REBEKAH BARTELS

​Rebekah Bartels is a worship leader and songwriter from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Game Changer

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."1 Thess.5:11

10 years ago... Wait. Not only does the phrase “10 years ago” make me feel a little old, but it also reminds me of just how much God can pack into ten years of your life. It’s easy to see where you are now and feel like you could be doing more or like you’re “past your prime”, but when you look back and see all the specific times that God has led you to where you are now, it can leave you in awe. Ten years ago this past August I was on my way home from a summer that changed the course of my life. 

 

I had spent the summer of ’05 on a Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) Summer Project in San Diego. There were 100+ college students living in condos and an old motel between Mission Beach and Mission Bay in San Diego. Most of us were employees at Sea World serving up fajitas, twirling glow-in-the-dark merchandise, or inviting the crowd to sing along with the Shamu song. The point of the summer was to be discipled, learn how to disciple others, live in community with each other, and invite the people that come into your life into that community. It taught us to have that support of believers, but also be able to be a witness to those in our workplace and neighborhood.  

 

This trip also helped us recognize our gifts and grow in them. Each Friday night we held a worship time in the community center by the bay, and I was interested in being a part of the team, so I signed up for auditions to be a vocalist. I didn’t really know what the auditions were like, so I brought my guitar for accompaniment. As I stepped into the condo garage in front of the staff who were running the auditions, my nerves started to rush over me. I had only been playing guitar for about a year at that point, so I know I played a typical G-C-D song (musicians will understand this) called “Worth It All”.  At the end of the song the staff were quiet, then they conversed with each other, and then Jason, the leader of the Friday night team, looked up at me and said, “We would love for you to LEAD one of the worship teams.” 

 

Uhhhh... Ok? I I was just a sophomore girl who had no experience leading a band, I barely knew enough guitar to save my life (thank you, Jesus, for capos), and they wanted me to be a LEADER? I would have to think about it. I left the audition and went to seek God’s answer. I knew I really wanted to do it, but I didn’t know if I could. After praying throughout the next day, I decided to say yes--with the Lord’s help! This was the first I had ever truly led worship at a gathering. My team was a huge support. Many questions were asked and and they were involved in the process of putting the music together and rehearsing, and of course I took in all I could glean from our staff leaders. So I led every other friday night for about 3 months. 

 

I have never grown so much in one summer. And all because the leaders in my life saw something in me, called it out, and challenged me to step into it. They were game changers. If they hadn’t encouraged me to step up to where God was calling me, my entire life would’ve looked differently. I even found out that a few of my guy friends at Summer Project, before they really knew me, had been very skeptical about a woman leading worship. But after we all came into the presence of God together, they were my biggest cheerleaders. We need these people in our lives. People that have the eyes and heart of God, who see what He sees, and who call it out and encourage us along the way. 

 

I was definitely not a great worship leader at the beginning--and I am still learning today after ten years, but I was eager to learn and willing to take a risk and allow the power of God in me to lead through my weakness. 

 

Following that summer, I led at our college campus Cru meetings. After that year I felt a stirring in me and accepted God’s call to take time off of school and lead worship at a small church in St. Cloud, MN. After three years I was stirred again and moved to St. Paul where I was called to lead at a larger church. There are too many details in each of these transitions to explain here, but I can say that in each place there were people in my life who were obedient to share God’s heart for me and what he was calling me to do. And here’s the kicker...I had to be OBEDIENT too. I couldn’t live in fear or live out of my insecurities. I had to remind myself and have others remind me of God’s power and authority IN ME. The Holy Spirit responds to this obedience and empowers us with everything we need!

 

When I see where I am now and I look back, I am beyond grateful. I am so grateful for Jason and the staff at our Summer Project for hearing God and calling me into my destiny. I am grateful for those who discipled me along the way and who have helped me dream bigger dreams. I don’t know what I would do without the support of mentors, friends, and family who remind me of my identity and calling and that God has more than I can even imagine in store. Thank you to my “game changers”. I hope you know who you are. You have sown so much in me that has multiplied and has been used for growing the Kingdom of God. And I am only ONE of hundreds, maybe even thousands, that you have affected. 

 

My story isn’t just meant to share what God has done in me, but my heart is also to call each of us to become a game changer. Whether it is encouraging the youth in your church to use their gifts, speaking encouragement to a coworker, lifting up and affirming your spouse, PLEASE do not keep it to yourself. Let’s always remain in the presence of God so we can hear what he is saying about everyone we encounter and SHARE what he has for them. You could change the course of someone’s destiny for eternity. Be a game changer.

 

 

 

Vessels.

Some might say I am an avid coffee drinker; the term “coffee snob” may even apply. What can I say, I like a good cup-a-joe! Drinking coffee can be a pricey pastime, so I decided to finally give my home espresso machine a good cleaning and get it fired up for some at-home caffeinated goodness. 

First, I prepared the right mixture of water and vinegar to run through the machine. During this cycle there were some strange noises, some difficulty in water flow, and sometimes it stopped and I needed to reset the machine in order to continue. Next the directions told me to run cool, fresh water through the system to flush anything else out so it would be ready to do the job it was designed to do: brew delicious espresso. 

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It’s funny how the Lord speaks sometimes. While I was preparing my espresso machine, He reminded me of the life that comes through His refreshing, renewing, repurposing living water. My espresso machine is a vessel through which water runs in order to create a special kind of coffee. And we are called to be vessels through which the Holy Spirit can flow to do the work our Father has purposed us to do. 

“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:20-22)

The Lord calls us to be cleansed from what is “dishonorable” or what is not of Him. But this is not something we can take care of on our own. 

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior...” (Titus 3:4-6)

God has already cleansed and purified us through Christ’s blood on the cross. He has made his bride holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word (Eph. 5). We just need to be in continual pursuit of intimacy with Christ, inviting a fresh flow of the Holy Spirit through us, who will refresh us, renew us, and repurpose us for His work, and through the process of relationship, the Father will show his faithfulness, mercy, patience, lovingkindness and perfect will for our lives. 

 

National Day of Prayer

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:22-23

This year I was so honored and blessed to be a part of the United Twin Cities worship team and lead worship for the National Day of Prayer at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. I led with worship leaders and musicians from 8 different churches around the Twin Cities metro. We served alongside Nick Hall, Pulse Ministries founder, Matthew West, this year's guest artist, and many other area pastors and leaders. I was amazed at the chemistry and strength of the team God put together, and I was reminded of the power that comes through unity in the Holy Spirit. 

The presence of the Lord through the passionate worship of everyone there was incredibly powerful, and He was certainly leading and directing all of our prayer times. What a privilege it was to pray for our nation, our cities, our churches, and for the Kingdom of God to come and invade our lives and the lives of those around us. 

When believers from different churches, denominations, and walks come together for one purpose, there is such a real sense of the kingdom and the work we are called to do. A good friend of mine, KK Brink, led the song "Break Every Chain" and I truly believe, like it said, that there is an army rising up to break chains, declare freedom, and bring the truth and life of Christ to our cities and to the world. 

I can't wait to see what God is going to do through the prayers of His children!

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

Welcome!

Hey everyone!

Welcome to my brand new website! I'm pretty excited to start sharing my music, life, and heart in a new way. Thanks to my incredibly talented husband, Chris Bartels, I have this new site where I can fill you in on what the Lord is doing in my life, new songs He has given me, and other fun tid-bits! 

I'm really looking forward to this blog section, because I think the power of testimony is HUGE and that we need to walk this life together, so hopefully it will be an encouragement to you. 

Thanks so much for visiting my site! 

-  Rebekah