2015/16 SD Worship Review and Preview by Caz Taylor
To offer the reader a San Diego worship review and to get a glimpse into 2016, a handful of countywide worship leaders were selected from the north, south, east and west, denominational, and non-denominational.
Paula Samson leads worship at St. Mark Lutheran in Encinitas. She said, “last year was a tremendous year of creativity and growth. Corporately, I have seen a regional shift that has drawn folks from all denominations and backgrounds to want to worship collectively. God is definitely unifying the body to Himself through worship. People have also shared their testimonies of being healed from depression, addictions and sicknesses during worship.” Paula added, “I am sensing that this will be an exciting year of ‘breakthrough’, and we will see a stronger emphasis on warfare worship with LOVE being the core. Songs will not only become offerings of worship to God, but effective weapons of warfare that will manifest change and awakening in spiritual climates.”
Josh Garlow leads worship at Skyline Church in La Mesa. “For us, it has been a season of battle cries, of declarations, of putting a stake in the ground and saying ‘this is who we are, and this this who we stand for.” Then he added, “2015 was a great year for San Diego worship leaders. I have never felt as much unity across the county as I have this past year. Phone conversations, texts and emails between us are a regular occurrence, unlike any time I’ve experienced before. We’re learning that it’s ok to lean on each other and a competitive spirit seems to be absent.”
Taiwan born Wendy Liu of Canvas Church, San Diego leads worship in various Mandarin speaking communities, in Chinese churches in San Diego, and beyond. “The worship movement in San Diego has really encouraged me,” declared Wendy. “I pray that fire of intercession and brotherly love will continue to burn until God's plan for our city is fulfilled. I have great hope for 2016 as it is the Jubilee Year. But at the same time I sense that perseverance will be needed to push through barriers, enemy resistance or simply status quo. I believe we will be rewarded with breakthrough and great joy! God's presence is in the mist of us. It is becoming clear to me that the Tabernacle of David is a type for the entire New Testament Church being built in the spiritual Zion on the foundation of Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone, and all of us as living stones are attached together in this global 24/7 habitation of God.”
Veteran worship leader, and Regional Director of ONE SOUND San Diego, Rob Chapman has been newly installed to direct the worship at First Southern Baptist Church in Chula Vista. He defines what God is doing in the county as Holy Spirit “corporate intimacy”. “As we are being truthful in our open, unhindered, spontaneous times of worship, His Spirit is ever present and stirs us to even deeper places.” Rob added, “2016 looks like a place of digging deep wells here through purposeful worship gatherings of vertical worship, representing a Davidic Tabernacle in the south bay and on behalf of the region.”
Accomplished musician Hank Dmochowski has been leading worship at Foothills Christian Church in El Cajon for over 27 years. “I look at 2016 as an opportunity to foster greater unity in the worship community. I am excited about seeing how the churches and worship ministries have come together in a variety of different ways including the ‘ONE Gatherings’, and multi-church prayer/worship gatherings. I believe that our unity as the San Diego Church will cause a blessing to be poured out on our communities.”
Artist and songwriter Diana Marie is one of the worship leaders at Grace Chapel of the Coast in Oceanside. “I had a vision of many people sitting together around a huge fire,” described Diana. “Each had their own gift of music, praising and worshiping the Lord. These were not rehearsed, well known songs; these were songs coming forth from the spirit within each person. Literally, we were all singing in ‘truth and spirit’ with ebb and flow, from the wellsprings of our hearts. It was worship without walls, unhindered, raw words of love, truth and praise rising up to the Father. This is where I believe people will be deeply touched and healed.”
Krissi Womble is a songwriter and itinerate leader, countywide. Her vision for worship, which she sees happening more and more, is to take it beyond the Church. “I have a strong desire to do music outside of the Christian walls and bubbles“. Krissi loves watching God inspire lyrics and music to be uniquely life-giving, life-encouraging and empowering. She is excited to be a part of what the Lord is doing outside the walls in San Diego “to penetrate, and encourage people who'd never set foot in a church”.
Andrew Hopkins leads worship at the Summit Church in San Marcos. When asked if he has recently experienced any changes in the intensity or vision or unity in his worship endeavors, Andrew stated that “it is time to declare God’s holiness like never before.” He referred to a word given to him by a fellow worship leader and pastor, Craig Muster. “My friend Craig shared something about just worshiping God for who He is and crying out ‘Holy’. In the days ahead, I think that it's healthy for us to sing songs that don't include us as much and just glorifying God.”
Craig and Karlet Muster pastor and lead worship at Citadel San Diego located in Vista. Karlet’s recollections of the Lord’s intervention here go further back than last year. “In 2010 I had a supernatural encounter in which I heard a treasure chest opening and closing and I heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘Give us back our treasure’, then an angel gave me a key and said ‘Worship is the key to everything.’” Karlet reflected, “Worship truly is the key... The Bible says that the Father looks for those who will worship in Spirit and in truth. I believe that there is a part of that reality which we are beginning to experience here on earth.
Husband, fellow worship leader and Pastor Craig Muster summarized what he is witnessing in San Diego. “The last several years have been a season of learning to hear the sound of heaven and releasing that sound over our region,” he said. “We’ve watched as God has brought together people from all different backgrounds and experiences, forming a countywide church that lives to worship Him!
We are learning to become His voice to our region, our families and our churches. It is shifting atmospheres. Soon our whole region will become an altar before God, anticipating His heavenly fire.” Craig concluded, saying, “Can you hear the invitation to go deeper in God and deeper with each other? The world is waiting to see the body of Christ in all its glory! Let’s worship like never before. Let’s love like Christ. It’s time to say yes to Him. Yes to each other!”
Photo caption: (L to R, top to bottom) Worship Leaders Andrew Hopkins, Diana Marie, Hank Dmochowski, Josh Garlow, Rob Chapman, Wendy Liu, Paula Samson, Krissi Womble, Craig and Karlet Muster