In my opinion, one of the most appealing characteristics of a leader is humility, and Gary is one of those guys who has it in spades. When I met Gary a few years ago at a conference, I was instantly struck with how kind and humble a spirit this guy had. I really enjoyed our conversations over those few days, and have loved watching his journey at a new church over the past few years.
Gary’s not only a talented worship leader & songwriter, but he cares for the people he helps shepherd at Orchard, his church, & teaching a theology of worship through leading worship. In short, Gary’s the kind of guy you should be listening to if you want to grow as a worship leader/pastor (emphasis on the pastor).
Make sure you read all of this one, Gary’s response to #5 is worth the read alone. I’m excited to share Gary’s response with you, and I know you’re going to be inspired and encouraged, check it out!
Name || Gary Durbin
Church & Role || Orchard Church (Denver, CO) – Worship Arts Director (Music, Media, Discipleship)
Main Instrument || Guitar & Piano
Fun Fact || My son is more like my clone. We were even born in the same hospital.
(All emphasis from Chris)
1. How did you learn to lead/get into leading worship?
I grew up singing in the church. My Dad is also a worship leader. I started leading worship in high school for our youth department and gradually grew as a worship leader going into my early 20’s. I led worship for pretty much every age group over the years and eventually accepted my first full-time worship leader position in Illinois in 2002. I’ve been leading worship for the church ever since.
2. What is the most helpful habit you have developed as a Worship Leader?
Song memorization. I see a lot of iPads in front worship leaders. It has really helped me focus on engaging with my church. Freedom from a chord chart is very helpful in the leadership aspect.
3. What has helped you develop as a Worship Leader?
There’s nothing that will help you develop more than actually doing something. Leading every week will always help your development. I’ve also been an avid reader of books on worship. Jack Hayford’s books on worship were a great early influence. Going to conferences and workshops are very helpful as well. Learning from experienced worship leaders has been a huge part of my development.
4. What’s one thing you wish you would have known 10 years ago about leading worship?
That’s a tough one. If I had to say just “one thing”, it would have to be about how I view my connection with the people of my church. 10 years ago, I was probably more focused on the music portion of worship, instead of engaging and connecting with the individuals of my church. Now, I’m more concerned about our church’s spiritual growth than I was then.
5. If you could only give one piece of advice to a growing Worship Leader, what would it be?
Be loyal and supportive to your pastor in private and in public. Your relationship with your pastor will determine a lot of the impact your worship ministry will have on your church. It’s important to be on the same team and same page.
I really appreciate Gary taking the time to share with us, and I LOVE his thoughts on your relationship with your pastor. I couldn’t agree with the effect this relationship will have on every area of your ministry.
I want to encourage you to go and check out Gary’s writing on his blog, GaryDurbin.com, & go buy some of his music, like his most recent Jesus EP. Great stuff that’s singable and could be easily used in your church.