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Planetshakers Creative Team answers your top 10 questions!

Planetshakers Creative10 June 2020

Recently, we sat down with Creative Directors and Worship leaders Sam Evans, Joth Hunt and BJ Pridham to ask them our top 10 most asked questions of all time. Here’s what they had to say.

How do you lead a congregation that is not responding or engaging in praise and worship?

BJ Pridham Our ultimate role as a praise and worship leader is to lead the congregation on a journey to encounter God at a deeper level. Each service presents an invitation for the people to draw near to their Heavenly Father—an invitation that we hope will be met with an unbridled “yes!” and unrestrained participation. When some appear distracted or disengaged, we have the authority to encourage them to shift their focus onto God. While worship leading, I would also be constantly asking the Holy Spirit for directions of where He wants to take the service. Many a time, in obedience, I will declare the Word of God to shift the atmosphere. A supernatural experience happens when our eyes are unveiled and hearts postured in worship and awe of God. The scripture found in James 4:8 rings true at all times: “Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you”.

How do I preserve my longevity as a praise and worship leader?

Sam Evans Let’s not forget that we are first and foremost, worshippers ourselves! As a worship leader who has served in that role for many years, I can sometimes become tired and weary too, especially after multiple services on a weekend. The best thing to do to shake off fatigue and remain fresh is to run to Jesus and unravel in His Presence. More importantly, Jesus reminds us in Psalms 51:16-17 that He desires our hearts, not our sacrifices. How beautiful is God’s grace in giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit who is always ready to saturate us afresh with anointing from Heaven when we simply ask. When we are filled ourselves, we undeniably become a better vessel to lead as well. What a privilege it is to serve God with our gifts and talents, so let’s not give up too easily!

Planetshakers has produced a devotional called Living Refreshed that will be a great resource too!

What is the best way to encourage my team to go to the next level?

Joth Hunt One of the key cultures of our House at Planetshakers is upholding a ‘Spirit of Excellence’. This is why we set the bar high and spur our team on to come up to that level rather than lower our expectations. This challenge can be confronting for some but we hope that our team will take it as an opportunity to grow. Our heart should be teachable, aspiring to bring nothing less than our best to God. As the Creative Director, I lead by example, and as I prioritise practicing to elevate my skills on my instruments, people follow suit. As we pursue God, He stirs the fire within us and invokes a desire for more.

Our heart should be teachable, aspiring to bring nothing less than our best to God.

Why do we need to start a service with praise?

BJ Pridham Praise carries the supernatural power to change a heart and set an atmosphere. This is why we like to open our meetings with a sacrifice of praise since it sets the atmosphere for what is to follow. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name”. In such environments, our worries and burdens supernaturally begin to fall away. Why? Because we are lifting God above our situation, which in turn, opens our heart in readiness for breakthrough.

You can read more on the power of praise in our blog post.

What is your personal process of selecting praise and worship songs for a worship service?

BJ Pridham It is of utmost importance to begin with prayer so that we are in tune with the Holy Spirit’s agenda for that service. He is always faithful in disclosing a theme or ‘key’. I then prayerfully select the songs, paying close attention to the lyrics and how they relate to the theme.

Joth Hunt On one particular Father’s Day, I felt led to sing, ‘Abba Father’, to turn our attention and affections towards our heavenly Father. We then sang, ‘I Know Who You Are’ to remind people of the never-ending love of God and His unchanging nature. The overall theme of the day was to celebrate our heavenly Father, despite any previous personal experiences with our earthly fathers—good or bad.

Sam Evans We are flexible with our song choices as they are submitted to our Senior Pastor’s direction for that church service. By honouring leadership and bringing our agreement, the unity displayed commands the blessing of God as promised in Psalm 133.

What does your praise and worship rehearsal look like?

Joth Hunt Our music rehearsals happen every Sunday, one hour and a half before our morning and afternoon services. With such time limitations, our team is encouraged to come prepared, having learned and practised the songs in readiness for the day ahead. The latest Planetshakers songs, including newly written ones, are uploaded onto an online database that is accessible for musicians and singers so they can learn their parts. As mentioned previously, our team upholds the conviction of the ‘First Class Spirit’ which is one of our church’s cultures, that becomes the driving force behind their readiness to serve with excellence every Sunday. We start the day with warm ups and stretches before moving on to practising the song list selected by the worship leader for that day. Praying collectively as a team is always on the agenda because we never want to operate out of our flesh but by the Spirit. These are powerful moments that ensure that the team are on the same page and united in our pursuit of leading people to encounter God.

"First Class Spirit" is a key culture at Planetshakers and is the driving force behind the readiness of our team to come prepared and serve with excellence every Sunday.

What are some tips for writing a praise or worship song?

Joth Hunt There is no right or wrong way to go about this. Sometimes we have a melody first while at other times, the lyrics.

Sam Evans In my personal time with the Lord, a melody sometimes pops into my head and I sing it repeatedly. I quickly record it on my phone before I forget it, trying to capture a worship moment that impacted me personally. After much prayer and after singing it over and over again, I decide if I feel like it is a song that needs to be written and shared. I then collaborate with Joth. It is a misconception that if you are not musically gifted, you can’t write a song. That’s why God brings people along the way to work together with you. I have seen many powerful and anointed songs birthed from such partnerships among our songwriters.

Joth Hunt I love writing new songs that are fresh for the season that our church is in (Psalm 96). Our Senior Pastors Russell and Sam Evans are gifted with prophetic declarations for our church, for each individual year. These are often the inspiration behind my songs. As we release these new songs and sing them together as a church, we are coming in agreement over the declared Word over us. This inevitably unlocks breakthrough in the life of the church, time and time again!

Why do you use multitracks?

Joth HuntEach Planetshakers song that is produced usually has some instrumental sounds that cannot be replicated live so we use these tracks to enrich the sound and add to the atmosphere. These tracks contain all the loops and synth effects that are useful in creating a ‘bigger’ sound when the church band is smaller —for example, when there is only a guitarist and keyboard player. You can access all of our Planetshakers tracks from Multitracks.

How can I become part of the Planetshakers Team?

Joth HuntThe Planetshakers Creative Team is made up of wonderful people from Planetshakers Church. They are carefully and prayerfully selected through the audition process, in a way that upholds the high standard of the team. Those selected are added to the team but must shadow an existing team member as their assistant for a period of time while they undergo training and development, and the testing of their character. If they do not make it through this process successfully, they are encouraged to continue to train and develop their skills before re-auditioning. Overall, we want to build a team at Planetshakers that will steward their gifts well and bring glory to God.

Praying collectively as a team is always on the agenda because we never want to operate out of our flesh but by the Spirit.

How does Planetshakers develop a good culture in the Creative Team?

Sam Evans Discipleship is another of the core values of Planetshakers and forms the foundation in building the Creative Team. Every month we run meetings called ‘Creative Discipleships’ that are powerful and provide a place for creatives to gather together as a family, glean from their leaders and develop the best version of themselves. The culture that you as the leader sets, dictates everything! It determines the songs that are written, the way people praise and worship God, their attitudes and the way they serve.