Heart of Worship with Joe Freeman

Willow Creek | August 11, 2021

Even though Road Trip Radio has ended, we want to continue hearing and learning from our worship leaders. We were excited to catch up with Joe Freeman, Crystal Lake’s Worship Pastor, and hear some of his heart behind leading worship at Willow.

Q: Joe, what was your journey like getting into worship?

A: I actually grew up not wanting to get into ministry. My two older brothers and my dad are all in ministry as worship leaders. We’re a musical family, but I went a different direction with it. Early on, I played drums and toured with a band, but I was in constant prayer with God, asking Him, “What do You want me to do with this gift of music?” 

I volunteered at a church, in student ministry, and when the worship leader stepped down, I jumped in and filled the gap; after that, it was something I never turned my back on. In Jeremiah chapter one, we see a reluctant Jeremiah, hesitant to take on his calling. But through God, all of Jeremiah’s weaknesses were made strong. In the same chapter, God also points out an almond branch to Jeremiah. I now have an almond branch tattoo; almond trees can take years to fruit, and it’s a reminder to me that God isn’t done with me. 

Q: What keeps you coming back to lead worship at Willow week after week?

A: I love being a part of worship that is helping people form a relationship with God. Through worship, we experience God and we can sing prayers and praises to Him. How awesome I get to play a part in cultivating a community of worship in our church. 

Q: What was a life song for you growing up?

A: “I Surrender” by Hillsong Worship. When I was tired and desperate for strength, all I could do was surrender to God and allow Him to breathe new life into me. Even going through a hard time as a church, when everything seemed so out of control, I could surrender to God and I knew He had it under control. I could step back and let Him do more than I ever could.