worship confessional 1

June 4, 2007

worship confessional 1 – there it is! And just to show that we ain’t scared:

All We Need is You
My Savior My God
On Our Side
Everlasting God
Word of God Speak

05.20.07 (Bluegrass/Acoustic Band)
I’ve Always Loved You
I Saw the Light
Not to Us
Everlasting God
I Exalt Thee
I Love You Lord
I’ll Fly Away

How to Save a Life
The Time has Come
Not to Use
Father Let Me Dedicate
Your Love is Deep

05.06.07 (cool date huh?)
All we Need is You
You Never Let Go
I Stand in Awe of the Presence (How Marvelous)
How Great is Our God
Word of God Speak

All Creatures of Our God and King
Ready Now
Everlasting God

All we Need is You
Everlasting God
Blessed be Your Name
Jesus Paid it All
Word of God Speak

Blessed be Your Name
Everlasting God
How Great is our God
You Never Let Go
Sing to the King

04.08.07 (Easter – also the week we started using PlanningCenterOnline)
Let God Arise
Jesus Paid it All
You Are my King
Christ the Lord is Risen Today (re-arrangement by Alex McLean)
Sing to the King

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worship2So I have been thinking about this over the past couple weeks (and forgive me, but this is mainly for worship leaders, musicians, ministry leaders, etc.), but what are your expectations for a worship service? I think this may be one of the most profound questions we can ask each other, because your answer will reflect what you value in what expectations you put on your teams and your church.

Many worship leaders talk about how they just want to see people “get it”, or “really worship”; some say they want to “see God move”, or “have people cry out”, “be delivered”; some wish that “people would just sing”, or “lift their hands”, and on and on it goes. When you have a great weekend at church – what does that mean? Was the church “getting it”? Was “God moving”? What does success look like?

Here is a little check list that I came up with (so of course it is right) to help get things in order before you define a successful worship service:

  • What is the Vision of your church?
    Begin by taking into consideration that each church’s vision for what the purpose of a weekend service varies. Find out what it is – this should come from your lead pastor, or the core values of the church. Write it down, memorize it, stew on it, pray about it, and let it become a part of you. If you don’t do this, you will never be successful because in your heart you will be struggling against the very core of what God is doing in the church.
  • What is the Vision of your personal ministry?
    What has God placed in your heart? Where do you thrive? What keeps you awake at night and drives you all week long? And here is the clincher: does this line up with the core vision of your church (or potential church!). If they don’t line up, or come very, very close then you have three choices:

    1. Ask God to change your heart (and He will, trust me)
    2. Find a new place to serve/work
    3. Waste years of your life in constant conflict trying to convince God that you are right

    That’s it, as far as I am concerned right now – those are your choices…

  • What are your gifts?
    What areas has God gifted you in? What are you capable of? Are you great at that soft heart warming worship or are you an arranger that puts together parts and harmonies and choirs, or do you just rock? Are you a songwriter, a people person, introverted, easily offended, creative, a leader, a leader of leaders, a multiplier (discipler), immature, confident, etc. Find out what areas God has gifted you – designed you for and take advantage of them. This is not to say that you can’t achieve and strive to be more gifted in areas, or maybe God will chose to use someone with less talent to do a great thing. But for the most part, people excel when they operate in their giftedness.And here is a free tip: ask others about your areas of giftedness & talent – tell them to be brutally honest. We are way to into ourselves to be honest…

Mix those three components together:
Church Vision + My Vision + My Gifting = (determines) Ministry Style

Now check this out:

  • Ministry Style A + Great Execution = Success A
  • Ministry Style B + Great Execution = Success B
  • Ministry Style C + Great Execution = Success C

Does this make sense? Our Vision (what God has placed in our heart) + Our Gifts (what God has placed in our minds) determines our style of Ministry, which meets certain needs in our communities; not every need – thus the need for many styles to fulfill many needs. And of course at the end of the day the same basic need is met: connecting people with a loving and just God. That is success – how we get there is the big question and what we deal with week in and week out. I’ll share my restaurant theory of church sometime soon…

So again, what does success look like to you in your ministry?

Next: I answer my own question…

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“From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near’.” Matthew 4:17

Check out what Matthew Henry’s Commentary has to say on this verse: “This he preached first upon; he began with this. Ministers must not be ambitious of broaching new opinions, framing new schemes, or coining new expressions, but must content themselves with plain, practical things, with the word that is nigh us, even in our mouth, and in our heart. We need not go up to heaven, nor down to the deep, for matter or language in our preaching…This is preached often upon; wherever he went, this was his subject, and neither he nor his followers ever reckoned it worn threadbare, as those would have done, that have itching ears, and are fond of novelty and variety more than that which is truly edifying. Note, That which has been preached and heard before, may yet very profitably be preached and heard again; but then it should be preached and heard better, and with new affections; what Paul had said before, he said again, weeping, Phil. iii. 1, 18.”

In our endeavors to be creative, relevant, and fresh, we can never forget the most basic fundamental message of Christ: “repent and turn to God”, “for it is an unspeakable privilege that room is left for repentance.”, as Matthew Henry’s so eloquently puts it.

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But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. Matthew 3:11

That’s John the Baptist, who in reality was a preacher. He was preparing the way for Christ to come, encouraging people to confess their sins and be baptized. He had quite a following and was creating quite a buzz, so much so that the religious leaders of the day were coming to see what He was all about. Yet in the statement above it would seem like he keeps a good perspective and stays humble.

I wonder how many of us pastors, leaders, or anyone who claims to be a Christian for that matter have lost that sense that we are “not worthy to even be his slave and carry his sandals”? Imagine being the leader of a large successful church, or ministry; or being in the Christian music & worship scene, or being a best selling author…

How tough must it be to remain humble in a world that is constantly looking for the “next best thing”. We idolize our leaders, read their books, build entire ministries based on their successes. We play their songs, go to their concerts, buy their CD’s, and wear their t-shirts. Now I am not one of those who takes the pessimistic view and says that this is awful and we shouldn’t respect successful leaders and learn from them, or even model after them – I am just saying that it is a vicious cycle that we are all a part of that breeds pride – and that is the ugliest word ever.

So the challenge is to stay humble, don’t let pride creep into your life. Pray for leaders, pray for your pastor(s). And most importantly, remember that God is in control and he will always humble the proud and make his name greater than any other name. Remember that the most mundane, insignificant task we do for God is a privilege!

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Well, we did it. 4 acoustic guitars, a mandolin, bass & drums, plus 3-part harmony. It was an acoustic week to remember – I think it was like bluegrass-acoustic-power-speed metal. It was Eagles reunion at Life Church minus the Eagles. As soon as we broke into “I saw the Light”, people were stoked, clapping, singing & dancing – there is something about this music that makes you smile. As Karl so beautifully put it, “I was getting sad when we were playing ‘I’ll Fly Away’ during second service because I knew it would be the last time we would be playing it”. It was a blast, so much fun, and so much work, but totally worth it to share the joy that God has put in our hearts through music. It was a good day. Thanks to Rob, Eric, Gene, Rich, Karl, & Jen for their talent and great attitudes! Here is the set list:

I’ve Always Loved You – Third Day
I Saw the Light – Hank Williams
Not to Us – Chris Tomlin
Everlasting God – Brenton Brown
We Exalt Thee – Pete Sanchez
I Love You Lord – Laurie Klein
I’ll Fly Away – Albert E Brumley

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hokiesPassion is at it again – talk about staying relevant and offering something that could really speak to people in their time of need. They have released an album called “Hope for the Hokies: Songs of Restoration and Hope”. It’s a free download – check out the heart of passion and download the album here.

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worshipThe guys over at www.worshippl.us have put up a “Worship Leading Essentials” list with some really great links and articles. I am making my way through them as we speak, but it looks right on. The first one deals with Life Journaling, which I have just started this year, and while consistency is the key, I have been really encouraged by it and it is becoming a habit that I don’t want to break. Check it out here and leave some comments on what you think.

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