"I experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every time I have the opportunity to lead our faith family in worship."
Candice Thomley, Member Care Associate at Brook Hills, shares how God has used leading in worship to deepen her walk with Jesus and her love for serving the local church.
"When I studied music in college, I would always get so nervous singing," Candice says. "I felt that people were looking to me for entertainment. My nerves would kick in, and I couldn’t sing properly. But when I started leading worship, it was different. I would still get nervous — it’s not exactly comfortable to stand and sing in front of people — but I no longer felt that I was expected to entertain. I was singing with a purpose. The words meant something to me. I was singing directly to Christ, to worship Him. I was singing to others, to encourage and strengthen them. And I was singing to myself, reminding myself who God is and who I am in Him. It was still uncomfortable for me to lead, but I was so aware of God’s presence, and it allowed me to sing in a way that I was unable to outside of that context. I think serving in the Worship Ministry is so important for me personally because I experience first-hand God’s enabling power in this way. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the ability to go farther than ourselves, to go outside of our comfort zones. We’re able to do that which we can’t do alone for the benefit of one another and for the glory of God."
Candice studied music in college with Audrie Appel, after which she served as a worship leader in Mississippi. When she came to Brook Hills, the Worship Ministry was a place she felt God directing her to serve.
"One of my favorite things about serving with the Worship Ministry as a vocalist is that it reminds me of Scripture. Honestly, sometimes when I read Scripture, it doesn’t stick with me as well as I would like for it to — although that’s been a prayer of mine for a long time. But when you put Scripture to music, it sticks with me. Worship music is a very tangible way to memorize Scripture in my life, to have those things attached to my heart and my mind consistently. It’s a joy to lead because it’s an opportunity to remember and declare the truth of who Christ is and what He has done. And we get to do that together — it’s amazing."
She adds, "The way God works is so mysterious and timely. There’s even a supernatural timeliness to the songs we sing. We have a weekly reminder of Christ’s presence and His care for each of us. It has been amazing to see how the songs we sing each week align with things I’m walking through, or things I know the friend across the room is walking through. I’m reminded that He knows exactly where each of us are. Although it might not come in the form of a still small voice, He can use a song to say, 'I am here. I have heard you. You are not forgotten. I am with you.' And we can use a song to respond to Him."
She shares her heart for serving in Worship:
"Brook Hills, and specifically my small group, has meant so much to me. I’ve been so encouraged. I’ve been so spurred on. I’ve been held accountable. I’ve been given so much from the body, I want to give back. And this is a very practical way I can do that."
Candice firmly believes God called her to this area of ministry as a way of serving Him and encouraging our faith family. She notes, as in 1 Corinthians 12, that we are the body of Christ as the church. God has uniquely gifted each person for a specific purpose.
"You need all the parts of the body for it to function properly," she explains. "Worship is one of the parts God has made me keenly aware of. I have an opportunity to love and serve others in this unique way, and I want to be faithful to do that. That doesn’t mean it’s always comfortable or convenient. Being on the vocal team requires an early call time, and I’m definitely not a morning person. I’m doing vocal warm-ups in my car on the way over. I have to move around during practice to get myself up and going. I’m learning my music throughout the week — humming harmonies in my head to make sure I’ve got them down. There’s a lot of preparation. But God says in His Word that He’s given us all various gifts that are meant to be used for the purpose of encouraging one another and spurring one another on to good works, to know Him more. I want to be obedient in that. We all have gifts. We all can serve, so let’s do it."
She continues, "Whether you’re serving on the worship team or in another area, I think serving our faith family is a practical opportunity to accept the challenge set before us in Philippians 2. In serving, we’re given a chance to consider others greater than we consider ourselves and to look out for the interests of our brothers and sisters in tangible ways. It may not always be comfortable, but the joy of serving so great."
Candice Thomley first came to Brook Hills in 2013 and became a member in 2014. She began serving with the Worship Ministry soon after. In September of this year, she joined the staff at Brook Hills as the Member Care Associate.