As the semester winds down, students are keeping up with the portal to make sure they complete all their chapel credits. But when we reconvene in January, those who are interested will have another opportunity to get involved with leading music for chapel.
George Williamson, Director of Worship Ministries, begins each semester with an informational meeting, where he shares his testimony and focuses on the responsibilities that come with leading worship.
“I wasn’t walking with God with any integrity my freshman and part of my sophomore year, but one of my friends was a worship leader, and he would invite me to play sometimes,” he said. “I did it for ego reasons, for people to see I was a musician.”
He stresses the importance of living with integrity and honoring God consistently in all areas of life.
“I’d love to talk a bunch of people out of [leading worship] in that meeting,” he said. “If your desire of things of the flesh is stronger than things of the spirit, don’t masquerade and be involved in such a visible ministry like chapel.”
After the initial meeting, students play through a few songs with Williamson individually. He assesses their musical ability and preparation, then selects a pool of students for worship interns to choose from to lead each week. This semester, about 100 students comprise the overall group of musicians, but 25 to 30 make up the smaller core who are most often selected.
“I think we definitely gravitate toward choosing people that we have relationships with, but we also encourage one another to give people opportunities that don’t get a chance to play all the time and to change up who we do use,” said worship intern and senior student Orin Mozin.
The seven students who work as worship interns run the show, more or less. They are the ones who lead every week, and they put together set lists, media for slides, prayers and Bible verses to accompany the music. They also meet weekly to critique each chapel. The positions are not advertised, but Williamson sends applications at the end of the year to students who have expressed interest.
“If you’re interested in being an intern, you have to make yourself known to George, and then keep telling him you’re interested,” said intern Jenae Loofbourrow. “I’ve been completely humbled, and so honored to stand in front of the congregation and use the talents God’s given me. I’ve loved being under George’s mentoring and learning how to lead a congregation.”
For other musicians who are not interns, involvement includes a two-hour rehearsal the night before chapel and about an hour of morning practice whenever they play, which is generally once a week or less.
“I’ve learned a lot about what it means to praise,” said sophomore musician James Bishop. “I’m leading worship on campus, so I want to be someone who expresses true worship. I learned worship isn’t what you do; it’s who you are. And it doesn’t end when we leave Brown Chapel.”
Bishop says one of the most beautiful sights is when he stands on the stage leading worship and watches people in the crowd.
“When I look out and see people genuinely worshipping, it makes my heart jump,” he said. “It’s the most beautiful sight, more beautiful more than the ocean.”