Aaron Keyes


Aaron’s heart is to restore the Word of God to the foundation of corporate worship, and to help lead the next generation of worship leaders (who lead songs) to become more biblically empowered worship pastors (who lead people).


Laughing Ourselves to Sleep

It was 2:45am when I collapsed into bed next to my wife Megan, completely exhausted from the full day. Ten worship pastors from around the country had been living with us all week, and I was ready for some rest. But then an unexpected sound drifted into our room and we began to giggle. Within a few minutes, we couldn’t stop laughing.

Apparently, the guys had burst into a spontaneous big-tent-revival worship-set on the beat-up piano in the basement, which happens to sit directly below our bedroom. I think the Holy Ghost had shown up too, because they were making quite a pentecostal racket.

At one point I’m pretty sure we heard square-dancing.

Many times now we’ve fallen asleep to the sweet sounds of worship and prayer rising through our bedroom floor, but this was not that; this was just plain funny.

During the 12 years of our marriage, Megan and I have never had as much fun doing “ministry” as right now, and one of the sweetest parts is doing it together. I’m often out leading or teaching worship, and Megan is often busy with her relationships and ministry leadership, but never have our individual giftings come together and complimented one another like they do when we’re hosting, serving, and loving on guys.

And I’m learning that having young leaders into my home may be far more important than having them in my band or on stage. My pastor, Buddy Hoffman, says, “You don’t reproduce what you want; you reproduce what you are.” If reproduction is the goal–and I believe it is–what happens when we never let people in close enough to see who we really are?

For better or worse, worship leaders are shaping congregations. Worship leaders can help us deeply love God. But what happens if our worship leaders don’t even deeply know God? Worship leaders should set the pace in passion for the Word of God. But what happens when we just settle for the most talented musician in the room? Worship leaders should lead out of vibrant marriages, healthy families, and rich communities–setting the pace for joyful life and godliness. But what happens if we only ever see them in an appropriately balanced glow of fog and stage lights?

I mean, how many worship leaders do you know who would still be leaders in their churches without their instrument?

Yes, young worship leaders need to learn how to lead a band well, but more importantly they need to learn how to lead their families well. Young songwriters need to grow in their craft, but more importantly, they need to know how to hear God. We need more than classrooms; we need discipleship of the kind we see in the lives of Jesus, Paul, and the early church.

A worship leader leads songs, but a worship pastor leads people. My hope is to see a generation of godly and gifted young worship pastors arise who could be elders in their churches. I’m praying for a movement of anointed and empowered worship pastors who would lead their churches without their musical contributions.

The Lord and his Church deserve much more than mere songs.

But this shift won’t happen in classrooms; this will happen in living rooms (or maybe in basements around a broken-down piano). So I want to challenge you to open up your life beyond the perfect, polished, public projection and let people see who you really are. It may be difficult and leave you feeling uncomfortably vulnerable, but it will be fruitful. Sometimes it may be exhausting–especially for introverts like myself–but God promises a “crown of glory” for those who shepherd well and offer themselves as living examples for the flock (1 Pet. 5:2-4).

And that, to me, is worth far more than a few extra hours of sleep. Besides, who doesn’t love to fall asleep laughing to the rowdy sound of “When I think about Jesus”?

© 2017 Aaron Keyes, All Rights Reserved.