Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It’s Your Turn

I have no doubt that I will continue to experience God’s presence in worship, and I hope to continue to write what that means to me.  How about you? 

It’s amazing to me the sense of community we feel when we read others’ writings – the sense of common experience.  As Christians we also share that awesome sense of oneness amongst ourselves, and with our Creator.  I’m not saying we are all called to be authors or songwriters.  All of us, however, are called to share our faith with a lost world, and to encourage one another.

So I would encourage YOU, a fellow worship leader, to press on to offer your gifts to God and to your congregation.  Feel free to meet with others at my blogspot: 

Post your comments – your comments matter a lot to me, and to others.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CAN We Go Back to Egypt?

The late Keith Green, a few years back, released a song, ‘So You Want to Back to Egypt?’  What a great song.  There are spots in the early books of the Bible where the Children of Israel cry out to Moses, begging him to take them back to what many of them undoubtedly thought of as their ‘homeland.’  How strange – Egypt was never ever meant to be their homeland.  It was a safe haven for a time – but God had something new, and better, in mind for them.

People fear change.  Change can be a shock to our systems – and our first reaction is to remember the ‘good times’ that happened in our past.  If God is leading you to a new church – a new town – a new job – you are most likely feeling stressed.  The Israelites wailed about not having the fish and vegetables from back home.  While they were nomads, they most likely missed the dwelling places of Egypt – maybe even the Egyptians they worked for. 

In the book of Numbers, the people went so far as to say, ‘We were better off in Egypt.’  We were better off back then.  Does that phrase resonate you?  God is a God of change – of new – of fresh starts.  We fear the unknown.  We sometimes beg God to return things to the way they used to be.  Be careful what you ask for.  CAN we go back to Egypt?  Sometimes we can return to certain aspects of our past – but we may be sorry in the long run when we realize we can never really turn back the clock.

I think I have a strong sense of this since I have worked in more than one church as a worship leader.  If you make a living as a worship director, your job and your church are one and the same.  When God leads you to a new place, it can be heartbreaking to leave part of your family behind.  What’s wonderful for me is that my church family has expanded. It’s as though the invisible walls of my church home have been miraculously spread apart in order to surround a new body of believers I never knew existed.  Ultimately, we want no walls – we want no boundaries around us – we want the Gospel of Christ to reach all people and God’s community of believers to include all people everywhere.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Worship Him

How do you prepare for Sunday mornings?  Obviously, the music prep is important – but I’m talking about preparing your heart and your soul for worship.  Those involved in the music ministry often think long and hard about details involved in worship flow, music selection and participation scheduling.  Let’s talk about spiritual preparation.

I’m reading through the book of Exodus, and I’m finding the stipulations God placed upon the priests concerning their preparation before serving in the Tabernacle.  There’s a sense of awe when we read the many ordinances they were instructed to follow.  The priests washed before serving.  They wore specific clothing while they served.  They even burned a specific type of incense – with a fragrance unique to the Tabernacle – while they served.  The priests were set apart for service – they followed a high standard of dedication, which certainly led to an awe and reverence for the service they were to perform.

We, in the 21st century, live in a different time and in a different place, than the priests recorded in the book of Exodus.  The blood of Jesus has been offered as the perfect sacrifice, to redeem mankind.  Does that erase God’s mandate to wash, clothe and prepare ourselves to lead in worship?  If we are to prepare ourselves to lead, what does that look like today? 

In your time alone with God this weekend, ask Him to cleanse you, clothe you and set you apart, so that you are equipped by Him to serve His Church.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Following the Leader

Finding a new worship leader, worship arts director or music director can take awhile, and it can be a daunting task.  There are several qualities to look for – moral integrity, musical ability-training-experience, a heart for God’s people and for worship, and an ability to work well with people within the ministry area, as well as encourage and inspire new people to get involved.  There’s also that ‘certain something’ the pastor, the team and the congregation want to see in the new person. 

My first word of advice – never settle on a new leader based upon a predetermined time allotment. WAIT until you feel God has truly brought the right person (or persons) your way.  Once your new leader begins his/her job position, he/she will need lots of time to get to know the expectations of the church leadership and the team, along with the response of the congregation.  He/She will need time to acclimate to a myriad of things, including getting to know individual personalities, participation schedules, and preferred musical style choices.

My second word of advice – support your leader.  If the person you have chosen displays all of the above characteristics when they are hired, then believe in them, even during the challenges.  If the person is the right person, expect many challenges!  Remember – inviting a new director into your church is also most likely inviting a new member into your church.  The member would hopefully be warmly welcomed, and nurtured / encouraged to use their gifts and to grow in Christ.  Others will grow as a result of this new member being in their midst. The new director, in the same way, should be welcomed, nurtured, and encouraged to offer their unique gifts and talents to the team.

I am so blessed to be part of a church that supports their music director.  The unfortunate fact is that all too often churches expect the new worship leader to be ‘just like’ the last worship leader.  All too often churches reject new musical choices or ideas offered by a new leader.  Don’t fall into those traps, or you may miss the opportunity to grow musically, or even spiritually. God has something great in store, when you find the right new leader.

Friday, January 28, 2011


‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many churches look toward other church models.  The grass often seems greener on the other side.

Worship styles come and go.  During the 1970’s and 80’s we saw a move toward simpler song texts.  At the beginning of a new century we see a renewed move toward text from ancient hymns.  A church in the middle of Nashville will probably look nothing like a church in the middle of Los Angeles – God’s truth remains the same, but worship style varies greatly from place to place.

God says in the scripture, over and over again, that He makes things new.  At one point in time, it was part of God’s plan for Israel to live in Egypt.  He was preparing them as a people for a much greater plan. Interestingly, when things got tough for them in the land of Canaan, they gravitated back toward Egypt and the idols of the past.

We need to be trailblazers, not only as musicians and songwriters - but also as followers of Christ.  Life in Christ is all about new.  He doesn’t allow us, or our churches, to remain the same.  He also doesn’t ask us to be something we’re not.  God is constantly transforming His Church so that we can do the specific work we are called to do.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Drop in the Bucket

Have you ever visited New York City?  My husband and I visited some family in Midtown who have a rooftop garden.  One morning, we climbed to the rooftop and made a game of throwing snowballs off the roof.  When we walked downstairs, we looked around to see evidence of the snowballs.

Interesting thing about snowflakes – according to the Weather Channel, it can take up to an hour for a snowflake to fall from a cloud to the surface of the earth.  It didn’t take that long for our snowballs to reach the ground, but a snowball from the roof and a snowflake from a cloud meet a similar fate – they crash and melt!

You might be wondering what in the world does this have to do with worship leading.  Have you ever felt like a ‘drop in the bucket?’  Have you ever felt what you do doesn’t seem to matter?   Do you feel like your songs just crash and melt?

The ‘evidence’ of what we do each and every Sunday morning isn’t found mounted on a wall, or, in most cases, broadcast over the airwaves.  When we do well, our song remains in others’ hearts, and in our hearts, long after the music stops.  What can we experience that can be more lasting than to come into the presence of God, and to allow Him complete freedom to change us?  Although our lives are like grass which will fade, or snow which will melt, the Word of God expressed through us and others will change the world and will continue forever.           

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Unsung Hero

I’ve found over the years there’s an indispensable member of any worship team – the sound guy.  Maybe I should say ‘sound person’ – it’s always been a guy in my churches, but it’s probably a gal somewhere out there.  In one of my previous blogs I suggested you remember to pray often for every member of your team.  Don’t neglect the sound person in this.

Volumes could be written by our sound people on the challenges involved in running sound. All of us need to appreciate the skill set involved in this ministry.  Seek out professional training for your team in regard to sound.   Professional sound techs and sound workshops are available to train those who run the sound, as well as the vocalists and instrumentalists on the proper use of the equipment.

Professionals who train the team will most likely take a look at your equipment and assess what needs to be repaired and replaced.   When replacing something, keep in mind one church’s ‘trash’ can be another church’s ‘treasure.’  Churches south of the equator can make use of older wireless equipment which are no longer allowed here in the States, due to the new federal sound frequency regulations.

We as a team also need to learn to effectively communicate with the sound person during rehearsal, and even occasionally during the worship service.  At rehearsal I normally ask my sound person to use a mic as he leads us through individual monitor checks, followed by an overall sound check during our first song.   The sound person needs to remain attentive at the board throughout rehearsal and throughout the worship service. 

Remember – when something odd happens during the service, it’s often not the sound person’s fault.  It’s more likely an equipment malfunction, a battery needing to be replaced, or something we ourselves are doing.  These situations are usually difficult to re-create afterwards, so as you try to assess the situation, include your sound person in the discussion.

The sound guy is the ‘unsung’ hero because he is the unseen member of all worship teams.  Instead of ignoring him until something goes wrong, lets pray for and support this important ministry.