His new record, Morning Rises, is more than a single piece of art. It is part of Aaron Shust’s heart poured out in music and prayer. Here he shares a bit behind the making of the CD and more on what it means to lead worship for a hurting world.
WL: Your new record is titled Morning Rises. Can you explain a little about what this means in a life of faith and why this is important for worshiping communities to keep in mind?
AS: Morning Rises represents the hope we have in Jesus. Zachariah looked forward to the coming of Jesus in Luke 1:78 saying “the Rising Sun will come to us from Heaven to shine on those living in darkness.” The Light of the World has come and shines his light: his attributes of love, joy, peace, etc, into the darkness of our souls and the world around us. Without hope, all we have is our circumstances. Jesus assured us that in this world we would certainly have trouble, but to take heart because He has overcome the world!
WL: As you well know, there are many hurting people in a weekly worship service, what is the best way for someone on the platform to convey God’s goodness to someone who is worshiping in a “desert place”?
AS: I was impacted with a statement as a child: “Everything this side of Hell is grace.” It has permeated my thinking and my perspective ever since. I’ve recently taken a cue from Job, who went through a desert place like few others. While we know he grieved and begged God to bring peace, his initial response was praise. “God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of The Lord.” I wanted this album to be a response of praise despite circumstances.
WL: What are three tips you could offer a worship leader that would help them shine a light on God’s faithfulness during a worship service?
- My absolute favorite thing to do during a worship service is to have applicable Scripture read before each song. I like using other people to read it. If it’s in a small setting, I’ll prayerfully identify people in advance. It’s amazing how God lines up the right person for a passage.
- Fluidity is important to me. Musically smooth transitions help to not distract the worshipers’ focus.
- Finally, once all is intentionally planned, we keep open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to lead where he would. The Spirit always points to Jesus and his greatness. The less we can do to distract, the more we see Jesus.
WL: What songs on Morning Rises are you seeing resonate with your worship community (and please share a little about the songs)?
AS: “Mighty Fortress” has resonated with our home church as well as “Great Is the Chorus.” “Mighty Fortress” was initially written two days before my son Michael was born and when we were processing the news of his Down Syndrome and heart defect requiring open heart surgery, the words of God’s faithfulness and character resonated in my memory, “He won’t abandon, He won’t deceive, He won’t desert us, He won’t ever leave.” These are promises that we cling to.
“Great Is the Chorus” speaks of the great crowd of saints and angels currently worshiping around the Throne and our ability to join in by singing to King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords.