiest job in the world is being weatherman in San Diego. It’s the same every day. And it’s beautiful. Stunning beautiful. But it’s kind of funny because after you live there a few years, you kind of miss the seasons. You know, of course, we all want what we don’t have, I guess, but you know, when fall would roll around and a football season started and all that stuff, I kind of really missed living in the east with the turning colors and the crisp fall Saturdays where you’re wearing a sweatshirt watching college Football. Well, because out there, nobody gives a rip about college football. They don’t care about they just don’t care. That’s why that’s why no pro teams can stay in business and nobody cares. They’re all just hanging out, you know, they’d much rather take a walk or go hiking or hang out on the beach in San Diego than they would watch and so funny you go to the Padres games and nobody’s watching the game. It’s hysterical. And all that stuff. But it’s a fun society. It really is. And the weather is perfect. But throughout the fall, I always missed being in the east. Because and that’s nice thing about Virginia is you got four distinct seasons. And so, you know, it’s been, of course, that winner is held on a long time this year, but you know, it’s good. And the people of Virginia, Lynchburg is kind of a rural area. So when I moved here, I was in shock because I moved from Atlanta to here. And. There was no driveways or garages or sidewalks. It’s kind of rural, you know? But we fell in love with the people in this town. And it’s much more metropolitan than it was 20 years ago. And you’ve been up here, of course, liberty is unbelievable. And you know, it’s just nice to feel like you can call a place home and we truly call this place home.

D

But you are on the road a lot. And. So you see a lot of different areas of the country and you travel mostly in the United States. Do you travel some internationally, Charles?

C

Some but mostly U.S.. I mean, and if I had to say it, it would mostly be from that New York New York City all the way around that curve to down through the Carolinas, Florida, Virginia, across the southeast, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas. I mean, that whole area right in there that entire eastern and southwestern seaboard has been my stomping grounds. I don’t tend to do a lot of the Midwest, although I wish I did more. I don’t do a lot in the west, Oregon, Washington, you know, I’ve done a few things out there, but not a lot. I would love to do more. I’ve done some things in Canada, not a ton. I’ve been to Mexico many times, but only sung there on cruise ships. But doing a little bit more hopefully and Europe coming up soon. I love Europe. England and Ireland, Scotland, those are my favorite countries and Italy, of course. And so I’m hoping to do a little bit more of that. I’ll be in a church in England in July, so that’s exciting.

D

You know, England is a country that has not opened up for us. Throughout a reason, we don’t, we don’t pursue them. Any certain country we learned from the Billy Graham team that there’s a hunger that’s developed there in the invitation that comes and so until we get an invitation, we don’t face after an England is just one of those areas, I guess they’ve already got the teaching happening that they need and for whatever reason that hadn’t opened us, but I will say that in Europe, up until last year, I would have said the same thing, but now Germany is opening up to us. And I’ll actually be in Germany. Yeah, for a week, I’ll speak at a seminary there, as well as also do some meeting of pastors and just sharing what we do.

C

Nice.

D

Yeah. So I don’t know if he’d be interested in going Germany sometime, but I might be able to connect you there. I don’t know.

C

I love it. That’s honestly why I put out this new record because I’m really trying to sort of break into that a little bit more of a symphonic classical world. And so I did a new record that’s not really Christian based as far as the songs, but I did it for the sole purpose of sort of breaking into that more that world that doesn’t know Christ, but they love beautiful music, and I thought, well, maybe I can use the voice, the lord gave me the sort of break into a new audience that doesn’t know the lord. You know how it is. Dwayne, we’ve been singing. We’ve been singing, I’ve been singing to the same crowds for 30 years, man. And so I’m looking forward to kind of breaking out into a new audience and new countries, you know, now that I’ve I’m an empty nester, I got time to try some of those things.

D

I think that’s a tremendous tremendous goal in vision. I pray that works well for you. Is the album already out, Charles? I was looking on Amazon to try to find it.

C

No, it comes out May 13th.

D

I heard you talking about it recently, but I didn’t know when it came out.

C

Yeah. Now it comes out May 13th. Now, people can order it as early as this week, and I don’t know when you’ll air this, but they can order it as early as this week and then they’ll get one download per week for the next three weeks and then when it comes out. We’ve got a big concert we’re doing here in Lynchburg too with the symphony orchestra and. It’s in that classic old hall downtown and it’s going to be kind of cool but I’m kind of making that sort of my calling card as far as creating an evening that we can present to other symphonies around the country as to what we do.

D

Oh, okay, great idea.

C

Yeah. Yeah, so we’re filming it and it’s going to be a sold out night that’s going to be fun and kind of a black tie affair. So it’s really, really fun. But I’m really purposefully, I’ve been wanting to do this record for 20 years, but it comes out May 13th. And it’s just full of it’s got 15 songs on it full of classics. There’s one original that I wrote to my wife. But the rest of them are just classics, songs like “The Very Thought of You”, “Shadow of Your Smile” you know, “Bring Him Home” from Les Mis, “If Ever I Would Leave You”, you know, just great classics, all brand new arrangements. There’s not one programmed instrument on the entire record. Everything is completely live. Tim Davis produced it. He’s phenomenal. But you know, it’s everything from big band stuff like “It Had to be You”, “Beyond the Sea” to more classic love songs like “Shadow of Your Smile”. All the way to some classical pieces like “Time to Say Goodbye”. I did a remake of the classic Andrea Bocelli Sarah Brightman duet. And, you know, little things like that. So it turned out just wonderful and I’m very excited to share it with the rest of the world.

D

Man, yeah. So we have people watching in different parts of the world actually not only is this typical places Facebook Live YouTube, those kind of places, but also its on satellite television in Asia. And so it’s broadcast overall.

C

Yeah, it’s really cool.

D

I don’t know how many countries there’s a bunch of countries, you know, how it works, but it’s pretty much all of Asia. However, many there are. And so, you know, we have people in life. This is funny, and it’s true. We actually have people watch the show that cannot speak English, but they just like to watch. It’s like, wow, I don’t know. They can understand, hello. But you know, the cool thing is often they can still download and find material and music and things. So wherever you are in the world, you need to find, you need to find Charles music and check it out.

C

And the new one coming out May 13th, but you know, we got 20 years 30 years’ worth of music out there. I’ve never, I’ve never really written a ton of just worship music, per se, but you know, every album I’ve done up to this point has been a Christian record full of, you know, songs that at least spoke to me and I prayed that they would speak to others, but we have done quite a few worship records as well and of course I lead worship in a lot of different kinds of scenarios. So it’s been a nice balance of songs that I sing to people and that songs that I sing with people, you know? I think the combination is good for me because I’m primarily a vocalist and one of the one of the issues being a vocalist is, you know, when I’m leading worship, I don’t want to just run off and leave people vocally. You know what I mean? You want to do and do it in a way that you’re not you’re not leaving the congregation that you’re leading. But at the same time, as a vocalist, I want to be able to express myself musically, just like a guitar player would play a solo or a riff here and there. So I’ve always had that little tension going on, especially. Yeah, I mean, you know? Yeah. Yeah, so you have to you have to be smart about and pick your places where you’re going to, you know, and typically it comes towards the back end of the song. If I’m leading, I’m not going to vary the melody and do a bunch of licks through the first below.

D

Well, once they understand they learn it and they’re singing it and then you feel like you can embellish them.

C

That’s one little mistake I see a lot of young worship leaders make is that they tend to, because they’ve sung the song a thousand times. They tend to start messing with it a little bit, but unfortunately the congregation, if they don’t know the song real well, they’re like, what is the melody? So I kind of just try to stay with it. Keep it simple, you know, method for a little while. You know?

D

I think that’s really good advice. I know when I was in my late 20s and leading a singles conference, I remember David Edwards was on our program, I have him on our show in the next few weeks as well. But anyway, Dave and I were doing that conference together. But someone evaluated it, which we asked for those, right? But this one person said, you sing too much like a soloist. We couldn’t sing with you. And it was just, it was good. I mean, they were trying to be helpful. And it did help me. Because I realized, you know, Because He Lives, I thought everybody knows it. I’m just going to go off on my thing, but it’s really actually distracting for them. And I realized that. At first I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to hear that. But they were right.

C

Yeah. I mean, little things that I’ve got told early on in my career still stick with me. Like, for instance, I was doing a concert for this little crowd in a very small room, and I’m just like, you know, just ripping these loud and I’ve got people three feet in front of me. Then I got some complaints about how I was just obnoxiously loud and of course part of it was the songs they were requesting, but the other issue was that I just, I need to get, I needed to get a little smarter about the environment that I’m singing in. Okay, if it’s a small room, I don’t mean to do a bunch of screamers, you know? You have to be smart about the environment that you’re singing in, so that you can communicate to the best of your ability, you know, f

D

Charles, one thing I’ve always appreciated about you not only your humility and you’ve got all that going here, wonderful to work with, but I’m saying. And that’s really says a lot because well, yeah, I mean that. And so you have always been an example of what I want to be personally and also what I hope that other artists would be. But when you’re on the platform, you minister, you connect with the people, you clearly worship God as much as one can tell, but you do it with excellence, man. And so here’s what I want to ask you. What is the, what is the performance element that a young guy could understand? Because now, perform is such a bad word, well actually, I don’t know about that because you treat it from a standpoint of you captivate people. Is that intentional is that purely well I just don’t know how it happens. Is there some intentionality on how you communicate when you sing? I’d love to hear about that.

C

Well, the answer is yes to all of that. The thing is, is that, you know, and I deal with this issue a lot because at Liberty, you know, and it’s not as prevalent as it was a few years back, I don’t think, but you know what liberty you got all these students you got, some that are performance majors. You’ve got some that are music majors. You got some music education majors, and then you got worship majors. The overwhelming majority are worship majors. And so tends to happen a lot with young worship leaders in the sense that they shy away from performing because they don’t want to look as though they’re trying to garner attention for themselves. Look, I totally get that, right? But here’s my question. Well, is that guitar player over there? Is he trying to hit the right notes? Or does he not care? Well, no, he’s trying to get the right notes. Right. Okay, yes, the piano player playing the right chords on purpose? Yes, he is. Okay, well, that I would put in the category of performance. Performance is not a bad thing. In fact, I would embrace performance. We had a huge prominent worship group here last year and the line to get in the concert was around the, you know, around the building. And they were like, the next day I was teaching a class at Liberty and I said, so what was it like? Oh my gosh, it was amazing. It was amazing. I said, well, was it a powerful worship experience? Oh, yes, it was incredible. It’s incredible. They’re like, I said, well, was it a performance? Like, no, no, no, it wasn’t. I said, well, they were there at 6 a.m. setting up lights. They’re like, yeah, but it was all worship. I said, well, is that why they needed the smoke? No, no, no, no, no, there’s always. I say, oh, well, I was there and I heard and I said one of the names of the female vocalists, she was ripping some serious licks at that concert, was that not a performance? No, no, no, it was worship. Can anybody please explain to me the difference? And then they couldn’t. I was like, see here’s the thing. It’s all right to perform. In fact, we want you to. It beats the heck out of singing the wrong notes. And truth is, if you don’t perform the song well, you’re going to be a massive distraction to everybody’s worship experience. That’s right. Here’s the difference. The difference is not on the performance, the difference is in the motivation of the heart. And so to me, every time I lead a worship song, I want to be dead on in pitch. I want to sing that song with the best of my ability. But the question is, whose attention am I turning it on to? If I’m doing it to draw attention to myself in a worship environment, then I, I’m in the wrong. I’m just wrong. But if I’m doing a song where I’m trying to communicate a message to you and you’re listening to me, then I think to embrace a strong performance of that song is the best thing I can do. So your communicating on both sides, you’re definitely leading from both sides, but how I present the song differs on whether or not I want you to participate with me or whether or not I want you just to listen to this message. In the end, though, it’s the motivation of the heart that comes through. And I think the lyric determines that. I think the melody line determines that. And but in the end, yeah, it’s all in a lot of ways you could just say it’s all a performance. I think performance got a bad rap a long time ago because people just assumed people who perform are doing it out of a selfish mindset or heart. And truth is that’s not the case. I mean, is a pastor who preaches a message, not performing in some way, shape or form? I mean, he’s prepared. He’s telling a joke to get people’s attention. All of that is an element of performance, but it’s for a purpose. You’re taking a congregation from point A to point B and through some experience. And the better the performance in doing that, the more powerful the communication.

D

So good. Yeah. I’m reminded, I think it’s Psalm 37. I was thinking about the exact Psalm. Where he says O taste and see the lord is good. And who is he speaking to? At that moment, he wasn’t speaking to God. He was speaking to people. And I think when you and I stand up there in the lead, we’re saying please come taste this, you know, this God that we know experience him like, I want you to know him. Now, I mean, if I do that with my eyes closed the whole time, you know, or looking up the whole time, I’m not so sure that that doesn’t seem to work. If I’m saying o taste and see the lord is good, I’m probably going to look toward the people. And I think there’s something to be said for that. You know, and that’s what I appreciate about you. You don’t just get up there and sing with this amazing voice. You look at people. I feel like, you know I’m in the room with you, and you want me to participate. That’s what I sense. Charles, when you lead.

C

Well, it’s because, I love the scripture reference you use because truthfully, if it doesn’t taste good, they’re not going to see that the lord is good.

D

That’s true.

C

I want them to, I want them to see and listen, you know, 90% of what people learn in communication is not what they hear, it’s what they see. So if they don’t see the compassion and the passion in my eyes, when I’m looking at them, communicating a lyric, then they’ve missed 80 to 90% of the real value of that. So yeah, it’s important. And you know, we tend to forget those little things because we can get so wrapped up into our little moment, and that’s good for you personally, but it’s not good for the congregation. The congregation has to be led. And the only way to really effectively lead is to not do it blindly with your eyes closed. You have to see where they are in order to lead them to where you want to take them.

D

I was at a, I had my team at a conference in Texas at a large church. If I said the name you would know it and had a great experience there, just being a part of this. I wasn’t speaking, I was just soaking up, you know. And I think we just need to be a part of things to soak in and so we’re always giving out. It’s good to soak in. And so I went to this breakout session with the worship leaders, a worship pastor’s wife. And I’ll never forget. I mean, it was on stage presence and platform presence, whatever you would call it. It was like, I want to go and hear what she has to say. And she was the people behind the scenes that prepare the leaders to lead and so I want to hear what she had to say. And I won’t get into all that. I just wanted to say one thing that she shared that I think you would appreciate based on what you just said. She said that her husband and her in their team have gone through seasons of, what do we do with our eyes closed? There’s a pet peeve of his to keep your eyes closed when you’re leading up. But they said this is how I worship. And so they went through seasons of what do we do? So they finally came up with this. At first it was like, well, count to ten. And then you can open your eyes again, but don’t keep them closed more in ten seconds. She said, I couldn’t do that when I’m singing and thinking about the words and all I can. And everybody laughed, you know, and she said, but while we came up with is just only you can only close your eyes for the length of a sentence or a phrase within the song. Then you got to open them again. She said because the eyes of the window to the soul and people can’t tell what you’re doing or how you’re leading unless they say you’re on sometimes. I thought it was really a smart, simple thing. If you’re going to close them, don’t close them the whole song. Just do it for a short period of time.

C

Well, and I’m really weird Dwayne in the sense that when I forget lyrics, I close my eyes and that’s so stupid because the lyrics are right in front of me on the screen. But I don’t know why I that’s when I get nervous. If I forget lyrics, I get nervous and close my eyes and I think the reason I do that is because I just want to shut off the world and I figure if I close my eyes, everybody will disappear.

D

I do that too, to be honest. Then I was working so weird.

C

No, it doesn’t work for me at all. And after 30 years, I keep doing it. I’m so stupid. But you know, funny. Yeah, they truly are the window of your soul. And not only do people see you through that, but you’re able to see people. I’ll never forget, I had one. One example, I was doing a concert in Pigeon Forge of all places. In this hotel. And it was for a conference of some sort. And I’ll never forget I was talking. I said, have you ever been lonely and for the first time this little girl in the front row looked up and she caught my eye and she went like this, she just shook her head yes.

D

Wow.

C

And I realized at that moment, it’s not just me communicating with my eyes, but if you watch the audience, they will communicate with their eyes, what they’re feeling and what their needs are. And you will see the lostness in a lot of eyes in a congregation. You will see the purposelessness. You’ll see the heartache. You’ll see the pain, and then every once in a while, you’ll see the joy that the lord brings. And it’s a big deal because that helps me with how I’m communicating the song. You know?

D

Well, I appreciate you saying that. I feel like there’s been around a lot of we’ve seen pendulum swing back and forth in the way we lead in the styles and the transitions and the technology and all that. We’ve seen it all. And over the years. And so one thing that I’ve seen and it’s such a programmed approach now, you know, everything’s looped and not every church does this, but I was refreshingly in a church in Missouri a few weeks ago that didn’t do it. That’s nice. But most of them have it all programmed, not against it. I’ve done it too. But it’s so programmed that when that little girl nods her head, it felt like we can’t stop to do anything about that. We can’t take a moment and pray. We can’t literally do anything because we got to keep going and we got all this stuff lined up. So I appreciate that about you as well. I’m just kind of want to appreciate your role here. But I’ve never sensed that, and when I’ve been in a concert with you, I feel like, yeah, you got a great plan and you’re on your plan, but also some spontaneity and some freedom there to adjust a little bit. Would you say that that is the case? Or is that just my perception?

C

Well, now you’re beginning to touch on something that’s really near and dear to my heart. And that is, I feel like there’s a humongous lack of ability among worship leaders and pastors as well to adjust to the spirit of God’s leading in a worship service.

D

Boom. That’s one of my concerns as well.

C

Yeah, you know, and okay, I think it’s several little things that are the cause of that. First of all, we get into doing these stems and because of the stems, you know, we’re kind of trapped. Well, I understand the need for stems and I actually appreciate stems a lot because, you know, you can’t, there’s 8 guitar parts going on. You got one guitar player. So yeah, we need it fills out the sound. It’s great. But, there are ways to build and flexibility with those stems. Through Ableton to other programs that allow you to pick your spots. And what I call it, you know, I always say this, you know, spontaneity is based off of preparation. If you can play in every key, if everybody in the band knows the song, then okay, so the stems over. Well, that’s okay that the song doesn’t have to be over.

D

Exactly.

C

We can go back into the bridge. We can go back. But that would require the band not being tied to a chart. It required the band knowing the songs. And you know, when I first came to Thomas Road, we had a real issue with just being everybody just tied to a chart. It wasn’t the stems, it was like, you know, and once the chart was over, and I just said, look, guys, these songs are four chords, man. I said, so here’s a list. I just gave them a list of about 30 songs. I said, memorize them. Look, now, and then and they were really against it, right? Until we would get into rehearsal and then eventually in the services where I would just start, I would just start into a song because I would know what key they were in. And all of a sudden they’re just with me. And suddenly, they realized that their preparation outside of what happens on the stage made them completely available and able to be spontaneous on the platform.

D

I love it.

C

And in turn, as a worship leader, allows me to lead freely, but here’s the thing. The other problem is not just the lack of preparedness and musicality of our average players at churches, but also we’re so tied to the clock and the time. I really believe this I really believe 95% of the church services that happen in America on Sunday morning not one person is even considering the fact that the Holy Spirit, not just wants to move, but will move. I think we could do 90% of our service Yes, and I just wonder how many of our worship services we actually go into reliant on the Holy Spirit moving and speaking to us versus the Holy Spirit could be in the lobby of our churches and never be invited in and nobody would care because, man, we got through the program just perfectly well. Big deal. So you ran a couple of stems and sang a couple songs. The question is did the Holy Spirit move? Because if he didn’t, we missed the whole point.

D

Amen, that’s it.

C

So now I got this dog wanting to go out. All right, go outside and gag. All right, very good.

D

Well, wait, we could clearly talk a while about this stuff and so we’re probably just going to have you back again sometime soon to talk again, man. You know, but I know you’re a busy guy, but I believe that these are important conversations.

C

They’re, to me, they’re the utmost importance because we have to allow and you know this Dwayne, you know, I’m preaching to the choir here, but we have to get to the point in our worship services where the Holy Spirit is free to move. And you know, I preach at my church, you know, look, if you gotta bump the service back 15 minutes or whatever, great. That’s fine. I know you got parking issues and nursery issues and all that. But if we really want to see lives changed and we really want to revival. Man, we got to get serious about allowing the Holy Spirit to do his work.

C

You know, the analogy that I use when I coach, I coach, you know, I’m in coaching forever. And one of the things that I remind people of is even on a professional level of football, I talked about people in California, I appreciate football, and everybody appreciates some kind of sports. And so I think we can all relate to this idea. No matter how well prepared you are, no matter what the team knows the plays, when you get out there and you’re playing against opponent, you got to adjust in the moment and I feel like we’ve not brought that mentality of this is a spiritual battle not battle against people, but this is a spiritual battle happening for the souls of people. And if we’re not able to adjust in the moment, what have we done? What have we done? And I feel like there’s an important what you’re saying, I can’t imagine anything more important and fresh for a worship leader to hear right now. I think we need to be reminded of these things.

C

Well, and Dwayne, one of the things I pray for before I lead a worship service is wisdom because you need wisdom in the context of those moments to do the right thing.

D

Yeah.

We need wisdom on when to win to sing and win the shut up.

D

You do.

C

You know, there’s a big difference between dead time and service and a holy hush, you know? And so hopefully we are able to recognize the difference. And sometimes the best thing to do is just to Bible says be still. And just let, you know, and know that he is God and let the lord do his work. And other times the best thing to do is to lead the people into another song. And those moments require wisdom from the leader. So my prayer to all the worship leaders listening today with that would be that God gives you wisdom that you hone your skills off the platforms so that you have the ability to be flexible on the platform. And then also that you would just open your eyes to what need of your congregation is in that particular moment and then and then have enough in your arsenal musically to be able to pull whatever you need to pull from in order to effectively lead those people through that moment that the Holy Spirit is guiding.

D

Well, I could not agree more. And I pray that people are listening and, you know, I realize that we need to help our pastor understand. We work under the authority of the pastor and some pastors literally don’t want to have dead time. They call it their time. Anything quiet. Okay. I respect that. They give you ten minutes. You don’t take 15. If I tell you ten. And so respect your pastor and trust God to work within that. But I think those conversations with your pastor and gaining their trust is the key to that over time to give you some more of that freedom. Would you agree with that?

C

Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s so fun to work with a pastor like Jonathan Falwell, who is able quickly to recognize when the Holy Spirit’s doing something special in a room. He responds well to those moments, really well. You know, pastors are like the rest of us in the sense that they can get a program in their mind or in their case oftentimes a sermon or a method in their mind that they’re a lot of times sometimes it’s like, well, look, we just need to get through this first part of it, ’cause I got this message on my mind. And I’ve been there because I’m in that role half the time as well. So I understand that totally, but at the same time, there are moments, and I’m not saying it’s every week, I’m not saying it’s once a month or whatever. I’m just saying, there are moments when it is clear the holy presence of the lord is moving. And those are the moments that I think if we would plan for and expect, they would happen more often. But those are those are those conversations we have to have with our pastors and say, okay, when the Holy Spirit begins to move. What do you, how do you want to respond to that? Do you want to take the lead in those moments? Do you want me to continue? Let’s figure out so that there’s not the Holy Spirit moving. Let’s not be in a, you know, a contest on the platform for who’s leading what, you know? And that’s really our job as worship leaders is to defer to him or the pastor to what they’re wanting to do in that moment, but hopefully you’re pastor’s mature enough to the presence of the lord to where he’s going to handle that situation appropriately. Most are, I think, you know, unless it’s one of these kind of churches that’s so geared to clocks and times that we just are not even going to consider the possibilities.

D

And that happens. And maybe some people watching are actually in that situation, but I think that, first of all, it begins with your own humility and a lot of prayer. And that wisdom, just to how do you approach your pastor and help you pastor, see that your heart is pure about it, you’re not trying to take their time or change everything, but everything Charles has said today is what we need to do. We need to embrace in our own lives. I think in that spontaneity that moment by moment, sensitivity. And I think our pastoral will hopefully pick up on that and gain respect for you as being a person that just truly wants lives changed. I don’t know many pastors that would argue with that.

C

No, and you know when I think about the great awakenings and the great movements of God and the great revivals, you know, I can’t think of a single one that started in an 11 o’clock service on Sunday morning. They all started around a campfire or in some closet of prayer, whatever. So my point is, as a worship pastor, you know, seek revival off the platform as much as on it. And it’s kind of interesting but the Holy Spirit in a lot of ways can do this on his own. And he doesn’t really need us. And so perhaps in your church, if you can just get you and a couple of people around you, just intensely seeking after lord and praying for revival, then it could be that these things work themselves out by themselves, just because the holy spirits at work, you know. We are hard, but the heart of your pastor, the heart, you know, and the deacons and everybody else, and suddenly the leadership of the church is all on board because they’ve caught a little glimpse of what the Holy Spirit can do. That’s what happened at Thomas Road. We went through a season of revival several years back where the Holy Spirit was moving so strongly in a room. Nobody could deny it. And because of that, we just learned in the process of experiencing it. We learned how to deal with it. You know, like how to handle these situations. But it started really through just ground roots of prayer and fasting and just seeking after the lord. So I think even before those moments happen on the platform, we have to seek them off of it.

D

We have probably several people watching now not only not everyone is unable to speak English. In fact, a lot of people in Asia are able to speak and do listen to our English, maybe not my southern style. I don’t think anybody can understand me that well. Of English. But just listening right now, but they do not go to church. In fact, we probably mostly likely have some people that are Muslims and Hindus and other religions. Maybe not many of you, but if you’re watching, we welcome you and we’re so grateful that you would listen to us and you hear Charles speaking and you may wonder what we even mean by the Holy Spirit. And that seems to me like an odd thing for us to talk about. So Charles as we wrap up today, why don’t you just talk to us as though we don’t understand who this God is and why is it so important to worship him and now you can go a long time on that, but just in a few moments, just talk to somebody who’s out there listening like I’m really confused about what these guys have been talking about today, please help us understand the importance of this.

C

Well, that’s, of course, the biggest subject of all – who am I, why do I exist? Why am I here on this planet? There’s a lot of different philosophies and arguments for that. I would argue that you are here because God created you. There is a God. He is the one who spoke the world into existence. A lot of different religions have a different way of explaining who or what that God is. In my opinion, I have to go to the Bible and start with Genesis the very first page, the very first verse, where the Bible says God created the heavens and the earth. And in the process of that creation, he created mankind and mankind, he was gracious enough to give us a will, which allowed us then to choose whether or not we were going to live a sinful life or a good life. And unfortunately, all you had to do is turn one page in the Bible and discover that mankind started to send when we made that decision in the Garden of Eden to take our own choices and our own will into our own hands. And from that moment on, we’ve had an issue in the world called sin. And all kinds of religions have tried to deal with that, whether it’s trying to work your way to heaven, like Mormons would believe, or Jehovah witness, or whether it’s trying to outweigh your good work with your bad works in the way that Islam would believe. Here’s the way we believe – we believe that there’s nothing you can do to earn Salvation for God. It had to be done by somebody else. And there’s nobody who ever lived a life perfect enough to do that. And so God sent his only begotten son. And the Bible says that if we will believe in the Son, put our faith and our hope and our trust in the son of God, who is Jesus Christ. That he will save us and he will give us an eternal home in heaven and forgive us of our sins, not because of anything we could do but because of what Jesus Christ did. Because you see the truth is from that very moment back in Genesis Chapter three, when mankind sinned, God bore in all of us, a conscience, and because of our contents and also because of the beauty of creation around us, God has put in every one of us a knowledge that there is a God and an emptiness in our soul that gives us this hunger to fill that emptiness. The emptiness and the knowledge you can read about it in Romans chapter one and two if you want to, but that emptiness is in the heart and mind of every human being that’s ever lived. And everybody along the way tries to fill that emptiness with something. And so they choose religions. They choose addictions. They choose relationships. They choose stuff. And I’m going to tell you right now. You can choose everything you want to. But until you find Jesus Christ, you will never fill that void in your heart. And so you can try a religion, all the religions in the world. But there’s only one that’s not based off of works, but instead, based off of this thing called grace, because you can’t work your way to heaven. Instead, Jesus Christ did it for you. So I would encourage you. I would emplore you to put your faith and your hope and your trust in Jesus Christ and learn who He is, what he did for you at the cross of calvary, and then accept his love in your life, and you will discover that that’s the only way to feel that void in your heart. And that’s the only way to truly get to know the God who created you.

D

Well, well, thank you, Charles well said, and if you’re watching, I hope that helps you understand why we’re so passionate about this guy that we worship because we believe he is the only God and the only way to have him like Charles is talking about, you’ll see information on the screen right now. It might be for you a phone number, depending where you are. It might be an email address. Would you reach out to that though? And we would love to talk to you about how you can know Christ. Charles, thank you for the time today, buddy. We’re going to let you get your bulldog back inside.

C

Thank you.

D

Well, I thought you’d appreciate that. And I know you got a lot on your plate, but man, thanks for giving us some time today. It means a lot. We appreciate it. It’s always good to see you. And hopefully I hope we can do this again sometime.

C

You too, buddy, thanks, man. I love you.

Host

You’re listening to live talk with Dwayne Moore. International conversations on worship.

D

Hey everyone, thank you for staying with us and listening to the interview with Charles. I always enjoy any time I can get with him and just not only chat it up and learn from him, but also laugh with him. The guys, he’s just a fun guy to be around, but so we appreciate you listening. I’m sure you could tell his heart is in the right place. He loves the lord. He loves people. He loves ministry.

Before we go, I wanted to mention to you a prayer request. It’s very important. We leave our team leaves in a few days from now for a month-long training tour of four countries. We will be in East Africa. First, we start in Ethiopia and then we go to Uganda and then from there we go to Kenya. It will be in each country for a week. And then from there, I’ll fly over to Germany. And my first time in Germany to speak at a seminary there, to speak in some churches, to also to release our new book that’s been translated into German. So all this is coming up over the month of May and we covet your prayers for that. We will send out some information and updates, pictures, videos along the way, some, as we can, and of course, our Live Talk shows will continue on, in fact, we’re going to broadcast a couple of them from our during our trip on location. So stay with us and we’ll be back next week with more Live Talk. Thanks.

Host

Thanks for listening to live talk with Dwayne Moore. Live Talk is presented by next level worship international. To learn more about our global community and find great devotionals and other resources on lifestyle worship, visit nextlevelworship.com.