10 Questions With Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff
- Melissa Riddle Online Editor, Songs4Worship.com
- 2003 19 Nov
S4W.com: What has been the greatest challenge you've faced since you began pursuing music as a calling and a career?
Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff: There are lots of challenges in music ministry. I began full-time ministry with my family when I was seven years old. One of the biggest challenges is learning to evaluate each service and group of people you are ministering to, finding the pulse of the Holy Spirit and bringing the two together, while putting your own personal agenda aside.
S4W.com: What has been the most profound lesson you've learned about worship over the past few years?
Cruse-Ratcliff: Worship is a powerful tool God can use to change people's lives.
S4W.com: What is the most profound lesson you've learned about life over the past few years?
Cruse-Ratcliff: If I do two simple things, I can overcome anything and achieve anything. 1. Trust God. 2. Obey God, no matter what-period. There is peace, protection and power in those two simple things.
S4W.com: What is the most common misunderstanding about worship you see in the current worship climate, and how have you tried to reshape it?
Cruse-Ratcliff: Worship cannot be pigeon-holed. God is multi-faceted. He is infinite. We think at times if we don't do things a certain way, if it's not in a certain style... then we haven't really worshiped. Our perception of worship is merely our perception. The reality of worship is intimacy with our Lord-however you achieve it, whether with exuberant praise or crying quietly before Him. [It's not for] me to change that reality in someone but for each of us to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to us in a way that He becomes real to us....
S4W.com: What does 'worship lifestyle' mean to you?
Cruse-Ratcliff: Paul said, 'Pray without ceasing. Present your bodies a living sacrifice, walk in faith, with hope, but mostly love, which will manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.' The highest form of worship is honoring God daily with our lives. That's worship lifestyle.
S4W.com: This is kind of the desert island question. What are the five ministry essentials you could not do without?
Cruse-Ratcliff: I could probably do with just two: the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. What else do you need-a full band and a multi-media set up? Ha!
S4W.com: How do you explain the powerful connection between music and worship expression?
Cruse-Ratcliff: We all know how music speaks to everyone-every age, every culture, every social status. Music softens the heart and leads the way for the attitude of worship.
S4W.com: Describe one of the most compelling, most powerful worship experiences you've had and tell how that affected you as a worshiper and as a leader since that time.
Cruse-Ratcliff: Several years ago, I was co-leading worship at a meeting in Tampa, Florida. As we began to sing, the Holy Spirit began to move and for two hours we sang and the band played- completely impromptu, totally unrehearsed and without charts, we worshiped in the Spirit. It was thrilling to hear the song of the Lord come forth. When I say 'the song of the Lord,' I'm referring to complete songs that were sung instantaneously on the spot. The Lord allowed me to see His spontaneous creativity. It was incredible. People were healed and delivered in the service without anyone even touching them. The church had been recording the services and captured that night. We released it on a CD. I have received emails and letters from all over the world telling of how they have been healed of cancer, delivered from alcoholism, freed from depression-just awesome things. The Lord showed me that night if I would trust Him, obey Him, yield to Him, and exalt Him, He would move and do the work in the people.
S4W.com: What compels you to write new songs for worship?
Cruse-Ratcliff: I love to express my love for the Lord and give the people a vehicle to get into His presence and express their love for Him.
S4W.com: What person has influenced your ministry/your music the most and how?
Cruse-Ratcliff: My family has been the biggest influence on my. My parents have been pastors for 50 years. All of my siblings either pastor or lead worship in a local church. We've ministered and served together for a long time, over 30 years, so we all kind of influence each other. They are powerful examples of godly leadership and innovators in ministry.