Worship With the Word

Apr 28, 2024

Back in 2016

Siobhán and I moved our family into an RV to travel the United States to introduce our children to people who are living out the kingdom of God. We said, “We want to see the church and be the church.” We began to write music and share the gospel with whomever would listen and the Lord opened up tremendous favor for us. We were always keeping family at the center of the mission and letting ministry flow from that.

It was in this formative time in our ministry that we began to hear two words of the Lord. One, that He would take our family to share the gospel with other nations, and two, that he would use us to lead the next generation of psalmists and worshippers to bring the kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven.

We said to the Lord, “How are you going to do this since we do not reach the young demographic anymore with our sound?” He said, “Will you be malleable?” Within a year of those words, we found ourselves traveling to the Philippines and leading young people in worship with Youth With a Mission, UofN Kona. As that season came to a close we clearly heard the word of the Lord to stay and serve the mission in Kona for a new season. I began to teach at the worship school, Siobhán began to teach in the elementary school, and our family began to settle into Kona as our home. 

But we never had a home and the Lord allowed me to feel restless once again with the words that He spoke over us back in the early days of our ministry. Following His leading once again we moved the family back to the States by faith in hopes that He would speak again and confirm His word from the beginning of this ministry. 

In the fall of 2023, I was on my knees before the Lord.

I was frustrated that things never could seem to work out in Kona. It felt like I was back at zero in the same place where I heard him speak and give us this calling in the first place. I thought, “Certainly, your word isn’t over is it?” I was frustrated that I could not hear His voice. 

I was equally frustrated because I felt that for all the leadership, training, teaching, and equipping of young people that I had done the church-at-large is in a place of stagnation and crippled. As if the fire of God that was supposed to be ushered in by the Holy Spirit through worship and the sound of a new generation was full of form and lacked the power of the gospel. 

These frustrations caused me to long for the voice of God. So, in the same place where we heard his voice so clearly years ago, I began to do the same thing I did years ago by reading the word of God, pouring over it, and pleading with the Lord to speak. He did. He said, “Pick up your guitar. Play and sing these words you read.” 

As I began to play I felt the temptation to embellish the words and add contemporary thought to them. No sooner than that thought came into my head did I say, “No, I don’t want to do that. That’s what every worship song is in the church today. This is holy. Set apart. Different. Teach people the word of the Lord. Don’t deviate from that. Just worship with the word.”

What is Worship With the Word?

Let’s face it. I needed to have a new revelation of the word of God. We all do. I can lead a crowd with the best of them but that is because I am confident in who I am in Christ and what He says in His word. I also grow weary of simply singing just what is new and cutting edge without it lining up or being connected with the word of God. With scripture engagement down significantly in the past two years is it any wonder why we have so many stricken with mental health problems? Is it any wonder why our colleges and universities in America have passionately preached a gospel of Marxism while the church stands by to sing whatever the new hit worship song is for that month according to Billboard Magazine? We have career worship leaders and songwriters abounding in our churches and few with the power of God like David who, as a psalmist, took down a giant. 

Worship with the word is an active effort to bring just the Bible back into our worship services in our houses of worship today. It is a cry out to the Lord to let His word speak louder than ours again. It is a movement to wake up the body of Christ from apathy into the knowledge of Him again. 

But we know that it begins with us. Has the Lord chosen us for such a time as this to speak His word loudly? 

Worship Music? 

The Contemporary Christian Music industry (CCM as we know it) ushered in an age of wonderful songwriters. But there was an outcry in the late 90’s to reform even this movement which gave way to the now more influential worship movement. We now have a worship music industry. A whole engine of people working to take the words of God and morph them into concepts that are “singable” in the church.

If you are a pastor reading this, the people in your church remember the words you are preaching much less that the songs. They are remembering the words of some collection of writers aiming to reinforce biblical doctrines that we hope and pray are close to ours. However, it is like a film put in front of the word of God. And this is what is solidified into the minds and hearts of the people of God today. A photocopy of the word of God. As if the assumption is that people are too simple to actually and passionately know the word of God for themselves. The very doctrines of the kingdom of God are seeking to be told to people without His actual voice. 

Like Josiah, who brought back the scroll for the people to know the Lord. Like Wycliff, who brought the Bible into the common tongue ushering in the reformation. Like the Jesus people, who taught me the word of God through song as I was a child. Our generation needs to know the God of the Bible and not just what someone else says that it says. We need to know what God says. We need to hear His voice like I needed to hear His voice.

Five Year Plan

  • We desire to start first by an old model that was taught to us in YWAM - do first then teach. For the next five years, we plan to release one new song every month that is just a “singable” scripture song. We are being intentional that these songs do not add or take away from the actual scripture. But we are following the modern music path in the beginning to introduce songs that can be led in churches for a gradual introduction for pastors and worship teams to change culture. In five years I have a dream that every church would be singing the word of God at least once in their services.
  • We seek to use modern methods of engagement through the availability of online courses to teach worship to people who desire to know what it is they are participating in. It would be very shallow of us to create a gimmicky worship brand to get people to sing bible verses. That is not the point. We seek to teach leaders in the church to embrace building up the body of Christ in the knowledge of his word again. We hope to have courses taught by many different experts so that we have a full array to equip those who are serious about changing the culture. For the short term, it is just me (Trent) until I have another course available. I currently have my producer, my former student in Kona, excited to teach a method for recording, capturing, and sharing songs with churches and communities so others can do this too.
  • Once the songs are on a regular release schedule and courses are available constant and consistent marketing and advocacy for this movement needs to be considered. For my part, I will be engaging in weekly podcasts and YouTube videos to keep the drum beating. At this stage, the only income earned is through memberships and online courses as the songs will be free (usually members get songs early) and courses will be a paid package that will either come through membership brackets, free teaser mini-courses, or song-writing challenges. All of these can earn an income however, the free podcasts and YouTube videos are a necessary marketing strategy. I am, however, still just one person with a lot of faith.
  • After the rhythm of these three goal’s wheels are in place then things can start moving. I believe the Lord has given us sound wisdom and counsel in showing us that the next step is to host seminars and/or a worship with the word conference. I can not do this on my own and I am praying a believing for the partnership with the local church to see this happen. 
  • Within this five-year plan, I believe the Lord for the property and buildings to be able to launch a full-fledged post-high school undergraduate school. Not meant entirely to raise worship leaders but rather to raise psalmists to be the next generation of leaders in the body of Christ. 

 The following chart shows a cycle of what I believe is sustainable for me and my family as well as growth for others to come in and work this cycle as well. After recording the first six worship with the word songs for 2024 with my producer I firmly believe that other artists and churches will adopt this movement and do the same. We are just the guide.

When the body of Christ has the word of the Lord on their lips again we will see the glory of the Lord and His kingdom here on earth will flourish. Isaiah 55:12 shows us a picture of what the promise holds for us. “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”