This is a guest post from Dave de Smit. He is currently drumming for Article One. You can find him sitting behind his kit with a mic as he sings some harmonies and since he’s a lefty his kit is reversed (Ã la Phil Collins). You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook. If you have something that you’d like to share with other worshipdrummers, learn how you can contribute here.
When I was asked to contribute to the new project worshipdrummer.ca, I was very excited to get on board. I know the comradeship that exists between Christian drummers, and I was thrilled that Jon was creating a website that would network us together. I believe this new site will be a great resource and tool for the usual discussions about gear and drummers, but most importantly it will aid us in using our talents to worship and serve our Creator.
Currently, I play drums for Article One, a worship/rock band based out of London, Ontario. We have toured all over North America and internationally for the past five years, playing both original and worship material. We’ve had the honour of touring with such bands as the Newsboys, Superchick and Starfield, and we are very grateful for the opportunities that God has given us.
Over the course of our careers, our band has increasingly recognized the great responsibility that comes with leading people in worship. As worship leaders, we are not merely playing instruments on a stage in front of a gathering of people; we are leading people to the throne of our God — the God described in Revelation 4 as an awesome and mighty God, who is worshipped ceaselessly by those in heaven.
We drummers are greatly privileged in leading others to that throne, but so often, unfortunately, we get caught up in the process, and become focused on ourselves. We need to remember that our instruments and abilities are tools and talents used to worship God, and we cannot afford to get in the way of what He will do through us.
Recently, we played at a large youth gathering in western Canada, and I tried a new approach to my drumming that I found to be both liberating and inspiring. My typical set-up is a five-piece silver-sparkle Risen Drum kit (13”, 16”, and 18” toms with a 24” kick and 14” snare) that includes two large crashes, a ride, and of course, hi-hats. This has been my set-up for a lot of my career, but this time I decided to do something different. I eliminated my rack tom, one floor tom, and both crashes, and just used a very simple kit. I asked God to help me focus on using that meager drum-kit to worship Him, and then I just went for it. The experience, as I said before, was liberating; I felt a new-found freedom in expressing my gratitude to God that I had never felt while sitting behind my typical setup. Through the new simplicity of my kit I felt like it had become more about God and less about me and my drum-kit, less about the tool and manner of worship, but more about the worship itself. (On a side note, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t occasionally take a mighty swing at a crash cymbal that was no longer there!)
I want to encourage all of us as worship drummers to take a look at ourselves and to ask God to help us make our drumming about Him, rather than about us. Can God use an 11-piece drum kit to His glory? Of course He can. However, we should always test ourselves to make sure that we are using our talents and skills to glorify God, praying that our music leadership would be a blessing to those we lead.
– Dave De Smit
[This post is part of the Pro WorshipDrummers series]