I recently had the opportunity to minister with Joe Henschel at a men’s Bible Study where I spoke. While I was on staff at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Joe and his band Farewell Down were regular guests for the youth and college ministry called Worship Generation. However, in recent years, Joe has made the transition from performer to worship leader.
I asked Joe about the difference between leading worship and being a Christian artist and he said the difference is focus. “When you’re a Christian artist the focus is the band and the music. To be entertaining and interesting so that people will listen to your message. When you’re a worship leader, the focus is to disappear so that Jesus gets all the attention.”
His latest project entitled Capture Me represents a collection of worship songs by Henschel, Matt Redman and others. I asked, “What prompted you to do a worship project?” He replied, “I was initially approached by Jonny MacIntosh (son of Evangelist and Christian Music Pioneer Mike MacIntosh) about the possibility of making a worship record. I went home and started writing songs and a month later I had written 15 songs.” This opened a brand new area of writing for Joe. He continues, “Writing worship songs caused me to really speak to the Lord in simple words what I was feeling. The record came out of that experience where the Lord was capturing me… literally captured my heart.” I loved the way Joe describes worship. He says that, “Worship is a tremendous act of service we are privileged to experience.
When we get on our knees, seek the Lord’s face and praise Him for all that He is, only then will we truly be surrendering to Him and allowing him to lead and guide our steps.”
His recent projects are leading him more into production and song writing where he’s had the privilege of working and writing with Sarah MacIntosh, Vicky Beeching and others. www.JoeHenschel.com
FEATURED INDEPENDENT SONG – IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST I GLORY
I love the rich theology and lyrical power of hymns. There was a hymn that caught my attention and jumped out at me. It was the hymn, In The Cross Of Christ I Glory. The opening line was… “In the cross of Christ I glory towering o’er the wrecks of time.” That line captivated me and in my mind’s eye I could see the cross standing tall over my own personal guilt and shame. That began the flow of ideas that eventually became… “In the cross of Christ I glory towering o’er my guilt and shame. Where the cross of Christ shines greater and removes the surest blame.”
When I was in San Diego I served under a grace preacher by the name of Dr. Ken Blue. He would often preach Paul’s perspective of how God’s mercy satisfied God’s justice and because of the work of the cross all sinners are welcome into the presence of God. So began the second verse… In the cross of Christ I glory where His mercy satisfies. There is welcome for all sinners for His love is deep and wide.
I would encourage writers to allow the depth of the hymns to inspire them to put into modern language and music the transforming power of God’s love. I hope this gives just a little insight into how I take a thought and turn it into a new song of worship.