There are lots of musical moments that make an impact on a worship leader. In Watershed posts, I’ll be sharing worship projects that inspired and influenced me. And feel free to post your watershed albums in the comment section below!
When Paul Baloche released Offering of Worship, I was already a huge fan. I was a regular on his website, loved his training DVDs, had already learned tons of his songs and had even attended the live recording of his God Of Wonders album. But this record was different.
Musically, I was impressed with how much space this record had. Maybe it was a mixing decision, but Paul and his team seemed completely comfortable letting the groove be enough. There were leads and fills, but it was mixed so big. I’d listen to this record over and over asking myself, “Why is this so cool? WHY IS THIS SO COOL?” While I logically understood the less-is-more aspect of worship leading, in reality I thought that good worship needed six pro musicians playing relentlessly.
It was frustrating and scary – could songs work with less? If I tried to do the songs from this record, would my congregation engage with the music? And could my team pull off toning down their attack?
Turns out, Paul knew what he was doing. The execution of these songs were excellent learning moments for me and the band. They were templates that elevated the importance of groove and band unity over thrashing.
Spiritually, this record hit me hard. By the time of this album, I had been leading worship for a good while and I had grown a good bit calloused about the ministry of worship. But when I heard the title track, my heart broke. I remember listening to the song thinking, “Yes! This is for God’s glory! It’s not about you, Todd!”
It was the beginning of my more historical perspective on worship leading – to follow the history of the church in teaching its people that worship is for God. Not for us. Believe me…I needed to learn that in a bad way.
This record changed how I thought about my calling as a worship leader and – eventually – worship writer. I still love this record. I haven’t tired of it and I think it stands the test of time.
Your turn. One watershed album. Go.