Month: October 2009

Excellence, Doing what I can do well.

Jeff Miller over at Consuming Worship has an excellent post with video from the opening of the 2007 HIllsong conference. The money quote in my mind is this:

No one person pulled this off. It took the time, talent, and treasure of a multitude. Sure, Hillsong has the resources to throw at it, but that’s just something the rest of us use as an excuse to not take the risk to do something incredible ourselves.

How do I know? I’m guilty too.What happens when even a small group, say a church of 100 or less throws everything they’ve got into risking something for the Kingdom?

Unanimity Unleashed | Consuming Worship

Jeff’s post is entitled “Unanimity Unleashed” and makes a great point, I want to make a different point.

So many times when talking with churches the conversation is around resource or lack thereof. I know you’ve heard this before so don’t tune me out.

Your Father has infinite resources and witholds no good thing from His people. (Psalm 84:11) You have the resources you need to accomplish what has been put in your heart.

The most valuable resource you have are those people who have been entrusted to you. Don’t try to be Hillsong, or New Life, or Willow Creek, or you fill in the blank. Do what you can do well. Be faithful with what’s in your hand. HIllsong has the resources it has because it was faithful with what was in it’s hands from day one. They were faithful with the little things. Most importantly they were faithful with those entrusted to them. Allowing the gifts in the body to grow, express, and flourish.

Make people your aim, use events and resources to serve people don’t use your people to serve events, causes, or needs. As you are faithful with what is in your hands more will be added.

Instead of looking at your various church fund accounts look at the people who have been entrusted to you. Recognize, call out, equip and release the gifting of those entrusted to you into the body and watch what happens.

Ephesians 4:7 says; when Jesus ascended He gave gifts to men and gave them the grace to walk in those gifts. Create an atmosphere where the gifting in the body can flourish. Cast a vision big enough for others vision to come under and grow and contribute.

Go ahead and throw everything you’ve got into risking something for the Kingdom!

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Worship, 0 comments

Are Worship Pastors Becoming Extinct?

The Key word here is “Pastors”. We have tons of technicians, musicians, etc. etc. but a shortage of pastors.

Glenn again nails it here. So I will re-post in total

Thanks Glenn:

Over the past seven years, I have served as the Director of the New Life School of Worship, a 9-month program designed to train worship leaders for local churches. We believe that to effectively prepare our students for local church worship ministry they need to be trained in more than music. They need to be grounded in theology, familiar with church history, and responsible with their handling of the Scriptures. Moreover, they need to learn what it means to be a pastor: to shepherd the people under their care. 

But it seems that some churches aren’t looking for that. They would prefer a musician who can lead the “singing”, oversee the tech team, and produce recordings of their original songs. None of these are bad expectations, of course. But are we looking for these trade skills at the expense of other, more essential pastoral qualities? Are worship leaders simply highly skilled technicians who have a “steady gig” at a church? 

Today’s worship leader may spend more time with his Macbook than with a real book. She may be more familiar with GarageBand than the people in her band. He may be better versed with directing the choir than providing spiritual direction. 

Of course, the trade side of being a worship leader and the pastoral side are not mutually exclusive. A person can be good at Pro Tools and at pastoring the people on his team. The trouble is we’ve lost the sacredness of the pastoral vocation. Any person who says their core role is to pray, study, and provide spiritual direction is not as “useful” to the corporation we call church. What else can you do? we ask. Then we proceed to fill so much of their time time with scheduling bands, arranging music, and working with the latest recording software that they are no longer doing any pastoral work. Musicians and singers become cogs in a wheel, things we use to fill slots. True, the administration needs to be done. And yes, musical excellence is valuable. But at what price?

Ross Parsley, the long-time worship pastor here at New Life, is fond of saying that music ministry is not about music; it’s about people. Worship ministry is first a sort of a “helps” ministry that serves the Body of Christ. But more to the point, it is an excuse for us to connect with one another. Music is the table we gather around, the place where we see each other face to face, and then learn how to walk alongside one another in this life of faith.

Perhaps the question every church who hires a worship pastor– and every aspiring worship pastor– should answer is this: What will Jesus ask us about: the music we produced, the services we programmed? Or the people we pastored, the sheep we fed?

Take time today and think about the people on your team. Pray for them. Pick up the phone and call them. Break bread with them. Talk to them about more than the setlist. Remember your calling as a worship pastor, not a music program manager. Clear some of the clutter from your week. Maybe it’s time to appoint others to do the tasks that are keeping you from your role as a shepherd. You have never met a mere mortal. Our music will not last forever; these people will.

glenn Packiams’s blog

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Faith, Practical, Worship, 0 comments