I’m so excited to introduce you to today’s worship leader, Alex Sasser. Not only is she an incredible worship leader, she is the wife of a recent 5 Questions member, Jordan Sasser.
Alex is a recently new mom of a beautiful little girl, Westlund, and is currently finished a year of missionary work in Costa Rica. Alex and Jordan simply exude joy in their relationship with each other and with the Lord, and they are both incredibly talented worship leaders.
I was so excited to hear that both Alex and Jordan wanted to be a part of 5 Questions, and I’m eagar to see the insights from this husband/wife perspective. Be sure to read all of Alex’s story of how she became a worship leader, I love how honest and encouraging it is. I know you’re going to love this post, check it out!
Name || Alex Sasser
Church & Role || Worship Leader at North Point Community Church & other churches in ATL.
Instrument || Voice
Fun Fact || My daughter is Costa Rican.
(All Emphasis from Chris)
1) How did you learn to/get into leading worship?
My whole family is musical, so I’ve been singing ever since I can remember. I always loved being involved in choirs, musical theater, music lessons, and ensembles but I was never really introduced to the idea of worship leading until high school. Since I came from a performance background, leading worship seemed foreign to me. I tried “high school praise band” for the youth group at my church my freshman year but it was so out of my comfort zone; I felt awkward and inadequate.
My family and I attended a big baptist church with an awesome youth group that truly shaped my faith and introduced me to walking with God. But, my idea of worship leading was the confident, cool, ‘famous’ guys who would lead only for our huge summer camp every year. So, when I was asked to lead my first song (“Blessed be The Name of The Lord”) in the high school praise band one Wednesday night, you can imagine that little 14-year old me was confused why they would want me to lead the whole high school youth group in worship! How intimidating!! Needless to say, I didn’t participate in that band for long.
I’ll never forget what an impact a friend had on myself as a worship leader a couple years later. Her name was Shelly Moore and she was kind of like the Kari Jobe of our church. One week, Shelly was unable to lead on Sunday and so was her substitute’s substitute. So they wanted my older sister who also couldn’t do it, so then she asked me. I still couldn’t drive, so Shelly picked me up Wednesday night and coached me through rehearsal. The first thing she asked me was, “So, what has God been teaching you lately?” To which I replied with something I hoped would be the right answer.
Throughout rehearsal, she talked more to me about the condition of my heart and the joy and confidence I should have because God chose me to lead than anything musical. That’s when I started to learn that leading worship meant coming from a true place and worshiping God transparently, which was contrary to what I had learned in my days of walking on stage with matching outfits and a pitch pipe for the “special music” in the service. God instilled in me a seed of confidence and understanding through Shelly that week.
The summer before college I met my husband Jordan and through him, God revealed so much to me about his plans to use me as a worship leader. Those next few years consisted of immense growth in my faith and singing with Jordan every chance I got. Every opportunity that Jordan was asked to lead worship, he included me, pulled me out of my comfort zone, and taught me more and more of what it meant to be a worship leader. At that time, Jordan was not only my boyfriend, he was my mentor. The more I learned about living life through the Spirit, the more chances I had to lead worship and I began to love it! Together, Jordan and I experienced God place numerous opportunities in our path to lead worship as a team.
2) What is the most helpful habit you have developed as a Worship Leader?
The most helpful habit I have developed as a worship leader is to focus & pray specifically before leading. If I don’t catch myself and focus my thoughts, the enemy has plenty of room to fill me with doubt, fear, anxiety, guilt, and other things to tear me down. I have to remind myself every time that God has chosen me to lead this congregation & He’s given me the heart and the tools to do so.
I also remind myself that the only thing I need to think about while leading is proclaiming the words I’m singing in honest worship to the Lord. So, even if I’m having a bad day, there is always truth to proclaim. I don’t have to “feel” like I’m in a good place to lead. He wants to come as I am. Speaking these things over myself in prayer is huge for me. There’s power in our words and I believe that speaking truth can change our thoughts and heart and shape us immensely!
3) What has helped you develop as a Worship Leader?
As a worship leader, sometimes it’s easy to find yourself always on the leadership side of worship instead of worshiping with the congregation. For me, I’ve found that worshiping alongside the people and under the leadership of those who have been doing it much longer than I have, has helped me develop. You can learn a lot from others with different backgrounds doing the same task you are called to do. Everyone has a different story that will effect the way they lead worship.
It’s a privilege to know, admire and look up to someone in their everyday life and then to watch them lead. The way they lead says a lot about that person. I’ve seen people who are worshiping God with their lives, and it’s not only evident on stage but it’s evident in the green room fifteen minutes before leading. The songs they lead are then just the overflow of their lives. I’ve learned so much just watching and worshiping with my role models.
4) What’s one thing you wish you would have known 10 years ago?
One thing I wish I would have known ten years ago is that the most important thing in life is relationships. After loving God, loving people is our second most important command. We can’t love God without loving people and loving people means prioritizing relationships. When I’m in my flesh, circumstances can seem more important than engaging with people and that’s a dangerous habit to obtain as a worship leader.
This is one of my husband’s mottos; “people are more important than things . . . we were made for relationships.” Jordan has been the biggest teacher of this concept in my life. I didn’t even know that I tend to mix up the prioritizes of people and things until I witnessed how good Jordan is with relationships. I’m learning to not let the stress & anxiety of unimportant details get in the way of relating with and encouraging others.
So, when all around me is chaotic with unexpected problems, technical difficulties, or running behind schedule, the way I handle my relationships with those around me is still more important than anything. I wish I would have known that ten years ago so that I could have started learning that skill sooner.
5) If you could only give one piece of advice to a growing Worship Leader, what would it be?
More than your voice/songs/talent, God is looking at your heart. Being a good worship leader doesn’t mean being a good singer or musician. Although God values excellence and practice, nothing is more important than the work He’s doing in your heart. Someone once told me that your heart is the main stage in God’s eyes. Your heart is His treasure. He’s proud of His Holy Spirit in you. So practice and perfect your instrument, but spend more time allowing God to work within you.
I really appreciated Alex taking the time to share her story with us, how she came to be a worship leader. I think she’s dead on when it comes to everyone have a different story and how that story directly effects how we lead worship. Rather than seeing our story as a hindrance or even a hurdle to overcome, we should see it as something that helps enable us to lead others.
Also, her piece about not needing to “feel” like you’re in a place to lead worship because there is ALWAYS truth to proclaim is SO GOOD! It doesn’t matter if you had a crappy day, being a good worship leader isn’t about faking it or putting on a certain face: it is about proclaiming the truth of who God is through music, prayer and, simply, worship. Get over yourself and lead in spite of your weakness, great stuff!
Like I said on Jordan’s post, Alex & Jordan are heading home soon from Costa Rica and need some help crossing the finish line with their ministry support. They are only a few hundred dollars away from their goal and could use your help in completing their goal. They’ve seen some incredible life change in their time in Costa Rica, so lets do our part and help them come home with full funding!