In the spirit of uniting community and campus in worship, Regent recently announced monthly Night of Worship (NOW) events for the Fall 2013 semester. Open to both students and the general public, the events feature worship led by popular and respected artists from various backgrounds and geographical locations. Following the successful launch of NOW featuring Cory Asbury, Regent held its second event of the semester Friday, Oct. 4. The double-feature included worship artists Sean Feucht and Jonathan David & Melissa Helser, drawing a crowd of students that filled the university chapel.
Before the worship started, The Daily Runner had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Feucht about his origins as a songwriter, his advice for Regent students and what artists inspire him to make music.
What got you started in singing and writing worship music?
Well, my mom accidentally got me a guitar when I was 16, in high school. One of my friends thought it’d be funny to make a joke that I would want a guitar for my birthday, which I never asked for. But she bought it for me, and it’s kind of this accidental thing that turned into destiny. From that point forward, I just started to learn a few chords and just really wanted to play for my cell group at the time, which I was leading. And I was totally content if I just ended there, or if I just used it on the mission field one day in some hut in China, but . . . in our youth group, the worship leader had to leave, and I was thrown up there knowing two chords. So that’s where it began.
How long have you been writing songs?
I probably wrote my first song when I was 17. So about 13 years… 13 or 14 years.
What is your favorite song to perform and why?
I don’t really know! Probably my favorite moments are when . . . God just drops an unexpected song in my heart that wasn’t preplanned or premeditated, and it just comes in the moment. I think those are probably my favorite. Because they’re what God is doing now in the moment. And many of the songs that I’ve written have been birthed that way.
How did you know that this was your calling?
I think everybody’s called to be a worshiper . . . it’s our primary calling, it’s what we’re going to be doing for eternity. You know? We’ve somehow compartmentalized it down to three fast and three slow songs once a week. But for me, I just loved worship. And I would still be loving worship and still be worshiping if I didn’t play guitar or have CDs and didn’t travel to do it. So I think for me it just came naturally. And there are many other things I do besides leading worship, but it’s definitely kind of my first love.
Do you have any advice for the students here at Regent who might aspire to a similar calling?
Yeah . . . don’t wait for a platform or a stage or a promotion. Just start burning for God in the secret place and let your goal and your purpose be to please His heart. And when He’s ready—and if He’s ready—if you lose yourself in Him, in the place of intimacy, that’s where you’ll be promoted. A lot of people, they strive and they try to read all the right books and do all the right things and really kind of position themselves for a moment. And the Lord really doesn’t work that way. He cares about your heart and He cares about intimacy, and for me it was something I wasn’t even really looking for. Like, I was really content just to play three chords in my room before God. And because I’m content doing that, it could all be taken away tomorrow and I’ll be alright. So let the foundation of your calling be intimacy with God, and then out of that the Lord will promote you and broadcast your sound wherever He wants it to go.
Have you always wanted to work in music? Was there ever a different path you thought you would take?
I never wanted to do anything in music. Like I said, I was just kind of filling a need because there wasn’t a worship leader. But the more that I did it, the more that I loved it . . . I think for me the overflow of what happened—like tonight—is coming out of a lifestyle of doing this with the Lord in the secret place. That’s kind of where the sustaining grace of it comes from. And in the midst of all that I’ve owned real estate companies, I have a business degree, I have a 200 plus city-wide global missions/worship/prayer movement, I have 250 emails to answer a day. I have a lot of stuff going on… I’m a husband, I’m a father to two kids. There’s a lot going on in my world, but worship is definitely the core of who I am. Whether it’s singing in the car on the way to the meeting like I was today, or tonight leading people into worship.
What advice do you have for young adults who might be struggling in their walk with Christ?
I think all of it comes back to identity and knowing who you are as a child of God and knowing who you are as a son and daughter of the Lord. You’ll never truly succeed or truly last for the long haul if your identity isn’t rooted in Christ. So people who are struggling . . . the Bible never actually says we won’t struggle. It actually says we will struggle. It says in this world you’ll have trouble, but take heart for I’ve overcome the world [John 16:33]. So in other words, “let your identity be in Me, because I’m an overcomer.” That would probably be my advice—just for people to lean into God… and it would be wrong to say that you would never struggle or you would never have trouble, because you will. But what’s gonna maintain and keep you in the midst of those storms is knowing who you are. That’s your firm foundation and your rock.
How has God used your gift in ways you didn’t expect?
I think He rewards the faithful. I think just the faithfulness and the consistency of pressing into Him has opened doors that I never thought would be opened before. I’ve been in a relationship with some of the most amazing people that I never dreamed I’d be in a relationship with. I’m leading worship sometimes in stadiums with tens of thousands of people—I never thought I would do that. There’s a lot of amazing things that we’re doing around the world. I’ll leave in a couple days to go to the Middle East for a month with my family, traveling all over the Middle East to some of the most unreached places in the world. I never thought I would do that. But in the faithfulness of my walk with the Lord, God just has opened doors. It’s kind of like the parable of the talents—if you’re faithful with what He’s given you, He’ll give you more. And so we’ve tried to be faithful with everything He’s given us, so that we can step into the increase.
Where do you get your inspiration to write?
The Lord—I mean, that’s the simple answer. Just my journey with God, really. All the different complexities and the nuances of who He is. It’s just like every new facet or new vision of Him, it just compels me to want to sing about it . . . I write other songs too, but for me those are the most compelling and the most lasting. Songs that I write about the Lord.
Which artists and songwriters inspire you?
There’s a lot of people that I listen to . . . probably the ones that have inspired me the most are the ones that have directly invested into my life. It’s one thing to kind of track with a band or an artist throughout their career, but it’s another thing to have those people intentionally invest into your life. So for me . . . you know, guys like Kevin Prosch have been a huge influence. Jason Upton, growing up with him. Actually, when he was here at Regent, he just really poured into me, and that really changed my life. Adam Cates, who lives here as well—those are some of the guys who have directly imparted to me. Then I have a lot of great friends that do music. The Helsers, who are with me tonight, and John Mark McMillan. United Pursuit are some of the guys who have traveled with me for years . . . I’m probably more impressed by people who actually know their lifestyle, where their music is backed up in their character. It’s one thing to be an artist and write good music and write songs, but it’s another thing to write the living reality . . . where you’re living from. And I think those songs carry more authority. And obviously if you want to go old school, it’s David and the Song of Psalms . . . those dudes knew how to write music. So yeah, those would be my inspirations.