Called to worship is a segment on my blog that highlights the lives and ministries of worship leaders who are making an impact in Kenya, Africa and beyond. The idea is to interact with worship leaders whose faith and stories inspire us to be better ministers. Here is my interview with Ivlyn Mutua on being salt and light.
Ivlyn’s life is not without controversy. From being a worship leader at her parents’ church at Christ Miracle Centre to being a pastoral trainee at Nairobi Chapel, and recently, a vocalist on the Coke Studio TV series, Ivlyn has used her talent to glorify God and earn a living- a decision that has caused many to question her faith and relationship with God.
Looking back, Ivlyn knew that she was going to serve God through music but she did not know that it would be in the worship ministry. “My parents and elder brother are pastors, and my mum exposed me to a lot of music as a child.” She said reminiscing. After completing high school in 2009, Ivlyn made certain decisions that found her wrongfully accused and in a cell for a night. “You know the way everyone after graduating from high school wants to party and be free, I kinda became that and God caught up with me. In that desperate situation, I prayed and told God that if he got me out of it, I would serve him for the rest of my life. God answered my prayer and the next day I was released, free without a case to answer.”
Nita: How has your personal journey influenced the way you lead worship?
My worship comes from my personal walk with the Lord. I grew up a very sick child. I have known pain since I was born, but I always believed that God would heal me. At a very tender age, I had a serious condition that involved my ear and was affecting me but the doctors could not figure out what the problem was. In fact, they suggested operating to see if there was an infection in my brain. Even as a child, I had faith to believe that God could heal me. I grew up witnessing God use my dad to heal people with all manner of disease and so I approached my dad one day and told him that I too wanted to be healed. He prayed with me and six months later I was healed. There was also a season that my family went through hardship after my parents transitioned from the government into full-time ministry. I walked my dad to the kitchen and in faith told him to pick me up to where the pots were and I told him that we should pray so that we never lack food in the house. True to that prayer of faith we never did lack food again. These experiences of faith, even at that young age allowed me to believe that God can heal and do the impossible. When I worship, I stand on the healing power of Christ.
Nita: You are a vocalist at Coke Studio Africa, tell us how you made that decision?
It was not easy to transition from working at church to working at Coke Studio. Many people did not understand how I could sing in church on Sunday and then back up secular artists. I had very many conversations with people to try and help them understand why I was doing it. For one, I believed that God had called me to work there and I also sought the advice of my family members and those I was accountable to. It was frustrating to always have to explain myself, but in the end, I held on to the word that says I am the light of the world the salt of the earth.
Nita: How do you maintain your faith at Coke Studio?
It is not easy because I have never been in this environment before. I was thrown into the deep end. What keeps me pure is prayer and reading the bible. I read the word because that is the only way I can survive. I also have pastors and people who I am accountable to. It is so important because there are people who have walked the same journey and are able to give you advice. My parents are also key in keeping me accountable. I have learned the importance of being honest with these people.
They don’t care who I am out there, they are mostly concerned about my soul. At some point the judgement from church because of my decision to work at Coke Studio came in a lil hard, which was quite disappointing & challenging, but I held my head high coz I know He who has called me is faithful even to keep & sustain me. During this season, all I did was pray and ask God for strength coz I must admit it wasn’t easy. God gave me peace and I no longer felt the need to explain myself to anyone. However, I am not on earth alone and I need to have people around me to help me.
Also, making a conscious decision to stay pure and being deliberate about it. Temptation to conform to the ways of the world was so real, left me with no choice than to constantly be on my knees, coz I won’t lie, it’s not easy!
During the breaks at Coke Studio I take my headphones, my worship music and just remind myself of my purpose there and whom am entitled to serve, that this should never be a place of comfort. Sometimes to be honest, it gets to your head…the money… but things of the world will come and go, but what will I leave behind? At the end of the day I will give an account to God.
I have learned to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit even while singing at Coke Studio. I have the privilege of interacting with various musicians and ministering to these artists when the opportunity presents itself.
Nita: What advice would you give to worship leaders on making a living from their skill?
Don’t let money or fame be your main goal. Seek God and hear God as to where He wants you to be.
What’s on your playlist?
The Walls Group, Anthony Brown, Joyous celebration…
What are you reading?
The power of worship leading by Myles Munroe, The purpose room by Heather Lindsey