Interview with Jesse Jacobs
“Whatever you do,
work at it with all your heart
as if working unto God and not men”
– Jesse Jacobs
More than a brother to me, this amazing friend was one of the first people I connected with when I signed up for the Hillsong Worship team in Stellenbosch South Africa. One guy that I can truly testify about that’s not only passionate about worship but also places a high value on structure and creativity. He recently released a beautiful song called “Grace” which fully describes God’s endless love for us even when we don’t deserve it. It is definitely a must listen to. today I introduce you to a worshipper at heart, a musician by nature, a chicken curry master, pot and curtain burner (lol) a good friend, and a default fave in my life, Jesse Jacobs.
Jesse is an individual that captures hearts and minds with his presence. Be it on stage or simple conversations, he engages with you deeply and he’s life stories will always leave you encouraged, inspired, and sometimes tearing up because of how funny he is. He is direct and authentic in his conversations and almost always ministers to people at each opportunity that arises. When it comes to being an open book, he is the poster boy of it and this is one of the reasons I needed to interview him and let him share his story.
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable,
be open and transparent anyway”
– Mother Teresa
1. What is the life statement/code that you live by?
“Everything for HIS glory”
2. When and why did you get into music/worship ministry?
My love for music started after a bad sports injury in 2010. For as long as I remember, my dream has always been to be a professional cricket player and at the age of 16, I found myself on the brink of making that happen. Due to a broken wrist that season, everything changed.
I truly believe that God had to “Break” a dream of mine in order to BIRTH a dream within me. It was during this recovery time I found myself strolling outside my house and hearing this dude playing guitar and singing his lungs out. I managed to utter these words under my breath, “God I want to do this”. About a week later a random guy by the name of Angelo hands me a guitar and says I can have it. This event sparked my love and passion for music.
3. How do you balance ministry (worship), family, work, and life?
I have found that “Worship ministry” and Everyday life are not separated, but in fact are the exact same thing. To me Worship is not just music, it’s my everyday life, my interactions with family, my sleeping, my work life, my chores around the house. These are all worship unto God.
There’s an amazing scripture that helped instill this revelation;
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
4. Who inspires your style of worship and why?
A huge inspiration to my style of music, being a songwriter and worship leader is Hillsong church. Not only is it my church but the music has transformed my life at my lowest points.
5. What has music/worship done for you emotionally, physically, and spiritually?
Worship music for me takes my attention off of my circumstances and places it on the Bigness of God. It’s a place I draw strength from, it keeps my faith strong and draws me closer to the heart of the Father. Writing music in my hard seasons helps bring me out of them.
6. Tell us about the most challenging moment on your journey in the worship field?
My most challenging moment during my worship Journey must definitely have been when I was believing God for a breakthrough in my own life and for 6 months I stood on a platform having to lead People from a place of a victory I had not been experiencing. This was a true test in my motive for WHY I worship. Was it because of what I needed God to do for me or was it because He deserves my worship weather the miracle happens or not?
7. What has your greatest moment/achievement been musically?
I think my greatest moments are yet to come but the one that I’ve experienced so far on my journey was through a song I wrote called ‘Grace’
I released this song on the 14th of September 2018 and it was my first song put out to the public. I had no expectations of where the song would land up. About 3 months after it had been released it was played on over 20 Christian radio stations across South Africa and had brought in so many cool stories of how my song had touched people.
8. What do you do to perfect your skill and talent? And How do you make sure you conduct a swift and productive rehearsal?
I found that practicing God’s presence over just practicing my craft is something that gives a certain edge to my skill. Your talent can only take you so far but I’ve learned that on God’s platform it’s His presence that was practiced that emanates more than anything.
In leading an effective rehearsal, I find it important to rally my team onto the same page as I am in terms of what I feel God wants to do.
Unity is the goal.
Rehearsal is for practicing God’s presence as I believe you cannot lead people where you have not been.
9. What would you say makes a great worship leader?
A great worship leader is someone who can read the room, Gather it to a point of unity and then fix everyone’s eyes onto God. It isn’t a matter of how well you can sing or play your instrument because the church doesn’t need another rockstar, it needs a worship leader who is willing to receive NON of the credit.
10. What are your 3 most valued principles of musicianship?
My three most valued principals of musicianship are:
– Play for everyone else, not yourself.
– Preparation opens space for the Holy Spirit do work through the music
– Use what’s in your hand.
11. What is one of your greatest goals you aim to achieve soon?
I would love to release an album that puts worship music in South Africa on the global map.
12. What are some of the sacrifices you have made for your worship ministry?
Worship is sacrifice, and I’ve had to sacrifice not living life in a way that is dishonoring to God.
13. Do you have any upcoming projects/albums we can expect?
I’ve been working on my own music as well as co-writing. One of the co-written songs will be released June 19 by an artist called “KingD” and the song is called “Child of heaven”
14. What advice would you give to upcoming worship leaders?
Focus on your craft but even more so Focus on God’s presence and drawing close to His heart. There is something special about worship leaders who know the heart of the Father, it allows you to project His heart
There are so many amazing pointers we can learn from Jesses Journey and personally, 5 things that resonated with me as I internalized his words were:
- God will always provide the tools for you to walk the journey He is guiding you on. He will always equip you and provide every necessary detail so that you do not lack.
- “It’s not about me”. The gift and talents God gives us aren’t just for our satisfaction but for the greater good of everyone that your gift can possibly touch and influence.
- Even when you don’t feel like using your gift, don’t succumb to how you feel. Do it diligently and God blesses that.
- As a worship leader, you need to Practice God’s presence as well as your craft. During practice, learn to worship truly. There are moments that I personally have learned so much from the Holy Spirit during those moments of worshipping during rehearsals.
- Know the heart of the Father. Read His word and spend quality time with Him. This will undoubtedly take your level of worship higher.
Well, there you have it, readers. Jesse has taken us on an awesome journey and left us with a lot we can learn about worship leading and the journey one goes on in this role. I’d love to thank Jesse for taking the time to let us into his world. I truly appreciate you, bro! You are one amazing individual and I truly appreciate who you are. God Bless!