The Praise of Nations


In 2019, our team had the opportunity to connect with and coach a handful of workers who live throughout the Middle East with a heart to share the Good News there. Below is a testimony from one of these students about her time with 10,000 Fathers and how it equipped her to write and lead songs that minister to her specific context.

Have you ever worshipped in a foreign country, language, or cultural setting? It’s different! If you’ve ever been to a foreign place, you know that you can't even plug your simple electrical devices into power without an adapter! Similarly, before 10,000 Fathers came into my life, I was relying on the only music I had (traditional Western Christian music) to meet the worship needs of the foreign country I live in, and it was lacking power.

For security reasons, I can’t say my name, or where I live, or who I minister to - but that alone should tell you that I have unique needs as a worship leader in my country. One of the biggest needs I have is for worship songs that fit my context. We are praying over spiritual strongholds, oppression, injustice, and darkness that are different than most Westerners experience. That means that worship songs written for the West just don’t have the same power here. So we have begun writing our own worship anthems, thanks to the coaching I received from 10,000 Fathers.

The Worship School specifically tailored their curriculum to coach a group of us who are serving God’s Kingdom advancement in the Middle East. They equipped us in songwriting, and now a group of us are writing songs that literally shape our nations.

Last summer, with the help of 10,000 Fathers, we wrote a song called “Open the Floodgates,” which sings over cities by name and begs the Lord to flood the drought-ridden Middle East with His presence and with literal rain. Within months, the Middle East received more rainfall than ever recorded!

The Lord also moved just as mightily with “spiritual flooding” and we’ve had a new influx of amazing stories of lives being transformed. We know from first-hand experience that worship changes the atmospheres we inhabit. We are both excited and now empowered to write fresh worship for our region, in order to see the last frontiers of Earth reached with Kingdom power.

This year, our group felt inspired to write worship songs that we can sing during Ramadan (because obviously there aren’t any we know of!). Ramadan is a month of fasting for our Muslim friends. During this month, they fast from water and food during daylight hours, and they pray increasingly, sometimes all through the night. It’s a very spiritual month for them. We have also found the month of Ramadan to be a spiritually ripe time to share the truth of Jesus. We spend extra time in our prayer rooms, fasting and praying for our neighbors to meet Jesus. (Again, unique needs for worship songs in these prayer times!)

We collectively wrote five new songs specifically for worship during Ramadan. One of them, called “Thirsty Soul,” tells the true story of a Muslim man who came to faith during this season. This song is a celebration of his testimony and a creative act that invites more testimonies of the same nature.

I am so thankful for the powerful equipping I received from 10,000 Fathers! They are shaping worship and songwriting that is transforming some of the hardest places on Earth. Until every tribe, tongue and nation worships Him!


Go Slow

Hi guys! My name is Arvid Asmussen and I’m a worship pastor from Denmark. I graduated from 10,000 Fathers in 2015 and my family and I have continued to circle back to the community around the worship school ever since. This spring we have once again returned to Atlanta for a six-month sabbatical.

 Sabbatical. Two months in and I’m only starting to discover what that ancient word actually means. Of course there’s the natural bodily rest, but then there’s also a deeper spiritual rest that I am just starting to explore. I could never fully cover what sabbath means in one blog post, but I did want to share a few things I am being reminded of during these days.

Sabbath is about God reminding me that the world still stands, even if I unplug for some time.

The reality is, the world doesn’t spin around me, applauding my daily showcase. I have discovered how much I use work and success to gain approval and a sense of value. I prove my own worth through achieving (and yes, I am an Enneagram 3). But when all that is out of the picture, I rely solely on the approval and worth I get out of relationships – first and foremost from the relationship to my Maker. He loves me before I do anything right (or even wrong!).

Sabbath helps release us from the need to constantly contribute to the world, and instead allows us to enjoy it as it is. I can pay attention and actually enjoy things! I can appreciate the taste of good food in my mouth. I can wonder at the depth of blue in my baby daughter’s eyes. I can give thanks as nature freshly unfolds in early spring. I don’t need to add anything to creation.

God made it. He sustains it. And it is good.

It is all a gift to me and I am allowed to enjoy the fruit of His work.

 All of this is impossible with the pace I usually keep, so I needed to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life,” as John Ortberg says. The word the Holy Spirit has given to me in this season is to “go slow.” He has also reminded me of the image of a tree with its deep roots, high branches, and slow growth.

 I want go deep. I want to recognize His presence and meditate on His Word. I will shut my mouth and begin to listen to His voice reminding me of who I am and how He loves me. In times of sabbath rest, I think one’s prayer life should be more about worship and listening than bringing petitions before Him.

 I want to stretch high. Like the branches, I want to keep my arms high and wide in an eternal posture of openly receiving His goodness and turning it into praise. No matter the season, regardless of whether my branches are fruitful or barren, I will still lift them to heaven and praise my Maker.

And I want go slow. A tree appears to not be moving at all, still it slowly grows. Because of the deep roots, its growth is strong and sustainable. I would love to just get a quick fix and experience intense growth overnight, but that’s not what growth looks like – not in the natural or the spiritual. Growth takes time. And patience. And a surrendered heart, trusting the direction more than the pace of it.

 May you experience minutes or days or seasons of sabbath-rest. May you find places where you can drink from streams of living water and quench your thirst. May you rest in His love with a deep sense of His approval.

 Maybe for the next 3 minutes as you listen to this little song, you can allow yourself to just unplug, be present, and enjoy the presence of your Maker. He is never in a hurry and He invites you to go slow – with Him.

 Much love,


The Most Productive 3 Minutes Of Your Day

I just did it. I just stopped the flurry of emails, texts, to-do lists, online Christmas shopping, headline hopping, article skimming circus that is my brain on Monday morning. 

I took three minutes and unplugged. 

Closed my screen. 

Closed my eyes. 

I reminded myself that if I want to get better at doing (and we all should) I have to get better at being

Being starts with breathing. 

It was the first thing we did when we entered life outside the womb, and it will be the last thing we do when we enter eternity. This isn’t intended to be a theological treatise on the science of silence. The science and spiritual benefits are undeniable. It does wonders for your mind and body.  

This is an invitation to stop reading about it and start practicing it. 

In just three minutes, the circus can slow down. The mental chatter and clatter that seems like static can turn to softly falling snow on the soil of your soul. 

Take a break. Take a breath. 

In fact, take three minutes worth of long, slow ones. If the circus soundtrack starts playing again, that’s ok, just bring your thoughts back to your breath and think about this, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7

I think the words of Mother Theresa are very appropriate for us this Advent: “Let us approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last minute rush.” If you’re like me, you’re already feeling the dream of a slow, peaceful holiday turn into a nightmare of frantic frenzy. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Commit to hitting pause at least twice during your day between now and Christmas. Set an alarm if you have to. That’s only two times a day that you don’t waste three minutes of mindlessly scrolling Instagram. The result? Your restless rush just may settle into an expectant hush. 

Cameron Walker

Lord Jesus Come

Since the beginning, God has been with us. He reigned over the earth He created, yet spent His time walking with humanity in the garden. And even when we were unfaithful, He was still faithful - still holding the world in His hands and working on behalf of His children. He promised for a savior to come, to heal, to restore.

Finally, the long-awaited Son came to be with us. Even as a child, His presence signaled the war that He would win against our enemy. He is the universal king, the sovereign One over all things.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  He has come.

And in the end, He will be with us. We await His final arrival, when all will be right and all will be made new. He will complete what He began, and He will renew all that is broken and restore all that we have lost.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5)

We hope you are comforted this Christmas season, and that you truly know the reality of Emmanuel, God with you. In the busyness of the holidays, in the conversations with your friends and family, in your joy, in your suffering, as you wait for presents and as you wait for promises yet fulfilled. He is with you. Merry Christmas. Jesus has come.

Posture Of The Heart : Kat Mills

I’ll never forget a story I was told when I was twelve about my big sister in the congregation at a youth service.  She happened to have her hands in her pocket as she was singing, and got tapped on the shoulder by the worship co-ordinator and told off because it was deemed as “an unacceptable posture” in worship. She was really upset, and I can still remember the feeling of indignation and righteous anger I had on her behalf - how dare someone judge the way she worshipped based on her body language. It was damaging.

It was only when I was sitting in one of the first sessions on the 10,000 Fathers intensive when Aaron was delivering some really challenging teaching that it hit me right between the eyes. I was so upset about this happening to my sister all those years ago, but the reality was that I had been doing the same thing to others for many years.  I hadn’t gone as far as tapping someone on the shoulder and having a go at them for it, but it had been happening in the mutterings of my heart - just as bad.

I think if we are all completely honest, we’d probably admit that we judge people based on their outward behaviour.  I know that as a worship leader, it especially easy to look out at a congregation and see people just standing there, maybe sitting down or not looking like they are engaging and making snap judgments based on what is seen. I would even go as far as arrogantly assuming that they didn’t have as deep a faith as mine because their outward expression was not as exuberant and obvious as mine. 

Thankfully, God puts people in our lives who speak truths to challenge us, and this was one such moment for me.  I was deeply convicted about my judgement in this area, and knew that I needed to repent. I then needed to look deeper and be willing to understand that people respond differently and different expressions of worship are just as valid, because it’s not about the outward expression, but the posture of our heart.

I stepped down from leading worship for several months at this time as I felt God needed to help realign my vision and learn how to see others truly through His eyes, appreciate and love the differences I saw.

As I started on this journey I felt God take away my burden of frustration as I began to realise that I was, in fact, surrounded by people with a beautiful depth of faith, incredible gifts of prayer, wisdom and faithfulness, and who had persevered through so much. These people needed the encouragement to share these gifts, be released into them and the incredible and unique callings on their lives. My focus on expressions of faith and worship meant that I missed.

I started to realise that I needed to find ways in congregational worship that engaged people and helped them in their journey with God and I should not be dragging them, unwillingly, to dance in the aisles and jump for joy if that was not their character. I am learning to have realistic expectations and not fall into the trap of thinking that quieter ways of worshipping mean any less dedication to God.

I am so glad that I am learning that people can catch a vision and be stirred by the Holy Spirit without it manifesting in the same way.  It doesn’t have to look overtly loud and expressive to be deep. As a worship leader I have learnt to ask the questions: Where is my congregation coming from? What is their culture? How do they best engage with others? and how do they connect with God? My job is not to make them fit into a one-size-fits-all box, but to help release them in who they are, in their gifts and character and in their expressions of worship. It’s an ongoing journey of learning and I need to remain humble by relying on God and being in community with others.

Lauren Settembrini : Shining A Light On Anxiety


It began as a feeling that would become dreadfully familiar, but that I had no name for at first. Statistics say that nearly 20% of people will deal with it at some point in their life - many suffering quietly, thinking they’re alone or feeling the shame that something is wrong with them. If you work in ministry, there can be even more of a stigma around it. But it doesn’t need to be this way – so let’s talk about it.

Before I knew the monster had a name, I remember waking up so many nights feeling like I couldn’t take a full breath, sure I was going to suffocate. The me of 10 years ago: an otherwise heathy 21-year-old, newly-married girl just trying to finish her senior year of college…wasn’t sure she’d make it through the night…several times a week. After several months of that, the “anxiety disorder” label came from my doctor. 

One particularly rough evening came a few years later, in February 2011. Nathan and I were at home, getting ready to meet some friends for dinner, when all of a sudden, my heart rate shot through the roof. I was literally putting on make-up and petting our dog (not a particularly stressful situation…) when I got hit with 180 bpm out of nowhere. Talk about thinking you’re going to die. Since nothing like this had ever happened before (and we were scared out of our minds), we immediately rushed to the ER. Lots of bloodwork, tests, and scans later, they told me I was physically healthy, and that it must have been a panic attack. I think that was supposed to make me feel relieved. Basically, it was a massive rush of adrenaline similar to what would happen if a bear was chasing you…only, no bear. 

My story is probably typical for an anxiety sufferer: it builds to a breaking point when you realize you have to do something about it - acknowledge it – because the rest of your life can’t possibly look like this, right? Reflecting on my own experience with anxiety has actually brought many of those feelings back as I write these words. It isn’t pleasant, and I hate that so many of you can relate to it. But if entering into the hard parts of my story can bring even the smallest relief or step towards healing for one person – it’s worth every bit. 

So, here are some things I’ve learned over the last decade. They don’t come from any sort of medical degree or professional training – just years of putting one foot in front of the other and figuring out what’s helped me get to the other side. 

Find someone to talk to. Whether it’s a spouse, friend, family member, pastor, or counselor – just the simple act of telling a trusted person that you’re feeling anxious helps lift the burden. Something about anxiety (and depression) tends to make people feel like they are the only ones struggling with it, or that they have to go through it alone, and the reality is that actually exacerbates the problem. You’re way more likely to get stuck in your head and in your fear when it remains an internal conversation – believe me. Try speaking it out loud every time, naming it for what it is, and just watch it begin to loosen its grip on you. If you do choose to talk to a counselor or other professional, they may also be able to help you identify things from your past that could be triggering the anxiety and give you tools for processing through it. 

Learn to articulate what you need in those times when it’s the most intense. Early in our marriage, when it became clear that this whole anxiety thing was something that would take time to work through, one of our biggest challenges was the breakdown in communication between someone who regularly experienced overwhelming anxiety and someone who didn’t struggle with it at all. 

When you’re in the thick of it, it’s very hard to think rationally about what you need in order to get out of it, mostly because that rational/reasonable thinking doesn’t typically help the feeling go away (this is something non-anxious folks can have a really hard time understanding). Even the most well-intentioned family member or friend probably won’t know what you need in those moments unless you can tell them. In order to figure this out, you’ll need to do the work of assessing your own mental and physical state before, during, and after experiencing anxiety. 

What are the things that make you feel more anxious? 

These are often the easiest to identify. For me, some of those things are being embraced/touched, feeling trapped, being physically alone, loud noises, and hot spaces. That list may look much different for you, but it’s well worth the investment of time to learn to name them. 

Similarly, what often makes you feel less anxious? 

Maybe it’s certain music, scents (for me, lavender is very soothing), breathing exercises, praying or meditating on a passage of Scripture (Psalm 116:7 is a go-to for me), having someone to talk to, laughing, being outside. 

Whatever those things are, do the work of learning what you need and articulate it to the people closest to you (certainly your spouse or roommate if that applies), preferably initially during a conversation when you’re not feeling overly anxious. That way you can establish some common ground and language for when you do begin to feel anxious, and you can walk through it knowing you have someone on your side.

Don’t think TOO far ahead. Now, I realize I’m talking to a fairly specific type of person on this one, so it may not apply to you. BUT if you’re the kind who looks ahead on the calendar for a whole week or two (or more), mentally listing all the things you have to get done in that time, and it causes the panic to rise because when in the world are you going to do it all – listen up! You don’t have to do it all today. You don’t even have to do it all tomorrow. Try taking things in smaller chunks and setting aside specific times or days to complete each task. Make written or typed lists so you don’t feel like you’re trying to remember everything. Then focus only on what you must do each day. Of course, things will come up along the way because life happens, but it will feel less overwhelming to add those things to your proverbial plate if you’re only holding a day’s worth of food versus an entire week’s. 

Exercise. I know, I know…why does every list have to include this one, right? Because it works. Don’t worry I won’t get too science-y here, but exercise (especially aerobic exercise) burns adrenaline (aka epinephrine) and boosts endorphins and serotonin levels. Regular exercise reduces the amount of adrenaline in your body while at rest (so less chance of that fake-out bear attack we talked about earlier) and boosts the brain chemicals that elevate mood and alleviate stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. Who doesn’t want that? 

Like any new habit, at first you probably won’t feel like exercising. It’s hard, it takes steady discipline, and there will be times the progress is slower than you want. Go into it knowing that that’s normal and choose to stick with it anyway – the payoff will be so worth it. If you can find an exercise buddy or someone to hold you accountable to a set plan or number of workouts per week, that’s always helpful too.

Do something you love. Many times, the assault of anxiety turns your focus inward, and there can be much shame, anger, fear, and disorientation associated with that. When you feel anxiety creeping up, try taking a break and doing something you enjoy, even if it’s the simplest thing for a few minutes. Take a walk, pet your dog, turn on some music and dance around – whatever it looks like to you – just break the mental cycle by engaging in an activity that brings you joy! Laughter really is great medicine for anxiety. 

Practice thanksgiving. I had to come to the realization that (for me at least), anxiety wasn’t just physical, it was spiritual too. On some level, it was based in fear and doubt. Let me pause and say this: I’m NOT saying that if you deal with anxiety it’s because of a general lack of faith. This is not about casting blame. I’m simply acknowledging that the spiritual realm is very real, and that in order to address something like anxiety holistically, I believe we must be willing to talk about all the angles. 

Learning to name the things I’m thankful for was a huge step toward my healing and building up that foundational trust in the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. I don’t just mean the obvious/circumstantial type things…I mean learning to see the beautiful, God glory in every day, normal reality in a way that reminds you of His nearness. I’ve learned that it’s impossible to feel truly thankful and anxious at the same time – they just can’t coexist. This is basically putting Philippians 4:4-9 into practice. By paying attention to the gifts all around you, and bringing everything to the Lord with thanksgiving, that peace that passes understanding will guard you from anxiety. Practically, it can look like making a list, taking pictures, talking to someone, or telling the Lord directly through prayer and worship!

Give yourself grace. Resist the urge to feel discouraged if you begin to feel anxious again after a period of feeling good. Like most things in life, the path to growth and wholeness often looks more cyclical than we’d prefer. Sometimes anxiety can rear its head in different ways over time – this is normal. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be stuck in anxiety your whole life, it doesn’t mean that you’re weak, and it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It’s ok, you’re just human like the rest of us. Take a deep breath, process through your life situation, and reflect on what’s changed. Return to the tools that have worked for you in the past. 

There may be seasons when more serious or traditional medical intervention is necessary. Over the course of six years, I was on and off several medications for anxiety. There tends to be a lot of shame associated with this in our culture, but sometimes it’s just the only way forward that we can wrap our minds around. 

That’s okay – there is grace here too. It does get better. 

If you are in a position of ministry leadership and have any history with anxiety in your past or present, my prayer is that you would feel the freedom to talk about it (maybe even write and sing about it!). There is such a temptation for us to feel like we have to have it all together in order to lead well, and while certain marks of maturity and growth do need to there, perfection is not a prerequisite to being a good leader. The shame and doubt that comes from that inner narrative – wondering if there is something wrong with you, thinking you’re not praying enough or somehow lacking in faith – it can be paralyzing. You may find yourself asking how you can help anyone if you’re still on the road to recovery yourself. As long as you’re on the road at all, there will be those behind you who need your testimony and encouragement, even if you’re only a little further ahead. And if you still have a ways to go, allow others who have found breakthrough to be an encouragement to you! This is one of the most beautiful purposes of community, and you will be blown away by the deepening of relationships that come as a result.

Your story is still being written, and it will be beautiful. 

The Lord is still working, and He is good. 

All is grace, and all will be well.

Remember Your Story : Taylor Breen


Recently, my husband and I celebrated seven years of marriage. Right before our wedding, I bought a journal that we could write in – just little love notes and recordings of memories of things that we did over the years. I imagined we would write things like, “I can’t believe how amazing our marriage is” and “You never ever ever ever frustrate me; you are perfect.” You know, real and honest things like that. 


The day of our wedding, I wrote a little note to my husband, Sam, telling him how excited I was and how I couldn’t believe we were about to be married. Then on our first anniversary, I took out the book to read over all of the things that we had written over the past year…and I found that we had written a total of 6 letters. Six letters over 365 days. That’s all. I was so sad to not have recorded the ups and downs of our first year, like our first fight as a married couple, little things we loved about living together, the restaurants we frequented, or our thoughts about our tiny one bedroom basement apartment. I decided that every year, no matter how many letters we had written, our anniversary tradition would consist of looking back over the year, remembering as much as we could, and writing it down in our journal.


Seven years later, we celebrate as we read through what we wrote on each anniversary, remembering vacations, weddings, births, new friends, and loved ones we’ve lost. We laugh at funny memories, we sometimes cry, and we thank God for the years He’s given us and for the years ahead. This is our story. This is the life we’ve graciously been given. 


There’s something sacred about remembering, and remembering together. Our stories make us who we are; they bind us together and remind us and others of the faithfulness of God. In Joshua 4:2-8, after the Israelites cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the Lord tells Joshua to choose twelve people (one from each tribe) to choose twelve stones from the middle of the river. With those stones, they were to build a monument at their campsite after crossing the river. Then the Lord says this: “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones means?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” God is telling them that this monument will remind them to tell their story, the story of the faithfulness of God toward Israel.


We also see the significance of remembrance at the Last Supper, when Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19-20). Every time we receive communion, we are to remember Jesus, what He has done, and the story of His faithfulness. 


Is it a practice in your life to sit and remember, and to thank God for who He is and what He has done? Do you sing and tell of the faithfulness of the Lord? Sometimes we can find ourselves worried about a bill we can’t pay, scared about a diagnosis from the doctor, lonely, ashamed of how we treated someone, and sure that God will not meet us in our pain and bring beauty out of brokenness. It’s in those times that we must look back and remember what God has done. Remember the times He was faithful when you didn’t think He would be. If you can’t remember, spend time with Him. Ask Him to remind you or show you where He was working. Ask your friends or family to encourage you and help you remember. 


And when things are going well, remember. Write down your celebrations! Take pictures! Talk about the goodness of the Lord with your friends and family. Do not let weeks and months go by without reminding yourself of the goodness of God. This will serve as your foundation of thankfulness in the hard times. 


Then, as leaders, let’s help our communities remember. Tell your story. Tell the story of your church. Write songs that help your community tell their stories. These can be stones of remembrance for you and your community, sparking conversation in the years to come about all that God has done. And they can serve as an encouragement to others to step into their story with trust that God will be, just as He has always been, faithful.