Backstage with the Chase Oaks Worship Team
We see the Chase Oaks Worship Team members on stage every week, using their gifts to help lead others into a deeper experience of God through music. But how do they interact with God in their own lives, when they aren’t up front?
Below, several Chase Oaks Worship Team leaders and musicians answer questions about their personal spiritual practices and perspectives on worship.
Q: Are there any specific practices that help you to experience His presence or grow spiritually on a regular basis?
I try my best to acknowledge God's presence every morning by taking 3 deep breaths. As I inhale, I thank God for another day of breath and acknowledge He's with me. As I exhale, I give to him my agenda, fears, anxiety, anything that is keeping me from fully living into what He has for me that day.
If I have time, I'll actually journal and write these things out. 3 things I'm thankful for, 1 thing that's keeping me from Him. – Dain Ussery, Central Worship Director
I think listening to worship music and making His Word something consistent in your life helps you grow spiritually. - Brie Magee, Richardson Campus
I’ve found that nighttime makes so much more sense for me to spend time in the Word. Despite my many attempts and efforts (including having two small children) I have yet to succeed in my endeavor to become a morning person. I just don’t have much to contribute to the world prior to 9 AM. Letting go of the notion that time with God “should” be done first thing in the morning has allowed me space to encounter Him in a time where I’m able to be fully present without the subtle sense of failure I have always felt for not having woken up in time for morning devotions. I still hope that one day I’ll have a rhythm of early mornings with Jesus, but for now, I’ll take my late nights when all the world is quiet to enjoy His goodness and presence. - Hannah Lee, Worship Resident
I would say fasting for me helps me stay in tune with what God wants to do in my life. - Cameron Hammond, Worship Resident
A really difficult but rewarding discipline I’m working on is sitting in stillness, with the only intention being to shut out all other things going on in my life and turn my attention to the presence of God. Sometimes that’s in my car, or in my favorite reading chair, or on a hiking trail, but no matter where I am, I make an effort to not try to push an agenda on God but simply ask Him to make His presence known to me and speak in whatever way He wants to. - Rachael Sewell, Sloan Creek Campus
One of the practices that has changed my prayer life has been to pray the Psalms. I would often feel like I didn't know what to say in my prayers, or what I wanted to say, but as I've prayed the Psalms I have started to adopt the language the Psalmists use of celebration and grief, thanking God for his steadfastness, or being honest when I'm crushed in spirit. It's a simple practice that really breathes life into our prayers and emotional spaces with God. - Clint Tomerlin
Q: How does worship fit into the picture? How would you explain worship to a non-musical person or a non-believer?
Worship for me is simply giving God the highest worth and putting Him first again. I find that He is not always my priority, so whatever type of worship I am in (either prayer, communing with others or singing) that is what my goal is—to put Him first and know His presence from there. – Chris Opie, Worship Development Coach
It’s an opportunity to clear one’s mind and sit in truth. I think of the words being sung and contemplate them. Wrestle with the ideas and commit my heart to the ideas. I tend to take phrases and ideas and see how they fit in my life and give thanks. Worship is very much setting a posture for myself of gratitude for my time on earth, the blessings in my life and the good I hope to do in it. In a nutshell, it can all be boiled down to expressing thankfulness. – Eric Jones, Central Music Director
When you enter into a relationship with Jesus, you're simply inviting Him to be a part of your life. When we sing worship songs, there's typically a theme to the lyrics or song. Oftentimes, that theme stirs up emotions and thoughts as you think about your approach to life and how God fits into that approach. Worshipping through music for me keeps me in the moment, what am I struggling with RIGHT NOW, what am I thankful for RIGHT NOW. I have the opportunity to give those things to HIM in the moment. - Dain
Worship to me is a lifestyle and with that everything you do day-in and day-out helps you grow spiritually if you are thinking about God in your decisions. It’s not about being perfect…but staying in constant contact with God on a daily basis helps you not only build your relationship with Him but it helps you be aware of areas in which you need growth and can grow. - Brie
I believe worship is the most intimate gift God has given us through His Holy Spirit. When we worship, we put melody to words that our hearts and minds need to hear. We remind ourselves of Truth, we extend our hands out towards Him, and we declare Truth to our situations out of the authority given to us through Jesus Christ. I believe God uses worship to come closer than ever and heal in a way that nothing else in this world could. – Rachael
Worship has been an evolving concept for me. In the past I probably would have defined it as simply praising God for who He is, but lately worship has more specifically been the enjoyment of God’s goodness in the spaces that feel most native to my spirit. Those spaces where it feels almost compulsory to exclaim God’s praise – gazing at the faces of my children while they sleep, observing great beauty in nature, encountering His presence in spaces of congregational praise through music. We are hardwired to worship; it is the organic outpouring of praise for the glorious Creator God we see/feel/sense evidenced in glorious creation. – Hannah
Worship helps me with my intimacy with God. It keeps me in the mindset that I'm not just asking Him for things but making a priority of just acknowledging Him in Who He is consistently.
I would tell a person that worship is not just about what we do on stage but it's a lifestyle that's pleasing to God. – Cameron
For more info and links to music from Chase Oaks Worship, visit here.