An Interview with Shane Barnard
Grace, Leadership, and Songwriting Through the Valleys.
What’s your current situation with regards to working with your local church community?
We’re plugged in as worship leaders at a church called Watermark in Dallas. We lead worship every Tuesday night at a Bible study called The Porch for young professionals in their 20s and 30s. We are also part of the worship team on a few Sundays every month.
Can you break down the title track on Bring Your Nothing? What does that mean and how is it emblematic for the whole CD?
Bring Your Nothing is another way to say “grace.” What do we bring that makes us worthy to come to God. Namely, nothing. The title was taken from the first paragraph of Isaiah 55.The key Scripture there talks about coming to buy wine and milk without any money. The concept is that we bring nothing—that’s the requirement—and He gives us everything. The rest of the album, along with every other album to come, is an attempt to unpack this great gospel of grace.
Your new CD was put together in a unique way, could you describe it?
We brought in the band for a week and really just took each song individually with a clean slate and pushed record, and whatever came out, came out. We didn’t really have an agenda—we weren’t looking to make any kind of record, we were just looking to serve each song the best we could.
These songs were inspired by your weekly songwriting classes, how do you encourage a new songwriter to begin the creative process?
I would just say for every hour you spend on your instrument, spend two hours in the Word in the presence of the Lord. And let the Scriptures do what they do and the God of creativity do what He does, and it’s a win. It becomes less about trying to write a hit song and more about loving the Lord at that point.
What are some practical ways a songwriter can pull from their life’s experiences to write a song that works congregationally?
I think the key is not separating the Word of God from your life experience … letting your life experience lead you to the pages of the Bible. For example, we’ve recently walked through some pretty deep valleys, which led us to Scriptures like the one in Job that says “though you slay me, yet I will praise you,” that we use congregationally because everyone goes through fires. Though it’s not about our life experience necessarily but about Him at the end of the day. And He can be glorified even in our darkest hour.
How do you continue to find renewal of passion and energy for the ministry you have been a part of for quite some time now?
The Bible and being in community. Singing doesn’t fuel me. Leading worship doesn’t necessarily fuel me. What inspires me is seeing Jesus lifted up. And that passion is fueled by continuing to stay in His word in the midst of community.
What’s the most important leadership lesson/insight every worship leader should understand?
Consider your calling. I think every worship leader should look at what he does through the lens of Scripture and not through the lens of culture. Because if we do that, then our job becomes about something so much bigger than songs and motivating people to stand or sit or raise their hands or give you a response that you’re wanting. If we go on a quest to truly consider our calling, then it’s so much better than those things and so much more important than those things.