An acoustic guitarist at Hope Church Singapore, NEHEMIAH CHEE also mentors fellow acoustic guitarists in the worship ministry to hone their musicianship and guide them as they serve.

How did you end up serving in the worship team?

My initial motivation to pick up the instrument is rather embarrassing: I saw how cool some of the guitarists in church were and I wanted to be like them as well.

By the grace of God and thanks to the mentors I had around me, I learnt and improved quickly in my playing. I knew somehow that this was a gifting from God, so I pursued this passion wholeheartedly and served with the little I had to give!

What challenges have you encountered serving on stage?

When I first started serving on stage, I had this fear about how people would view me. I got so caught up in presenting myself well and how I looked, and focused so much on my playing to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes.

In His timing, God spoke to me and I realised that I’d lost focus of what is most important โ€” that I am playing for the audience of one, and that is my Heavenly Father.

With that revelation, I regained my confidence and found freedom in my playing, knowing that my identity is not found in how well I play the guitar, but is found fully in Christ.

Was there a defining moment in your serving that you realised that you were falling into pride? What did it do to your relationship with God?

I remember vividly an acoustic worship service we had in church. It’s still embarrassing thinking about it now, but I started a song in the wrong key. It affected me throughout the worship set because I had so much pride in my playing.

My mind was raging with self-blame and I kept asking myself how I could have let that happen. Right then, my music director shouted into the in-ear monitor: “Just worship!”

That timely reminder guided my focus back to what was important right there and then, and I’m so grateful for mentors like him.

Nehemiah serving for Hope Church Singapore’s 25th anniversary conference at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. (Photo courtesy of Nehemiah)

I was reminded that my God is a God who is able to work through all my weaknesses. I have to learn to accept my flaws humbly, knowing that all good gifts come from Him, and prayerfully say, “God, here’s what I have. Little or much, take it and use it for Your glory.”

I also used to be very concerned about the size of the stage and the audience, and how “important” the service was โ€“ for example,ย special occasions like Christmas. Now I know I was thinking too highly of myself. One night when the service roster came out, I instinctively looked for my name under the “special services” tab. At that moment, God asked me: “Why do you serve?”

I had to realign my heart with God so I asked Him for guidance. That same year, God sent me to different places to serve in. I served in smaller groups, with autistic kids, and also with more experienced adults. It was a very humbling journey for me because I started to understand that when it comes to serving, every role is equally important.

Whether you’re a guitarist, usher, sound engineer or stage manager, every ministry plays a part in His kingdom. My responsibility is to give my best in the given tasks, no matter the value or significance the world may place on these roles.

What motivates you to continue serving in the worship ministry?

The moulding process that God has been doing in my life through my past mistakes motivates me to continue serving. If God can use someone like me, He can use anyone for His kingdom’s glory!

I have to learn to accept my flaws humbly, knowing that all good gifts come from Him, and prayerfully say, “God, here’s what I have. Little or much, take it and use it for Your glory.”

I constantly remind myself that God is the giver of all gifts, so all the glory and credit ultimately go back to Him. I understand that without His guidance and sharpening, I wouldn’t be standing where I am today serving.

What advice would you give to others serving in the worship ministry?

Always know and remember why you do what you do, and to be constantly reminded of God’s grace in your life.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes while you move forward in your serving, and don’t limit what God is trying to do with you and through you! God works best through our weaknesses and His light will always outshine areas of darkness no matter what.