Brian Campbell Music is the worshiping community led by worship artist Brian Campbell. We create music, experiences, training seminars, projects, and events that celebrate the exchange of God meeting with and changing His people. Our hope is that you simply meet with Jesus through this journey. 

What We Really Want 

The realm of worship artistry—that world where ministry and creativity meet—is an area where most, if not all of us feel least comfortable, most vulnerable, ever questioning of our own motives—and rightly so. We’ve seen countless artists fail at attaining authenticity in it, and a very few seeming to get it right. If I’m completely candid about it, I’ve never felt quite myself in the area of artistry while at the same time in ministry always searching for something beyond the typical pastoral. It’s a touchy subject, and for many, it’s a difficult one to resolve for a number of reasons:

- There’s a dichotomy between the ministry that we do and the art we create. 

- Artists|Musicians see the need to build a base of interest, and many feel the pressure to promote a product while still maintaining an effective ministry

- Worship is something that at its core is about the shifting the focus off of self and on to Jesus. How do we do that and create a brand|platform|entity?

It’s that final point that I believe is at the heart of the matter. At its very center, worship is about laying down our rights, our desires, our wills, and surrendering them to God. It’s a sacrificial act, one that costs each and every person who commits to it a dear price. But the reality is that most creatives—especially those in the church—have never come to terms with the simple truth, that the Gospel is costly, that it requires the surrender of everything that we are. Most of us worship artists are content to at best live with a functional dualism, stepping between the artistry and the ministry, wearing multiple hats depending on the moment, vacillating between the calling that we know and the influence that we crave. We say we want to just worship, but so often what we really want is the platform, the status, the glory.

I believe we’re entering a season in the global church where the margin for grace between these two camps is thinning and artists have to make the choice. Many of those I talk to are in a place where they’re stuck in the middle between pursuing their own influence and figuring out how to pursue a Christ-centered ministry in their lives and careers. For me, it’s been a 10 year process navigating this world, and I believe it really comes down to some simple principles for worship artists:

- Experience deeply and profoundly the power of God in your life. It may be God’s grace in an experience, it may be deliverance, it may be simply understanding that God is alive an active and wants you to know Him. Whatever it is, press in deeply in to God and let Him change you through it. 

- Make God famous. As a worship artist, your entire motive, vision, and purpose is to make God famous through what He has shown you about Himself. Spend your creative energy, your passion, your strategy, your artistry completely on this task. 

- Let God handle influence. Simple. Difficult. Costly. 

We tend to spend much of our time as worship artists on building influence, when the reality is that God is the One who builds influence. It’s one you can trust Him with. He’ll take you to exactly the people you need to serve, the exact platform where you need to be, the right time for the right season. I made a simple promise to God coming in to 2015, that I would focus on making Him famous and He could handle the influence end of this ministry and the tasks that I do. God will take care of you. He’s promised to do that. You spend the time expressing uniquely and creatively what God has done in you. 

My prayer is that this post frees many to simply live in the purpose that God has for their lives. It’s what you’ve always wanted anyway. Just let go of influence and embrace the worship call on your life, to release the Kingdom through your artistry. 

The Overflow 

The new leg of the journey begins.
"New season" has been the resounding phrase in my heart as we've entered 2015. So much has changed for us as a family, going from 150+ events a year to very strategic tours, conferences, and weekends as we've entered the new year. For me, I've been learning an old truth that is so pivotal to our long-term effectiveness as Christians: the riches of God's glory and blessing on our lives are meant to yield in us a resolute response: thankfulness.

It's a Scriptural truth that God is worthy of worship and our everything regardless of how we feel or what we believe we have or don't have. God is on the absolute level WORTHY of all that we are. But I believe that God delights when we serve, lead, and give from the overflow of the riches of what he has given to us. I think--as John Piper has said--God is truly glorified when we are completely satisfied in him.

Overflow and satisfaction are so often states of mind rather than absolutes: we can feel lacking as we pay our Netflix bills and limit our restaurant budgets to only twice a week; we can feel overwhelming abundance as Rosa felt when we met her in her closet sized house in Ecuador on a Compassion trip this past month and gave her simple groceries like rice and beans. Poverty is more than just our finances, as it can consume our minds as we forget what we've truly been given.

I found myself this morning frustrated at a light that cycled through a second time as we headed to the airport. I began to get angry. And then I was reminded of the things--the mountain of things--that I can and must be thankful for: that we have been given so much as a family and as Americans, and that I should be in a constant state of worship to a God who continues to richly bless.

This month, what are you thankful for? What can you remind your heart of that God has given you beyond your absolute needs? How has God provided for your immediate needs and so much more?

In our time, in our finances, in our hearts and actions, let's together live in the overflow, reach out to others, and bless them with the blessings we've received.

Much love,

Brian and Becky Campbell

Ministry Update:
The Identity Conferences start this weekend (Feb 6-8) in Modesto, CA! We've been planning hard for them since November and we've been overwhelmed by the number of people jumping on board with the conference: we expect 70-120+ church leaders and team members from across central California to attend the Friday and Saturday conference. Pray for lasting impact and that hearts would engage in a lasting way.

At the end of this month, we will be heading to New Zealand for 3 Identity Conferences there: in Christchurch, Queenstown, and Hamilton. There will be 3 guys attending from the TCC team and 2 additional musicians from NZ joining us. Please pray for a hedge of protection of our team as we head to NZ, as there are unique spiritual challenges ministering there. If you'd like specific prayer requests, please email me. It's going to be an incredible time, and we are excited about the impact of the events in the worshiping community there.

The Ecuador Trip I took with Compassion Int'l this last month was profound and life changing for our team. It was heartbreaking to see the need, but amazing to see what this amazing ministry is doing in fundamentally changing children's lives by showing them a tangible Jesus.

Supporter Update:
We've had more people jump on board with monthly support this past month, which has been such a blessing and allowed us to continue to move into this new season. We are currently at about 20% monthly support capacity--a huge blessing. If you would consider partnering with us, we would be so honored! You can give through our site to The Church Collective at www.briancampbellmusic.com/give or through a physical donation via:

The Church Collective
PO Box 576263
Modesto, CA 95357-6263

For all of you who support us through your gifts, prayers, and encouragements: Thank you!

This April, we’re launching a special event with Creation... 

This April, we’re launching a special event with Creation Festivals. “BORN AGAIN” is about being made new in the presence of Jesus Christ. There is something that changes in us when we get to see God face to face. For me, this last year has been (and continues to be) about being made new in that place of worship, letting God in to my life to change me and make me new as he sees fit. This event at University of Valley Forge in Pennsylvania is about coming to meet with God and being changed by him.

We’ll be joined by speaker Shawn Bentley and good friends in Mike Lee Music for a worship event on campus. While the event is hosted on campus and part of the college, you can still come if you’re not a student. There’s a link to ticket pre-sales at:


I hope you can join us for this event on April 8. Let’s enjoy the Creation Festival experience, meet with Jesus, and leave changed.

Much love,


New Zealand - South Island 

I’ve fallen in love with a country. This wild and beautiful corner of the world, the literal ends of the earth, captures my heart anew every time I come here. It’s incredible to behold.

The uniqueness of what God is doing here is also notable, and I believe it’s pivotal to a massive global awakening, a turning of hearts to the Person and purposes of God: North Island and South Island have differing and yet complementary callings as together they enter in to this next season of the global church. For this post I’d like to just focus in on the South Island.

South Island is in many ways similar to the States in terms of breakthrough and spiritual necessities: there is a strong history of authentic faith mixed with Masonic influences, and it’s a cancer that takes foundational breakthrough to be freed of. The South Island has been transformed in recent years by the foundational shaking of Christchurch by the 2011 quakes, and in the spiritual, the breakthrough that came following this tragedy as the church has come together can’t be overstated. In the spiritual, it’s as if God is taking a shaky foundation in syncretism (much like ours in the US), breaking it down , and starting something new. It’s a season where the foundations have been re-set, much like a builder would do with a building that is showing signs of error.

I saw this prophetic image while in Christchurch this past trip, where a two-story house had been lifted up on jacks. You could see the enter house was intact, even stairs leading to the second floor. The foundation, however, was being re-set post quake to ensure the house’s future integrity. It was a functional necessity.

The foundation of the church on the South Island is being shaken of any errors that were there. In a similar way to the shaking going on in US churches at the moment, the church here has had to get back to the basics. Many leaders are moving from being in that season for the past 4 years to a season of refreshing, of rebuilding, of renewing and starting afresh. The result is an excitement that can only come from the God who is making all things new.

So immensely thankful and honored by the ministries and churches we partner with here. The Identity Conferences in Christchurch and the worship night in Queenstown/Arrowtown were such a rich partnership with those ministries, and I’m leaving so many friends, brothers, and sisters as we head North Island today.

To the South:
- God is just getting started
- He is not through with you
- Begin to seek The Lord to rebuild the spiritual house as well as the physical

The harvest is coming. And soon :)

Heading Home 

It’s 10:50 AM on a Saturday, I’m flying home in hour 10 on the long journey back from Quito, Ecuador. The trip this past week took me to Compassion project sites across the Andean region of the country, in the capitol city and then south as far as the highlands surrounding Riobambas. After 5 days, I’m back on a plane to Ohio, and I’ll be traveling to Pennsylvania in an hour for weekend events.

This trip has been a whirlwind of faces, impressions, experiences, statistics, and relationships, where I’ve been able to glimpse for a brief moment some of the realities of the families and individuals we’ve met this week. I’ve seen for the first time in my life absolute poverty firsthand—a single mother with absolutely no skills trying to care for her 4 children… an 11-year old girl dreaming to one day become a veterinarian as today she makes the decision to go to school and a Compassion program while her mother goes to the bars and leaves her isolated and alone in their city home… a little boy who with his other brothers and mother share a mattress they found on the street and huddle together for warmth each night…

The story that haunts me still is that of Rosa and her husband and their granddaughters. She’s clearly older than she remembers, but she says she’s 51. Her husband is no more than 4 ft tall, bending over a wooden cane. They care for their two granddaughters who are 7 and 11, who lost their single mother a few years ago when she died of poverty related conditions. Rosa’s body is ravaged by osteoporosis and arthritis, to the point where she can neither cook, nor clean, nor work their two small plots of land. Instead, their 11 year old granddaughter takes cares of the daily chores, the planting and harvesting of the crops, and the cleaning.

Rosa breaks down as we talk to her. She knows that when she dies, the future of these children, these two beautiful girls, will be uncertain. Our translator breaks down as she shares Rosa’s hopes for the girls. Later we ask the girls what they want to be: the younger one hopes to be a teacher. The older one wants to be a doctor.

In their red Andean tunics these girls live in impossible situations with impossible choices. There is not the choice between options, but the choice between necessities. Like the others we’ve met on this trip, these families live on the brink of disaster, on the brink of hopelessness, a brink that could easily become the abyss of their realities if not for an organization like Compassion.

Because of Compassion, children, mothers, families on that brink have an assurance that there is a hope and a future for them and those they love. Through programs at local churches, those in the most helpless of states are cared for and provided for by people in their own country with a vision for ending spiritual and physical poverty; aided by resources through Compassion, these churches create programs that provide food, training, vital resources, and above all, the love of Jesus shown through the simple reality of compassion as one person affects one person’s life. Taking that one-to-one vision even further, children are sponsored by a single sponsor or sponsor family from around the world, where that child has the opportunity to be invested in financially and spiritually through the child sponsor relationship.

What gives me hope is that Rosa’s two granddaughters are sponsor children. Because of this, they are in a program where they receive a hearty meal 4 days a week; both also go to school, have medical examinations, learn to read, and be children for those 4 days a week. There is a place where those children can be who they were meant to be, and there is a community filled with individuals who will ensure both children will eventually have the chance to be the people they dream today of becoming.

These are impossible circumstances, situations where simple solutions do little to still our fears, calm our anxieties, give us easy answers to help us sleep better at night. For Rosa and her family, there are still so many unknowns as to what the future holds. There is still the daily struggles of absolute poverty. But for her granddaughters, there is a hope and a future. There is a group of people who will see them to the end and make sure that their lives are better because of the truth of who Jesus is—in word and in deed.

We land in the next couple of minutes and I’m back to my own journey. But the reality is I can’t go back the same after what I’ve seen. There is so much to still process, and I won’t soon forget any of it.

Compassion Trip - The One Matters 

I’m on the first flight of two taking me the Quito, Ecuador for a trip with Compassion International. First time to South America, first time with Compassion—I’m literally jumping out of my seat. You don’t want to be the person next to me on this flight, I promise :)

This year has been unique, being able to, for the first time, visit and witness first-hand some amazing Christian organizations in confronting the issues of global poverty: my trip with Hope International this past October to the Dominican Republic was filled with stories of lives changed by eliminating poverty through entrepreneurship. This week’s trip with Compassion will focus on visits with community-based child development programs. Two-very different approaches to a global issue that takes everything we’ve got.

In 2012, I attended the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, and among other things, there was a key presentation that stuck out to me: he posited that absolute poverty is not something we should assume needs to be part of the framework of our world; often as Christians we look to verses like “the poor you will always have with you” as a sort of acceptance of the current way things are. But one of the fundamental realities of the Gospel is that all sorts of things—systems, hearts, lives, and social ails—can be changed. In fact, they must change, and we must be instruments in changing them in full dependence on the Spirit.

This idea started a journey for me of dreaming, imagining, what things could be like if the Gospel completely took hold. What if we as Christians didn’t passively accept poverty but instead invited God to inspire our creativity, our our efforts, our policy-making, and our entrepreneurship to eradicate it?

These may be things that we address in this next season of the church. On a different but complementary note, there is much to be done in the meantime. Jesus’ entire ministry was about the one, going after the single lost person in need of his touch. This last season of touring highlighted that for our team, that if we want to be about the ministry of Jesus, we have to value the one above all else. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, we need to seek out those single people searching, begging, crying out, and give them Jesus.

I love this ministry displayed so vividly in Compassion, a group that has connected individual families and sponsors with individual children around the world. They see the value of the one, that you can’t reach the masses without first reaching the single person needing that touch.

The reality is: we need both. Some of is will be called to see things at the macro level and to question the systems. All of us are called to seek out that one person and show them Jesus—today.

As I’m starting this leg of the journey with an incredible week in store, my eyes, my ears, and my heart are open, looking for that one—today—who God is putting in my path.

Who is it for you, today?

The One Worth It All 2014 - Why Europe? 

Europe for me is always a place and a season in our year where I get to be reminded of why we do what we do. This entire ministry came out of a powerful call by God in 2005 in Italy, and in a very strange way I feel like I’m coming home to spiritual roots each year. I wanted to share with you a bit of why we care so much about this area of the world, why we’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars of our own and support pouring into leaders and why I continue to come back. Here are a couple of reasons Europe is so vital to what we do:

1) The Europe Tour is at its Essence a Partnership
Some people see that we go to Europe each year, look at the photos and videos from our tour locations, and assume we’re just traveling Europe having a good time. In all honesty, we have such a blast each year! It really is an incredible time and it’s so freeing to be able to say that we really enjoy the places we visit, the food we eat, and the experiences we have. It really is a fun time!

Our tours in Europe, though, are so important, because they bring us back to the whole reason I started on this journey in 2012 of full-time road ministry: we are better together as we partner in the Kingdom. What really launched this the schedule we’ve had over the past

2) To Nations, for Nations
There’s a unique calling our team has, and it remains one of the primary reasons we spend so much time overseas: we believe God has called us to nations around the world, carrying the testimony of what He is doing in other nations so that we can all benefit together. So many times we’ve been at a church in Europe sharing something about what God is doing in New Zealand or Australia, or in New Zealand something God has shown us through an experience in the States. There is incredible power in delivering the message that God gives, and much of that message for us has been a simple testimony. Europe is integral for this ministry in that global exchange of awakening, and it’s a big part of why we continue to come back—essentially, to be refreshed as we refresh.

3) A Worship Sound
For the greater part of our history in modern worship in many countries, creativity meant simply translating the top 40 most played worship songs in the States | Canada | The UK for the congregation. Worship writing was going on, but the quality in many ways was noticeably below what it was in the global community. This was particularly evident in many countries in Europe; when songs were translated, they often lost some of their meaning. What we’re seeing in recent years is a desire within the church in Europe and around the world to find their own sound; it’s not simply copying something else, but asking the deeper questions of who are we and what is the heart of God in and through us? This is a profound shift, and it’s so exciting to see really amazing worship coming from that place. When we release projects overseas, like we plan to do early this next year with the French EP, we release projects that have been designed specifically for the country we’re releasing them, as opposed to a carbon copy of an English release. The songs take a lot longer, but it’s worth it: the goal is to vision cast for emerging worship artists around the world, affirming the value of their creativity, and recognizing that we can write and create specifically for their nation. It’s incredible seeing hearts waking to the Giver of life, as they see God’s heart for their nation.

I’m always so thankful for the time we get to spend with close friends and family in Europe. 2015 looks to be continuing in this journey, with much of our November|December spent with our friends in England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, and Switzerland. To all of you who write in these countries and so many others around the world: I want you to know that the world needs your music. What you have to offer is unique and different from America or any other country, and you creating it will change the world. I’m reminded of visions in Scripture where the nations are represented, and it’s not each group losing its identity; rather it’s all about each tribe, each tongue, each nation, waking to the Lord and expressing their creative sound to Him.

Keep seeking the Lord for this sound, and keep releasing it to the world.

How Taylor Swift is Saving The World. 

We’ve all heard (and continue to play back in our heads) the song “Shake It Off.” It’s one of the catchiest pop-songs I’ve heard in a while, and mad props to that baritone sax riff that has tunneled into my brain. Hater or not, it’s a great song.

As much as I love worship music and am very much a worship songwriter, I’m not a huge message guy when it comes to pop music. I’m not looking for it when I listen, I’m much more in tune with the production elements or the chord progression. But the message of this song has dropped a bomb in middle of pop-culture that is shaking things up to the core.

How, you ask? She’s communicating a simple truth that is literally the elixir to our greatest problem as a culture at this moment:


We are offended, offending, overly sensitive, and overly aggravated people and become exponentially moreso in recent decades. Just stand in line at the BMV or post office, and you’ll literally feel the offense the average person carries. I’ve written about it before, but I believe our success in dealing with our issues of entitlement as a people will either propel us into the next season of world history or destroy us as a nation. We need to get this under control, and it runs rampant in our communities, our families, and our relationships. And the primary fruit of entitlement is—you guessed it—offense.

Whether it be because we care so much about what other people think about us or because we feel we’re deserving of the best spot in line, the nicest seat in the restaurant, the undivided attention of the service worker we’re talking to, offense easily creeps into our lives. It actually reveals our own arrogance, that we believe we’re at the center of our own universe and everything else must cater.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re arrogant, entitled people in desperate need of redemption. In the space between our arrogance and true humility, we need a path to forgive and to let go in the meantime.

But how?


Shake it off.

This simple statement means more to your life and well-being, your joy, your contentedness in life than most. It’s a reboot of your mind, and it’s actually founded in the core of a renewed mind by Christ. Shake. It. Off.

Letting go of our offenses and our qualms is tough, but it’s simple. When we let go, we in a very small way begin to forgive. Every time you forgive you spit in the face of your own pride. Every time you let go you force entitlement a step back. We need this, and we need to learn this to get out of our own tunnel visions and back to a place where we are actually doing something in the world, where Jesus is being shown to people and not just talked about.

I’m probably crazy for writing this, but I think this simple statement is doing more to our hearts and minds in freeing us from the grips of our biggest barriers to belief than most sermons or teachings. Let go, forgive, and move on.

As we enter one of the most stressful seasons for most, where Christ is often forgotten until Dec. 24, choose to surrender, to let go, to shake it off, and to move on to the real things that you’re called to do. Choose forgiveness in those relationships around you instead of holding on to petty offenses. You’ll be so glad you did.

In the meantime, don’t you for a second feel bad about blasting that pop-y goodness from your blown out speakers in your car. Swift-on-repeat.

Year-end Ministry and Supporter Update--and the Start of Something New 

Want to partner? Go to www.briancampbellmusic.com/give to find out more.

Thanks for your prayers and for supporting us through the last few years of ministry! In 2012, we started asking churches a simple question: how can we work together? The answer to that question has taken us around the world, and the BC Music team is actively doing events in Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South America in 2015. I’ve personally been blown away by the desire churches have for equipping their teams and communities in the areas of worship and creativity. The last 3 years have seen this ministry grow to a full-time global effort, with an impact of over 300 communities and 100,000 hearts waking to the Giver of life: Jesus!

As we prepare to leave for our conference schedule in Europe this November, I’m reminded of how faithful God is in every season and situation. We’ve seen incredible breakthrough this year, more than we’ve ever experienced as a team in areas from personal growth to regional spiritual breakthrough; I’ve also experienced some of the most intense spiritual battles in this past year. Simple lessons like trust and faithfulness, leadership and hope have been the battleground areas for us in this season. Through it all, it seems God is bringing us as a family, as a team, and as a ministry to a simple truth: He’s concerned with who we are becoming more than what we’re doing. The most gracious part is that He chooses to continue to use us as broken and imperfect vessels covered in His grace as He makes us new.

The reason we’re writing you this update is to let you know about an exciting new season we’re entering into as a family and a ministry: this year, I’ve begun working with an organization called The Church Collective (www.thechurchcollective.com), a community designed to equip and empower worship leaders and creatives around the world through training and teaching. The more we’ve worked together this past year, the more it’s become clear that partnering with this incredible organization is something we feel being led into. I’m happy to announce that I’ve come on with The Church Collective as their first artist ambassador!

What does that exactly mean? It means I’ll be working as a missionary through The Church Collective, organizing worship conferences around the world and in partnership with local churches—very similar to what we’ve been doing! The difference is this: this new role allows us as a family to raise missionary support and to be covered by a wonderful organization in The Church Collective. For the past few years, a large part of our family’s support has come from a salary from BC Music based on touring. While God has provided in amazing ways since 2012, this move to a support system allows me personally to focus on our community through BC Music and on the equipping and training end of what we do. We’ve put thousands of dollars of the BC Music team’s resources to missionary projects in the past few years, and because of your continued support and God’s grace, things are self-sustaining in terms of our road ministry. Your support allows us to begin to support our family and our growing ministry efforts in The Church Collective.

What are we looking to do? In terms of support, we’re looking to raise my salary for 2015 of $30,000. Some of you may be looking at that number and thinking that’s a lot to raise! Some of you may be thinking that’s not a lot for a family to live from! The reality is that this is all that we need for the next year to continue in this new ministry effort based on what God has already provided us with. Your gift of support goes towards our cost of traveling to these events and to supporting our family as we engage full-time in this ministry. This salary will free us up to do more of this ministry together, as a family, and to have greater impact from the overflow of what God is doing.

I’m asking you and your family to consider coming on as a monthly or seasonal partner with us through The Church Collective. You can also partner with us through continued prayer support of this ministry. Many of you have been general financial givers in the past, and I’d like to personally invite you to join us again as your gift is now tax deductible.

If you choose to join us as a financial partner, please send the included envelope along with the bottom portion of this update to:

The Church Collective
PO Box 576263
Modesto, CA 95357-6263

Please include BRIAN CAMPBELL MUSIC on the memo line of any checks you send.

You can also give by going to www.briancampbellmusic.com/give and your donation will be tax deductible as an ambassador of The Church Collective.

I’m so honored that you would consider joining us in this exciting new season. Your support is allowing us to continue this exciting journey of seeing lives changed by Christ around the world through worship.

Thanks again and the very best to you from the Campbell Family!


I. LOVE. Thanksgiving. More than any other holiday, I think it is one of the greatest contributions we make as a country to global community: take time to be thankful. That’s a huge statement in a world where entitlement reigns supreme for many and where we are often focused on what we do not have rather than on what we do. Setting aside the time to take inventory of life and what we’ve received I believe is central in reminding our hearts of the goodness of God. And we do it! It’s one of those things I’m truly proud of about America.

This year, as our team has spent much of November outside of the US, we’ve seen Christmas decorations since the beginning of the month. And quite honestly, I have no problem with starting Christmas early in practice: it’s another great season to enjoy and to celebrate. But in principle, for those of us who live in Thanksgiving-keeping countries, I am adamantly for training my heart to practice thanksgiving in this time of year—even if it means cutting in to the Christmas season.

Why is thankfulness so important? A good follow-up question could also be: Why am I talking about thankfulness on a worship blog? For many of us, thankfulness, like our happiness, is an optional afterthought to our life’s activities based on the outcomes of circumstances. It’s easy to look at our circumstances and focus on the disheartening things we’ve seen or the difficult things we’ve experienced. Our minds are actually drawn to those things unless we train ourselves otherwise. The difference in thankfulness, however, is that unlike happiness, which is an almost immediate emotion, thankfulness tends to be a response to cumulative experiences—it very much is a moment to see the big picture of things. More than an emotion, thankfulness is often a discipline, which in turn evokes emotions consistent with it: if you choose to be thankful, you will ultimately be very happy.

Thankfulness is particularly important to us as Americans: in a time of uncertainty and doubt, it’s easy to forget what we have been given individually and corporately. The idea of the American Dream has developed and changed over time, but in the last 15-20 years has taken a very powerful turn: instead of simply being the idea that you could make something of yourself with hard work, it has become a list of goods and ideals that we feel we are entitled to, regardless of our work or circumstances—in a word, entitlement. The perversion of the American dream is a simple and tragic one: somehow along the way, we’ve taken things that we never even knew we wanted and made them needs. At first glance, it doesn’t seem so bad, but at a closer look, we find that this sort of entitlement steals joy, peace, and ultimately, the life that God intended us to live, one of humility and thankfulness.

This is why I’m writing about thankfulness on a worship blog. Thankfulness is essential to worship, because it takes us out of the center seat of honor and back to the place where we’re looking to the One who is truly worthy: Jesus. When I come to a worship service with an attitude of entitlement, I am trying to connect with a God that I am fundamentally disconnected from in my attitude; I’m expecting the God who gave His everything for me to prove to me that He’s worthy of my worship instead of realizing the incredible gift He has given to me in making me a son rather than an enemy. I forget that the things I have been given are things I actually don’t deserve, and in that I expect others to give me more to maintain my joy and happiness. This sort of arrogance kills worship—or rather, it is one of the highest forms of worship of self. It’s a place where God is not invited.

Thankfulness, on the other hand, reminds our hearts of all we have received, not because we deserve it, but rather because God has graciously given it. Thankfulness shifts my heart and mind to remember and actually puts me in a position to receive more: if I am not thankful, no gift will ever be enough to satisfy; if I am thankful, even the smallest form of grace can inspire me to worship.

In the past 3 years, I’ve led over 500 worship events. The greatest indicator of an incredible night together in the Lord consistently is and remains thankfulness. Show me a people who are thankful and we will together see a great and gracious God moving among them in intimacy and power. Show me a people entitled, and we will have a night of some fun songs and good stories. The difference is people inspired to worship in their thankfulness.

As we head into one of the best weekends of our year, choose to take the time to turn from entitlement towards thankfulness. Allow Jesus to remind you again what He has done for you, even allow Him to remind you of the places He has taken you from and carried you to.



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