Latest Album: Where I Find You (2012)
Associate Pastor, Worship at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX
Worship, composer, singer
Alumnus from Dallas Baptist University
Christ for the Nations Institute and Oral Roberts University
Lead worship with Reinhardt Bonnke & with Danilo Montero in Lakewood Church, TX
Kari Jobe: This is Worship
The 700 Club
CBN.com -HEART FOR MINISTRY
Kari’s parents were traveling ministers. She started singing when she was just three-years old, and when Kari was five, her father led her in the salvation prayer. Kari was upstairs in children’s church and her parents were ministering downstairs when she had her first revelation about Christ. “I remember the children’s pastor, Mr. Jarvis, talking about Jesus that night and it finally made sense to me,” she says. “Instead of leading me to Jesus himself, he walked me downstairs and let my dad pray with me.” Her parents were her strongest supporters and, as time passed, Kari had a growing desire to minister to others. Kari began to travel with worship teams at age 16 and began leading worship at 20 years old. At age 24, she became a worship pastor at Gateway Church, in Southlake, TX. She also continued to travel and minister to nations, as she lived her life surrendered to the Lord. Kari exhorts people to seek understanding from the Lord. She prays they would experience the depths of God’s love in new ways. “I have such a heart for people, I can’t explain my God given burden for people. I have an overwhelming desire to see breakthrough for the person I see weeping during my ministry. I want each person to see God is good,” she says. Kari began praying, “Lord, break my heart for what break yours. God, show me things through your eyes. God, show me what you want me to see and how you want me to see people.” She heralds the message, “God is for us,” as she worships and ministers out of her personal God-encounter with arms of love.
Kari accredits being raised in a godly household to her success today. She learned to pray and hear the voice of the Lord as a child. “It all started in my little prayer closet when I was 10 years old,” she says. Kari’s parents lovingly set Kari to pursue a conversational relationship with Jesus. She remembers her dad teaching her about hearing from God when she was just eight years old. She found everything her dad told her that day to be true as she began to talk to God in prayer. Once she knew she was hearing God, she began to share God’s words with others and grow in prophetic ministry. Prophetic ministry was a normal part of her spiritual growth. “I grew up in a home where I was around the prophetic. My dad is my hero, he taught me to listen to God’s voice and obey what God said. We would go places where people were giving prophetic words and I would receive prophetic ministry. Many of those prophetic words have come to pass or are coming to pass.”
Kari explains her interaction and encounters with the Lord, “I have such a sense of his presence when I am singing. I can hear him speaking to me the whole time I worship.” As she worships, she hears God give direction for the ministry time. “If God said ‘lift your hands to worship me,’ then I would say lift your hands to worship the Lord. When God instructed me to pray over people, I would begin to pray over people. One of the most important keys to my ministry today came from cultivating that ability to hear and obey God’s voice during my own personal worship time.” Kari quickly learned to obey the voice of the Lord through trial and error. She had to say, “Oh, sorry Lord,” a lot as she first began to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. “I found out quick if I stepped out on my own or moved out of my selfishness,” Kari says. She still walks out the spiritual principles she learned as a child. “The Lord is able to trust me with the tender hearted because I am careful to continue to meet with God to receive revelation from the Lord on a daily basis. I have to stay in a place of humility before the Lord, allowing Him to do it through me, or I get burnt out really fast. So I stay in the place of worship where it is not about me.”
LATEST ALBUM AND TOUR
Even after being established as one of the industry’s premier worship leaders with her Dove Award-winning, self-titled debut, Kari continues to serve as a worship pastor at Gateway Church. She says it’s nice to have the spiritual covering and support of a home church. “It’s really significant that when I go home, I’m just a daughter in the house,” she says. Kari has also just released her highly anticipated follow-up album, Where I Find You (Sparrow) in January. “After singing about the importance of making time for intimate worship on my first album, I wanted to take the next step on Where I Find You,” Kari shares. “These songs come from such an honest place of praising God for what He’s done—and what He’s continuing to do in our lives—because of His grace and goodness,” she says. “Ultimately, it’s about declaring who He is and enjoying the simplicity of knowing the Lord is near,” she continues. “He’s for us, He loves us, and sometimes, we need to just stop, enjoy His presence and take that in.” While recording the album, Kari says she was often reminded of that very truth—a theme that resonates through the lyrics of “Here,” a reminder to press pause, even when our culture insists we constantly keep moving. “There were many instances when we had to stop whatever we were working on because I needed to go outside, take a walk and have my own time with God for a few minutes,” Kari remembers. “Again and again, I was so overtaken by how present He was while we were recording, and it’s my hope and desire that people really feel the strength and intercession that was taking place while I worked on the album.”
Another decidedly counter-cultural idea that resonates in these new songs is how God never lets believers, including worship leaders, get too comfortable in their faith or permanently reside on the proverbial spiritual mountaintop. “This past year has been the season of being completely uncomfortable and going through things I didn’t understand that were really hard,” Kari shares. “I was literally having to hold on in my heart and trust He had everything in control. You can even hear that a little in my vocals,” she says. “It was a season that stretched me.” Even through all the growing pains, however, Kari says she was continually reminded of God’s faithfulness. “I think there are times as believers when we feel entitled and that life shouldn’t be hard. We live in this culture of convenience that says we can do everything ourselves and find all the answers on Google,” Kari says. “But if we can learn to fall more in love with the Lord and trust Him in the middle of every storm, we build our endurance to keep running the race.” She says that ultimately, Where I Find You, is about enjoying the beauty of God’s presence, praising him with your whole heart and letting your light shine in a world that needs to experience the true grace and hope found only in Jesus.
Kari is currently on tour with the Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular. Touted as Christian music’s largest annual tour, it has played to nearly 347,000 people to date this year, with capacity audiences in 22 of the tour’s first 29 cities. In addition, more than 105,000 people have made decisions for Christ. Among others, Kari joins NewSong, Skillet, Sanctus Real and former Newsboys frontman Peter Furler on the tour.
In addition to ministering in churches, arenas, theaters, festivals and conferences across the globe, Kari has also found another outlet for sharing God’s love by partnering with the A21 Campaign, an organization dedicated to abolishing human trafficking in the 21st century. “I’ve become really invested in that ministry and strongly believe that we all have to play a role and do our part to fight against the modern form of slavery that affects 27 million people and growing,” Kari says. “It’s so incredibly dark, and I feel a responsibility to do what I can. Most of these victims are girls like me, and I can’t imagine what life would be like to be stuck in that place.” She and her sister Kris have partnered to create an exclusive line of jewelry and t-shirts where all the proceeds go to the cause of bringing an end to human trafficking and injustice. “Whether I’m participating in an effort like this or leading worship, it’s all about making a difference,” Kari says. “That’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing at this specific moment—to see God’s name lifted high, to encourage the hurt and the broken and to remind everyone to draw close to Him because He really, truly does care about each and every one of His children.”
Even before getting involved with the A21 campaign, Kari felt the Lord calling her to help those who couldn’t help themselves, specifically children. She received a life-changing vision while worshipping one night when she was in Bible school. “I had a vision of nations of children. The children were all different colors and they went as far as my eye could see. When she saw the nations of children, Kari asked the Lord, “What is this?” She heard the Lord say to her that she would affect nations through her worship and by interceding for children in their nations. God very specifically told her that, “children are a key to bringing salvation to nations.”
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