interviews

Interview: Worship Leader Phillip Wall

Phillip Wall is a worship leader and biblical counselor in North Carolina. Recently, Phillip talked to Worship Links about touring with a band, pastoring your team, and kicking over keyboards.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for us. It’s truly appreciated! The first question is an easy one. Tell us a little bit about yourself in five sentences.

I’ve been leading worship for almost 20 years. For the last 5 years I’ve been leading at the Summit Church in the Raleigh Durham area. I’ve been married for 16 years and have two kids who are learning music as well! I’ve been blessed to work with great people that God has sent my way over the years and I’m grateful for his provision.

How did you get started in worship ministry?

In my earlier days I was able to tour with a Christian Band for about 3-4 years as a guitarist before going to seminary and primarily focusing on church based ministry. While in seminary, God opened many doors to begin to lead worship with a traveling evangelist and in my local church.

What’s your basic process for planning a service or worship set?

Pray and read scripture for personal worship that leads to an overflow in planning and leading in corporate worship! I like to have the theme of the sermon and the passage of scripture prior to planning a service. I believe this best provides for continuity for the congregation. From there, I typically focus on the flow of the songs looking at tempo and the best key to sing each particular song. I also choose a scripture to read with exhortation or have another member of the team read a passage during worship. The scriptures are essential in our worship together.

Desert Island Worship Mix: You’re trapped on a desert island, and for reasons too ridiculous to explain, you can only have one CD with five worship songs on it. What are they?

This is tough.

  • Man of Sorrows by Hillsong
  • You Are Our God by Summit worship
  • It Is Finished by Matt Papa
  • It Is Well version by Hillsong Chapel
  • Forever Reign by One Sonic Society (Jason Ingram)

What have you found are some of your greatest challenges in managing a worship team? How do you handle the balance between being a musician and being a manager?

I view my role in managing the worship team from a pastoral perspective. The challenge for me is feeling that I’m consistently investing in the lives of everyone on the team. I often fall short in this and have realized that a big part of leadership is also developing other leaders. Ministry in all areas is discipleship. At our church we believe strong leadership also means shared leadership. This method has been essential in allowing me to not only be the pastor/manager I’m called to be but also maintain my calling as a musician.

What scriptures speak to you the most about worship?

Romans 12:1-2, 2 Cor. 1:3-4, The Psalms!, 1 Kings 14:8 where David seeks forgiveness for his sin. I love any passage that reminds us of how great our sin is but how that much greater the forgiveness of God through Christ is! Those who understand what they have been forgiven from will worship the Lord!

If you could give one piece of advice to up and coming worship leaders, what would it be? Conversely, what’s some advice you wish you’d received earlier on?

Advice to young worship leaders: I would say be patient and wait on the Lord. Take the time to prepare yourself through study and seek out good mentors. We all need to be mentored (discipled). Pray and immerse yourself in the Word of God. Also, practice. A lot. Steward the gifts and talents God has given you and don’t just “wing it” when you lead others. Prepare well!

What do you think worship in the church will look like in ten years?

I believe worship through song will look similar to what it does today but I believe the biggest change will be that we will become even more diverse. Many styles of worship through song will be essential for the church to move forward in unity through Christ’s leadership. God seeks all nations and cultures to know him and worship him so out worship will reflect that.

Any new worship artists on your radar at the moment?

Matt Papa. He’s not really that new but more folks should hear his stuff. Sojourn Church out of Louisville Ky. Sojourn has a real roots blues rock sound with great reformed theology in their lyrics. I would also endorse two friends who are writing great new songs for the church. Kelby Dover and Hank Murphy. Check them out!

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done while leading worship (that you’re willing to share)?

In a moment of “intense” worship, I accidentally kicked over the keyboard while the keyboardist was playing! The band was great and just keep going like nothing happened.

Thanks again for answering our questions. If people want to find you online, what’s the best way?

I’m on twitter @phillipwall or by email at pwall@summitrdu.com

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