First in an ongoing series, telling the stories of God’s work at Exodus
by Joy LaPrade
As Nathan announced a few weeks ago, the worship team at Exodus is transitioning from an ever-changing lineup of musicians to three rotating bands. The two new band leaders are Jeremy LeFevers and Andy Wilson.
Jeremy has been part of the worship team at Exodus since 2010, and has been singing since he was 5. He’s been involved in worship ministry most of his life, including several years as part of a professional touring group that played at large venues such as Ryman Auditorium, The Grand Ole Opry, and the San Antonio Convention Center. Andy has played guitar since 7th grade, mostly in metal and punk rock bands until he and his wife Michelle started attending a church in Charlotte where they were the only musicians in the congregation. “I have never known worship leadership without her by my side,” he said. Andy and Michelle joined the worship team at Exodus in early 2013.
Andy and Jeremy shared their thoughts on worship, as well as how we can encourage them and the other members of the worship teams.
Has leading at Exodus changed your view of worship?
Jeremy: Until Exodus, leading was a means to expend some talent and reminisce about “the good old days of touring.” It allowed me to keep my voice relatively in check and held at bay some of the stage withdrawals. However, here at Exodus, worship isn’t just about the song selection. Worship is our posture. It’s a daily proclamation of what Christ has done. It’s living the Christian life in community, not just in my home alone. Jesus was never meant to be kept in a little white box. He is King. So worship should be natural, should be constant, should be intoxicating, and should reflect the glory that He alone maintains.
Andy: I have also learned that worship is about so much more than music. If I am not worshiping God every day of my life, no amount of musical preparation will get me ready to stand in front of his people on Sunday because my words will not be connected to my heart. I have learned that worship is not a style of music, but is rather the act of living a life in pursuit of God alone.
What do you pray for as you prepare to lead on Sunday?
Jeremy: My prayer every week is usually the same: “Jesus, remove me from this stage. Please take point. Be the center. Cleanse my heart and mind, and allow me to worship you in truth and love.” I have few expectations for the worship set. The practice time has come and gone, and now we worship. Hopefully through our worship we will also lead the body to worship as well, but that is ultimately the call of the Holy Spirit. We offer the best we have to Him and pray He will be glorified in it. What I do expect every week is that truth, real Gospel truth will be preached. And I believe that God shows up.
Andy: I pray that I would not allow any personal pride to seep into my worship, that the team as a whole would not be a distraction from God in anything that we do, that I myself would worship even as I am focused on leading others to worship, and that I value my faithfulness over my performance. I pray that the congregation would meet a God who is more powerful than they can imagine, and yet in spite of His power and greatness He wants to have a relationship with us.
How can we as a congregation pray for you?
Jeremy: I’ll tell you about a vision I used to cling to as the pinnacle of music for me. I imagined a darkened stadium, an elevated stage, spot lights, a stellar sound system, and a pro-worthy microphone, and my voice reaching to the rafters. Even right now, sitting at my desk, I recall the thrill of this scenario, however, I am suddenly stricken with grief. For so many years, singing Christian/Gospel music, it was a message about Jesus that I really believed was fully dependent upon my performance of the message. My personal prayer request for the last few years has been the same. Please pray that the allure of the stage and lights, and the lie that it’s all about me, would never again overshadow the King that has allowed me to lead His people in worship.
Andy: I ask that you pray that we would grow in our confidence, not in ourselves or our abilities, but in the power of the Holy Spirit to draw people into a joyful and genuinely satisfying relationship with God. Pray that, if it is God’s will for us to play a part in His plan, that we would play it faithfully and play it well. At the same time, pray for us to be ever mindful that anything we do is not under our own strength and authority.