Interview with David Santistevan
We recently had the opportunity to interview worship leader/songwriter/blogger - David Santistevan.
AAW: As a Worship Pastor and Young Adults Pastor, how do you organize your time with your team(s) to be ready for services each week?
David: With my worship team, I'm fortunate to work with some skilled, passionate young players who come prepared.
We use Planning Center as our home base of communication where our musicians can reference the weekends they are scheduled and come prepared to rehearsal. This enables us to rehearse on Saturday before our Saturday night service and skip a weekday rehearsal.
It's pretty rare for a musician to show up on Saturday unprepared, which is amazing. It hasn't always been this way!
AAW: Do you try to introduce original music in your worship services? If so, how often and what is the response from the congregation?
David: Yes, we do. Most songs typically take 2-3 weekends before they catch on. What I've found is that the original songs we write are embraced by the congregation even more than other songs. I'm not sure why, other than the congregation believes in what we're doing. And, hopefully because the songs are good. :)
I'm currently trying to introduce one original song a month. We just finished a songwriting retreat with our team a few months ago, so there's a lot of songs we're working on finishing and introducing. The hard part is finishing the songs! Sometimes you just need to call it done (for now) and test it out.
AAW: How long have you been blogging and what gives you the drive to write as many as 5 articles per week?
David: Believe it or not, I've actually been blogging for about 4 years. I started blogging just because a few close friends said I should. I had no vision or strategy for it. It was random and not very good. Barely had any readers.
About 9 months ago I decided to get more serious about it as a way to extend my influence and have a 'home base' for my ideas and ministry. I have a passion to teach so it's been a great outlet for that as well. I write so often because I challenge myself to do it. I think it's a great habit for everyone to write every day. Whether they have a blog or a journal or scribble on napkins doesn't really matter.
Writing has made me a better thinker, artist, pastor, and leader. Positive feedback, blog growth, and having a passion for my niche keeps me going as well.
AAW: Your blog seems to have a lot of participation through comments and social media sharing. What topic would you say has brought the most feedback?
David: Anything worship related gets the most feedback and sharing. I was nervous that narrowing my niche would exclude readers and shrink my blog. It's only grown as I've invested in this niche of worship leading in the local church. Second would be when I write about blogging. I think that's because bloggers are online more than non-bloggers, so they're always devouring content. :)
AAW: If you had one word of advice to give worship leaders, what would it be?
David: Invest your best energies into loving God with all your heart. "Passion for Jesus" is not a one-time event where you then move on to more practical matters. The practical aspects of worship leading are important but nothing can fuel a life of worship leading other than falling more in love with Jesus every day. Guard that passion with your life.
AAW: You are a Pastor and blogger, but you are also a songwriter and in 2008 recorded a worship album entitled "Near". Can you tell us about the project and how that came about?
David: Recording "Near" was a dream come true for me. I've always wanted to record a worship album of original songs because my life was shaped by worship music as a youngster. I spent more time than I'd like to admit listening to Matt Redman, Vineyard, MorningStar, and Hillsong.
I wanted to release what was inside of me. The album was the result of a long season of physical suffering. I had an undiagnosed disease for over a year where I was unable to walk up stairs and lift up my hands, let alone play my guitar and sing. I laid down my passion for that year because I had no choice. Many of the songs were written without me actually singing them because I was so sick. But they were breath in my lungs as I poured my heart out to God through it all. He's been so faithful.
Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win David's CD - Near. We'll pick 3 random winners. Deadline is September 6th. You must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old.Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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