I love it how being online can introduce you to people that you would have probably never met otherwise. Mat is one of those guys for me. I get to write over at Sunday| Magazine every once in a while, and I’ll often check out some of the other writers to see who they are and what’s going on with them.
Mat caught my attention with a post he wrote called 2 Types of Learning You Need to Lead Worship. I loved his practical insights combined with the obvious heart of a pastor, so I started checking out his stuff, including his new record with his wife, Nicole, The Union: Vol. 2. More about that later, you’re not going to want to miss it.
Anyways, the more I checked out his stuff, the more I knew that Mat was a guy you needed to hear from. I reached out, and he’s got some great stuff for you guys today!
Be sure that you stick around to the end of the post to learn how you can get a free copy of their new record, The Union: Vol. 2.
Name || Mat Crisp
Church & Role || Worship Director for Lifecentre & Recording Artist
Main Instrument || Electric & Acoustic Guitars / Vocals
Fun Fact || I love 80’s pop music and woodworking.
(All Emphasis from Chris)
1) How did you learn to/get into leading worship?
I grew up playing competitive hockey and had no interest at all in music until I picked up playing the drums very casually at the age of 14. My Dad went to a church conference when I was 14 and when he came back, he felt the Lord had spoke to him very clearly that I would start falling in love with music and specifically serving the church with that gift.
At this point, I didn’t play a single instrument and really had no desire to at all. But wouldn’t you know it, the Lord started to impress on me a deep desire to learn to play the guitar, sing and write songs. This almost pushed hockey out of the picture immediately. I started serving as much as I could with my local church and was given opportunity by my youth pastor/worship leader.
He took me under his wing, gave me his beautiful guitar as a gift, believed in me deeply and so it just sort of caught fire (not the guitar) pretty quick. Little did I know that by the age of 21 I would walk away from my faith completely as a newlywed and not come back to the church or music for about 4.5yrs. Leaving that beautiful guitar under my bed collecting dust the entire time.
2) What is the most helpful habit you have developed as a Worship Leader?
I’m am really bad with building good habits. Thought, I’m really good at bad habits like laziness and procrastination. Just ask my wife and the “honey-do-list” she’s had for a couple years. So I am always trying to combat those bad habits with the exact opposites ones.
I am someone who is either 100% on, or 100% off. There is no in-between. So if I’m lazy, I’m SUPER lazy. But if I’m in work mode, I become a work-aholic. I have a very hard time with balance. But one habit that I’m becoming more and more consistent with is mentorship.
The main ones that are are must for any worship leader, or Christian for that matter is reading scripture and prayer, but a practical one for worship leaders is mentorship. You may find it odd that I would call that a habit, it needs to be in more worship leaders. Build a habit of investing in someone else and duplicating yourself. Don’t leave your church stuck if you’re gone on vacation or decide to leave your church for another opportunity.
3) What has helped you develop as a Worship Leader?
For me, I became, and still am becoming a student of my craft. I am a high-school disaster/drop-out, with no post-secondary education (although I’m currently taking online theology classes). So therefore, my training has come by way of mentors, teachers, the internet, worship blogs, worship sites and really just watching other worship leaders.
I truly love learning about leadership, worship leading and the trends within the world in which I serve. Some people ask what I love the most about leading worship and its usually not the music itself. Its the leadership part, the pastoring part and the opportunity to help point people to Jesus the best way I know how.Learn how to MENTOR. Build a HABIT of INVESTING in someone else and DUPLICATING yourself. - @matcrispClick To Tweet
4) What’s one thing you wish you would have known 10 years ago?
The readers don’t have enough time to read all the things I wish I had done differently! But to pick a few, here’s what I came up with. Be patient with the call you feel is on your life. For me, I felt the “nudge” at the age of 14, but didn’t go into full-time ministry until I was 28. I was involved with ministry for the most part the entire time, but I didn’t get a staff position at a church until I had already built somewhat of a career outside of the ministry.
I often worry for those that go from high school, to bible college, and then straight into ministry. The part I worry about is the life experience you may miss out on when trying to hurry up the process. If the Lord has called you to full-time ministry, you’ll end up there. But allow His timing and don’t force yours. Find a good leader or mentor and shadow them as long as you can.
5) If you could only give one piece of advice to a growing Worship Leader, what would it be?
Breathe. Allow the Spirit to lead you and don’t rush things. Also, don’t try to solve all your churches problems or disagreements when I comes to the worship arts ministry at your church. This is a hill that you will die on every time if you try.
I think because of our passion for worship and this area of ministry we feel called to, worship leaders often want to fight so hard for what they think is the right way to do things in their local church. But so often, we overlook the fact that you could ask 5 people the same question of what they think worship should look like in your church and get 5 completely different answers.
So therefore, don’t get into arguments with parishioners about it, or fight and battle to always be the one with the answers, power and decisions. Come under your Senior Pastors leadership and vision for the church you’re at and serve that well. If he/she asks you to change certain things within your churches worship culture, do so with humility and patience.
My biggest mistake and probably biggest regret was coming into full-time ministry like a bull in a china shop. Wanting to change everything I thought was wrong or not great. This hurt people and caused unnecessary waves. Did things need to change, sure. But they could have happened at a much slower pace and done so with much more honour. This I realize now, but I pray you don’t have to make the same mistakes.If you're called to ministry, you’ll end up there; allow HIS TIMING, don’t force YOURS. - @matcrispClick To Tweet
Love the theme that is evident in Mat’s responses of waiting on God rather than pushing things yourself. I can relate to that A LOT, especially when I was younger. I’ve found that often times, God might be delaying circumstances or something in your life because there is work He needs to do IN you before you can walk into your future.
As I mentioned earlier, Mat & his wife Nicole have recently released their new album, The Union: Vol. 2, and it is GREAT! I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks now, and you need to be listening too! Some really great songs, and I especially love the writing & Nicole’s voice is FIRE.
I wanted to share the love with you guys and give you the chance to WIN a FREE COPY of The Union: Vol. 2. All you need to do is sign up for the cdenning.com Newsletter by clicking here, and you’ll be entered! Signing up also ensures that all of the posts from cdenning.com will go straight to your inbox and you’ll also get exclusive content from us! If you’re already signed up, then you’re already entered into the drawing! One of the many perks of being a part of the cdenning.com Newsletter. You must enter before Noon on Friday, January 22 to be eligible. Good luck!