S4W.com: What has been the greatest challenge you've faced since you began pursuing music as a calling and a career?

Paul Baloche: Balancing ministry and music with marriage and family. Ministry and music are very "consuming" endeavors. They require lots of emotional time and energy that has to come from somewhere. It has been a lifelong pursuit to keep things in balance.

S4W.com: What has been the most profound lesson you've learned about worship over the past few years?

Baloche: That worship is a journey and God is always the goal. That real worship is our relationship with God and how we live our lives in the context of a 24/7 relationship with the person of Jesus. Singing, dancing, making music, etc., are simply "expressions" of our love affair with our Creator and Savior.

S4W.com: What is the most profound lesson you've learned about life over the past few years?

Baloche: That busyness is the enemy of intimacy. Our souls long mostly for intimacy with God, but many of us are choking on the busyness of life. I'm constantly looking for ways to simplify my life and make time to just "be" with God, to just "be" with my wife and children. I'm overcoming my "Martha disease." I'm trying to be more like Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus. THAT seemed to bless Jesus' heart more than Martha's constant activity.

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?

Baloche: That worship is music. I'm only trying to reshape it in my life for now. Music is such a powerful force. I can see why it is so easy to make "it" so important, but we have to keep reminding ourselves to focus on the Giver more than the gifts.

S4W.com: What does 'worship lifestyle' mean to you?

Baloche: Worship lifestyle means pursuing the greatest command: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That's easier said than done. My focus is to daily surrender my will to His, trying to live a lifestyle of repentance, keeping short accounts with God and asking forgiveness all through the day if need be. Also, loving my wife and children. Before we can "love the world," we have to start with those who live with us first.

S4W.com: This is kind of the desert island question. What are the five ministry essentials you could not do without?

Baloche: Love, humility, commitment, a servant heart, laughter, transparency and music (oops, that makes seven).

S4W.com: How do you explain the powerful connection between music and worship expression?
Baloche: It is a mystery why music is one of the most powerful and most meaningful ways to express what is in our hearts. It has a way of short-cutting past the intellect and aiming right for the heart. There is a deep emotional part of us that longs to "experience" rather that just "know" something intellectually. Music is one of those gifts from God that helps us connect to Him on a deeper level.

S4W.com: Describe one of the most compelling, most powerful worship experiences you've had and tell how that effected you as a worshiper and as a leader since that time.

Baloche: I can't seem to put my finger on just one, but I have been in a corporate worship many times and have been overcome by the strong presence of the Invisible God. In the early days of playing guitar with Kelly Willard, every time we would worship together, there were moments I could hardly stand. I would find myself crying and/or laughing as we sang our heartfelt prayers to God. That kind of experience ruins you for anything else, kind of turns you into a "God-addict." It makes you want to spend the rest of your life encouraging others to "go there" with you.

S4W.com: What compels you to write new songs for worship?

Baloche: Writing songs is like "God therapy" for me. It has always been the main way that I can work out my salvation with the Lord. By journaling, writing out my prayers, and putting them into simple songs, I find it easier to sort through the stuff of life and keep my relationship with Him fresh. I also love the privilege of putting words in the mouths of God's children towards Him. To know that a person is connecting with Jesus in a deep way by singing one of your prayer songs to Him is very satisfying.

S4W.com: What person has influenced your ministry/your music the most and how?

Baloche: Kelly Willard, Lenny LeBlanc, and my wife, Rita. They always display an honest humility. They are real in their walk with God and in how they express it in their music and ministry style. They also pulled out of me things I never knew were there. They have been "Jesus with a skin on" to me by their encouraging words and lifestyle.