Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I’m really perplexed by how easily distracted Jesus Body becomes.  I found myself recently crying out for leaders who can lead from the empty place.  

Emptiness brings nothing to the table and goes away with fresh vision and missional assignment and alignment.   

We’ve gotten way too accustomed to expecting God to do exactly what we’ve seen Him do before, through the same methods and people, and in the same contextual boundaries as we’ve always witnessed.
That doesn’t sound much like the God of scripture who never changes in Word or principle, but finds a myriad of ways and people to accomplish His redemptive purpose. 

There’s a line from a Nicole Nordman song called “Legacy” that has impacted me recently:

And you could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all the who's who's and so-and-so’s
That used to be the best at such and such
It wouldn't matter much . . .

I don’t so much want to leave a legacy anymore.  But I desperately want to lead a legacy, a legacy of vision agility.  I believe vision flows from the center out, from a focused target.  I want to lead a legacy of vision mapping that can only be released from the stability of coordinates on a map.  A map the leads us to the intersection of passion and local predicament. 

It demands simplicity.  If our direction comes from broad statements there is too much room for justification of ministry activity, at the expense of growth.  And by growth I mean true health.

Agility comes in the immediate ability to move innovatively and creatively and organically, based on motion towards achievement.

Agility looks to find people that excel and bring quality to functions that supply movement towards those coordinates.  

Missional is the new attractional.   Everyone is doing Missional now.  It will be uniqueness that draws resources in an attractional way.  Agility seeks it’s unique place in culture.  Copycats are cumbersome.

Lord help me find the simplicity of your voice today, and lead me to that place where my predicament meets your passion, Jesus. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wisdom for Growing Worship Leaders

Here are some guidelines I shared with my team for planning and leading worship at the church where I pastor. A few of the things are specific to our church, most of them are universally applicable to growing worship leaders.

Song Selection

Wise song choices can be found in the following;

Worship chorus standards that the whole Body of Christ has sung; as in Heart of Worship, Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord I Give You My Heart, Here I am to Worship, Shout To The Lord etc.

Hymns that have been really main stream and re-recorded throughout the charismatic worship renewal, such as Holy Holy Holy, Blessed Assurance, How Great Thou Art, O Come Let Us Adore Him, Amazing Grace etc.

Modern worship standards like The Stand, Revelation Song, etc.

Yes you can introduce new songs!

Do whatever song you desire, but consider the following.

Can our band learn and effectively minister the song?
Is it a song that blesses you, or one that accomplishes our mission statement?

Please feel free to choose keys that work with your optimal vocal range; knowing that singers will potentially learn different parts. Just try to consider sing ability for the congregation, and accessibility to the band


Be aware of any occasion on the church calendar that may dictate your songs or flow for the day. This is usually posted on planning center.

Make sure any songs on your list, are entered into Easy Worship, (our rear screen worship software) with the correct lyrics and the correct arrangement. Contact my office and I will make arrangements for them to be entered.

Minister with Confidence

Leading isn’t an act of self-deprecation nor a demonstration of false humility. We know your heart, God knows your heart, but the people need to follow you. Command a presence on the platform that says, “I am the leader!” You are anointed and appointed by God and have been delegated that authority by me. So honor that appointment always. And steward the opportunity with grace!

Balance Your List

If you introduce a new song, you need an anchor song to come back to, so the people aren’t left feeling like they couldn’t connect. Use the sandwich method; something exciting to open, followed by a new song, then wrap it up with a standard.

Work the most on effective transitions. Ask these questions where are we going next? and how can we take the people there in an effective manner musically?

Yes by all means “flow with the Spirit!”

Your ability to flow will be directly proportional to the team’s confidence in how to support you during that time. Give a clear expected chord progression and how to get in and out of that progression if necessary. Feel free to quiet the band and sing acapella. (vocals only)


Avoid the “solo” trap. It isn’t your opportunity to give that needy person the solo they have been dreaming of. Solos are always a fruit indicator. They indicate where our heart really lies, if someone can’t live without a solo, they need a heart adjustment. Don’t bear the burden of those issues, rather, endeavor to lead all in a unified, corporate focused manner.

Honor the clock!

The head and spiritual covering for the service is Pastor Walt, Pastor Ralph, or whoever is present and handling transitions for the service. Hit your marks accordingly. Allow your leadership to give you more latitude if they sense it, but don’t take it without deferring to them. This is dishonoring to God, no matter what your sensing in the Spirit may be at the time. Don’t forget God is sovereign and He will take care of His Church.

Be a great leader on and off the platform

Bathe everything you do in prayer. Pray in preparation privately. Lead in prayer before rehearsal, in the back room.

A leaders greatest asset is to put people at ease. Try not to bring undue tension or frustration into a rehearsal setting or any setting for that matter. Keep things simple and you will be more effective in the long haul.

When your service is done, leave all the mistakes or mishaps behind, don’t carry it off the platform or into the next conversation or rehearsal. The past is over. Learn from it.


Get a cd from the sound person, and listen honestly with critical ears. Were you strong in direction? Did you sing the melody clearly so everyone knew where you were? Did you sing on pitch? What could you do to improve? Was the team overall strong? Please don’t make me critically evaluate you, that never goes well. My best effort to point out areas of improvement usually results in a destroyed ego or a strained relationship. If I really didn’t believe you belonged up there, you wouldn’t be up there. If you really want honest constructive feedback I will endeavor to be gracious. But I have found honest self-evaluation has matured me the most as a musician and worship leader.

I will always endeavor to affirm your leadership, and encourage you in a positive way after you lead worship. The main thing I want to express is gratitude for being used by God, and for helping carry and promote the vision.

If you are like me, every time I lead worship, I learn and grow. It’s a personal journey that I can’t force on anyone else. What God teaches me, He may not necessarily teach you. The main thing is, you allow Him to keep expanding and stretching your understanding of being a worship leader.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year's Focus

It is well known by those closest to me that I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.   It isn’t that I don’t think well intended goals and plans are useful.  It is that most New Year’s resolutions are not much more than wishful desires to change the things we have very little ability to change about ourselves.   The result is often a futile endeavor to change our life from the outside in.  Instead, we must find ways to change the inside first and the rest will follow.

I have found that if I set up some New Years value statements, that steer my direction and lift my focus, I end up achieving marked change at the end of the year. You could call them “encouragements.”  I determine not to drive myself crazy focusing on specifics.  In other words, I refuse to sweat the small stuff!

For me personally, I have found that I can’t compartmentalize my vocation and my personal life.  Who I am essentially will determine my success as Father, husband, family member, friend, and leader.  So my value statements normally cover both my life and my vocational ministry.  You may have better success trying to compartmentalize, but it has not worked for me. 

I’ve listed my 2012 encouragements below and included 2 specific goals for my ministry.  I hope they encourage you to find similar statements that will guide you upward in the year to come.

What you won’t find listed (even though they exist) are the corresponding truths from God’s Word that support these statements.  If you do come up with a list like this, I would challenge you to attach multiple scriptures to each one, and mediate on those daily. 


·      Continue to build even when growth isn't evident.
·      Maintain overall healthy relationships.
·      Invest heavily in areas of immediate influence; let it ripple out from there.
·      You are called for such a time as this.
·      Manage tension don't receive it.
·      Put people at ease.
·      Lead from your strengths.

Goals as Worship Pastor
·      A Singing Church
·      Renewable, well equipped teams.