• Lakewood Church
    (Photo: Lakewood Church)
    Tens of thousands attend Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Lakewood was listed as the largest church in America in Outreach magazine's 2010 list of the largest and fastest-growing churches. The list is based on a self-reported survey, not an independent investigation.
August 20, 2011|10:09 am

Filling arenas and frequently singing with high-profile gospel artists is a regular thing for worship leader and Christian artist Cindy Cruse Ratcliff.

She is known to many as “America’s Worship Leader” because of her position as director of Music and Worship at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, but her beginnings as a worship leader did not start with a prestigious platform. Ratcliff recently shared with BREATHEcast her path to worship leading and about her upcoming album.

“It’s really interesting how the Lord took me on a journey about 10 years ago before I came to Lakewood, and I had not really led worship at all up until I was living in Nashville, and my pastor’s wife asked me to lead worship for their women’s conference.”

Ratcliff was raised in music ministry, singing and traveling with her award winning family, The Cruse Singers. By the age of six, she was recording music and at nine years old, she had become ASCAP’s youngest licensed songwriter.

Not being on staff or holding any special title, Ratcliff accepted the opportunity to lead at the women’s conference out of wanting to faithfully serve. After receiving a warm response, she continued to lead worship and doors began to open.

“It wasn’t until about five years later, I came on staff with a church in Oklahoma City as their worship leader and it was a small church. The Lord just began to open doors and my path would cross with different people and I finally ended up leading worship for a revival in Houston, Texas, with a minister out of Florida, and some of the staff members from Lakewood were there,” she said, recalling how she got involved with America’s largest church.

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“I guess about two years later, Lakewood’s worship pastor left to go start a church in Dallas, and when they did, they called me.”