Charity Gayle: There is a pastor, uh, named T. F. Tenney who said that the secret to living holy is to live holy in secret. And I’ve been applying that to every part of my relationship with the Lord.
Joshua Swanson: We are blessed to interview fascinating people and hear incredible testimonies, so we felt compelled to share them on The Walk. We’ll be incorporating these conversations into this podcast feed, and they’ll serve as devotionals by showing us how God is working through different people’s stories. On this episode, we feature a conversation with Charity Gayle where she shares some of her personal journey.
If you stay until the end, you’ll hear a clip of Charity’s new single called, Name Above All Names.
Here we go.
The first question I asked Charity was how were you first introduced to worship music?
Charity Gayle: So, my dad’s a pastor, and I grew up in a very worship filled home and worship filled church. My Gammy played the B3 Organ, my Papa and her actually evangelized, and they had records, and so I’d listen to their records growing up, and it was just incredible.
My uncle would lead worship, my dad led worship sometimes, and my mom directed the choir, so I really couldn’t escape it, really. Um, but we’d have choir practice on Thursdays, every Thursday, and I would remember either falling asleep under the pew, listening to the choir rehearse, or I would sometimes tell the altos, you’re not quite on the right note. I just fell in love with the sound of many voices singing one song, and I knew that there was something deep inside of me that wanted to do that.
So, I wouldn’t say I was technically trained. I was definitely raised in worship and raised with a love for expressing my love to the Lord through music. It was an almost daily occurrence at our house and at the church, so, yeah.
And I’m so grateful for that because I think that really affected my relationship with the Lord through worship and who I am today.
Joshua Swanson: Charity’s recently seen a lot of success in terms of people learning who she is through the popularity of her music. So I asked her, how do you keep worship sacred in light of that worldly success you’re experiencing?
Charity Gayle: Keeping worship sacred is doing it in the secret place when nobody else is watching and realizing that when you’re worshiping God, I think understanding the weight of what it is we’re saying in worship, rather than just getting up and singing a song, realizing that you are sharing your testimony with the Lord and with the congregation.
But there was this one time I was standing in my kitchen and I had worship music playing and I was so overcome by the Spirit of God in my kitchen that I just, I had to sing and I had to dance and I, I, I think keeping it sacred is just realizing that He’s worthy of our worship, whether someone’s watching or not.
There is a pastor, uh, named T. F. Tenney, who said that the secret to living holy is to live holy in secret, and I’ve been applying that to every part of my relationship with the Lord. If I can do this in secret, I can do it in front of others, and I think that’s what keeps it close to my heart, and just making sure that my relationship with God is strong, reading his Word, and making sure that the songs that I do sing are solely based on the In scripture and not based on, on feeling or opinion.
It’s really important to keep it grounded in the Word, and I just love the Lord so much. I, I feel like our love for him has to trump everything else.
Joshua Swanson: We’ll be right back with more from our conversation with Charity Gale.
When we interviewed Charity, we had just come out of an award ceremony, so I asked Charity how she felt about the labels that we put on music. As in, this is worship music and this isn’t.
Charity Gayle: If, if we’re going to label anything, it should be labeling the fact that we’re disciples of Christ, and that’s it. Our identity is in Him.
I think as far as identifying style, it has its place. But as far as identifying the heartbeat, it’s all one voice. It’s the church, and it’s the church’s song. My
husband, Ryan, and I, we come from very different backgrounds in the church. And so we both grew up singing very different styles of music. But what I love about the Lord bringing us together is when we became one and we started writing songs together, there was some of how I grew up stylistically and some of how he grew up stylistically.
And it’s become this beautiful blended sound. And I think that If, if we’re going to label anything, it should be labeling the fact that we’re disciples of Christ and that’s it. Our identity is in Him.
And I, I have been asked the question, how would you identify yourself as an artist? And I had to pause and think about that because I really don’t see myself as an artist. I just see myself as a worshiper. And I, I told someone recently, we were in a, uh, breakout session at a conference, and someone was saying that they felt like they should have been on the platform, like God has called them to the platform. And I said, well, you know, worship doesn’t have to happen just on the platform.
Worship should happen in the pews. And I think that just spans across every style. It spans across countries, and I think that the beautiful thing about the Lord is that He has made us with our own unique individual sound. Even our voices are individual. But I’m not labeling your voice, and you’re not labeling mine.
It’s just the gift that God’s given us. And so I think if our identity is rooted in Christ first, then we can all become super blended in what we do. And I think that, um, the songs that Ryan and I write are a perfect example of that because you have this worship, but you also have this beautiful gospel sound, um, attached, and it just becomes this amazing sound. Just like creation. I mean, you have mountains, and you have rivers, and you have fish, and you have elephants, and there’s something so beautiful about when all of the sound of creation comes together, but I’m not labeling those either. I just say creation.
Joshua Swanson: Then we got into Charity’s background, and its influence on the music that she writes.
Charity Gayle: I’m really drawn to choir. And like I said, the multiple voices all singing one song. I grew up also where the worship leader or the praise leader would be ad libbing or singing scripture or singing declarations in between what the choir was singing.
And so I feel like that when I was learning to write more worship music and they were saying, you need to lead the song, I would kind of do that declarative ad libbing in between, and they’re like, no, just lead the melody. And I was like, oh, that’s, oh, that’s interesting. So even, even the idea of a worship leader style, you can say lead the song and it means one thing, and I can say lead the song and it means something else.
So I think that the way that I was raised in worship was not only do we have a pastor who’s declaring and speaking the word, but we also had worship leaders that were declaring and speaking the word even through the song. That, that’s what I was rooted in growing up.
Like we weren’t just singing songs. We were, we were ultimately giving God all the praise, even in our songs, and there’s something also interesting about how when I was a kid, we were not supposed to be late for church because we understood that the worship service was just as important as the message. And I remember talking to a pastor friend of mine one time and he said, you know, ministry unto God is worship. And ministry to his people is the Word and can you take one or the other and say one is more important than the other? And that, that has also struck a chord with me. So worship was so important for me growing up.
Joshua Swanson: Charity and her equally amazing husband, Ryan, run a local church ministry called Gatherhouse. And so I asked Charity for a word of encouragement for other local church leaders out there dealing with burnout.
Charity Gayle: I’ll just, encouraged by saying what had encouraged me. When I first became the worship director at my church I remember thinking, “Wow, I only see that we had a praise team and two services on Sunday so I had a different praise team Sunday morning than we would on Sunday night. And the band would sometimes change between those two services of what as well and I remember thinking I don’t see them throughout the rest of the week unless we’re at midweek service or something else. And I talked to the Lord about it, and we eventually brought everybody, the band, the worship team, even the sound tech because they’re part of it.
We’re all one team. We would come to do uh once-a-month night where we would just have dinner and fellowship, pray together. And I realized what was happening is just being around each other and saying, D’Andrea, how, how did your week go? And she’d say, you know, it wasn’t so great. I actually had more of a connection to know what was going on with the team on Sunday, and the same was happening for me. I feel like just as I was creating space to pour out and minister on a Thursday night when nothing was happening, that they were pouring into me. And so I feel like we all strengthened each other and moved up in our ability to do what God had asked us to do together.
And so I think that the idea of a team, especially a worship team, you don’t have to do it alone. It’s, it’s not you putting the Planning Center together by yourself or with just a couple of people. Get together and, and speak into each other’s lives and let the Lord speak through your lives and minister to one another.
And the other thing that I found really encouraging was to find people that had walked the journey with the Lord for decades. The mothers and fathers of the church. To go to them and say, I really need prayer. I really need someone to help walk this with me. And, you know, my dad was my pastor, so I had that advantage, but there were also saints in the church that were so inspirational to me.
And I think that some of the burnout too is we look at one another that are worship leaders now and we go, well they’re doing it like this and I, I’m seeing this and I’m comparing myself to somebody that I really don’t have any business comparing myself to because my local body of believers may not be going through the same thing that their local body of believers is going through. So, finding those elders in the church, those mothers and fathers of the church that you’re in and leaning on them and saying how did you do it?
Joshua Swanson: With that great word of encouragement to our church leaders out there we’ll quickly segue to another interview that we did with Aaron Stewart, the co-founder of Planning Center.
Aaron, along with his partner Jeff Berg have built a fantastic company, and so we thought it would be interesting to glean from Aaron some leadership advice. So many leaders listened to this podcast, so we asked Aaron how they developed such a good company culture.
Aaron Stewart: I think there’s kind of two things. One is a work life balance. We want people to be, to love their job and to be great at their job, but we want you to clock out at five o’clock. Like, we want you to go home. So many software companies, startups are just like go full out all the time. You’re working on weekends, you’re working on nights and all that kind of stuff.
And for us, Jeff has lead out on this so much of like, we want to build a place that we want to work forever. And so letting people focus and be as good as they possibly can and then spend time with their family, spend time at their church, spend time volunteering, do all that kind of stuff. So that’s the first thing.
And I think the second thing for me is instilling a sense of ownership. I want every developer, every designer, every support agent to understand why we’re doing this thing, who we’re building it for, how it impacts them, so that when they’re building those things, it’s like, I’m not just checking tasks off a task list. Like, I am contributing to this vision as a whole, and that helps me, like, engage in a different way that it’s like, oh, you know what, I bet you if we did this, if I made, if I suggested this one little change, it would be a little bit better.
And I’m like, yes, I need every person working on this thing to be invested in the outcome, because if they are contributing their ideas, the end product is going to be so much better than if we’re just relying all on my ideas. Planning Center would be nothing if it was just what me and Jeff were thinking of.
Yeah. It takes the whole team feeling like they have ownership of that and adding value to that along the way.
Joshua Swanson: Planning Center, for those of you who don’t know, is a set of software tools to help you organize information, coordinate events, communicate with your team, and connect with your congregation.
You can find out more about [email protected].
Okay. Back to our interview with Charity Gayle, where I ask Charity what gets her excited about this next generation of young leaders.
Charity Gayle: I will say this. My personal experience with Generation Z and those who are coming after, they know the difference between what is real and authentic and what isn’t.
And I think they even know more so than, than I do, because I grew up seeing all the advantages of technology and all these advantages. And I think that there is a generation that’s coming up that says, “no, I know the difference between authentic and not authentic.” And I want authentic. And I think that the Lord, I have seen prayer warriors that are 13 years old and I’m like, “Hey, little sis, can you pray for me?” Like it’s so amazing to see how God is using this generation in ways that I’ve not seen before.
I also think that it is a little more underground and covered because all you see is what’s on social media, but I get to see them on a local church standpoint, and I am so encouraged, and I believe wholeheartedly that this generation holds something that not any generation before us has held before.
And I think God’s got a purpose and a plan for them, and I’m really excited.
Joshua Swanson: The last question we asked Charity was, who is your ‘no’ person? Who holds you accountable?
Charity Gayle: Accountability is so important, and If I am needing direction, I think having a pastor and a pastor’s wife in your life that you trust to confirm what God has planted in your heart, that’s first and foremost. And we have, um, an amazing pastor and church in Texas that we love to just sit with and talk with and check things with.
And then my husband, he is so wise and there’s things where I’ve been in a state of a wonder or maybe a little bit of confusion that he’s brought such clarity to. I mean, we’ll be driving down the road having a conversation and the Lord will put something in his heart and I will start crying because I’m overcome by the spirit that is working through my husband as he’s speaking to me. And so definitely pastor, spouse, and like I said, my, my parents are pastors as well and when I was growing up, I had the rare opportunity to not only be led by them as parents, but led by them in, in a spiritual sense as well. And just like I said before, mothers and fathers of the church, the ones that have been walking this out, like I’ve had a few come to me and say, I don’t know about this. Let me, let me take you to lunch. Let me, let’s talk through this. What’s your why? And if your why doesn’t line up with the scripture, then why, you know?
I, I think it’s really important that this generation in particular doesn’t lose the accountability that God so beautifully orchestrated in our lives to look at those that have gone before and have walked this out. Maybe not quite the same way that we’re walking it out now, but the Spirit in us is all the same. And seeing how they’ve dealt with things in the past, because pride is pride, no matter how old you are. The temptation to do things you shouldn’t do; that’s been since the fall of man, right?
I, I think that having accountability on many different levels is important. And again, like I said, the worship team, we were also accountable to each other. And because we had that relationship first, and I think this is the most important part, having relationship with someone enough to say, “Hey, I wanna be able to speak this into your life,” and not just have some random person come up to you and be like, you know, that was, I don’t know about that. Like, have relationship with people and that’ll open up the door for you to be able to speak into their lives. So yeah, I think accountability is really, really important.
Joshua Swanson: Thank you Charity for sharing some of your story with us. To find out more about or visit CharityGayle.com. As a reminder, Charity also contributed an amazing devotional podcast to The Walk. Head to worshipleader. com to find that episode. Also, if you haven’t done so already, it would really mean a lot to us if you would subscribe to our podcast and leave us a review.
All right. Until next time. The Walk is brought to you by Worship Leader. Check us out at worshipleader. com. I also want to thank the team at Life Audio for their partnership. If you go to lifeaudio. com, you’ll find a collection of faith centered podcasts about health and wellness, parenting, current cultural events, and more.
So check them out at lifeaudio. com. I’m Joshua Swanson. Here’s, Name Above All Names.