Carlos talking about his livestream The Fight Club Sessions Tuesday nights at 8pm cst.
He will be having special guests on each week and will be covering creative teachings and discussing different fights that people are going through in their lives.
- SelfBoss, present
It’s a familiar story: A worship leader is called to extend his platform. He
records a debut release, ﬁlled with songs birthed in ministry. He creates
online environments to connect with an audience and he’s invited to lead
worship at prominent churches and conferences.
And then there’s Carlos Whittaker. A worship leader for Andy Stanley’s
Buckhead Church in Atlanta. Worship leader at events such as Catalyst.
A reality TV appearance (more on that later). And an online presence
that reached thousands before he recorded a single note. It’s the usual
story, just in reverse.
This story begins in Los Angeles. As the son of a Southern Baptist
pastor, Carlos was raised in his father’s church, where his musical
journey began in a less-than-rocking fashion.
“I was in the church hand bell choir, complete with an Afro,” he says
with a laugh. “I learned music by playing the A and C bells.”
He would also learn about singing. Equipped with a tenor voice, Carlos
would often ﬁnd himself performing the choir’s solo. It was then he ﬁrst
encountered his passion for leading worship.
“I loved helping to carry the moment,” he says. “I enjoyed leading
people somewhere through music.”
Handbells soon gave way to guitars, and Carlos began to lead worship in
his teens. After a brief detour from his spiritual roots—what Carlos
jokingly refers to as standard preacher’s kid rebellion—he returned with
a passion for his calling. And after being lost and found in his faith,
Carlos chose to create permanent signposts for his journey.“I have three tattoos,” he says. “They all have huge signiﬁcance to me.”
One of these would become bigger than a personal reminder. While
having one tattoo documented by the hit reality series L.A. Ink, Carlos
found a unique platform to share the Gospel.
“That tattoo is about Paul’s journey to Damascus,” he says. “It’s about
Paul’s blinding moment. So I got to talk about my own blinding
moment. It was unbelievable that they let me share my testimony on
From television Carlos moved into a different medium, online social
media. Originally created as a forum for worship leaders, his
RagamufﬁnSoul.com blog has become a dynamic, worldwide
conversation where thousands of people daily exchange thoughts, ideas,
It was through his blog that Carlos would connect with Integrity Music.
As he began recording his debut with renowned producer Jason Ingram,
Carlos was clear on what he wanted to say to the church.
“My desire is to create a movement of authenticity among Christians,”
he enthuses. “A movement that pushes people into a place of being real
with themselves, others, and God. It’s all about authenticity. And in that
authenticity, ﬁnding God.”
As for the music itself, Carlos was committed to being uncommitted to
any particular style.
“I didn’t have a speciﬁc sound,” he notes. “I just had an attitude. An
energy. I was trying to ﬁnd the essence of who I am, and get that inside
the music. I think we did it.”
The result of this mission is Ragamufﬁn Soul, a record that alternates
from arena-sized powerhouses to intimate songs of faith, with a sound
that’s both fresh and familiar.Features include “Rain It Down,” an epic plea for God’s quenching
presence, “Jesus Saves,” a soaring track carrying a simple, yet powerful,
message, and “Can’t Start This Fight,” a jam best described as hip-hop
meets Jack Johnson.
Another standout, “No Words,” encourages people to move from singing
“There are no new words we say that can impress God,” Carlos says.
“What impresses Him is the attitude of our hearts. The heart of a servant,
being a true worshipper, so that our words or sounds are wrapped in
“God of Second Chances” would have a special public debut, connecting
with someone long before the record’s release. While Carlos performed
the song for a video shoot in an Atlanta park, a stranger spontaneously
joined him, adding his own lyrics to this personal, ﬁrst-person view of
God’s limitless grace.
“Having that guy sing along and adlib with me was a highlight of my
life,” Carlos shares. “God isn’t just the God of second chances. He offers
third, fourth, and ﬁfth chances. This guy looked like he was on chance
1,000. And he got the song.”
Having played that song for a crowd of one, Carlo will next share his
music with larger audiences at Catalyst West, Creation Festival, The One
Day Conference, and tour dates with Shane & Shane and fellow
Integrity artist John Mark McMillian (“How He Loves”).
In addition to music, Carlos is helping to plant a new church in
downtown Chicago. As with everything he’s involved in, he has a unique
vision for what Soul City Church will look like.
“We want to do church seven days a week, through continual ministry,”
he enthuses. “We don’t want to pour all of our resources into one day of the week. And it’s easier to do this in the inner city, because when you
leave your place, you’re immediately in the middle of great need.”
No matter the outlet, whether it’s through a worship service, a revealing
song, or an insightful blog entry, Carlos is committed to encouraging
people to express the spiritual through the creative.
“You don’t have to be a worship leader to be creative for the Lord,” he
notes. “God has put His divinity and creativity in us, and it’s our
responsibility to put that divinity back into things.”
And it’s this continual desire to connect and share with others that fuels
both his music and ministry.
“Pastoring and worshipping are the same thing to me,” Carlos says.
“Leading worship is just a piece of my life.”
Besides, he adds, “People don’t know me as a worship leader.” That’s
about to change.