IHOP Worship Leader Justin Rizzo Offers Invaluable Insights About Worship Leading & His New Music

Justin Rizzo

Spotlight Music Group has signed acclaimed worship leader Justin Rizzo to a long-term recording contract and releases his first EP under the new agreement, Paid It All, which is available now. The four-track EP is available now at iTunesApple MusicSpotifyGoogle Play and additional digital and streaming outlets globally.

Widely known for leading worship at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, MO for 15 years, and penning such notable worship favorites as "Tree," "Found Faithful," "Above Every Other Name," "There is One Found Worthy" and "Glory Will Cover the Earth," Rizzo offers Paid It All as the first of three new recordings to release, one per month leading up to his first full-length album in seven years, Love So Fierce, on March 20. His second EP, Worship And Adore, is set to release Feb. 14.

Q: Justin, thanks for doing this interview with us.  Let's start with yourself: what's your role and ministry at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, MO? 

I was a primary worship leader at IHOPKC for the past 15 years.

Q: How did you feel the call to lead worship? 

Both of my parents were pastors and worship leaders growing up so I feel like it's in my blood. My dad came to me when I was 12 years old and began to teach me how to play the guitar and began teaching me how to lead worship on Sunday mornings at his church. 

Q: Having led worship for 15 years, what are some of the challenges and blessings of being a worship leader? 

Leading worship at a local church or house of prayer there is inevitably going to be turnover of your singers and musicians. So you're constantly needing to train and raise others up. Though that can be a challenge, it's also an incredible gift. You begin to realize that God's agenda is so much bigger than what you thought - having an amazing worship set on Sunday morning - and you realize that He's after your heart. He wants connection. He wants you trusting and leaning on Him more than your own abilities. 

Q: You have also just released an EP, another EP coming next month, and followed by a full-length album in March.  Why did you plan on releasing new music in such installments? 

This is the first full length worship album I've released in over 10 years so I wanted to stagger the releases and give people a feel for what the full album will be like when it releases. 

Q:  I love your new song "Paid It All."  What's the story behind how this song came about? 

"Paid it All" is actually a combination of two songs by good friend and fellow worship leader Caleb Andrews wrote. I heard them both one day and said, We need to combine parts of each song together. It quickly became one of my favorite songs to lead not only because of the theology and message, but also how it engaged congregations to sing along. 

Q:  Your new album is entitled "Love So Fierce."  We don't normally connect "love" and "fierceness" together.  Why did you entitle your forthcoming album "Love so Fierce"?

The title track of the album actually came out of a worship set where me and my team were spontaneously singing through Song of Solomon chapter 8 verse 6 where it says that God's love is as strong as death, and his jealousy is as fierce as the grave. 

The chorus of the song says: 

I've never known a love so fierce

I've never known a love so tender

I've never known a love that suffers long 

With me 

God has a fierce commitment to have all of our love, while at the same time having the tender heart of a bridegroom to continue winning our hearts and taking us back when we stumble in weakness. 

I love what A.W. Tozer says "Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one." 

Part of the beautiful mystery of our faith is that we serve, love, and have given our lives to a God whose love is fierce, like a man of war, but at the same time is as tender as a man in love. 

This should evoke worship in our hearts.

Q: You also have a new book on worship leading coming out this year.  Can you give us a sneak peak of some of the salient aspects of worship leading from the book? 

The book focuses on helping worship teams to grow and will be a practical and spiritual guide to help them thrive for the long-haul, both on and off the platform. 

Q: Many who are reading this article may be worship leaders in small churches.  Some may be struggling each week with criticisms that modern worship music is too loud, too lite on theology, and too difficult to sing.  How would you encourage these worship leaders?

If I had 30 seconds to talk to a worship leader here's what I would say: 

- You have one of the most difficult jobs at your church - don't let anyone tell you different. 

- Don't fear the small. One of the biggest lies you can believe is that what you're doing now doesn't matter. 

- Your definition of success is everything. 

- The more you replicate yourself-the greater your job security. 

- God's out to refine you, so stop resisting and just give in to Him. 

One of my biggest passions is helping worship leaders who feel overworked, isolated, and unfocused to experience peace, confidence, and connection and create thriving worship communities. I have multiple courses and 1-on-1 coaching programs available, along with a free ebook 10 Keys to Being a Successful Worship Leader at 


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