Worshipping God Everyday Of My Life
Have you spotted the Cathedral’s new Worship Director working on the soundboards during our contemporary services, or perhaps heard the catchy jingle he produced at the start and end of all our podcasts? Lilian Jordann Soh catches up with Mr Matthew Peter to find out how he has been settling in since he joined us last November. Mr Matthew is only 34 years young so you may be surprised to know that he has been leading worship for almost 20 years. Let us learn more about our newest addition to the St Andrew’s family!
The Courier (TC): Hi Mr Matthew, Welcome aboard! We are very excited to have you join us here at St Andrew’s Cathedral as Worship Director and we would like to know more about you. Can you start by introducing yourself and telling us how you got into music and the worship ministry?
Matthew Peter (MP): Thank you. Well, I am Matthew Peter, I come from a Christian family and I have been drawn to music and worship for as long as I remember. I picked up music from my father; he also sent me for piano lessons but I did not enjoy them, so I switched to the trumpet and subsequently the guitar, before getting into worship. In fact, I have been leading worship since I was 15 years old!
TC: That is a long time! At which point then did God call you into full time ministry?
MP: I worked briefly with Singapore Airlines as a steward, taking a break from my father’s construction company to travel the world, and it was during one of the flights that I had a revelation from God that led me to reflect on my life and how I should live it. Shortly after, the church I grew up in made me an offer to be their Head of Worship and I knew it was God calling me after careful prayer, so I stepped out in faith and took it up. That was back in 2015. I never thought that I would become a full-time staff, but my plans are not God’s plans (Isaiah 55:8) and I can truly say that I have never been happier in any other job than this.
TC: Isn’t it amazing how the Lord gives us the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in Him (Psalm 37:4). Please share with us how you moved over to St Andrew’s Cathedral and what your job here entails.
MP: I came to know of the opportunity and I responded because I felt God’s leading. Next thing I knew, I was offered the position and here I am. As Director of Worship, my key responsibilities include being in charge of worship at the contemporary services and making sure the sound systems at all venues are set up when required. I also teach, train and build up worship teams in addition to being Head of AV (audio visual).
TC: That is many hats for one to be wearing, you must be very busy. Please describe a typical work day.
MP: It starts with Devotion, I follow-up on emails, then help the Estate team with any events to ensure the sound systems and instruments across various locations are functioning well. If there is anything wrong, I work on troubleshooting the problems. Journeying with the volunteers who serve on the worship teams is a big part of my work, so I regularly meet them to train and disciple each and everyone into better worshippers and musicians. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I work on the recording and production of the Cathedral’s podcasts. Planning worship sets for services I am leading is something else I do. On top of those, there are also ad-hoc events such as the regional prayer nights where I may be leading worship or manning the audio systems as well.
TC: Do you do all of these tasks alone or are there people you work closely with?
MP: Thankfully not alone! The clergy in charge of my ministry is Revd Calvin Wee, he’s the boss. I regularly work alongside worship leaders, AV support, projectionists, and the media and service teams as well to make sure services flow seamlessly.
Worship is more than songs and singing. It is a lifestyle, the way we conduct ourselves, what we say and do, all of our being should bring glory to our Creator (Romans 12:1)
TC: Praise God that He has raised up fellow workers to assist in your work (1 Corinthians 3:9). Now that you have been with us for a few months and are familiar with the work at our church, what are some of the plans you are thinking of implementing?
MP: I am still learning every day but my vision is to create a worship atmosphere for one and all to experience God; an environment where it is ok to lift up hands, be quiet, dance for joy or to respond in any way that makes our worshippers comfortable in the presence of our Almighty Father. Additionally, I am looking to improve the service flow from the start till the end and I would also like to unite all worship teams across the contemporary services.
TC: Sounds exciting. What about challenges, have you met with any so far?
MP: Proverbs 16:3 says “to commit my work to the Lord, and my plans will be established,” I am grateful to not have encountered any significant difficulties at my job so far. The only thing is that the work can be rather demanding of my time; I am in by 7 AM most Sundays and because our venue is so large, with multiple events going on simultaneously, I find myself needing to run all over the place, from the New Sanctuary and the Nave, to the Chapel for all Peoples and all the different Halls.
TC: Despite the hitches you mentioned, what aspect of your role you do you enjoy the most?
MP: The biggest perk is to be able to worship anytime I want to, without anyone saying that I am skiving! More seriously, I relish in the fact that I am always in fellowship with God, spending time with Him to hear what He wants for each of the services in different seasons.
TC: What a blessing it must be, having the privilege to abide daily in Jesus as part of work. Why do you think this ministry is important for the Cathedral’s growth?
MP: All of creation, according to the Psalmist, is called to worship, from the trees that sway to the waves that roar (Psalm 66:4). Worship is an expression of love to Jesus, songs are a love language to God, prayers being sung unto Him. When we put our focus on Him, we are reaching the heart of God; we are reminded of the things we are thankful for, the sins we need to be rid of, and even in the face of pain and loss, we stand before our Heavenly Father knowing that His love endures forever (Psalm 136). All these are essential to our spiritual growth. But worship is more than songs and singing. It is a lifestyle, the way we conduct ourselves, what we say and do, all of our being should bring glory to our Creator (Romans 12:1) We can be a light for Christ in the darkness of our fallen world.
TC: The act of worshipping is indeed key to God’s presence, thank you for the timely reminder. With regard to reaching out to the next generation of worshippers, how do you think technological advancements change the way we worship?
MP: Mediums such as web streaming, video conferencing and live broadcasting, just to name a few, possibly work to connect and engage millennials more. There might come a time where connect groups meet over Skype and where remote churches become a reality, where those tuning in could be discipled as much as the ones in actual attendance. All these mean that our outreach can be expanded beyond what we are doing now and we have to move to preaching the gospel in more creative ways, perhaps even forming a new ministry going forward.
TC: It looks like the sky is really the limit then. So, to round off, we have a couple of trivia questions for our readers to get to know you better; what is your favourite music? And what do you do in your free time?
MP: I like Dave Matthews Band and Christian music. I guess I do not have a favourite song, just whatever speaks to me at the time. As for my hobbies, I play music to relax, no surprises there! I am also an avid TV watcher, I especially love comedies. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.