“What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?” asks Ben Cantelon. “Doesn’t it mean in some way thatwe allow our eyes to be opened? Doesn’t it mean that we are ready to see the world differently, to let ourvision be directed by God’s Spirit? Doesn’t it mean seeing it in color - being open to the full range ofpossibilities, opportunities, needs and challenges that God has created us for?”
As metaphors go, the idea of living life in full color offers Ben Cantelon plenty of material. Throughout Everything In Color - his second full-length album - the Canadian-born worship leader and songwriter,draws worshippers to a fuller, brighter view of God.
Ben’s childhood was rich in both music and faith. His father, Brent, is pastor of Christian Life AssemblyChurch in Vancouver, a position he took over from his own father, Don Cantelon.
From an early age, Ben’s musical talent was evident. And by the time he had reached his teens, he feltchallenged to focus his artistic energy on worship alone.
Having met and played keyboards with Tim Hughes while leading a conference in Vancouver, Ben wasoffered the opportunity of travelling with, and eventually joining full time, Soul Survivor, in Watford, onLondon’s northern outskirts. The move turned out to be a good one.
“I’d never really led worship myself all that often before coming to the UK,” says Ben. “People used toask me to have a go, and I tried; but it wasn’t anything that I was really all that passionate about at thetime. Then, after about 10 months of living in the UK, I really felt the Lord say, ‘Ben, why aren’t youleading worship?’ To me it seemed that there were so many others who were great at it; why was Ineeded? But God kept pressing it and eventually I said ‘God, you have to do it – I’m not pushing anydoors.’ So I left it there.”
“A week later, I got a call from Mike Pilavachi (co-founder/leader of Soul Survivor) saying that he felt Godtelling him that I needed to lead worship. It was incredible – a real God moment.”
Seven years on and Ben is an established worship leader and songwriter within the UK and beyond. In2007, Kingsway released Ben’s first project, an EP titled Daylight Breaks Through. Then there was theco-write of “Happy Day” with Tim Hughes, a move from Soul Survivor to join Tim at Holy TrinityBrompton, London and marriage.
Ben is now working with Worship Central, a worship training school under the auspices of Holy Trinity;and his songs continue to make an impact within the global church. In 2009, Kingsway released Ben’sdebut, full-length solo album, Running After You. He was also featured on Worship Central’s debut livealbum, Spirit Break Out. Each project showcases Ben’s clear commitment to crafting great music withoutsacrificing accessibility.
“Our songs, our sounds and our creativity should only ever be the tool that helps us worship - never thefocus. For no matter how bright or bold our work, it will never be a match for the fullness in Christ.”
According to Ben, it’s vital that worship leaders remember that they are just that - - worship leaders, notworship explorers or worship sprinters. “Those of us who play in church have a responsibility to lead ourcongregations, not leave them behind.”
As he sees it, these are exciting times for sung worship. Global uncertainty has settled over politics,economics and more, and while, as he says, “it is tempting to reduce things to black and white... worshiphas a role to play in introducing the color. Worship reminds us that God is far bigger than any of us, farbrighter than any of our gloom and far more real than any of our denial.”
“So in these days of double-dip recessions and global uncertainty, we worship leaders have a uniqueopportunity in front of us. We need to help people to open whatever situation they face to God, not try tohide it away.”