Israel Houghton has two gold-selling albums and six Dove Awards. He’s one of the top success stories in Christian music. But when he entertains, he’s playing intentionally for the Lord first and his audience second.
The Houston-based worship leader compares his experience to comedians who went on “The Tonight Show”, performing for millions on TV, but only worried about whether Johnny Carson laughed at their jokes. Carson had the ability to give their careers significant boosts if he laughed or invited the comedian to sit for an interview.
“I’ve come to realize I’ve been summoned to entertain the King, not these people” Houghton, 42, told Charisma Digital magazine in its July 2013 issue. “So I don’t mind the element of performance because I’ve been invited by the King to entertain Him.”
Through their uplifting sound, Israel and New Breed have the ability to move a crowd toward the Lord’s message of hope.
“And if I do it with the right heart, focused on Him, what He can do in a moment, I could never do in a million years, no matter how good I sang or how good I played,” he told the magazine.
Houghton, who tours and also appears at Promise Keepers and Champions for Christ events nationwide, said it’s important for everyone to use the Lord’s gifts. Find out what pleases the Lord, then do it.
“My motivation for excellence changed a long time ago,” he told Charisma. “It used to be that I wanted people to ooh and aah, but that’s different now. I want to honor God.”
“The biggest part of excellence is not skill,” Houghton told Charisma. “At the same time, if you’ve got a big skill set, make sure you use it. Use all the tools in the tool box.”