- On leading worship with humility and the importance of bringing our entire story into our services of worship.
Big Daddy Weave’s new release Beautiful Offerings (out this Friday, Sept 18) is filled with songs of life and worship. Once again proving their music has the distinct ability to help believers sing their faith with authenticity. We had the chance to ask front man Mike Weaver a few questions about the release and leading worship.
WL: Please share a little bit about your personal journey with the new album Beautiful Offerings.
MW: Beautiful Offerings is about the journey we’ve been on since our last album, Love Come to Life. Since then, we’ve seen so much of what God is doing when we’re on the road, working through songs like “Redeemed,” “Overwhelmed,” and “The Only Name” and have heard so many stories from people who, like us, are realizing our identity in Jesus.
As we shared that and it resonated with people, there were a lot of people who said, “Thank you God that my past is not held against me, and that I’m forgiven, I’m redeemed.” That is great, but for us, we also were learning at the same time that we’re not just redeemed from who we used to be, but redeemed with a purpose. We are redeemed for something as well. Not only are we not our greatest mistakes, but we are children of God in Him.
The Bible says the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us. So if we have that same Holy Spirit indwelling in us, things should look different from here on out. We should begin to walk in this new identity. Not the identity that who we used to be, but the identity which is that we are now sons and daughters of the King. That’s the message of Beautiful Offerings.
WL: Part of being a Beautiful Offering is that the joys and the pains create an entire person’s life. How do you see both aspects of someone’s life contributing to a life of worship or even singing a worship song on Sunday?
MW: Because we walk in this place and do dumb things, we suffer because we live in a fallen reality. One of the most wonderful things is encountering God in the middle of turmoil. He shines so bright then. For me, coming from a place in my life of self-hatred, God showed up in my garage, telling me, “You’re mine not because of your ability to perform for Me. You’re Mine because of what Jesus has done. For you to see yourself as something other than the way I see you is wrong. It’s as if you are telling Me I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
I come from a place of feeling broken for so long. For me, dealing with our brokenness is what allows us to really walk in joy. When we find our way to the other side of those things, there’s life in Jesus. When we encounter Him in the brokenness, it becomes a kind of fuel. Now when you sing a song like “10,000 Reasons,” or you sing a song like “I Am Redeemed,” or you sing many of the worship songs, it comes from a place of experience with Him. What you’re bringing to the table is I’ve been through this. I know God for myself in this way. Not that we know everything about God, but it’s our experience and nobody can take that away from us. It becomes a beautiful fuel for worship.
WL: You wrote some of these songs with worship leader Matt Redman (“10,000 Reasons,” “Blessed Be Your Name,” “The Heart of Worship”). What was that experience like?
MW: I’m a gigantic fan of the songs that Matt Redman has written. For years now, I have so appreciated what he’s done. This really was a bucket list kind of experience for me. At the same time, I was nervous! Getting to write with Matt Redman was an absolute pleasure. I just I loved it from the first bit to the end of it. I have more appreciation for him now, having spent that time with him.
We wrote three songs in one day. I just had these little pieces that I brought to the table, these little chorus ideas. Matt just stewarded that time in such a neat way. He has that gift. He is such a seasoned and gifted worship leader. There were some things about what I brought that he corrected immediately that were obvious when he said it. I was like “Oh my gosh, why didn’t I think of that?” Some of the times, he would fire back these verses that were coming out so easily and so naturally.
I was nervous when we were finished about going into the studio and recording them because I didn’t know if it would sound cool with a southern accent versus an accent from the UK. I really, really enjoyed that time. I’m so thankful for how God uses Matt. I’m really blessed by getting to hear the collaboration of these songs on this record because it really stayed continuous with the rest of the content on this record. It flowed so well. There are songs that I can’t wait for people to hear and songs that I can’t wait to sing. That’s my favorite part about the whole thing – that I’m so excited to sing these songs to God in just a real way every night. Matt, if you read this, thanks again man.
WL: What is the difference between writing a song intended for congregational worship than a song that is more for individual devotion or personal worship?
MW: For a long time, I would hear people answer this question in kind of a technical way, for instance, “This song is congregational because it’s so easy to sing.” That can be true, and I think that sometimes the subject matter of a song would make it congregational because of a broadness of the lyric. When we sing, “Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul” in “10,000 Reasons” – when we sing those songs, it’s easy for everybody to sing. The verses are also written in a very broad way so that every person fits into that place.
I think some other songs, because they come from such a specific place in the writer, instantly you realize this is a song that only a certain amount of people can really sing, only people who are going through this can sing this.
I think the challenge for the writer is to write a song, even though it may be about something very personal, to make it for everybody so that they can fit into that song. I really love a lot of the songs on this record because I feel like they lend themselves to everybody. There is an openness and a broadness to the songs that allow you to fit your story into the song. It’s stuff that we all go through. All of us are going to go through trials in some capacity. I think that many of these songs on this record lend themselves to being embraced by groups of people singing them.
WL: This album is very worshipful in nature. What songs do you see being sung by congregations and why?
MW: There are some choruses on this record that are really easy to get a hold of. We’ve been confessing over our lives and from our lives words like “I belong to God, I belong to Jesus. Saved by Your power, bought by Your blood. I’ll say to the darkness, you don’t own me anymore. I belong to God.” That’s for everybody. Anybody who has come to the realization that Jesus is God and makes us sons and daughters of Almighty God our Father could sing that.
The song “Praise You” is another song that is so easy to get a hold of. “Praise you, Son of God, Son of Man, Praise You. I’ll join the song that never ends.” By the next time the chorus comes around, it’s just easy for people to get on board with the lyrics.
There’s a song that we covered on the record, that at the time we recorded it, wasn’t on a Bethel record, but it came out of that whole camp. Leland, Brian Johnson and Brenton Brown wrote the song “The Lion and the Lamb.” I heard Bethel do it on one of their online worship sets and immediately texted Brian Johnson, “Brian, where is this song from?” He said that it’s a brand new one. I didn’t want to be selfish or overstep my bounds in any way, but I asked him if we could do this song. I just wanted to sing this song.
Another song is “Good, Good Father” that is so popular right now. There’s just life on it for this season, and those songs are instant congregational songs as well.
WL: You have been part of the National Worship Leader Conference in the past, and one of the things we love about Big Daddy Weave is he authenticity and humility you all display while leading. Is this something you are aware of when you lead, and how to you encourage others in the art of leading in humility?
MW: We have always felt very grateful to be up there when we lead. When I see other worship leaders, I always see the good in them. Part of that is because I have really struggled in my identity. At one point, there was this thing I felt towards other artists—an envy. It was one of the grossest things I’ve ever felt and recognized in myself. When I took it to the Lord, the Lord showed me the remedy for that was just to become a fan of everybody, to just be a giant cheerleader for other people.
I think that’s why I have so many heroes now, because the Lord is giving us a unique set of eyes, letting us see the gifts in other people, and we’re really stoked about that. When I talk about Brian and Jen Johnson from Bethel or the folks from Jesus Culture or Paul Baloche or Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin, any of these people – I just look up to so many of them. I just celebrate them.
I do that to the point sometimes that I just feel sort of awkward being up there. I wonder what can I possibly say, or how could we lead in a way that could bring something to the table. We realized that we can for the same reason as any of the people I mentioned. It’s because of God. There’s nothing about being up there that makes any of us any better than anybody else who leads on a Sunday morning. We’re all in this together. We’re part of one body.
For Big Daddy Weave, cool has never really been in our repertoire, but we have boatloads of real. The more vulnerable we get, and the more willing we get to share about our own failures or our own faults, the more it resonates with people. A ploy of the enemy is to keep us isolated in our fears and in our failures, but when we begin to share from just that real place, then that rings true with people. You’re going to find that a lot of other people have that same thing in common. Humility for me is just learning how to agree with what God says. If He says we’re supposed to be up there, then we’re supposed to be up there. It’s not because we’re the next latest and greatest thing, it’s just because of Him. All of us are who we are because of Him. That’s the only place to operate out of for it to be really real.