Interview: Worship Pastor Brent Hall

Brent Hall is a worship pastor in Lubbock, Texas. Recently, Brent talked to Worship Links about finding your own voice, planning worship around the sermon, and rejecting your karaoke moment.

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 a West Texas guy for a lot of my life and have worked in youth, young adult, and worship ministry for 16 years now. I am currently about to be into my 7th year as Lead Worship Pastor in Lubbock, TX at Aldersgate Church. Me and my wife Morgan have been married for 3 1/2 years and had the blessing of having our first child this past Summer!

My heart is for people to become more free in their worship to God and to become the son and daughter Christ created them to be here on earth.

How did you get started in worship ministry?

I was growing up in youth group and decided to take up guitar at 17. I had only been playing guitar for six months when my youth pastor asked to play a few songs. It was definitely trial by fire! Ever since then, God has always given me opportunities to further His kingdom by using worship.

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

My staff and I work very closely to make the services and the song selection very cohesive. Once our pastor sets our sermon, I pray about what songs would tell the story of that Sunday the best. You want the sermon to be the climax, while the songs surrounded do a great job telling that story. We try to limit our yearly song selection so we do songs that our people can grab ahold of and worship with. Planning services works so great when it’s a team effort.

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?

Man, that is a tough one! I’ll try to condense:

  • You Are God and You Are Good -Austin Stone Worship
  • All He Says I Am – Gateway Worship
  • Hidden – United Pursuit
  • Heart Won’t Stop – John Mark McMillan
  • Mystery – Charlie Hall (went with my steady “oldie”)

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?

There has to be a great balance between assertiveness and grace. You are called to be the leader to a group of people that need certain direction to accomplish the goal of leading in confidence, but you are also dealing with creative beings. You have to have grace and opportunity for “expression” but to lead them to a place that they feel safe and at peace with how they will go about leading. Also, I feel, whether you like it or not, there is always a certain amount of tension that always goes on in ministry. Whether it’s between your teammates or something spiritual going on inside of them, you have to lean into God in how to deal with that tension. If you are a leader, you will have to have hard conversations and make hard decisions during your tenure as the leader. You can’t treat everyone the same, so it is imperative to be on your face before God to ask how to handle the hearts of others.

What scriptures speak to you the most about worship?

Job 33:28 – God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.
Galatians 5:1- So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

John 4:23 – But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.

These scriptures speak about the freedom we are allowed to have daily by the grace and blood of Jesus. God desires us to become true worship through His spirit. Once we worship in spirit, we become even more free.

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?

There is a difference between singing a song and leading a song. People need your leadership more than they need your karaoke moment. We as worship leaders are gifted with the talents to use music and voices for ministry, but our ministry is more about how you lead people towards Jesus. The heart is what moves the heavens. God sees our motives, so constantly guard your heart from the pitfall of thinking you are something. We deal with people’s eternity, so literally, our leadership is a life and death situation. It’s an honor to lead, not a privilege.

When I was younger, I had lots of leaders who led me well, but I wish I was taught early on that you have to be true to the wiring God put in you. It’s easy to get lost in the identity of others or a congregation, but I’ve learned that God needs you to be you in that leadership position, not a copycat of some other leader. God knows who He’s putting in that position and you need your identity to be secure in Him so that you will lead in authority in who you are created to be. It takes so much burden off of the leader!

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

It all depends on what the church itself becomes in ten years. The church is changing so rapidly, but I think it will not be so “seeker friendly” in the future. What I mean by that is that in the dark times on our country, people desire hard hitting truth from the gospel, so the church, hopefully, will return to a place that echoes gospel in everything it does, because our world needs it! I think music writing and worship leading will somewhat reflect not only where our world is heading but probably becoming more theologically heavy, prayer-like in a lot of ways.

With all the recordings and videos available today, it’s easy to mimic other worship leaders who have been at it for a while. How do you find your own voice as a worship leader?

You must be grounded in Christ, seeking His value and love over your own life before stepping out into leadership. Everyone has a thought and opinion on how you should go about your “position”, but God has the authority over it! I think you need to know what stirs your heart, what makes you love God more and more. Lean into that, that’s where your “voice” dwells. Skinny jeans and deep V necks have never been my gig, haha, and it’s okay to not look, sound, or produce like everyone else. Jesus is the standard, and our “voices” in life should sound a lot like His love and should always point people to Him. I would say it’s great to use resources and learn from others how to be better and more excellent in how we present in the gospel, but never lose “yourself” in the process. Lastly, always remind yourself, your “voice” can grow and change and it’s okay to be stretched and move to a new season!

Any new worship artists on your radar at the moment?

In the season I’m in, I’m currently listening a lot to “Simple Gospel” by United Pursuit. It is just a sweet collaboration of prayers to God to allow hearts to return to the grandness, but simplicity of being in love with Christ.

Justin Jarvis, John Mark McMillan, and Austin Stone have produced some songs of late that tug at my heart strings.

Also, I’ve always been a big Charlie Hall advocate, not just because of his songs, but his spiritual leadership as he presents Jesus. It speaks volumes when someone can go beyond the song and paint the beauty of the cross!

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

There have been many of lyrics that have been sung wrong. Burping in the mic mid song is always classy! I’m sure there are many more, but can’t think of them at this time!

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

People can find me on Facebook under Brent Hall or Twitter.

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