Songs4Worship.com: How did you get started leading worship?
Rita Springer: I actually got all my training leading children’s church worship, which is probably the best training ground there is. The aspiration is always to be in “big people’s church,” but God really took me around the back way because I think He really wanted to show me what it was about. He had me lead for the kids because He wanted me to see the reality of freedom in worship as opposed to just being a song leader.
S4W.com: What’s the most important thing you learned from those kids?
Springer: Abandonment. Kids have no problem being abandoned to whatever you’re asking them to abandon themselves to. When you move your hands or your body, or you do something that’s illustrative, they will mimic you. With adults, there’s a lot of timidity and hesitation. It’s one thing to clap your hands— you can do that kind of nonresponsively. But the kids would climb up on the chairs just to worship the Lord because they found true joy in their worship.
S4W.com: Have you found a way to get around that self-consciousness many adults feel in worship?
Springer: I don’t think I can really get around anything. The Holy Spirit has to deal one-on-one with people. But I can be a vessel for Him to use. The biggest compliment I’ve ever been given is when people come up to me and say, “Oh, the places that you take me with Him!”
S4W.com: What’s the most powerful tool you have as a worship leader?
Springer: The problem is most people don’t even know they have access to the Lord in worship. So as a leader you have to get people to want to go where you’re taking them. And the best way to get through that is to be willing to illustrate where you are already at with Him. People will trust you if they know you’ve already been to a place where they want to go. You have to almost make people jealous for where you’re headed.
S4W.com: What makes a song, or any act, worshipful?
Springer: I think every song that’s birthed should be a song that doesn’t come out of a place in you that’s your gifting first, but a place in you that’s been experienced. I may be a little hard when I say it, but I think it’s the grace of God that He lets us get away with what we call worship on Sunday morning because a lot of our songs are written out of ability as opposed to actual experience. If we started to write songs out of a place that we’ve already been with Him, or even out of a desire to get to a certain place, it blows me away the impact it would have.
S4W.com: How do you explain the powerful connection between music and worship expression?
Springer: Worship is just like sitting down and having a conversation with someone you love. The part that’s hard is because we’re in this corporate setting, it becomes more about how the song is produced, how it technically comes together and did the background singers sing it correctly. That is probably the lowest thing on my list. I would rather have the Lord be so blessed by a song that is a train wreck because He knew it came out of a place of just wanting to be with Him.
S4W.com: What role does prayer play? Do you feel it’s given its due in worship?
Springer: I don’t feel like it’s given its due. We have seen prayer come to the forefront because our nation’s in crisis. What’s really sad is it should be like that all the time because we need Him all the time. I think that intercession in worship, in musical form or otherwise, has to be 50-50. They come together, they need to leave together. When you worship, you pray. You’ll find that all throughout scripture.
S4W.com: What’s the most important thing you want people to understand about worship?
Springer: That the relationship with God is found at the center of that worship. Worship is a major form of communication with God and whether we’re singing or praying or whether we roll out of bed in the morning and thank him for the day, we’re all in the middle of understanding what worship is.
S4W.com: How did you end up focusing on women in worship?
Springer: I run my own national women’s conference and the Lord keeps showing me why I’m doing what I’m doing. I said, “I’m not going to minister to women. I don’t like women,” but God said, “If you want to get a heart for women, ask Me what I think about you.” And He began to point me to scriptures about how I was fearfully and wonderfully made
. Well, I was never brought up in the church to think I was worth anything…so I went on a journey to find out why.
For most women, it’s not just fighting to have a role in the church or being the “lesser than” gender. It’s also their pain, their molestations, their rapes, their drug addictions. All of that stuff is being used to keep their voices silent so they will have no value in life. But you start allowing women to see their value and their song changes. You get a woman free and get her starting to pray and there ain’t no gates of Hell
that will prevail because that kind of freedom wrecks your life for anything else but more freedom. And that’s why I think God has propelled me into women’s ministry, not because I am a woman, but because I am a woman who got free.
S4W.com: How has your understanding of worship changed since those early years?
Springer: Ten years makes a great difference in your maturity level, but again the grace of God is that He takes you where you are. What worship was to me was getting in “big people’s church,” getting noticed. Then the Lord began to show me that He had already noticed me, regardless of whether I was on stage or not, that if I was willing to just find Him, worship would begin to ooze out of me because I was in love. And that’s the biggest dramatic change for me… All those other things began to fade away and my songs changed because I no longer needed man’s affirmation. I was undone because I had God.
—Wendy Lee Nentwig