Archive for October, 2011

31
Oct
11

New Ideas from Friends for Ministry

Every time I talk to someone who does what I do (worship ministry in a local church), I try to remember to ask: “What are two of your favorite new songs that you’ve heard recently?” Any song from another source (although admittedly I’m not a real fan of rap music or anything else that doesn’t have a melody) can be worth at least listening to for musical content and style. Listening to all styles and genres of music deepens and broadens our musical horizons.  Otherwise, we fall in to the habit of only listening to a small range of music…only songs that work for us in our church and with our group.

The other question I ask is: “What are two ideas/suggestions that you’ve tried recently that have worked successfully for you in your ministry?” Anything.  Ideas for media, ministry, new groups, new places to sing, new ideas for programs, t-shirts, recruitment, the list has no end.  ANY new idea that you hear about and then employ in your ministry could be the greatest success you have this year.

The whole point of this is (as my Mom used to say) “keep your antennae up!” In many ways, our ministries survive by moving from success to success. Problems and failures inevitably come. Use the down times as opportunities to learn from your mistakes.  And the successful things we experience to help build and develop the ministry of praise in our worship of Almighty God.

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27
Oct
11

Hymns my Mother Taught Me

When I was 4 years old, my mother had my sister and I record a cassette tape for my grandmother where we sang more than twenty hymns. My mother gave us these recordings for the first time about a year ago. As soon as I heard the recording, I got really emotional. We had lots of laughs as well. I thought about how momma instilled these wonderful thoughts in us through hymns as children. Thoughts like…
“On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand”
“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown”
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow…my life is worth the living just because He lives”
And my mom’s favorite, a Spanish hymn she taught us called “Nadie pudo amarme como Cristo” (“No one ever cared for me like Jesus”).

Recently, I surprised my mom with a gift. I decided to record this hymn on our new Spanish language CD. We invited her over for dinner one night and she listened to it for the first time. As soon as the nylon guitar started she recognized the song and tears came streaming down. It was a beautiful moment. We reminisced and had such a great time talking about all the crazy things I did as a little kid.

Recently, I have been sitting at the piano and singing these hymns. It’s been a great time with God and I am constantly reminded of His faithfulness, grace, and love for us through the story penned in each hymn. Thanks for reading today’s blog and I hope to hear from you. If you are interested in the new Spanish language album by CBC go to http://www.cbcmusicstore.com

11
Oct
11

Discovering Diversity at CBC

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Revelation 5:9 …it reads, “and they sang a new song with these words: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For You were slaughtered, and Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.'”

 

I love it that at CBC we get to see that every week when we look at the different nations, languages and generations that are represented in our worship services. It is glimpse of heaven. I think as worship leaders, one of the greatest things that we have to look forward to is discovering diversity within our congregation. Discovering diversity simply helps us reach more people and stay relevant just like Jesus did. Here are a few ways that we aim to help more people and discover diversity each week.
As worship leaders, most of our quality time with our congregation is not when we are on the stage, but takes place after the music ends and we are in the lobby getting to meet the beautiful people that we lead in worship. Nothing is more effective than hearing their stories. A worship leader should be the most approachable person – this helps us approach the Father together. Another way we discover diversity is by trying different styles of music. On a Sunday morning, you will walk into different rooms at CBC and hear Contemporary, Traditional, Latin, Rock, Children’s Music…the list goes on and on. Even though you get different styles, you will hear a resonating theme in all the music and that is…”I love and worship You, Jesus.” Music styles are like different vehicles taking off to the same location. The location we want to go to in worship is…the Fathers heart. I’ll share one more way that we are discovering diversity in our fellowship every week and that is a love for each generation and culture. God calls us to love people. That is the basics of worship and if we have everything else and don’t have that…we are just making noise. I feel so blessed to be a part of a community that loves and respects each generation and culture. I remember the first time Ray Jones, our worship pastor, asked me to do a Salsa song and sing a Spanish verse and chorus. It was such a great feeling to know that I could express worship in a style of music that I had a great love for. I still have conversations with people today that sang Spanish for the first time. Some made new words…lol.
Since we are on the subject, let me take this opportunity to go to commercial break…
We are currently finishing up a Spanish record where you will hear songs from John David Martinez, Lisa Lopez and many other friends. I am really excited about this new Spanish language album. It will also feature songs from our latest projects in Spanish like “God, you are God,” “Loved,” “Great,” etc. …okay we are back…
Just want to leave you with one more thing and that is God created all of us so unique and each one of us brings something so valuable when it comes to discovering diversity and reaching more people for Christ. I would encourage you to use that gift. Thanks for reading todays blog and I’d love to hear from you.

03
Oct
11

How do you find a worship leader?

For many years I have received calls from pastors and search committees asking for help in locating a worship leader that would fit their church.  My initial response is always: what kind of worship do you have and what do you see as the need of your church?  Amazingly, they most often did not know what they really wanted or needed. This is difficult because not truly knowing the church or their culture always hindered my response. Early in my ministry, I would simply give out the names of people that I knew that were looking for a new position.  It did not take long to see that this was a flawed method and several times it ended in a catastrophe. That caused me to mature as a leader and now I seldom recommend people unless I know the church and the candidate well.  Even then, I am always a little nervous about the recommendation because I simply do not have enough background to know if it will work out.

 

Recently, I talked with a friend, Stan Endicott, about a new method of helping churches. It is called Slingshot Group and it is a network of multi-generational, multi-denominational, multi-stylistic people with a strong desire to see the local church and its leaders thrive and move forward.

How this works is thorough and powerful.  They come together, using their different skills and connections to “aim” churches towards health and excellence. They do this by offering strategic staffing & coaching services to churches putting the right leaders in the right spot and providing a conduit for God to work. I love this because everything is done prayerfully and intentionally.

When they began, Slingshot was focused on providing services for worship and creative arts ministries. Recently, they have started to expand to other leadership roles that include children, youth, and executive pastors.

As of this week, I have become one of this team of wonderful people. I believe God wants me to help churches in this manner and I am excited to be involved as a consultant. If you are a church leader, you really need to check this out. Slingshot not only helps you to find staffing, it helps you to really know what type of ministry will be best for your congregation. Our heart is way bigger than being just a staffing company. In everything we do, we want to encourage you, stand alongside you, and resource you. We’re making our online community a place where leaders can exchange ideas, advice, and stories on all things church-leadership while getting coaching, encouragement, and feedback from our Slingshot team.

I would like to ask you all to see for yourself what Slingshot is all about. I really believe you will find this to be an extremely useful tool for your ministry.

–       Like us on Facebook (link to: http://facebook.com/slingshotgroup)

–       Follow us on Twitter: @slingshotgroup  link to: http://twitter.com/slingshotgroup)

–        Check out our website (link to: http://slingshotgroup.net




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