They started out as a group of college kids that wanted to reinvent worship and create a shift in culture where people felt they could belong, and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Today, Rend Collective has released seven albums and toured with Kari Jobe and Chris Tomlin. We interviewed Gareth Gilkeson from Rend Collective in 2012 and asked him about how the group practically follows Christ while being on tour and how he went from just singing about God to experiencing Him.
Gilkeson opens up how the band practically follows Christ on a day-to-day basis.
“I think that really is the biggest fear in us, that people would come and have a one-night buzz. And the buzz stops when the music does. Our heart and what we’re trying to equip the church with, is to understand that worship is about building the kingdom. One of the songs we have ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ is a call to the church. It says, ‘We are the church, we are the hope on earth, we are the hands and the feet.’ What we’re trying to say is that worship is what you do; it’s not only what you sing. I don’t think we’ve written any songs that are trite or just that ‘Jesus you are lovely’ song. Because first of all we’re guys, and we don’t even say anybody is lovely, and second of all that’s not what our heart is, our heart is try and equip the church. We’re frustrated as well because we do a lot of touring and we don’t get as many opportunities to be able to worship like that as much as we want. So we write out of a place of frustration and a dream that God has put in us because that is what we grew from. We grew from a college movement which Glenn [his buddy sitting next to him on the tour bus showing support for that night’s concert] and I started 10 years ago. That’s where we came from. We were representing the kingdom on the ground and that’s what we believe is real worship.”
“You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:22-24
Gilkeson shares how he went from just singing about God to really experiencing him as Father.
“I think for me, there is ongoing revelation. There are times whenever God meets you exactly where you’re at, and he communicates exactly who is for you at that moment. I can remember one time running through a field crying, and laughing, and jumping like ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ just really weird and I just had this revelation that God was my friend. There are times you realize who God is and then a lot of times, like me right now, I’m waiting on a new revelation of who God is for me at this moment in time. It’s a new season for a new relationship. I guess it’s like when you were a kid, you spend time with your dad and he’s a disciplinarian, then you’re a teenager and you’re like ‘eh’ and then when you’re thirty and you’re building your house and he’s [your father] around, he’s a friend, and it becomes a whole new experience. I think our relationship with our Father in Heaven is that same sort of thing, where the definition of the relationship changes as you get older and God reveals different things. For me right now I’m hungry for a new revelation of who God is for me at this time.”
Worship daily. It is easy to get caught in the trap of just worshipping God on Sundays or when we go to a concert. Instead, God wants us to worship him daily. Put on your favorite worship songs as you get ready in the morning, as you drive to work or when you are doing chores. Notice how it changes your perspective and attitude. Take time to pray as you listen to the music.
Worship with others. Grab some friends or your small group and have an impromptu worship night. If someone can play an instrument ask them to lead the group in your favorite songs. If not, you can always make a playlist of the group’s favorite songs. It can be great to head to the beach, have a bonfire or worship under the stars. There is something about being in the midst of God’s creation as we worship the Creator. If there is a worship night at church or local venue, gather a group of friends to go together. Pray and ask God who you can invite. Sometimes, people are apprehensive about attending an event by themselves, but will attend if they know others are going.
Experience God. Take time this week to deepen your relationship with God. It can be going for a walk and enjoying His creation, listening to a message, or meeting with a mentor or pastor. Pray and ask God to show you how you can grow in your relationship with Him. Reflect on times in your life where you have experienced spiritual growth and what God taught you.
To read our entire interview with Rend Collective, click here.