Brent Dyer is a worship pastor in Houston, Texas. Recently, Brent talked to Worship Links about leading musicians, planning multisite worship, and memorizing your own songs.
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 a husband, dad, and worship pastor at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. I love to travel and dabble in a little photography when I have spare time. I also enjoy writing, and have written articles for a few online and print publications. God has brought me through a lot, and I’m pretty passionate about sharing my journey and story of God’s faithfulness both through music and the written word. It seems that every day I am surprised by what God allows me to do, and who he allows me to meet.
How did you get started in worship ministry?
My dad is a pastor and I grew up in the church. As far back as I can remember my life has been intertwined with the local church. I studied music at Baylor University, and it seemed natural for me to work in a church after graduation. So I did. For many years I was a professional musician who happened to work in a church… not a pastor. I was pretty good at it, too. But eventually my talent took me farther than my character could sustain. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do – I couldn’t fake it any longer. It was at that point, on the verge of losing everything, I found Jesus. Yes, I was a worship pastor at a church with 14,000 members and didn’t really know Jesus. But then… then something in me changed. I met the One who is, and was, and will be. I found Jesus. At that point, after some much needed healing, I began real worship ministry.
What’s your basic process for planning a service or worship set?
We have three campuses with 18 worship venues throughout week. In an effort to keep all the campuses thinking as one church, we do group worship planning with all of the worship leaders on staff. We pray together and discuss where we are in our journey as a corporate body, and then we plan. Our goal is to always have four weeks planned, knowing that most likely everything will change the week of! As a staff, we have chosen our “Top 60” songs – every campus and venue must choose from this list. This helps us stay focused, relevant, and keep all our attenders hearts going the same direction in corporate worship. Additionally, I meet with the Senior Pastor every Tuesday to discuss worship flow and the big picture.
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?
- “Holy Spirit” – Bryan & Katie Torwalt
- “Forever” – Kari Jobe
- “Deepest Praise” – TaRanda Greene
- “I’m Going Free (Jailbreak)” – Vertical Church Band
- “On My Knees” – Champion Forest 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?
Wow. Great question. As worship pastors, I believe we are in the people business. I don’t love the word “manager” because I believe leadership is simply influence – something you must earn, it’s not a right that comes with a title. So… to manage people well we must know them well. We must love them well. Musicians are a special breed. They feel things deeply. They love deeply. They are deeply passionate. The great thing about being a musician who “manages” musicians is you know how they think – because you are just like them!
I guess the greatest challenge I face is finding the time to truly invest in people. Pouring my life into their lives is my calling, not managing their rotation schedules. I hope when we are all old and can’t sing or play any longer, the musicians that worked with me will look back and say they were loved well, encouraged to use their gifts well, and were inspired to be all God wanted them to be.
What scriptures speak to you the most about worship?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
This passage reminds me worship is not so much about what I do on stage, but more about who I am offstage.
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?
I wrote a whole article on this topic for Worship Leader Magazine… there is so much I wish I would have known!
I think the biggest thing is something I referenced earlier – don’t let your talent take you farther than your character can sustain. We must care as much about – and spend as much time developing our character and soul – as we do our instrument. Funny, but no one ever told me that. I wish someone had “seen” me, spoken into my life, and shown me how to grow as a believer.
Another big piece of advice I give worship leaders is to model what you want to multiply. If we want our congregations to worship with abandon, we must. If we want our teams to be good musicians, we must be. If we want our staff and volunteers to be hard-workers who are honest, transparent, and loving, then we must also do all of those things.
What do you think worship in the church will look like in ten years?
I’m encouraged about the future of worship in the church because I see a generation of men and women who passionately desire real, genuine, true faith. I think the future will hold less “religion” and more true Christ-followers.
Any new worship artists on your radar at the moment?
Well, it’s a little outside my normal “box,” but there is a new group named Cana’s Voice just forming. They are about to drop their first record in May. The group is sort of a fusion of CCM meets gospel meets worship music meets several other genres. What I love about them is their story – it’s three broken people (TaRanda Greene, Jody McBrayer, and Doug Anderson) who have an amazing story of God’s redemption and faithfulness. I’m not sure they are considered “worship artists,” but I know when they stand in front of people and sing/lead the presence of the Living God is apparent in their voices, stories, and lives.
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done while leading worship (that you’re willing to share)?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten the lyrics. . . to my own songs. Songs I wrote!
Thanks again for answering our questions. If people want to find you online, what’s the best way?