Worship beyond the music
By Amanda Bedgood
Worship is far more than a song. And leading it is far more than a beautiful voice on a stage. Just ask Kari Campbell. “Worship is a lifestyle … whether you’re scrubbing toilets or feeding the homeless,” she said.
The worship director at the Crossroads Masters Commission suggests even putting students in missions or children’s ministry their first year before putting them on the stage. She quotes a friend and musician who said if you don’t have a heart for those things — missions, homeless — you’re just a music punk looking for a gig.
“It’s not just to be identified with a gifting. But, being identified as a son or daughter,” she said. “You’re a worshiper first.”
She said before the stage and the writing of songs we are first worshipers. And we are sons and daughters that should be prepared to show up and be excellent in all that we do.
“As a leader you need to have a game plan. Someone had to build the temple,” she said, pointing to those tasked with every last detail of building for the kingdom.
“He needed people to cut down trees and be really excellent at their task. If God is building the next room in the kingdom, are you ready? Are you practicing in the secret place?”
Campbell herself knows about practicing. She has been at this worship leadership calling for awhile. It began with leaving from her parent’s home in Australia (they have dual citizenship) to Christ for the Nations in Dallas.
She then served as an intern in Shreveport where she met her husband. The two moved to Lafayette, his hometown, 15 years ago. Campbell served at Crossroads church as well as spearheading a nonprofit with her husband called No Compromise International.
The couple goes on mission trips and travels in the summer. She recently spent more than a month in Romania and Australia ministering at more than 14 spots. But, when she enters back into the teaching time period she says the students come first in that season.
“Worship is a lifestyle and my job in Masters [Commission] — I tell them ‘you are here in Masters because you are devoting 9 months to knowing Christ and making him known’ and your life should be to reflect worship,” she stated.
This life devoted to worship is not always an easy one. It looks like worshiping even after she and her husband lost their firstborn son 14 years ago. It was a time she revealed her worship deepened into something more than a song.
“[My worship became] a war cry — kicking Satan in the teeth,” she said with fervor. “God has been so gracious and faithful.”
She is teaching her children (and she learns herself) to press in and know Jesus first. “Everything else is secondary,” she said.
With her daughter facing an illness and the clear answers remaining elusive, she found herself in the place where the Lord is breaking her fall, and she is continuing on the never-ending path to know him.
“The main thing is that quiet time day to day in his presence,” Campbell said adamantly. Even when this life brings new challenge, the focus is to know Him. She added, “You have to accept that pressing and press in more.”
Then she said something you don’t expect from a worship leader perhaps; she said to shut up. It certainly makes sense. “Sit in His presence and shut up and listen to Him.”
Amanda Bedgood is a
grateful believer in Jesus Christ,
writer, wrangler of one wild child
named Wilder and maker of