Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The New Normal

I promise you, I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining, but sometimes I wonder if I am a glutton for punishment or just a plain idiot.  As the church has grown, the worship ministry has grown with it.  So, where once it was just me, the pianist, and the choir, we now have multiple worship teams that I am in charge of.  We have 2 Sunday morning worship teams that alternate Sundays, plus the worship choir.  And what a blessing they are!  God has blessed our church with so much talent and with a group that really wants to lead in worship.
But it’s getting to be a lot of people.  I looked at next month’s Praise Team/Band schedule and there are 27 different names on it.  TWENTY-SEVEN!  And that doesn’t even include the choir.  So, in 10 years, we’ve gone from 2 to 27.  That is unbelievable!  And don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for each one of them.  And for the most part, I’ve gotten used to scheduling this many people each month.  They are broken up into 2 teams with Team 1 handling the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month and Team 2 handling the 2nd and 4th Sundays.  For months with a 5th Sunday and our 1st Wednesday services, I just mix and match from the 2 teams.   And the 2 team system seems to be working.  People aren’t getting burned out like they used to.  Plus, we are able to get some of our young people involved.  And they need as much experience as possible because some of us (me included) are getting older and won’t be around forever. 
But now that we are going to 3 Sunday morning services each week (in October), things are changing again.  We are now adding a full Wednesday night service each week.  And that means I get to create another team to handle Wednesday nights.  I already have a few people that will play each week, but the rest will be Sunday morning team members who have agreed to fill-in on a once-a-month basis for the Wednesday night service.  That means that every Wednesday night will feature a completely different group of singers/musicians.  YIKES!  

But here’s the thing.  We don’t have a choice.  Our church is growing and I have to have this new team to put people on to.  Right now, if a new acoustic guitar player or pianist or bass player were to join the church and want to get involved, I don’t have a place for them.  We’re kind of full.  And I don’t want us to ever be like that.  I know of churches where they have their worship team in place and there are no openings.  Like EVER.  I don’t want us to be like that.  If God brings talented singers/musicians to Mt. Pleasant who want to get involved, then I want to have a place for them. 

So, I’ll just keep doing my best to schedule everyone.  This is our new normal.  And in the end I believe it will work out very well.  But until we get to that point, just know that if I have a crazed look in my eyes, it’s probably because my brain is friedJ.

Worship Big!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Worship Moments

As a Worship Pastor who has been leading worship in churches, camps, and conferences for over 20 years; I have a lot of favorite worship moments.  For example, I have been a part of leading in worship when people have made commitments to follow Christ (pretty cool).  I have led in worship when revival has broken out.  I remember one time leading in worship and opening up the service for people to come share what God was doing in their lives.  I didn’t know if anyone would say anything, but people started walking forward and eventually there was a line to hold the microphone and share.  People began to share their struggles and God began to heal and restore their church.  I have also been a part of leading in worship when thousands of people were singing and raising their hands and hearts to God.  It’s pretty awesome to be in a room with that many people praising God.  Another one of my favorite worship moments is the final scene of the Passion Play each year. 
The choir, dressed in their heavenly robes, is singing as Jesus walks out in his regal robes and crown and the crowd stands and cheers.  And even though it’s not really Jesus, for the people in attendance, they are celebrating like it is Him.  It really is something special to behold!

I also have a lot of great memories of times of worship when I was just someone in the crowd getting to enjoy and participate.  I have been to concerts and conferences where the spirit of God moved in a powerful way and hearts were broken and lives were changed.  One of my favorite memories was when Kathryn Scott was singing “I Belong” at a worship conference and the spirit of God fell on that place and just flattened everyone in attendance.  One moment we are standing and the next moment we are all on our knees.  And it wasn’t one of those moments where you see people beginning to kneel, so you kneel as well.  It just happened.  And as we all eventually raised our heads and looked around, we realized that we were all on our knees.  It was Amazing!

But I believe my favorite times of worship are when it is just me in my office listening to worship music.  Often times I’ll find a new song that is really powerful and I will just listen to it over and over again.  I let the music and the lyrics wash over me and eventually the presence of God shows up and I get to experience Him.  For me, this is what it means to “Be still and know that I am God”-Psalm 46:10.  As I get older, my life seems to get busier and busier.  And these moments of stillness get rarer and rarer.  But when they do occur, I enjoy peace and contentment like no other time.

So, these are some of my experiences and favorite moments in worship.  What are yours?

Worship Big!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A New Song

As a worship leader, one of the things that I am always trying to do is figure out how to better introduce new songs to our church.  Well, with this week’s post I am going to try a new method.  Each month the worship team practices/learns/rehearses a new song to introduce to the church the following month.  For example, this past Sunday the worship team introduced “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture for the first time after spending the month of July learning it.  I think people liked it and I know that a lot of people were already familiar with it because the Newsboys version of the song was popular on Christian radio for a while. 

This month we are going to be learning a song called “Spirit of the Living God” by Vertical Church Band. They are one
of my favorite worship groups and are the worship team at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago.  This is a powerful new song of theirs and I really believe that our church is going to love it.  But, unlike “Your Love Never Fails”, this song isn’t on Christian radio.  So, hopefully, introducing it here first will help those who follow our blog become familiar with it before we introduce it next month (September).
To watch the video of Vertical Church Band performing “Spirit of the Living God”, hit the link below:

Worship Big!