3 Things I learned from Paul Baloche!

If you’re familiar with praise and worship music, then you probably recognize songs like “Open the Eyes of My Heart” (2000), “Hosanna Praise is Rising”(2006) or “Above All” (2008), by songwriter/recording artist Paul Baloche. About two years ago I had the pleasure of meeting him at an Integrity Music Songwriting retreat. From there a mentoring relationship formed. A few weeks ago, I was talking to Paul about a National Community Church worship leadership conference he would be attending. During the conversation he mentioned that he was recording; I told him I would love to come up and support him, and his response was, “Would you lend me your voice?” I was honored. Arriving in the studio in NYC there was a moment where I pinched myself to see if this was real. I was awestruck that I was in a room with a worship legend that has written praise songs for over two decades and has impacted the lives of millions of people around the world. I thought I was just coming to sing, but ended up learning a few things that would change my life. Here are three lessons from Paul for you and me.

Leading with humility makes you accessible.
It struck me that the person with the most accolades in the room had the smallest voice. With a receiving spirit, Paul listened to the ideas of others. He led with humility; he was ok with saying “I don’t know.” It was his servant-leadership style that allowed the people in the room to have a sense of ownership in the project. I was struck by how accessible Paul was and how that fostered a creative spirit on the team.

Have Fun, Life is Short
Our hearts were filled with so much joy and laughter during the whole session. Paul always had something witty to say! No matter how hard we worked, he always kept things lighthearted. I loved how even if there was an opportunity for tension in the room, he leaned into the moment with grace. There was a moment when he did not realize his guitar was in a different key than everyone else, but instead of him dwelling on the moment he quickly laughed and moved on to the next. I am a big perfectionist, but by watching him I wonder if I am missing out on life because I live in my failures.  

Bring your family & friends on the journey.
People say it’s lonely at the top, but it isn't lonely when you bring people on the journey. This is what Paul has done with his family. I was able to meet his wife Rita, son David and daughter Cherie - it was like a big family affair. His wife was helping with the vocals, David playing instruments and providing ideas, and Cherie was willing to be a part in away way possible. This truly challenged me about the ways I might be able to integrate friends and family into my own professional journey. I felt convicted that success should never be at the expense of the blessing of the people God has put in our lives. Achieving goals is wonderful, but people should come first - besides, I wouldn’t want to reach a goal and not have anyone to celebrate it with!