Award-winning worship artist Paul Baloche – who has written well known worship songs such as “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” “Your Name,” “Hosanna” and “Above All” – is partnering with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina to bring his Leadworship Workshop to Winston-Salem on Friday and Saturday, March 31-April 1 at Calvary Baptist Church.
Baloche and his team of musicians have held similar workshops around the world for the past 20 years as a way to equip and encourage the local church. Baloche recently took some time to answer some questions in advance of the upcoming workshop in Winston-Salem.
The event kicks off with a worship night on Friday evening followed by a full day of training and breakout sessions on Saturday. The workshop is geared toward pastors, worship leaders, musicians and audio technicians. Registration is $69 per person or $59 per person for groups of four or more. More information and registration are available at LeadworshipNC.org.
Q: Some of the songs that you’ve written – such as “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” “Your Name,” “Hosanna” and “Above All” – have become some of the most familiar worship songs of current times. Why do you think these songs resonate with so many believers?
A: It’s a mystery to me. You never know what will resonate with others. The songs you mention are all prayer-like songs, sung directly to the Lord. Perhaps the personal, prayer-like lyric set to a sing-able melody helps people connect with God easier.
Q: You’ve said that worship songs are essentially prayers set to music. What do you mean by that statement?
A: So often in our prayers to God, we are thanking Him for His blessings in our life. His provision, faithfulness, mercy, etc. We also ask for strength to face difficult situations, overcome temptations, etc. “Singing our prayers” is what often happens in worship as we sing prayerful lyrics to God from the depths of our souls. There is a powerful dynamic when we sing these songs to Him as prayers – engaging our hearts and minds. Praying the Psalms is also an effective way to increase our “worship vocabulary.”
Q: Throughout your ministry as a worship leader and songwriter, you have focused on training and equipping other worship leaders all around the world. Why is this such a passion and heartbeat of yours?
A: In 2 Timothy 2:2, The apostle Paul says to Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” The dynamic of passing on to others the things that we have learned from God, and often through others in the faith, seems to be God’s way of strengthening His church. As a local worship pastor, it seemed like a natural part of raising up and building a healthy team to serve from week to week. As I traveled to other churches, I could see there was a need for instruction, training and equipping. Making disciples is a mandate from Jesus. Today, we’re able to do that in so many ways through technology, videos, etc.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you’ve observed related to worship in today’s churches, and how can churches work through them?
A: I think our biggest challenge is keeping our own hearts alive toward the Lord. If we aren’t intentional about seeking inspiration through whatever means necessary, we can’t hope to inspire those we lead in our congregations. If you feel called to help others worship, then you must find ways to refresh your heart toward the Lord. One of the primary ways for me is to “minister to the Lord,” as described in 1 Chronicles 16. It’s one of many topics I discuss at length on “Leading Worship: Pastoring People and Developing Skill.”
Q: We’re looking forward to having you in North Carolina for the Leadworship Workshop March 31-April 1 in Winston-Salem. What are some of the key takeaways that you hope attendees will glean from this event?
A: My prayer is for God to affirm, encourage, equip and inspire those who attend. We’ll have extended times of worship to draw near to Him, worship Him and listen for Him.
The morning will focus on our heart relationship with Jesus and how to stay inspired as we continue to serve others in our congregation. The afternoon is filled with practical, up close and personal interaction with some of the most spiritually mature and music ministry-experienced people I know. The testimonies of teams who have attended these workshops over the years are crazy. Hearing how God reignited a passion and a purpose in their team after just 24 hours together is astounding. Experiencing God together, as a team, seems to change everything.