The Kingdom of God is not a Competition – Saint Lewis Interview
Mathew Reames: Let me just say it is a joy to have you for an interview. I love your music and your ministry and it is a joy to call you a friend. But let’s get down to the discussion. What have you and your wife been up to lately?
Shannon Lewis: “Other than gearing up for baby number three? Or re-booting an existing youth ministry, while launching a contemporary missional service in a 200+ year old neighbor church? Or travelling with Saint Lewis, while managing our two side businesses? It’s been a busy season – but it’s all been very good. I feel like this new birth comes along with a rebirth for us as well. Besides, I don’t like to be bored. I was also blessed to recently record our second single, “Your Will”, which is honestly been the cry of my heart of late: choosing to lay down my will, for His.”
Mathew Reames: It seems that there has been a lot of transition for you lately. What have you learned through the transitions that others might learn and grow from?
Shannon Lewis: “That no matter how much you know, you’ve still got more to learn, which is one of the reasons that I took this new position (Youth Director / Contemporary Worship Leader at 1st United Methodist Church of Brunswick) – that, and we were really feeling the call to be more missional to our neighborhood.”
Mathew Reames: Now that you are a Youth Pastor, how has your mindset of ministry changed? Do you think differently when dealing with students than you do when working with adults?
Shannon Lewis: “Not at all, actually! My last position as Associate Worship Director had me overseeing – at times – as many as 35 youth musicians, essentially acting as a Youth Pastor and Worship Pastor to a small Youth Group within a larger Youth Group. In fact, in many ways my position now is identical to what I was doing before: I teach & mentor youth to more deeply grasp the Kingdom of God, the Gospel, the worship of God, radical grace, & honor, & I lead, train, & disciple musicians, vocalists, & younger worship leaders to better serve God & His church. Saint Lewis has always been a “youthy” band, playing youth conferences, camps, retreats, & youth ministries – other than my fellow band-mates, I’m far more used to working with Middle & High Schoolers than I am adults!”
Mathew Reames: So now that you are preaching regularly, what themes have been weighing strong on your spirit?
Shannon Lewis: “The themes I personally think are most revolutionary to people today: I want to see revival hit this nation, & I think the truths that most radically are blowing people’s minds – no, blowing people’s HEARTS – right now are: the RADICAL grace of God offered us in the true Gospel; the Kingdom of God & our identity & authority as adopted children of the King; true, Biblical, God-honoring response to Him in full-orbed, heart-mind-soul-strength worship; & the person & work of the Holy Spirit – his renewing, sanctifying, empowering, strengthening work – that it “doesn’t have to be weird to be God”; the importance of honoring God & others; & that God is not only powerful enough to take care of our problems, he cares enough to do so. I’ve literally been rotating through those themes since I’ve started here, & I’m not planning on moving beyond them anytime soon… until I see real revival & reformation take place in our youth, then in our church, & our community.”
Mathew Reames: I would also love to hear from your delightful wife, is there anything she wants to say or share? Her insights on worship are often fascinating. Especially with the family she comes from, that’s like pure worship pedigree right there.
Cyle Lewis: (Cyle) “When you’ve been saturated & accustomed to the spontaneous, prophetic, free worship environments like I have, it’s very easy to think that you’ve somehow ‘got it’ – but God’s been teaching me that if I really love the Lord I should be able to recognize His moving in very different settings, from liturgical & traditional, in the silence even, to the structured, rehearsed mega-church, & every place in between. There’s nothing wrong with having a preference – the bottom line is to glorify the Lord, & to engage with Him – if you do that with a hymnal or with a flag, God’s happy with it. That’s where I am right now: finding God in those places I’ve never considered before.”
Mathew Reames: Ok, I love your insights, and could probably talk to you all day, but I think I ought to let you get back to work, life, and the kingdom of God. Any final thoughts you guys would like to share? Maybe something about beards? Or hotdogs?
Shannon Lewis: “Man, I don’t know – I guess my heart is that we be continually replacing ourselves – raising others up to do what we do hopefully better than we do. I love seeing students I once worked with going off & having an impact on the world. As I tweeted a few days back, I’m just realizing that I’m a generally happy guy because I’m able to celebrate others’ wins – I revel in others’ success. I love seeing others succeed. That’s why I love being able to do what I do – I am blessed beyond measure, right now, honestly. The Kingdom of God is not a competition – at least, if it is, we’re not the winners – the KING wins, & that’s the Gospel – the good news for EVERYONE. Jesus wins, so I don’t have to. That’s all.”
Mathew Reames: Shannon, Cyle, thank you. This has been a great insight. If you want to know more about them, check out their twitters: @saintlewis and @CyleAugusta. You can also check out their respective pages. http://www.SaintLewisMusic.com/ and http://www.cyleaugusta.com/
The Final Thought, please check out their newest single “Your Will” If bought in October all proceeds will go to song co-writer Bobby Gilles who recently lost his newborn son. Please continue to pray for Bobby and His wife as they are in the grieving process