gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

Archive for the month “November, 2009”

“up close” with darlene zschech

i am continually grateful to those worship leaders who have and continue to pave the way for others and who inspire us to live faithfully into such a calling. i have decided to dedicate some of my blogs as a tribute to those whom i admire dearly and to those who have been mentors, through written interviews that i have done with each worship leader.

so, it is only appropriate that i begin my “up close” tribute with the one and only pst. darlene zschech from hillsong church in australia. on many levels, she has been my mentor. she has not only pioneered and paved the way for female worship leaders around the globe but the team she has led at hillsong church has gone on to equip churches worldwide with worship songs for over a decade….a mother, grandmother, wife, friend, pastor, songwriter, worship leader, mentor, advocate, justice fighter, are just a few of the reasons why i love her. what an inspiration she has been and continues to be.

“up close” with darlene zschech

GSB- What is the name of the ministry/ies that you work with?

DZI am an ambassador for Compassion, helping to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.  Mark and I also started Hope Rwanda several years ago so we could do more to help the people of Rwanda who are rebuilding their lives after the genocide of 1994. I also had the great honour of writing and recording with some great worship leaders for the CompassionArt project.

GSB- When and how did you know that you were called to ministry?

DZ- At the tender age of fifteen, I committed my life to the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.  Since that moment, His plan for my life has continued to unfold as I have learnt daily that Jesus is both my Lord, and also my best friend.

GSB- What is “worship” to you?

DZ- Simply this.. WORTH SHIP…

To give all glory and honour to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords…for He alone is worthy of all honour and praise.

It is inclusive, not exclusive, it is not for the gifted, but for every man, woman and child, every nation, tribe and tongue. It will come from the very poor to the very rich , and will cover every style imaginable.. but as long as it is brought in Spirit and in Truth… This is worship..

GSB- How long have you been a worship leader?

DZ- My passion for worship really started to develop from the moment that I got saved, at fifteen.  Once I got saved and really met Jesus, my whole understanding of why music was even there, started to change, and I’ve been on that journey, discovering freedom and integrity in worship, for many years now.  I didn’t want to be a worship leader.  I love being in the background arranging, recording and producing.  But one Sunday Pastor Brian Houston was leading worship and he just walked off and left me in the middle of the service.  At the time I had no confidence when it came to leading worship.  …  One thing I do know, is that through worship, and through learning how to love my God with a whole heart, through that process, the walls of my heart have softened, and I just want to worship my God in spirit and in truth…

GSB- Who were/are your worship leader role models?

DZ- I LOVE Chris Tomlin.. and I believe he writes the best songs for the greater church.. so theologically rich, and so easy to sing. I LOVE Martin Smith.. the prophetic voice he brings to any song, I love Matt Maher.. aahh, I could listen to him teach on worship every day. And his songs are so so pure.. there is something in him that makes me want to be more like Jesus. And  I love all of our own guys and gals… with my whole heart.

GSB- What genre of music influenced you most growing up? Today?

DZ- When I was a young Christian, it was Michael W, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Keith Green….then I became addicted to any female singer.. ( I LOVE Alicia Keys)… and now I love SO many different styles of music.. Coldplay, John Legend, Orchestral music, of course u2…. Natasha Bedingfield… Kari Jobe, The Passion guys…. I am just getting started…


chasing after you

from the often hype and high-energy gospel artist tye tribbett, this particular song is refreshingly subdued and prayerful and still carries within it that passionate something i love about tye’s interpretations and musicality.

it is a song that declares an incredible hope and faith in an active pursuit of the one who has and continues to pursue us. i will go and i’ll be chasing after you are the two main lyrical lines that capture the essence of this song. both are active and suggest a doing on our end. as much as we tend to seek and long for the receiving aspect of our relationship with god, i wonder if we are reminded in this song about god’s desire for us to chase after toward the one who has already chased after us.

though we can never equitably love god in the way god loves us, and though we are often inadequate in our pursuit of god, i am grateful that this god continues to chase me down and refuses to let go! at points in this song, i hear the words as if it were my own prayer and at other points, i hear it as if it is being spoken over me.

as you hear this song may it be your prayer and know that you are loved by a god who never abandons or forsakes but rather, chases after us in hopes that our lives would be turned toward and in pursuit of the one whom we declare to be the lover of our souls.

life as a stranger

RuthAndNaomi by HE Qi

what does it mean to be bound to a people who are “other?” to see your identity in someone that is a stanger? or, in a different light, what does it mean to be the stranger? the other? these are some questions that i believe are central to the issues of our christian identity narrated through the lens of immigrant reality.

in this piece entitled, ruth and naomi, by the artist he qi, i am reminded of such a story in the old testament about a daughter-in-law, ruth, who had decided to leave the only land she knew in hopes of being bound to a new people, a new land, through her mother-in-law naomi.  it is a story of a woman who saw her identity so closely bound to her husband’s people that she chose to become the stranger as a moabite in bethlehem. in ruth 1:16 she tells naomi,

where you go i will go, and where you stay i will stay. your people will be my people and your god my god….

what does this mean? why is this so profound?

for those who have been to my home in seattle, you know that this artwork stands prominently as the focal point in our living room. it is not only a reminder of my immigrant parents who each, in their own way, struggled with the overpowering pull of assimilation, but more profoundly, it is a reminder of my own struggles of placedness and identity, both culturally and as a christian.

though i am an asian-american woman, more specifically, a korean-american woman, i have often found my home/refuge/comfort to be amongst a people whom most koreans have historically considered as “others”- the african-american community. in friendships, in communities of worship, in my affinities, and ultimately in my spouse, i have found a freedom, love, embrace with a people who i now cannot see myself without. however, like many things that are worth something, it has been costly.

as the painting so intimately depicts, our binding to another that blurs the very lines of where one begins and the other ends, is the binding that christ calls each of us to – to a people who may be strange to us, foreign, or alien to all that makes us comfortable. in this way, are we willing to be the stanger? to be the one who picks the fields after another, who waits for the other to determine our livelihood?

friends, this is the space where christ dwells. it is in christ’s body where all are bound together. may the same spirit that binds us to our creator, bind us in ways that begin to transform who i think you are to who christ says we are.

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