Sunday, May 31, 2009

Session Notes

This past Friday and Saturday I had the privilege to lead a breakout session at a Conference here in town. I (purposefully) didn’t have notes for the session and told the folks there I would post the notes to my blog (in a shameless attempt to build my blog traffic. ;)

The topic I was asked to speak to was “Worship Leading in a Church Plant." I am by no means an expert but merely a guy offering things from my journey in serving in this capacity and learning from others who have doe the same. I would also like to add that this in no ways a "Theology of Worship" as that is not what I was asked to do.

If you are a worship leader, pastor, or starting a new ministry I pray this finds you as beneficial. If you are not, we ll then you just might not be all that interested in this post. Consider yourself warned ;)

Begin Notes
I broke this into 2 Parts and the notes are below. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Worship Leading in a Church Plant:

Part 1 – Vision – why do you do what you do?
Part 2 – Practical – Tensions, Obstacles, Opportunities

I) Vision – It all starts with vision.
As simple as it sounds – What is worship leading?
  • Whether you are in a church plant or leading in a church 100 yrs old -→ you have to be clear on what your vision is
    • You have to start with biblically faithful direction in what you are trying to do / called to do
  • So we start with what is worship?
    • Why? → You’re gonna be sooo busy in this whole thing you will forget what’s really important
  • A common temptation to start is – "if we want to reach these people or worship with these people then we have to sound like… or lead like…"
    • We cant start with – how do we get to sound like:
      • Chris Tomlin, or Hillsong United, Derek Webb, or Shelly Moore Band
        • Those can be preferences
          • preferences come out of Values.. and Values come out of vision…
        • A certain sound can be a preference, but it has to come through vision first
    • This is not just important for you but for your team…
  • What are we doing when we worship corporately – in your own words and can be different semantically – should somehow be able to point to this - “reflecting, remembering, and responding to who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He is going to do”
    • Not – playing good, tight, and/or loud music for God

II) From there (Vision) move to - Strategy – “How are you going to get there?”
  • What is it that you are trying to do? -→ That is Vision
    • Lead people through a worship encounter/experience, to responding to “said vision”
  • How do you do what you do? --> That is Strategy
    • What do you value? As a church and as a “corporate worship team”
  • Authenticity?
  • Interdependence?
  • Excellence?
  • Things to consider when looking for strategy/values/preferences
    • Who are you going to be leading?
    • Who is your church called / positioned to reach?
      • We all would agree we are to lift up Christ, the Trinity, and the gospel so the church could respond – but in what language, in what style
      • Pauls says – to jew I became Jew, to the gentile I became a gentile…
    • What are you becoming as a church
    • How has God gifted you (dont fake something)
This has to be at the heart of your church and It should impact how you do what you do.

Again --> Start with vision (what you do) and from there move to the how

PART 2 - Practical Tensions

1) When do I do what?

So, you want to have the passion Rock band – when do you do it?

When do I add drums? When do I add electric guitar?
• Don’t add drums for 10 people, etc
• Story about hungry band

Point – Don’t do something before you are ready --> There is a tension…. Stretch people but not before they are ready.

necessary -->Prayer and discernment.

2) Recruiting Volunteers

I talk to worship leaders at young churches… and even at big churches, especially when they are starting something new… and a big question is… “ How do I get musicians?”

no definite answer… I can tell you what I know other people have done…

• Daniel Renstrom – Hang out at Crusade (College Ministries - away from home and no local church)
• Jason – hang out in bars…
• Mike Passaro – Wait for Jason to find them and then steal guys form Visio Dei
• Stories – Drum Kit on stage and leave it…
• Pray!!!!
• Pray!!!!
• Pray!!!
• I can remember "telling" God – if he would bring talented and gifted people I would give my all to serving them and teaching them in a way that pointed them towards God honoring corporate worship

Point – No exact way – experiment, be creative, PRAY

3) High Ability low Character / High Character low Ability

This is so difficult… you have guys who you know are dynamite musicians but aren’t just all there…
  • Lack of commitment
  • Lack of character
  • Low view of the gospel
  • Untimely or disrespectful of others
  • Christ follower yet unrepentant

OR – you have a musician/an artist who is the walking picture of Jesus… but is as far from ready to fit into your “strategy”
  • Doesn’t play well
  • Doesn’t understand how to play in a band
  • Style doesn’t fit

This requires a few things:
1) a vision (why are you doing what you’re doing)
2) discernment
3) pastoring / overseeing

Point – There is a tension between not using someone before they are ready AND stretching someone and giving them space to lead. The answer is in realizing there is a tension and not going to one extreme or the other.

necessary --> Pray, run through vision, pastor/shepherd those you lead

4) How do work through expanding your team/vision without burning out your volunteers?

The answer is in shepherding. Reason --> It’s impossible to know how and where to grow your team if you’re not in the life of those on your team.

Things you can do with your team:
  • Eat dinner
  • Have coffee
  • Vision meeting
  • Share time during rehearsals
Then you know what is going on… you can pull people back, pull others in, evaluate where things are.

DO NOT CHEW PEOPLE UP AND SPIT THEM OUT – the church has done this all too much…

Point – Shepherd those God has entrusted you to lead.

As your church grows this will become increasingly difficult yet it is critical in this stage.

5) Develop leaders

another way to expand your team and vision (number 4) is by developing other leaders…

this gets to what your vision is but any leader should be thinking about how to replace themselves….

Our vision at Visio Dei: our vision requires us to develop other teachers / worship leaders (explain)

Much is at stake when we aren't deveolping leaders. One worship leader is not healthy for a number of reasons:
  • We all need a break
  • Refuel
  • Others lead in different ways but equally valuable to your community
  • Only person leaves more room for pride
  • Developing other leaders increases kingdom reach

Point – we all only have so much capacity. Multiplying leaders multiplies your ministry as well as Kingdom span.

6) How do you work through the balance of time involved in starting something new (and having a small team) vs. time at home/family?

Start with your family first and don’t waiver.

Andy Stanly – I will give the church40/50 hours and God will have to do the rest

Driscoll – Do what has to be done… You don’t punch a time card.

There is a balance – No right answer all the time however always --> Start with family.

Point – Balance - Run hard… run long… You have great responsibility. You also have to be sustainable. Serve your family first. Love them, serve them, ask them questions. They will know where the line is. We don’t need any more kids growing hating the church because they lost their dads or moms to the church.

7) Your own personal worship – not of yourself ;)

None of this matters if worship isn’t a part of your life. Truly – we aren’t worship leaders… that is reserved for Jesus and really the holy spirit. We are more accurately serving as “lead worshippers.” (in a corporate setting to be exact)

Here are some good questions to ask yourself regularly:
  • Are you a lead worshipper outside of a corporate gathering?
  • Do you understand the gospel?
  • Are you repentant?
  • Do you confess your sins?
  • Are you worshipping God in the day to day
  • Do worship and Justice connect for you – (explain)

• Matt Redman – “Most likely you can only lead to a place you have gone and are willing to go yourself”

Point - Your church will not follow you on Sunday if they know they wouldn’t follow you Monday through Saturday.

8) Take care of Yourself

Planting a church, starting new ministries, breaking new ground is hard. You will work harder and more passionately than you ever have before. People will question you, doubt you, and maybe even laugh at you. ----> You have to take care of yourself
  • eat
  • sleep
  • workout
  • learn your craft (dont forget to learn and practice)

Point - Planting a church is hard work. Take care of yourself.

Love and Peace,



Anonymous said...

this may be a little late in coming, but you did an awesome job on that session - these are great notes.

also, we want more posts, give us more posts.

Jenn said...

I'm in a worship band that is in need of some serious revamping as far as talent and character go. We all love Jesus with everything in us... we just need... I don't know what yet. lol. Anyway, very helpful post. Wish I had been at the conference. :)