An Interview On Worship With Kari Jobe

Featuring Kari Jobe Posted on September 17, 2010

Texas-based worship artist Kari Jobe is all over the place. The serial tweeter often is found writing about airport mishaps, taxi hijinks and playing shows at vastly different locales across the country from week to week.

Jobe, 29, is impassioned and focused in her God-given mission to usher people into the presence of God. From the moment the first notes played at 1PM Thursday, July 22, 2010 on the worship stage at Creation Festival Northwest, Jobe’s anointing was evident, as her being lost in worship spilled over to those who had gathered.

Between her worship stage and main stage sets at Creation Festival Northwest, Jobe took some time to talk about the unimportance of song selection, the importance of authenticity in worship and what God is doing in the Church.

Thank you for being here. I was the worship tent earlier today. It was awesome.

Wasn’t that a cool moment?

It was the best part of Creation so far. So what makes the worship experience? Obviously you have an anointing but what do you see as a balance between the people that are gathered and what you bring?

That’s a good question. As a worship leader, I hope that people come with an expectancy to meet with God. Because really, our job as worship leaders is just to facilitate, so when people come expectant, it’s really nice. It tough when it’s more of a situation where people just happen to be there, or they’ve just been in another zone all day, and they get there and go, “Oh yeah, I’m coming to worship.” You just have to help to remind them what we’re doing. Not to pull them along or coax them to worship, but to just have a moment with God instead. If you’re not fresh on your personal worship, it’s going to be really tough. I’ve learned that the hard way. But it’s a lot better when people come ready to go.

Did you feel that today?

Oh yeah! And I didn’t know what to expect today at Creation. We're out in a tent, kind of in a warehouse, and there’s a massive stage outside and then this other thing. I didn’t know what to expect, but the first moment I was like, oh my goodness, God is about to show up and do something. So it was 50 minutes of intense worship. It was pretty cool.

How long have you been traveling?

Probably four or five years full-time. But we traveled a lot growing up. My family did ministry and then I did a lot with my youth group. We’d go on mission trips and travel to other churches leading worship, so I mean, if I counted all that, it’d be like 13 years.

In the last few years, as you’ve come out with the record and “Revelation Song” just exploded, how do you keep those songs--the ones you night after night--current to you and your worship without it being just for the people? How do you keep it personal?

I don’t know if I keep the song current to me, but the presence of God never gets old. I’ve had to learn the hard way, really, with songs. God just says, “Kari, is it about the song or is it about me?” And God’s really jealous, you know? There was even a moment just this last week where I was standing in a worship service, and I didn’t really care for a song that was playing, and so I was just kind of watching. I felt the Lord saying to me very strongly, “Really?” And I was like, “What?” And I felt like He was saying, “Does it really matter what song it is?” I get kind of emotional because it just makes me remember we are so full of the flesh, you know? If it’s not our favorite song, we have a hard time. So if I’ve done the song a million times, I just have to remember that it's about the Lord and I have to mean these words I’m saying. It’s His grace that helps us too, you know? I don’t know how I do “Revelation Song” a gazillion times (laughs), but every time God shows up!

Are you still on staff at Gateway?

I am.

So how do you balance the apostolic calling you have versus the home church responsibilities?

That’s funny that you’d say "apostolic calling" because I just heard that about my life this last week. My dad said, “Kari, you really have an apostolic thing on you right now because you’re traveling so much to other churches and just getting to minister.” I've never thought of that.

My church is amazing to let me do that, and I’ve served many, many, many years in my house, in times where I wanted to be going and traveling and felt the calling to go out. I kind of saw it in my mind, saw it in my heart, and I’d go to my leadership and they’d say it’s not time yet, it’s not time yet, it’s not time yet. And I’d be like, “Ahhhh!” There was just lots of waiting. So now that it is time, they fully support me. I definitely learned about being faithful where I was planted. God is now doing what He’s doing and it’s taught me a lot about how it’s not about us. I had to lay a lot down in that time of waiting. God’s ways are so much higher, and I’m thankful.

So you were just waiting for Him to accomplish what he spoke to you?

Totally, and being submitted to the house. A lot of people think they have a desire to want to travel or do this or that, but really they’re doing that in their city or in their local church. I think God’s heart is so about the local church before anywhere else. And going home is a huge reality check because it’s the Sunday morning thing. People are just trickling in, somebody’s had a fight, they just got their kids to class and they’re standing there like, “Worship? What? What? I don’t feel like worshipping right now.” And you have 15 minutes--GO! It’s a reality check, but it keeps you on the ground and keeps you where you have to rely on the Holy Spirit. So people need to stay committed to their local churches.

As a worship leader, would you say that’s where it’s the hardest work?

Oh yeah! Because you go out and have these massive mountaintop experiences, but then you come home and you feel like your church is just not there. You wonder why they are still singing that song from two years ago? You know what I mean? But, I’m not the main worship pastor there, so I submit and I sing the songs that work for our church and then God ends up like blowing my mind by His presence coming, no matter the song--kind of what I was saying earlier. God’s kingdom is so vast, there's just so much there, but He is all about being faithful where He has you. So we learn a lot by just being faithful.

Have you been able to write songs now that you're traveling so much?

Yeah, sure! (Laughs.) No, I do carry my journal with me, and I get inspirational moments a lot right now. I kind of go through these ebbs and flows. After I released my last album, I was kind of on a hiatus of writing. I really didn't want to pick up the pen. But now, I’m in one of those inspirational moments again. I like those because it’s fun, but it’s hard, because you get inspired, and a lot of moments you’re just kind of carrying this burden for a song, or a theme.

As you travel the country, what are you seeing in the Church? What is happening among God’s people with regard to worship?

I love this question. You know I think a lot of what I’m seeing in churches is that people could care less about who you are or what you do; they just want the presence of God. It’s beautiful to just start a worship song, and people just drop everything. They’re ready to go, they want to hear the Lord. They’re also really hungry, just for new things. I think there’s a revival going on that we don’t even know about. It’s not one of those revivals where it’s going to be on TV and all this stuff, because really that hasn’t worked for a long time. What’s happening, though, is people’s hearts are just being turned to God, and it’s amazing. It’s really beautiful. I’m getting emotional. It’s really precious. It’s what we want, you know?

Are there any plans in the works for a second album coming out?


When? Next year?

Mmm hmm! (Laughs.) Uh huh! I don’t know the times or the seasons. But it’s definitely in my heart. It’s on the calendar, but I have no idea of the timing. Whether it will be spring or fall, but it will be 2011.

Is there a particular worship song that’s speaking to y...

…“How He Loves.”

Wow! I didn’t even need to finish.

Didn’t even need to think about that one.


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