David Badillo is a worship leader in New York as well as the lead singer of City Bridge Worship. Recently, David talked to Worship Links about his band’s new EP, the importance of great transitions, and accidentally asking people to worship you.
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 am 34 years old and was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I first gave my life to Christ as a teenager at the age of 17. I have been Married to my Wife Ann for eleven years now and we have four wonderful children, Hannah, Jubilee, Seth and Eden. My favorite two movies of all time are The Last Dragon (an old urban Kung Fu flick) and Nacho Libre. I am also now the lead vocalist of an independent worship band based out of New York City called “City Bridge Worship”.
How did you get started in worship ministry?
It all began when I was 18, just a year into my salvation. I participated in a youth talent night and for the very first night sang a worship song. That is when people began to notice my gifting and started to encourage me to pursue worship ministry. Shortly after that I became the worship leader at my home church and did that for about four years, then eventually became the worship leader at my wife’s church after getting married.
What’s your basic process for planning a service or worship set?
I have to be honest, some worship leaders have this very deep, comprehensive approach to song selection for Sundays, but my process may be more simple. I like getting other members of the worship team involved and asking them to pick a song they would like to sing and offer them the opportunity to lead. I don’t believe in having just one person on the worship team leading 90% of the music; I feel that it is important as a worship leader to take a step back a few times, so others can step up. To be honest, I am usually more concerned with what goes on in between each song, versus the song itself, so I actually plan more for that portion of my set. Transition planning can make a huge difference, such as choosing the right bible verse to introduce a certain song, identifying the right approach to a prayer following a song, what type of physical engagement will I request from the audience at strategic points such as “Hands in the air,” “Lets get on our knees,” “March in Place because we are on the Army of the Lord” – things like that I tend to focus on more.
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?
- Heart of Worship: Matt Redman
- Simple Gospel: United Pursuit
- Love Riot: Worth Dying For
- Oceans: Hillsong
- Greatest Love: City Bridge Worship
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?
Greatest challenge is not allowing your personal life to affect your weekly worship sets. We all have ups and downs in our lives: sometimes we are on fire for Jesus and sometimes things in life, mistakes we make can try to put that fire out. It’s pretty tough trying to lead a Sunday congregation in worship when things just aren’t going well for you. I have had to battle these attacks throughout my ministry and deal with other members of the worship team who often take a leave of absence because of them. But I have pressed on and sung my heart out, often times finding God ministering deliverance to me directly in those difficult times as I worship him.
What scriptures speak to you the most about worship?
1 Samuel 16:3
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”
This verse has been my anchor; it is what gives me a great sense of purpose. The Bible has revealed the power of a God Fearing musician/singer. Worship music has the ability to liberate the oppressed and every time I have the opportunity to sing before an audience, I always have this in mind and give it my all.
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?
The anointing is more important than the gift: your nice voice, guitar skills, all that means nothing if you are not devoted to prayer and committed to living a righteous life. This is not like a secular concert; this is spiritual warfare. Don’t neglect getting better at your gift, keep practicing, but always accompany this with spiritual maturity and you will be an amazing worship leader.
Tell us all about City Bridge Worship’s new EP. What’s the story and heart behind it and where can our readers hear some of it?
For the past two years I put my ministry as a congregational worship leader on hold to pursue my dream of creating an original worship project. Our band just completed our first EP which consists of five tracks. Before we started the project, we really believed New York City needed representation in the genre and we had the opportunity to present an original sound in worship that was representative of the city we come from. After completing the project we really believe that our music is unique and can offer a fresh worship experience to listeners. Two tracks really stick out for me on the project: “Made to Worship” addressed the need to be bold in our faith and taking it to the public, and “Greatest Love” is a fresh take on reflecting on the redemptive work of Christ. We pose a very powerful question in this song that I feel really connects the listener to the power of the cross. Readers can get a free download of our single “Made to Worship” which is our anthem rock song on NoiseTrade and pick up the entire EP via iTunes.
What do you think worship in the church will look like in ten years?
It is an exciting time for the worship leader ministry. So many churches have recognized the influence music has on our culture and have begin making major investments to the worship ministry. The rise of popularity in bands such as Hillsong and Bethel has made worship “cool” now. I see the worship in the church continuously evolving in sound, and a massive amount of new songs being introduced. It used to be that back in the day, one epic worship song would be sung for decades in the church, such as “Shout to the Lord,” but now so many good songs are being written almost on a daily basis and social media has changed the trend. If a song has been out for more than two years, it sounds old and out dated due to the amount of new music we get each month in our genre.
Any new worship artists on your radar at the moment?
YES! Fearless Band out of Los Angeles, California. They used to be known as the band “Worth Dying For” a more rock oriented worship band that stopped putting out albums to focus on launching a new church in LA. They are releasing their new album soon and returning under their church name, “Fearless.”
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done while leading worship (that you’re willing to share)?
HAHA!! One time I wanted to tell the congregation “Come and worship WITH me” but instead what came out was “COME WORSHIP ME!” and I raised my hands in the air with my eyes to the sky, when suddenly I just realized what I said and the congregation was shocked. I began to laugh hysterically and corrected myself before the audience and apologized. It was terrible.
Thanks again for answering our questions. If people want to find you online, what’s the best way?
Visiting my band’s social media page: