We recently got the chance to connect with UK worship leaders Luke Wareham and Rachel Mason and ask them about their music, the art of leading worship and what advice they have for aspiring worship leaders.
Share about the time/moment when you two knew it was time to record your own music?
We have led worship for a number of years together in the local church. Luke went round Rachel’s house for keyboard lessons but after hearing some of the songs he had written Rachel encouraged him to get the songs produced for others to hear! All the songs on our EP have been written over the past year whilst serving in the church and listening to God prophetically. We think it’s important to base our songs on scripture from the Bible, both Old and New Testament, because the Bible is God’s word inspired by the Holy Spirit and it points us to the God we worship. The first song we wrote together along with our good friend Ollie Morris was our debut single ‘Whisper’ which made it to number 11 in the UK Christian Charts. Luke wrote the lyrics to ‘Whisper’ whilst reflecting on 1 Kings – God wasn’t in the noise of the wind, in the rocks breaking, in the earthquake or fire, but he was in the silence as he whispered to Elijah. He believes that even when the enemy seems loud in our lives, even when we are filled with panic and doubt, a whisper from God changes everything. God revealed himself in a whisper to Elijah because he was so close and he whispers in our life situations because he is so close and never leaves us.
Were there any reservations or hesitations about recording?
We were both new to recording together but with the help of our friend Ollie and the producers at Bare Wall Studios we were able to record the EP with the sound and vision we set out to achieve. Encouragements from friends and fellow worship songwriters really helped us in getting the EP finished. Our prayer when finished was that the songs would bring hope to a broken world, speak the prophetic truth of Jesus into everyday life situations. And that the songs on the EP will help people in their everyday life. We also felt God say that the songs would be ‘soothing to the soul’ and speak to people who are struggling with their mental health.
What has the journey been like while singing together? Any challenges? Any special moments you’ll always remember?
We both love helping people to worship God and a special moment was when we first played some of the songs we had written at a worship event in Bristol called Wildfire. People really worshipped with the songs and asked if they had been recorded so it gave us confidence to record our songs. One way we have been able to share our music even in the challenge of lockdown is via resourcing churches with the lyric videos to the songs off our new EP. The Baptist Union of GB, Spring Harvest and New Wine have all used the songs as resources for online worship. We have also been involved with leading worship online in a variety of formats including in our local churches and by taking part in the global 24/7 Burn with other worship leaders around the world.
How important is it for worship leaders and their teams to be united (on the same page, like-minded with a common goal)?
We have the same passion for writing songs that help people fix their eyes on Jesus and to experience afresh the healing power of the Holy Spirit. It is important for the goal of worship leaders and their teams to always be about Jesus and helping people to look to him rather than being about themselves.
What are some good habits that teams can put into practice to maintain unity and strength naturally (vocally) and spiritually?
A good habit is to invest in your own ‘personal’ devotional worship that will overflow into team life. It is so important as the more we worship God in our ‘personal’ secret place whether that’s singing, song writing, reading the bible or in journaling etc, the more we become like Jesus and the more we experience him and the deeper we can go into knowing him. Our aim should be to be full of the Holy Spirit, reflecting Jesus – being more kind, compassionate, caring, loving and in tune with the way he sees people and the world. Romans 12:1 advises us to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship”. This verse shows how worship is more than what we sing, it’s a way of life and that should be our desire.
How important is the Worship Music segment of church services?
Worship is so vital to church services it enables people to fix their eyes on Jesus. Worship changes lives and helps us to magnify God and in all life situations. John Ortberg says ‘I need to worship because without it I lose a sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinders on’. And this sums up how we should give our whole life to God as worship to him and look to him daily. Worship music in church services helps us to do this.
What advice would you give to Pastors who are considering adding to or enhancing the worship music segment of their church service?
We have seen so many times the importance of worship music in church services – encourage your team, invest in them and equip them to help people be changed by God through sung worship. We have found investing resources in worship tech have equipped our team in our local church to help engage people even further in worship. Mentoring and raising up younger worship leaders and musicians is important in helping your worship expression to grow and flourish.
When it comes to leading worship in services, what techniques have you found to be the best way to keep the audience engaged?
Above all, fix your eyes, and your heart, on Jesus.
Don’t just sing, worship yourself too.
Show people how to worship!
Know who you’re leading…know the people.
You’re there to facilitate others in worship, encourage and empower them.
What advice do you have for aspiring recording artists?
Rachel – Be brave! Play some of your songs to family and friends and get some feedback from them. Share your songs with other Christian songwriters and you’ll find people who like what you’re doing.
Luke – I would say everyone has their own song to sing to Jesus so don’t be afraid to get your music out there for others to hear.
What advice do you have for aspiring worship leaders?
Serve in the local church wherever you can.
Don’t just sing give your whole life as worship to God.
Community is everything – build other worship leaders up, the musicians you play with and those you are leading.
Leave space to listen to God and grow in the prophetic when leading worship.
Grow in your knowledge of the bible.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself everyone has their own voice and song to sing to God.