Crystal Campbell is a worship leader and recording artist in Omaha, Nebraska. Recently, Crystal talked to Worship Links about being open to the Spirit, getting outside your comfort zone, and writing an album in the midst of chaos.
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 was born in raised in Nebraska. I have been singing and writing song since I was a young child. I pursued music for many years in Los Angeles, but instead of a record deal, God introduced me to worship, and I fell in love. I have recorded a handful of albums, but my latest album, Eyes on Him, has been the most exciting for me as an artist.
How did you get started in worship ministry?
When I moved to LA, I started looking for a church. It turned out the producer I was working with was the music director at a great church. Within one week I was leading worship. It was a natural fit for me, as I love God, love to sing, and am unafraid to lead.
What’s your basic process for planning a service or worship set?
My process has had to grow and adapt to the church and Pastor I’m working with. For instance, when I was leading worship at the church in Los Angeles the Pastor often had his sermons planned, and I could select music to work with the topic. That environment we liked to lead with a couple upbeat songs to get people engaged, then always lead them to a slower more worshipful set of songs. The church I’m currently at is much more Spirit lead, which is exciting, yet challenging. We may have a plan for the service, feeling God’s leading to sing certain songs. But once we get to rehearsal a certain song may jump out to you, and you know the Spirit is blessing that song for that week. Likewise a song you thought of singing, may fall flat. We always listen to the Holy Spirit in rehearsal. If the song doesn’t fly in rehearsal, it will fall in service. So, we don’t try to make it fit our mold, but stay open to what God is blessing.
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?
LOL! Ok, well my current survivor playlist is…
- It is Well – Bethel (a spirit of peace moves in that song, and the harmonies are unending)
- Ever Be – Bethel (because what worshipper doesn’t love singing that)
- Spirit Break Out – Jesus Culture (it gets my spirit ready for a new move of God!)
- Every Moment – Forever Jones (it is a healing balm to my soul)
- Great is your Mercy – Donnie McClurkin (one of my all time favorite worship songs, the vocalists are all so anointed)
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?
LOL. Well people management is always tricky. There has to be a good balance between grace and accountability. I want my musicians to love to worship as much as I do, not be frustrated or overworked. So scheduling and getting everyone the information is key. But once we all get there, let’s have fun creating, and worshiping. I value creative input from my musicians, but ultimately I make the final decision. A clear leader makes things work smoother.
What scriptures speak to you the most about worship?
I see worship everywhere in the Bible; every verse is a worship song waiting to happen. But, my favorite scriptures are the ones were we get a glimpse into heavenly worship (ie. Revelation 4). I honestly can’t wait to get to Heaven, and get to sing to God on His throne. Can you imagine?
Tell us about your latest album.
My latest album is eyes on HIM. That phrase was really important to me during the writing of this album. The enemy was attacking me on different fronts. When I focus on the enemy, I was overcome by fear and anxiety. But I found that when I keep my eyes on God, He takes me around the enemy, and brings me peace. I wrote this album in the midst of my crazy life with four kids. Thankfully God allows me to create in the midst of chaos. So, I was writing at the ball field, doing dishes, in the van, with screaming kids in the back. I really wanted to include new things God was teaching me, or topics that had been on my heart recently. I talked to God a lot about this album, the creative process, and the marketing after. I asked God to be my Marketing Manager and open the doors to me, that He wanted me to pursue. I go where I’m invited, and am thankful when stations play my music. God, in His awesome way, got my music on a program that is heard around the world, and now people from around the world are getting to hear and buy my music. Only God. I can’t wait to see what He does next!
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?
Your relationship with God is so important. Spending daily time in His presence, not just reading about Him, but actually speaking to Him is so important. You can only worship Him in Spirit and in Truth when you have a relationship with Him. When God calls you to be a worship leader doors will open to you. Don’t try to kick down doors God hasn’t opened. It’s pointless, difficult, frustrating, and won’t do you any good. Just keep training your instrument, and building your relationship. He will eventually open the right door for you.
What do you think worship in the church will look like in ten years?
I hope there will be more freedom in worship. I have seen so many churches where there is no joy or freedom in worship. It’s like they are just singing words (if they’re even singing), and not really worshiping with their entire being. Worship should be a full body, all out, give your everything, type of event. If you’re not doing that, then you’re not there yet. Just keep reaching outside your little “comfort zone” box, until you have given yourself permission to freely worship God in every way: kneel, speak words of adoration to God, clap your hands, wave your hands in the air, jump, dance, shout, sing at the top of your lungs, smile, come on people! Freedom!!!
Any new worship artists on your radar at the moment?
My favorite new find is Forever Jones. They have been a round a while, but they’re new to me. This family band had a great sound, and I love singing with them. Their songs aren’t necessarily Sunday Service Worship songs, but certainly individual worship music.
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done while leading worship (that you’re willing to share)?
Probably a wrong entrance. Coming in at the wrong time is always embarrassing!
Thanks again for answering our questions. If people want to find you online, what’s the best way?
You can visit my website www.CrystalCampbellMusic.com to get my CD, or get connected with me through social media. Blessings and love to you all. Praise the Most High God!!