Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you’re probably aware of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC and their incredible worship ministry, Elevation Worship. Chris Brown is one of the worship leaders that leads this team and has helped to write many inspiring and helpful songs, like Give Me Faith, Raised to Life, & For the Lamb.
I had the pleasure of hanging with Chris not too long ago, and he’s exactly the guy you hope he would be. Kind, generous, and a guy who obviously cares deeply about his family & church. I’m grateful to have Chris & Elevation as neighbors in pointing people to hope in the Charlotte area, and I’m positive you’re going to get a lot out of his responses today.
Name || Chris Brown
Church & Role || Elevation Church, Worship Leader
Main Instrument || Guitar/Piano
Fun Facts || My favorite melodies are Thomas Newman’s. My favorite vocal is Brandon Flowers. My favorite woman is @bethdotbrown.
(All Emphasis From Chris)
1) How did you learn to/get into leading worship?
I grew up in a minister’s family. My father has been a worship pastor at the same church for 25 years (which, btw, has taught and shown me the value of commitment and faithfulness). Mom played and sang too. Everyone in the family loved music. So, I reckon I was destined for it in some ways 🙂
Went to Anderson University to study music and get a vocal performance degree. Met Lee McDerment there as NewSpring Church was just beginning and he took me under his wing and taught me what being a worship leader looked like. He’s an incredible leader and pastor who cares deeply for others. And he’s helped shape my (very green) leadership back then.
2) What is the most helpful habit you have developed as a worship leader?
Cultivating a heart that knows the voice of Jesus by spending regular time with him. I believe that people’s encounter under my worship leadership is directly related to my personal relationship with Jesus. John 15 tells me that if I’m not remaining or abiding in Jesus, then I cannot bear fruit that will last. I wanna have deep roots.
3) What has helped you develop as a worship leader?
Personal mentors, & never allowing myself to think I’ve got it figured out. Coming underneath my pastor’s vision for Elevation, submitting any personal preference I may have to what’s best for our church. Listening to genres of worship music that’s different from our current style. Every time I do, I’ll find a new tool in the box to pull from while I lead. Right now, I’m listening to Karen Clark and William McDowell.
4) What’s one thing you wish you would have known 10 years ago?
My calling is unique to me. Wasted some years trying to live out some others’ callings.
5) If you could only give one piece of advice to a growing worship leader, what would it be?
Be more concerned with your calling instead of your career. Don’t spend years trying different ‘careers’ or churches in order to discover your ‘real’ calling. That’s backwards. That’s just delaying what God wants to do through you today.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
I loved Chris’ thought on calling vs. career. I completely identify with that, and the simple truth that each of our callings are unique to our own walks. Its so encouraging to hear this from a guy who is doing great work for the kingdom in a church that he’s grateful to serve in. I hope you were encouraged to dig into where you’re currently serving and to embrace your own calling!
Chris & the team at Elevation have so much great content out there that you need to know about. First, they have a great website, which has great resources (charts, loops, training videos, etc) for their songs.
Also, if you feel like Elevation might be a place you would like to learn and grow in, you need to check out 2K2, which is an apprenticeship program designed to train leaders in the way we do ministry. There is a worship leadership track, and could be a great step for you to take.
Finally, if you haven’t already, you need to know about Elevation Worship’s records, including Wake Up the Wonder, Only King Forever, and For the Honor. I’ve been using their songs for years now, and its been so great to see people all across the country have been encouraged and moved by these songs. Check em out.