Many of our worship sets have become so pre-planned that worship has become an act of simply executing the songs one after another. How do we move deeper into worship and patiently pursue the Holy Spirit’s leading during a set? How do we move past performance to actually pursuing God’s presence? And practically, how do we do that when we only have 20 minutes on a Sunday morning, and we’re using backing tracks? Jeremy Riddle is back on the podcast to answer all of these questions and more! This is one of my favorite episodes! Check it out and be encouraged! Let’s get back to the heart of worship!
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Alex Enfiedjian 00:10 Oh my gosh, you guys, this episode is so good. This episode is so good. I’ve been doing this podcast for seven years. And there are several episodes now that just seemed very foundational and important and kind of Cornerstone content. And this is definitely one of them. And I’m so thrilled to have Jeremy riddle back on the podcast, this time to talk about performance versus presence. Like, not just executing songs, but pursuing God’s presence in our worship sets. And how do you do that? When you only have 20 minutes on a Sunday morning to you know, leave the church? And what if you’re using tracks? And how do you get your band to follow you in those kind of patiently waiting, spontaneous moments, like, how do you do that? And how do you not feel like you’re rushing through your set, just performing ABCDE? But really spending time listening, waiting? And asking God what he’s trying to do? How do you do all that stuff? Well, Jeremy riddle has so much gold for you today, and I’m excited for you to hear it. But first, welcome to the podcast. My name is Alex Enfiedjian. If you’re a new listener, welcome, welcome. We release one new episode per month, we try to make them helpful, practical, encouraging, and in depth. And we cover a variety of topics. So if you’re new, scroll through the podcast feed and download all the episodes that look applicable to you in this season of your ministry. And before we get into the episode, I also wanted to tell you about a brand new resource I’ve created just for you. And that is my new courses. I have four new courses for worship leaders, many of us probably you were thrown into ministry, they saw you are musical. And they’re like, Here you go, you’re in charge, and you’re like, Okay, what do I do? Well, these courses will take the last 18 years of my experience and compound them into about, you know, five hours of content, where I’m literally explaining all the fundamentals of how to be a good and godly worship leader, you’re going to learn how to build great song sets, you’re going to learn how to build healthy teams, you’re going to learn how to understand your role and your goals as a worship leader, and then how to stand on the platform and lead a room of people to engage and participate in what’s happening. So those are the courses, you can get all of them for the very low price of $99. And because you’re an awesome listener, you can enter the promo code WTF podcast, WM t podcast, and you can get them for I think it’s $79. It’s 25% off. So check it out. All the info is at worship ministry training, comm slash courses, and I do have full scholarships for those of you who lead in developing or third world countries. So click the button and fill out the form for the scholarship. If you need a scholarship, I’d be happy to give to you the courses. Okay, let’s get into this very wonderful, amazing encouraging inspiring Convo with Jeremy riddle about pursuing God’s presence in worship. Hey, everybody, I am here with Jeremy riddle worship leader, Pastor, songwriter and now author. Hey, Jeremy, good to have you back on the podcast How you doing? It’s good to be back. Good. Yep. And for all the listeners, I would encourage you to check back in the podcast feed because Jeremy has been on the podcast before. And he was talking in that episode about how to cultivate deeper spirituality on your worship team. And it was man, Jeremy was filled with so much gold. So listeners go check that one out. I’ll put a link in the show notes for that. But today, Jeremy, I want to talk to you about performance in worship. And you recently released a book called the reset and it combat some of that performance mentality that’s crept into churches and into the worship scene. And it’s calling us back to a simpler and pure love relationship with God. So, you know, worship, it’s become a style of music, it’s become an industry. But I would love to hear how does Jeremy riddle define his understanding of what is worship? What is worship? So it’s a small question. I know. Yeah.
Jeremy Riddle 03:56 I mean, there’s so many different ways to to answer that. We have familiar language for a lot of different aspects. Like worship is a lifestyle, meaning that any app or thought that is pleasing to the Lord, done within with an intentional heart towards the Lord can be an act of worship, and but I’ll just share a little bit of Sunday, Lord’s been personally kind of really impressing into my heart. I was having a conversation with a friend recently. And he was just asked me a similar question, but maybe framed it a little differently. He just says, How do we know if we’ve even worshiped? Like, when we come to an end of a worship time, let’s just put it in that context. If we come to the end of a worship time, our worship service? How do we know if we’ve actually given God the thing that he’s been looking for in his people? How do we know if we’ve worship like, what what’s the goalposts? We do even know that anymore? And I thought that was, you know, somewhat of an interesting, you know, but it’s kind of a deep question. And I just began to think about it and, and it was interesting. I had that question. in my, in my heart and spirit that I was also, you know, scheduled to do a little preach and one of the aspects of the message was consecration. And so I found myself back in Romans 12, verses one. And it just hit me afresh. And when we’ve heard that verse, you know, so many times, but I’ll actually I’ll just read it, this is the Amplified Version says, I appeal to you, therefore, brethren, and beg you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies, presenting all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy, devoted, consecrated and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable, you know, parentheses rational, intelligent service, and spiritual worship. And I was just thinking about that, you know, obviously, we know it’s not the anthems, we know that it’s deeper than the songs that we sing, or even just a moment where we’re in worship, and we feel something we feel the presence of law. We know it’s beyond all that. But I was just thinking, the only way that we really know that we’ve touched if I’m reading this correctly, the only way that we know if we’ve touched, true worship, and the service to God, is if we have consecrated ourselves, in that moment, the fullness of who we are love that. It says present your bodies, which is just the container of all that you are as a human being. It’s in your mind, your heart, your soul, your will, your emotions, everything, only when that is presented fully and completely to the Lord as set apart to him. And only for him, do we really touch on what it means to worship. And that just I don’t know, for whatever reason hit me so hard, even challenged me of like, at some point in this service, if I have not brought you all that I am God, if I have not placed all that I am at all that, you know, you’ve blessed me with, if that is not a living sacrifice before you that I have not quite yet touched true worship. So anyway, that’s just something I thought I’d share along those lines.
Alex Enfiedjian 07:01 That’s, you know, encouraging and interesting. And I say interesting, because I recently have been reading, you know, the little Levitical weird stuff and the Exodus and the beginning of Leviticus. Yeah. And like, the word consecration came to my mind, if we are going to be set apart for the Lord, we have to choose to completely consecrate ourselves, to him and to his purposes. And so it’s to hearing you say that, again, is an encouragement to me, like cuz I think a lot of people want God to move, but they’re not willing to consecrate themselves. Sure. I mean, consecration was a big deal. Like it took a lot of killing of animals and a lot of blood. And then it took, they had to stay in the temple for seven days when he was consecrating Aaron and his son so they had to, like, yes, do something hard. And I think a lot of people want the fruit without doing something hard. And like being willing to say, I’m all in Lord, I’m willing to make every sacrifice, and be like you said, a living sacrifice. I love that. Thank you, oh, my
Jeremy Riddle 07:54 gosh, my friends, we could just travel down this this road, you know, for a while because I think that the reason why I’ll just emphasize that is is consecrations that proceeding work and proceeding works don’t they rarely get the attention, you know, they’re the parts of the Bible, we struggled to read, you know, it’s like the, the all the chapters about consecration, we want the end of the book of Exodus, you know, we want chapter you know, 40 versus 34, where it’s like, and then the glory of the Lord revealed that the tabernacle, but we don’t want all of the tedious, you know, work of consecration, the painstaking, sometimes painful pruning work of consecration, but but that’s why so many talks on renewal or revival. Just stay talks, because because they’re, they’re the fruit of a proceeding work, the work of consecration, the work of repentance, the work of, you know, I mean, those, those are the proceeding works that we have to kind of go through in order to see the Lord break out in unusual ways. And you can look out through all throughout revival history, church history, always don’t pay attention. We always know the breakthrough. But even just like in a worship set, it’s like YouTube moments, we highlight that, you know, it’s like the highlight reel, we, we want to try and duplicate the glorious moment of embracing the breakthrough moment. But if you really want to see those moments come to pass, study that proceeding, work study, the movement of the entire set, what it took to actually get to that place of breakthrough, and that principle just plays out throughout the journey in life of worship.
Alex Enfiedjian 09:29 Oh my gosh, I love that. consecration is a preceding work of the move of God. And I again, we are, I guess, traveling down this road, even though that’s not exactly where I was thinking of going. But I think it’s so worth it because I’ve been praying in my own life. God, I want your anointing I want your power on my ministry. I don’t want my own abilities. I don’t want you know, I want you to infuse everything I do with your power, fresh anointing, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, undeniable. God honoring power. Yeah. And I feel like the word that he showed me was you need to consecrate yourself, if I’m going to give that to you, you better be set apart, you know. And so I love that that we went there. I now, you know, one of the things that you said, though is like that worship is us, offering ourselves fully to God, meaning it’s a vertical thing. But you also have worship leaders listening who lead people lead this horizontal thing of a church service. So what is the role? And what does that relationship look like, between the vertical and the horizontal to the people? What is the role of a worship leader in the gathered assembly, according to Jeremy riddle?
Jeremy Riddle 10:41 You know, I’ve given a lot of thought to this, you know, over the years, and I think my definition has not really changed, but it’s grown. It’s it’s been expanded upon. And, you know, it’s a bit of a mouthful, and I’ll just, I’ll just read a little bit of what I wrote here, the biblical goal or fruit, I believe, any worship ministry. And again, I tried to anchor this not trying to, I’m anchoring this in Scripture, because otherwise, we’re just making up our own assignment. I have no right to do that, you know, but I believe it’s to lead people through the gates of thanksgiving into the courts, His courts with praise, which is Psalm 108, it’s a very familiar song, into a response of whole body or whole being consecration is, again, like we just pointed out like that spiritual act of worship is that Romans 12 one, but ultimately, it’s even beyond that. It’s, it’s to go beyond the veil, which which we don’t have a curtain that separates us anymore. I love Hebrews, it says, we get to actually go through the veil, which is that that’s the curtain of his flesh, that’s the new and living way that we get to enter into the Holy of Holies. But the goal is always still been the Holy of Holies. That’s that Tent of Meeting, that’s that place of encounter where we get to meet with God, face to face, and the movement of the entire worship experience. And again, this charts out, like and how I build, you know, my sets, this is as deeply practical to me as it is spiritual. You know, I think through you know, whether it’s an actual song of Thanksgiving, or a posture, initial just posture of Thanksgiving, gratitude towards the Lord, you know, and moving into a place of praise a place of declaration where we declare who God is, if worship is that response to who God is, that our mission right at the top is to set the table with who God is. Because then if we do that, if we declare his attributes, his character, his nature, response takes care of itself at the end of its like, in view of God’s mercy, like, once we glimpse God’s mercy, our response is like, boom, there. It’s like that offering begins to take place, we begin to offer ourselves, oh, Lord, I see your mercy and all of your mercy and response, this mercy here I am offering myself. So Thanksgiving, prays into that place of response, where we begin to offer ourselves consecrate ourselves into the Lord, which moves us just deeper into that place of face to face encounter. And all throughout this experience, is this invitation. It’s an it’s a New Testament invitation, is to draw near to God. And I find there’s, there’s an interesting resistance to this, this idea that we have to we’re drawing near to God. And I think there’s some confusion as to like, well, God’s already there, God’s inside of you, you know, you just, you know, it’s like, boom, you’re already there. But I’m like, there’s a journey still, that we get to go on as the people of God. And if you miss that journey, you will actually miss your intimacy. I think we have access. But But access doesn’t mean that you’re you’re I don’t know, this is a complicated theological thing to get into for sure. But but I think it says it says with confidence draw near, which means that there’s a journey that we’re being invited into the curtain has been torn, but there’s still a journey of intimacy. And I would say that God’s a relational God, and He doesn’t violate the principles of relationship, like I have full access to my wife, she’s covenant to me. But there’s still a drawing near there’s a relational aspect where I come into a present, so to speak, and I engage her heart and she engages my and there is a drawing near there’s a movement towards intimacy, even in a marriage that’s covenanted and where I have full access, there’s still that relational journey of intimacy and connection. And I think when we miss that relational journey, even over the course of a worship set, we miss true intimacy with the Lord. And so I like framing it like, here’s the journey. Here’s where it begins. Here’s where it’s going towards. And here’s what we get to take people through.
Alex Enfiedjian 14:35 Yeah, I love I love that. You know, I think like you said earlier, everybody just wants the highlight moment, but you don’t get the highlight moment with the build up to the highlight, right? That’s so good. And you’re right. We can’t just like watch YouTube videos and be like, my whole set should be like that. No, it
Unknown Speaker 14:51 doesn’t work that way. It literally doesn’t work. Yeah, you know, yeah,
Alex Enfiedjian 14:54 there is that climactic moment and like what you were saying it’s it’s that revelation Then the response revelation of God’s character, and then the response of the people in worship. Now, it sounds like the worship leaders job then is to go on that journey with the people. Right? Obviously, but what? So So? Are you thinking about the people as you’re thinking about the Lord? Like, how do you do that? And we’ll, we’ll talk about this more in a little bit. But you do that so well, where it seems like you’re really just, you’re pursuing God, you’re pursuing what he wants in that moment, right. And I think a lot of us worship leaders have gotten in the habit of just we plan a set and we execute the set and we do it excellently. Right? There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Totally, but but you’re really leaving space to pursue God’s presence. So how are you thinking about that, as well as the people that you’re leading along that journey? You know, it’s
Jeremy Riddle 15:49 not, it’s not a formula, I, it’s a long journey. So I’ll break it down. Like, you know, shortly, you know, the sense of me just learning how to actually lead as a follower of the Holy Spirit as someone under the influence, like of the Spirit under the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and I wasn’t always aware, or I didn’t know really how to do that, all the time, and you are holding a lot of things intention, in a sense, you’re multitasking a little bit, when you’re leading worship set, and you’re not just present to the people, you’re also present to your band, and what’s musically happening, and how well, you know, they’re in alignment, you know, are in sync with you, you’ve got a lot of, you know, things that that you have to be attentive to and aware, to some degree, you know, some of that is just that you learn how to do that more naturally, the more time that you’re kind of in that saddle, it’s kind of like why we tell people to practice their instruments and why we tell people to rehearse because the more that we rehearse, the more that we’re, we don’t have to think about what our hands are doing, you know, or even, we have some confidence in how the band’s going to respond. Because there’s we’ve rehearsed and we’ve practiced. And so there’s this a really practical side of how we free up our attention, so that we can actually focus on the things that we’re meant to be focused on. And so I actually spend a lot of time with my songs ahead of time. So I’m not overly having to think about lyrics and execution, like I have some confidence in that. So again, I’m trying to free up as much of my attention that so my spirit can actually really lead and my spirit is, again, the only I’m trying to be in tune with his spirit. And so just things that I’ve learned practically along the way is no matter what I will open up, I will go through that, that I will enter his course with praise. That’s just something and so I honestly Unless the Lord really just radically, you know, intervenes will always get to a song or two, I found that resting or waiting or trying to even cultivate a moment, before you’ve even gotten anywhere on the journey is not necessarily, you know, you know, a great idea. And a lot of times, it’s just in between sets, there’ll be these little moments. And sometimes what people perceive to be a spiritual moment is me just taking a pause and waiting to see if anything’s changed. Like, I know the setlist, you know, I know the order. And I just sometimes it’s just like, when you take a step back, and a set, you have these little built in moments of pause. And I don’t always necessarily know they’re going to be that’s something I feel out in the moment. And sometimes a little course, will come to mind, or sometimes it just be like, hey, just wait for a little bit, these little impressions that I’m always seeking to follow. And the reason why I’m seeking to follow them is because as I’ve gone on this journey of really trying to follow the Holy Spirit, I’ve realized that all real true spiritual breakthrough only comes that way. And again, I think the Lord speaks in our preparations. It’s just, that’s not the only place he speaks. And so it’s like, we need to be constantly aware or in tune, or have these little moments of communion with Him that are built in. And I found the biggest thing that warned against my ability to follow the Holy Spirit in worship, is when I was caught up in executing that program in my head. So I missed holy moments, I missed moments where he was resting, because I was already song ahead of myself, like I was already I’m like, Oh, this is perfect, oh, we just came out of transition. And now I’m going to swell into this one identity. So I wasn’t actually relationally present in the middle of the set. And I’ve just learned to be a lot more present, I still have a plan, you know, I still have a way of you know, of execution. But I found if you go a little slower and you remain present in the moment, the Lord will speak to you and lead to you. And sometimes it’s just a little chorus, you know, or a little impression, or it’s going like, Ah,
Jeremy Riddle 19:25 there’s an invitation for people to just sing to the Lord. Let’s go after that for a little bit. And with those impressions, you never know how much life they’ll carry. And so I’ve also learned how to do those things without like, necessarily, you know, over committing to them, you know, without knowing how much life they’ll actually carry. So it’s just like Alice just left the facade to the Lord. And sometimes it’s like, oh, my gosh, something breaks open and it shifts the direction. It’s like, Oh, this, there’s life on this. And I’ve learned to stay with something as long as there’s life on it. And then if there’s very minimal life on it, that’s okay. It’s just a little thing. I did. is an act of faith and obedience to the Lord. And then I move on to the next song. And and I think that’s just some of the stuff you learn. I used to do that thing where it was just minimum response, I’m like, No, we need to, you know, and and then that rarely goes, rarely goes, Well, sometimes you’re supposed to resist an exhortation. But a lot of times, you just seed it, and then come back to it if you know if you want, but there’s just all practical things. But ultimately, the most fundamental thing that I want to encourage and exhort people to do is learn to develop that relationship, the Holy Spirit where you’re listening for his voice, how he speaks to you, it could be impressions, pictures, you know, little song ideas, whatever it may be, and begin to take little babies to begin to take those little risks. And that’s how we discern, because I could go through all these YouTube moments or any of these kinds of things. And I could walk you back to the little impression that I felt that led to that moment of glory, you know, or something really, really opened up. They’re all connected to simply trying to follow the Holy Spirit.
Alex Enfiedjian 21:02 Man, that is, there is so much gold, and I feel like you have been reading my mind. Because like, on stage, I’ll be like, I feel like we should sing that chorus again, right. But that’s not the plan. And the band didn’t rehearse that. And you know, we recently, finally I’ve resisted it for years, we finally started using a little bit of tracks in our songs. And that even makes it harder. So like, well, we could talk about tracks in a second. But I’ve been what I’ve been doing is if I feel that moment where I’m like, dude, they’re engaging right now they could, they could sing this again. But because we’re like, just following a track, what I do is at the end of the song, I’ll just like, Hey, guys, let’s before we go on the next line, Hey, guys, let’s just let’s sing that together again, and just lift up our voices. Yeah. And then. So yeah, let’s talk about the tracks being, you know, a lot of worship leaders use tracks. I personally, like I said, we just as of two weeks ago started kind of finally using them. I see the pros, I see the cons, what is Jeremy riddle, say about tracks? Do you guys guys, how do you utilize them? If you use utilize them? What are your thoughts on them?
Jeremy Riddle 22:06 Oh, yeah, we’ve been utilizing them for years, probably, honestly, past seven years. Tracks are kind of a regular part of what we do. And it’s you know, so So it really depends. For one they require, like a really remarkable skill set and a remarkable person, if you really want to kind of nudge jettison following the Holy Spirit. And again, for me, that is the highest value. And so if I know in a rehearsal, if I’m working with a new, you know, keys player, our keys persons generally person that runs our tracks, so I’m working with someone new, and it’s just, it’s going really wrong. I’m like, Hey, we’re gonna lose these tonight, you know, yeah, and it’s not that big of a deal. But so much of worship production and where it’s gone. If you try and execute a song with the full beauty and the movement that it has, on the record, you can’t have, you know, unless you got a 15 piece band, yeah, you kind of need those tracks. And, and they really add, they can add so much and, and, but I just got a person and we kind of we’ve got a system away, we’ve kind of worked out a bit, if I have a departure from it, they just killed the tracks, and she you know, and so it might get a little hollow gets a little weird in front of house, they have to adapt a little bit. But again, that’s just how we work it. But most of the time it is it is, like you said, where we go through the tracks, we get through the official arrangement of the song. And then after that cycle, when we come back in the song, the tracks really aren’t there. But you don’t really need them to be there. And you can kind of navigate, go back to the bridge, sing the chorus again, whatever it is. And man, I could go through, you know, so many journeys, but that’s kind of how we navigate it. It’s pretty simple.
Alex Enfiedjian 23:42 So the songs are tools to create moments. And if the Holy Spirit says, do it again, right, you can either, you know, have somebody who’s skilled enough with the tracks to do it again, or you just say, forget it, we’re following the Holy Spirit, not the track. And yeah,
Jeremy Riddle 23:58 and I really rely a lot on my musicians kind of, you know, intuition. And this is something they’ve had, they’ve just had to learn, you know how to navigate. And I give them a chance to really learn how to navigate that in rehearsal, I will oftentimes leave rehearsal as if I am actually leading and I’ll make rehearsals worshipful as possible, because that’s really the training grounds for flow and spontaneous. And I get to speak into incorrect any stuff that I know will actually derail us in the set, like exam moment, and I start to sing a chorus and then someone tries to change the chord progression to fit the course that I’m seeing. I’m like, No, no, just stick on whatever chord progression I was already in, because in my head, I’ve already figured out that I can sing that over the chord progression might be a little different sounding, but that just enables us to flow and they don’t panic, you know, and try and find that just small little things like that, where I get to speak into the band, I don’t overly give a lot of instruction or direction necessarily in a rehearsal, because they need they’re going to need their instincts and if there’s something I need to communicate, I almost need to see how they’re going to respond instinctively, before I speak into it. But that’s okay. So technically, at rehearsal, you’re doing some of that
Alex Enfiedjian 25:10 I might flow here, I might flow there absolutely is you’re kind of not that there is a right or wrong way to do it. But is your method, usually, whatever chord progression we just played is the one that I want you guys to continue? Is that how you guys?
Jeremy Riddle 25:24 Yeah, in a down moment. That is, I mean, you’ll watch almost every moment. And almost every prophetic singer, they’ll just sing over what’s happening, you know. And so, and I think it’s a beauty of worship, because it’s amazing how many courses will work over four or five different chord progressions, you know, it really is it’s kind of stunning. And that’s you can make medleys and all kinds of things, if I really feel that there is needs to be a shift, if I feel like an impression, then I will bring the whole band down, I’ll signal I’ll just be like, Hey, guys, come down. And then I will leave with an acoustic guitar. And that’s the benefit of being able to play your own instrument. Because I know not everybody has that has that ability if you don’t play an instrument, but that is one of the liberties that I have. So I can lead a new course and set the progression myself which, you know, if you can’t,
Unknown Speaker 26:12 you know, I think that’s a little bit of a struggle, you know, there. But anyway, that’s just something practical that we do.
Alex Enfiedjian 26:20 I love how profoundly practical and spiritual you are simultaneously. And this was the same experience I had in my last conversation with you. It was so just real and like, this is the nitty gritty nuts and bolts and yet, like, profoundly spiritual. So thank you for all of that. Yeah. So I mean, we’re talking about pursuing presence versus performance. And, you know, I’d love for you just to talk about excellence. Because I think, for a lot of worship leaders, like, we don’t want it to be a show, but we also don’t want it to be bad. So how do you balance that like, excellence and craft versus like, just, you know, overdoing that? And it’s like, because now everything’s like, the lights are sequenced on Ableton, and like this, and that, and it’s just like, what is this? Like? I know, it’s, it’s interesting. Yeah,
Jeremy Riddle 27:12 I think I think, again, there’s something excellence is a beautiful value and, and proficiency, excellence, whatever, whatever you want to want to call it is essential if we’re gonna actually going to lead people, if we’re train racking, like our whole point is to facilitate worship. And if instrumentation is the way that we’re doing that, then we need to be excellent in our instrumentation and all that. But I do feel like excellence has become like this misguided, kind of misappropriated value in the church. And I think what’s very important for us to understand is that excellence is actually not the highest value, it’s not even close to the top, it is a value that has to live subservient to much higher values. And excellence, actually, even even maybe more aptly speaking, is that excellence is redefined by our higher values, which means that it’s not just a blanket statement, it just, you know, musical excellence is not like our actual, you know, highest highest value, it’s an important value, but it is far as far from the highest. And so, you know, just stay in the thread of the conversation about, you know, following the Holy Spirit, that is the higher value, you know, faith, obedience to the Lord outrank excellence every day, all day. And so, so our commitment to the highest value of like we are, we’re followers of Jesus, where you know, and that means following the Holy Spirit, the one that that, you know, he is sent from the Father to lead us in the guidance that is our highest value. So in a moment, you know, in worship, excellence is redefined. It’s, you know, by our higher value of following the Holy Spirit, which means that excellence means and that moment, it’s about a band that’s taking all their skill, all their excellence, and investing it into following to the best of their ability, the leadership of the Holy Spirit as he’s moving through his worship leader, you know, instead of like, excellence meeting, we just nailed this arrangement, like nobody’s business, and we shred it, and we kill it. And it’s awesome. Like, no, we do like sometimes we actually shoot our quote unquote, version of excellence in the foot to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. There’s, there’s a, there’s a bazillion other ways to illustrate this. But I think excellence needs to be put in its place, honestly. Because we want to do something well, but but ultimately doing something well is in alignment with modeling and leading people into the heart of worship, which is, it has something to do with musical excellence, but but it is not the heart of worship. And so there’s something that has to be corrected there. You know, I think we have to look at excellence in alignment with with our mission. It’s like, what are we actually trying to do? What is our assignment as churches and as leaders it’s, it’s like our mission is to is to make disciples make worshipers if our father is seeking worship, They kind of worship in spirit and in truth, then that is becomes the highest thing. And I just go like, okay, so if we have an excellent light show, but it’s not actually helping us produce worshipers, then how excellent is it actually, right? Because it may, it might actually technically be excellent. It might be, you know, technically amazing. But it’s not in alignment with our mission. And we need to come back into alignment with with our mission and redefine excellence. According to our mission, what is excellent, is what is actually helping produce worshipers and giving ourselves to those things. And, honestly, the world of production and stage lighting, and all that stuff really needs an overhaul. As far as like, how is this actually helping us make worship verse again, today? Because, man, this is a whole nother part of the thing of like, maybe I’ll let you lead the conversation.
Alex Enfiedjian 30:52 I don’t know, go ahead. This is good. This is a whole other part of the thing.
Jeremy Riddle 30:56 You know, people have been asking, and, you know, it’s like in that point of like, where are we kind of gone wrong? What needs correction? What? And I can I think there’s no way to universally answer that question like, that’s at our heart level, first and foremost, in our own hearts. You know, and us dealing with that, first and foremost, and then looking at some of the trends that are beginning to happen and going like, what where did those even come from? And how did they become as widespread as they as they are? And I think one of the things that we have to stop doing as the church is we just mimicking each other. And we’re not, we’re not going back to our mission, we’re not anchoring anything in Scripture anymore in terms of what is our priestly assignment? Again, what’s the mission our on from our father? And looking at that, and then carefully analyzing, you know, in our, in our production and our leadership style, and our technical stuff is how are we staying in alignment? How are we staying true to, to our mission, and instead, it’s like, we’re just kind of blindly following and mimicking church trends. You know, it’s like, oh, the church down the street there, they got this killer new system and brand new light thing. And it’s just like, wow, it’s rad. And it just, it’s a worship leader magazines, and all the things that that we do, and we look at the model of what houses of worship are beginning to look like, and we just go, Oh, that’s the standard setup. Let’s bring it all in. And I think, you know, coming back to a church where none of that stuff is established, you know, we’ve been kind of rebuilding, it’s been given us a chance to kind of go like, what do we want to do with production. And it’s not like we’re anti lights, we have lights, but we’re trying to bring, keep it in alignment with what is actually facilitating what we desire to see in people. Because, again, we’re mimicking houses of performance. Like, that’s where all this lighting and stage stuff came anyway, some of that has been good, it’s been essential because they help engagement. And I and I think words on the screen help engagement, you know, those kinds of things. But I think that’s where we have to be careful in our mimicking, of houses of performance, because a lot of their production style isn’t just to help engagement, it’s to entertain, right. And I think that’s what we have to draw some lines and go, Hey, our mission as a house of prayer is not to entertain it is to help engagement, but it’s not entertained. And we have to kind of draw those lines where, you know, we might pull some things back and just go like, and I think the question for me, the thing that’s helpful is just look, look at your look at the people. Look at your people. That’s what’s going on, like, do they look like they’re just like, like, caught up in what’s happening on stage? Are they are they engaging with Heaven, our desires for people to engage with heaven? And if they’re not engaging with Heaven, if they’re mesmerized by what’s happening on our stages, then it’s a little bit misguided. That’s not what we’re actually trying to really pull people’s attention and focus too. We’re trying to help them connect with the living God.
Alex Enfiedjian 33:40 Yes. And we need to correct some things, man, so so much gold, in my mind is going in so many places, but like, really, what you’re saying is, what metrics is Jesus actually doing? Okay, like, why are we chasing that metric for success? When Jesus says, This is his metric for success? We’re gonna get to heaven. He’s gonna be like, I didn’t ask you to do that I asked you to do. But so many of us are just like, well, that church is doing that. So we’re gonna do that. And here’s a little example from my own church. So, you know, COVID happened, and we moved out? Well, first, we did only online, so we had to upgrade our video quality. And of course, we’re looking at Bethel, and we’re like, man, the video quality is amazing. Right. Okay, so so we’re like, well, let’s get some Sony A sevens and have the cool bokeh. Okay, so we did that, then we were able to move outside. But we’re still streaming to most of our church, right? Well, now a couple months ago, we were able to move back inside with social distancing and mask. So the video team, they’re all gung ho they’re all excited. And they’re like, let’s do iMac and we’re a big church. I mean, our sanctuary seats. 2200 people, it’s really round, right? I think it’s almost more than 180 degrees. So they’re like, it’ll be helpful for the people way in the back and this and that, and we tried it. And first of all, I was exceedingly opposed because I’m like, how does seeing my big ugly face help people worship the living God. Or, you know, maybe not just my face. But how does seeing a musician play their guitar help people connect with the living God? Is it more visually engaging? Yes, of course. Because there’s movement, there’s cutting, there’s changing. It’s way more visually engaging than just lyrics on screen. But I was opposed to it. But I was like, I’ll let you guys try it. And our pastor said the same thing. We can try it. Well, we did it for about a month, and I love my production crew. They’re amazing. They’re I love them. And if they’re listening to this, I love you guys. You’re amazing. But we were looking at the people. And it was like, they were like, watching these gigantic screens instead of reading and thinking about the lyrics, you know. So was it more visually engaging? Were they more engaged with air quotes? Yes, they were more engaged. But were they more engaged with God? it’s debatable. So we actually we accidentally cut it. We said no more iMac. We’re just gonna put the lyrics on this. So I think churches need to, they need to do the hard work of asking those questions. So thank
Jeremy Riddle 36:03 you. That’s such an encouraging thing to hear. Because it is so practical. And I think that’s the thing. One of the things I tried to just touch upon, you know, it, you know, in the book was that thing of like man production, and very all that stuff, it needs such leadership and spiritual leadership right now. And we kind of, you know, everything we did was so experimental, and it’s still so experimental. We’re in another experimental stage, where it’s like, we’re trying to explore technology and and all that’s available to us, which I think is healthy and important that we, that we do. But again, that process is so healthy that you describe or it’s like, no, let’s try it. And then like, up, no, that’s not that’s not the results that we’re looking for. And even the humility of that, and what that the permission that gives for us, because it’s like, sometimes we’re just we can get stuck and not touch an access things that could be incredibly helpful, right. But I just love the the openness of like, let’s try it. And you know, instead of just getting this camera, it’s just, you know, we’re anti technology. And we think that spiritual, you know, so I just met What a beautiful process you just described.
Alex Enfiedjian 37:11 So healthy. Yeah, I think what you’re really saying too, is like, let’s try it and see if it advances our mission, like, so it’s always going back to that. Yeah, that’s so good. So real quick, because you mentioned your book, you wrote this beautiful book called the reset. It’s getting rave reviews. I just talked to someone yesterday, who couldn’t they were like, you get to talk to Jeremy riddle, I just finished his book. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I want to give it to every worship leader. So anyway, thank you for being faithful to write that book. Tell us about the book, the heart behind it, and the hope for it. And I have I have a couple more questions about, you know, how do we practically pursue the presence of God in our services, because, you know, worship leaders do have like, a time limit. And so anyway, we’ll talk about that after but tell us about the book a little bit,
Jeremy Riddle 37:56 I’m sure the book is really just, I think it’s a lot of things. But um, for me, it was, it was a bit surprising, you know, in the sense that I’ve, I’ve been kind of dreaming about writing a book for a while. And honestly, that was not the book that I intended to write. It was something that it kind of welled up. Inside of me. And I just go like all the other things that I want to write about, I can’t actually write about until I address this. And so the one thing I just want to caution is like, the reset is, is something that I you know, a lot of the chapters on stuff that I’m watching happen in, in the realm of worship in the area of worship, that I go, oh, if those aren’t corrected, if those aren’t brought into alignment, if those aren’t reset, I really fear for the future of worship, and instead of us building on the incredible freedom that really the generation before us really paid to that we can walk in. And and that’s just really remarkable. It’s a whole nother story in and of itself. It’s like, where worship has come in the past 60 years is insane. And where it got unlocked, and who paid the price to get worship to the place where it was unlocked, you know, used to be under intense lockdown. And under so much religion surrounding it, and the heart of worship was all but not exist. And you know, you know, the church and sign I really have no desire to go back to pendulum swing back and that in the area of legalism, you know, that really bound worship up and yet looking at some of the things that we’re beginning to do. And this kind of blind, we’re really honestly in so many ways, being blindly led by an industry that we need to be very aware of. And it’s not because of the Big Bad industry, and that’s a whole nother conversation. But it’s just being aware of how it’s influencing and where we need to cut off its influence and be like, No, no, that may be your mission. But that is not our mission. And the same and we put up we put up those boundaries. And we go this is the mission of worship. This is what we’re actually trying to do in this but and so it’s It’s just stuff that has to be corrected, because it’s just how church is being led. It’s being led by celebrity Christian culture. And it’s being led because we’re drawn to what feels like it’s successful, and we imitate what feels like it’s successful. And that’s, that can be a real trap. And it’s not just a trap. It’s like the way that the western church, because of globalization is even leading the nations in their own expression of worship is something that’s very sobering to me. And, and I go, I do not want to share the celebrity driven model of worship with the nations, like, I do not feel that that is actually causing the worship that God is seeking to increase on the earth, I think that’s something that we have to begin to correct. And there’s there’s many, many things, you know, along those lines, and some of that is an appeal to the leader, some of the reset is an appeal to the leaders of the industry, the leaders of some, you know, major worship movements, just sharing my own journey, you know, and I do it as humbly as I possibly know how I’m not writing from some holy high horse, I’m writing for someone who blindly did all the things, engaged in all the things did all the things experimented with all the things and it just come up to the other side, and just going like, no, something is off, you know about this, not that all of its off, but something is off, there’s things that need to be corrected, we have to begin to have conversations, and I didn’t want to write a book that created a bunch of more dogma and things that we have to wade through, it’s so much as this dialogue, I want to create dialogue, we have to begin to have these conversations. And they’re very practical conversations or spiritual conversations. But that’s the heart of the book. And at the end of the day, I’d say if the ultimate burn in my heart is to see worship advance for it’s the future generation. That that I think is really, really at stake here. And I’ll just say this without trying to sound overly overly, you know, dramatic, but I think about my own life, I think about what reason why worship caught me. And you know, worship, you know, no one really emerges from from a lecture course called worship one on one, it’s like, oh, I’m a worship or now worship is something that we catch environments where pure worship is happening, we is something we catch in our spirits, as we as we are surrounded by other believers, who are engaging their spirits or engaging with the Lord. And we catch it from a young age. You know, and I feel like a lot of the show, and the performance driven, you know, models, like it’s not helping people catch true worship, it’s not helping the younger generation catch to worship, it’s not helping the nation’s catch the true spirit of worship. And I and I feel like in a sense, actually, a lot of the more we partner with this way of doing things, the more we engage with this kind of celebrity driven model, the more we are actually silencing a whole genic, you know, generation of worshipers that will not awaken they are not moved, like the way that we, we think worship is being moved, I look at my own kids. And I look at some of the turnoff. And you know, in their hearts, because they see this, they see it more clearly than then most of us are willing. You know, it’s sobering how clearly my kids are able to see through the show, like, and they’re looking for their heart, they’re looking for like, show me what’s real, show me something authentic. The wake up call that we need to realize is that our generation, the generation that’s waiting to be woken up to worship will only be woken up, as we lay bare our hearts before the Lord as we authentically begin to glorify the Lord has, as we disengage from some of these models that are really very performance driven, they’re not driven by the true spirit of worship, only then will we see worship advanced in the earth. And sometimes when we look at our stats and our numbers, I think we’re misled to believe that we’re advancing the cause of worship in the earth, but we’re not. And I just had, like a, I can’t tell you the grief that I have gone through, you know, in my heart, it’s writing from a place of real brokenness and and grief and even how I’ve contributed to many of many of those models. And so, again, it’s not the book I’m really excited to move on into the depths of His glory and his presence, and his goodness, and all those kinds of things. It’s not even anything that I want to become as part of my identity. But it felt like an important word that we might preserve and not just preserve, but see. Worship sweep the nations and see a whole nother generation catch truly catch what it means to live consecrated, fully alive. To the glory of God. That’s
Alex Enfiedjian 44:19 Amen. Amen. Thank you so much. Yeah, and and I mean, the whole point about the next generation you’re so right, like everything I’m reading about Gen Z, and all my interactions with them as well. They’re not at all interested in a cool show. Good light, they don’t care at all. They don’t care. They just like Shepherd Yes, please. That’s it. Yeah, come into my life. Let me come into your life and show me what’s true.
Jeremy Riddle 44:44 Literally it and if you think about the world, that they’re navigating, like, the polarization, the insane amount of opinions on everything they really are. It’s like, Just show me what’s real. They can see through. It’s it’s, it’s been so enlightening and almost disturbing how discerning my kids are, but I love it. Because it demands a level of authenticity that we’ve, we’ve really not grown accustomed to being in church, you know?
Alex Enfiedjian 45:12 Yeah. That’s so good. Yeah, I’d love for you to just help some worship leaders listening to this conversation. They’re like, Yes, amen. I agree. I want to not just perform songs, but pursue God’s presence in our services. Jeremy, tell me I have I have 20 minutes. Yeah. And then the pastor needs to be on stage. And then, you know, there’s announcements. Just as we wrap up, like, give some exhortation to those worship leaders, how can they grow in pursuing God’s presence in worship, and not just perform songs in that short, little boxed in time that they have? And one thing I will say to you just before you answer, I did watch one of your services recently, and I really enjoyed the fact that I think you guys started with, like, the sermon, and then the worship was at the end, which gave it a flexibility and freedom to and not every pastor is gonna be willing to know those changes, but but any other any thoughts that would help someone listening? You know,
Jeremy Riddle 46:09 you know, first, first of all, there’s a couple things I want to address number one, and hold me to this because I lose my train of thought. But number one is, alright, is the bottleneck thing that we have when we try and create and have Sunday mornings be our All in all, you know, as far as I’m worship expression, and our ability to step into all the things that we know, we were made to step into that Sunday morning is is our most focused moment. And it’s the moment where I probably have the least amount of liberty. And I know, I know, the constraints actually, very well. And some of those constraints are just where we are as a church, where’s our worship culture currently at? And my thing is not how can I get into personal glory? But my thing is, how can I help this people move? If they’re at, you know, ABC, if they’re at C, how can I help move them to D, and it’s a service position. And that Sunday mornings are the place where I go to lay my life down, not necessarily to, to come alive and all the freedom and expression and I really do think from any worship leaders, that will be your place of great service. But I also know that that you will never fully step into the fullness of who you are in that tight container. And if you want to grow and expand, there’s other things that you know, I think are really important for worship communities to begin to create as far as worship opportunities where where they can grow into these other things. Because if you’re able to grow and mature in a in a in a more broad container, it will leak into what you bring on Sunday morning. And the thing is, for me as once I learned some of these skill sets, it’s like Jeremy riddles days, Jeremy riddle, whether he’s got 15 minutes, or whether he’s got an hour, I don’t actually change I of course, I’m constrained by that time limit. And there’s only so much I can step into, but I don’t actually lead differently. But that’s because that thing was formed in a broad expansive environment and expansive worship culture, where I was given a lot of time and what I’m realizing about worship leaders is, is we need other greenhouses where where people can grow in what it means to minister to them, or where they can grow in their language of prayer where they can grow in the spontaneous and learning even how to do that. That’s not Sunday morning, Sunday morning is not necessarily the place where you grow Sunday morning is the place where you bring your growth. And so one of the things we’re experimenting just as a worship community. And I encourage this, obviously, your prayer room and your closet and your personal time of Jesus and your personal time of worship is key to this. And I stress that. But I do think that we’re trying to find a way to marry prayer, like a prayer and worship community. Because I think this discipline is really, really important for the kind of worship leaders that I that I want to produce, they have to become a people of prayer, they have to understand the value of prayer, they have to understand first and foremost, that before they’re serving people, they’re a servant to the Lord. And they have to learn the discipline of what it looks like to surely truly minister to the Lord. And actually, most worship leaders that I know they’re highly skilled in leading people, but they don’t know how to minister to the Lord. And so it’s so we started this thing on Wednesday nights, where I said your one assignment Wednesday nights, I actually want you to turn your back to the room. We do it in our sanctuary, but I want you to turn your back. Do not leave the room. Forget all the little things like come on church, and let’s thing lift up a shout like none of that stuff. Don’t leave the room, fix yourself solely on Jesus and beat and learn how to just minister to his face. You know, and I think that’s this other element, but that we’re not going to do that on Sunday morning. But I do know that if I can provide a space for worship leaders to being able to grow in another area of their life that will leak into Sunday where they’ll be able to bring that strength a Sunday morning which is really really, you know, important. So I think we need greenhouses. We need places for To grow, if we want to grow these kinds of worship leaders, like you look at any worship leader, who is really, really influential right now, it’s that piece of their heart that was grown, it was grown in a different container. It had a different greenhouse, it wasn’t grown on Sunday morning. And I’ve noticed there, there’s this trend, I’m just saying that a lot of worship leaders are able to move powerfully in the prophetic, powerful and spontaneous. They were grown in a house of prayer context, a lot of them are grown when there was not many people in the room, and there was a lot of freedom for them. And yes, they had to learn a different skill set. But man, I, I just I have this bird for worship communities to like, hey, start prayer meetings, and start little worship gatherings, give each other permission to grow in this alleviate the responsibility and pressure of having to lead a room in every one of your worship functions. And you will find this thing begins to grow and take root in all these other areas. So just,
Alex Enfiedjian 50:50 I hope it’s helpful. So again, practical and spiritual, your like, became of that and, and I love your heart, and I love your passion. And I’m gonna just have to have you come back on the podcast every two years and like, get me super amped up for Jesus. I’m just so I’m so stoked. Jeremy, so obviously to the listeners, I know you don’t want to promote your book to them, but I want them to get your book because it’s so good. And it’s gonna really make a difference. So I’m gonna put the link in the show notes. But where can they find you online? Where can they connect with you on social Where can they get the book all those things,
Jeremy Riddle 51:28 interesting journeys, social media, all but completely distant to it. But I still run you know, have an Instagram run and, and Twitter and Facebook and all that stuff. But no, I think I have a website still much in need of updating. But I as far as the book, Amazon is, initially we self published it just through Amazon, because that was the quickest way to get it out. We finally have our own copies. But we realized that we can’t really be Amazon on individual orders. And we really wanted to offer the book as close to cost as possible. It was not a message that I was at all seeking to make a profit from In fact, I sacrificially sewed into it. We’re not keeping that in here. And all at the profit that we do that the book does generate all goes back into wholehearted, which is a movement to just inspire greater purity and priesthood in the area of worship. And so we are offering bulk orders if a lot of worship committees are asking for bulk order prices. And we found that for 10 copies or more, were way better bet you know than Amazon, we can give the book for like four bucks, including shipping. And so if you if you want to if you need a bulk order, just email info at Whole dash heart dash Ed, calm, that’s whole bash heart bash Ed calm, and we love to show some books, you know, out to you.
Alex Enfiedjian 52:49 Wow, amazing. I did not expect this whole hearted thing. Is this something that you started? Yeah. Tell us you want to tell us about it. Because I it’s it’s brand new to me. Let’s see, let’s get it out there. Oh, yeah, there’s
Jeremy Riddle 53:02 a website, whole dash heart dash Ed calm, you can go to and we really haven’t really developed it. It’s it’s kind of a soft launch, but something I can carry around. And you know, in my heart, I’ve no desire to create another brand or another thing that we’re trying to do, there’s no merge for those kinds of things. But but it is it started as as a school, you know, that we were doing and I also feel there’s some other things, though, that are going to be important. And honestly, it’s it’s basically just like a resource center for people who who are hungry to go on this journey. Because again, the reset was just it was more like a corrective word with an invitation, you know, you know, into more, but it didn’t really outline a lot of the practical sides, you know, of the journey of what it really looks like to go into this. So we really just wanted to, you know, create a place for people like this is what brings in my heart, how do I walk this out, and a place of connection and a place of resource and we really don’t know what God’s gonna do with it. But I think it’s going to have something to do with worship education, I want to move into a new way of creating we still need some form of music business in order to get music out there. And and my issue is not you know, man, this is massive, but how to dive off the deep end here but but it was really like we needed to wind skin and and and I want to create a journey like a collective journey, where we begin to where communities begin to come together, and and network and go like, Hey, here’s how we can resource you know each other, you know, in this journey of faithfulness to Jesus faithfulness to the principles of his kingdom, and we want worship to be spiritual from inception to completion. And, and this is how we can kind of walk with each other. So that’s ultimately the platform that we want it to be. It’s, it’s far from there. So that’s why we haven’t really thrown that out there yet, but that’s the journey that we’re on.
Alex Enfiedjian 54:50 That’s awesome. Jeremy, thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord and to doing what he’s called you to do. I know, I’ve been helped today. I know a lot of worship leaders all around the world have been helped. So thank you for your time. All right. That’s it for today. I hope you were helped by this episode. If you were please help me by passing it along to a friend. Send it to all your worship leader friends say hey, you really need to listen to this. And definitely hit subscribe on your podcast app of choice so that you get notified of the next episode that releases on the first of next month. Also, be sure to check out the brand new courses for worship leaders go to worship ministry training comm slash courses, and be sure to enter w mt podcast at checkout to get 25% off the full bundle or individual courses as well. So have a wonderful month pursuing God’s presence. And I will see you back here next month. God bless