Archive Page 3

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

28
Sep
11

Another day, another rehearsal

It’s Wednesday and we are gearing up for another rehearsal. Working with kids mean that you work with a lot of stuff. CDs, t-shirts, lesson plans, CD players, keyboards, song sheets – you name it, we are probably carting it around. Because we have so many kids, we are bringing a lot of stuff to a lot of different places. I like to think of it as the not-so-glamorous part of Kids Choir. It’s easy to get lost in the details of setting up classrooms and hauling carts across the building.

Here’s a little secret: it’s the mundane, repetitive, set-up type things that make it easy for a volunteer to walk into your room and teach a class after working eight hours that day. It’s those signs that you set up outside of the classroom door every. single. week. that put parents at ease when they drop off their child to learn about praise and worship. It’s those crayons inside the bucket you took the time to replenish that make a fun, welcoming activity that starts off the hour just right for the kids around you.

Kids Choir is about praise and worship and teaching children to bury the Word of God in their hearts. Don’t let the smallness of your task diminish the eternal impact you are making on the next generation.

Cart on!

26
Sep
11

Make a List!

Time management – how do we get it all done?  THAT is the Question of the Ages!

I remember an old episode of the television series “M*A*S*H” in which Major Charles Emerson Winchester (the THIRD) tells someone “I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on.”  That may work if you’re a hermit or if you’re the only one in your world, but for the vast majority of the rest of us, we are like the Egyptian mummy, we’re PRESSED FOR TIME (okay, I’m sorry…I couldn’t resist 🙂

I’ve long been a student of the art of time management…and I still don’t think that I have it figured out.  But I keep trying!  I have purchased (and thoroughly read) several books on the subject.  There is one recurring theme in everything that I’ve read: MAKE A LIST. Put everything (big project, little project, single task, multiple tasks that all relate to a theme, etc) and that means EVERY thing on that list.  Yes, priority and urgency are issues, but don’t waste time trying to organize everything in order of importance.  Write EVERYTHING down, as you think of it, and as you complete each task on your list, cross it off.

Each time you complete a task or project, cross it off your list and give yourself a little pat on the back.  You did it – you planned and accomplished that task.  Enjoy your moment of success.  When your list gets to the bottom of a page and you need to add one more item, start a new page.  Put that item first on your next page, then carry over everything on the previous page that you haven’t yet crossed off.

Use a dry-erase board (or a chalkboard if you’re still old-school 🙂 for your office wall, at work or at home.  Writing down a task or a goal forces you to see it each time you look at your list.  Seeing it constantly reinforces the need for you to get it done.  THEN there is the satisfaction of knowing that you have reached a goal and accomplished it.  That’s a huge boost to your self-confidence and your sense of self-achievement.

In our work, most of us are continually faced with multiple responsibilities with multiple deadlines. When you go into any meeting, knowing your own progress in your pursuit of your goals (and being able to report your progress if asked pays HUGE benefits in terms of your self-confidence and the appearance that you give to your superiors and co-workers.

Distraction is one of Satan’s most effective tools to distract us in our pursuit of God’s purpose for our life. He (Satan) uses defeatist thoughts (“I can’t do that,” or “It’s no use,” or “there’s just not enough time to do that”) to keep us from living in the victory of accomplishment…even of the very littlest things in life.

Remember:  We are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37).  Ask God to help you order your life today.  Make a list and get started crossing things off!  Then you can tell Satan to go sit on a tack!  Have a blessed day today in Christ!

20
Sep
11

the underdog.

I played soccer in high school and right before any huge game we would all get together to watch one of the Rocky movies. And every time we saw him take down that huge 40-foot tall Russian in Rocky IV, we thought to ourselves, “everybody thinks we’re gonna get killed, but we know we can do this!”

Whenever you start a brand new program or implement a new system, everyone is watching to see if you can actually pull it off. Some folks are excited to see what God will do, and some folks will think you are absolutely crazy for attempting such a thing. But you know something they don’t.

When God gives you a new vision for something, remember that you are the only one He has anointed with the grace, strength, and that certain strand of fearlessness that borders on insanity to carry the vision out. And while it is your job to cast the vision to your key leaders, there is a reason no one else will ever really see exactly what you see because God gave you the vision – not them! But that’s why they need you in the first place.

I am about to start a new training program for students who want to develop their skills when it comes to playing in a worship band. We are providing an environment for students to learn, plus we have rehearsal deadlines to meet since we are backing up our youth choirs this year. I’ve got 29 students and 12 adults spread out between 2 portables. That’s a lot of teenagers with instruments in their hands. Now I have a plan, but some might think it has disaster written all over it. I couldn’t be more excited, because I can see it working, and it is glorious, loud, fun controlled chaos. God wired me with not only the vision, but the grace and anointing to handle such a three ring circus.

At the moment I do feel a bit like Rocky staring at a really tall Russian dude, thinking – “hmmm..maybe everyone’s right. maybe I am about to get clocked in the mouth!”

But I know that when God gives us a vision, He doesn’t ever drop the ball. Me getting knocked out is not part of His plan. I might find myself on the mat a few times, but I know if I keep the vision before me I will always get back up.




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