Posts Tagged ‘community


potential in people, not programs

I’ve seen this happen a hundred times and have been a willing participant in it as well:

A person comes up to you and says they play an instrument or sing. You instantly do that thing where you think you can tell by the way they are talking if they are any good or not. You tell them you’d love to hear them sometime and tell them more about your program to see if they’d be a good fit. You do one of the following:

1) take their number and lose it on your desk later,
2) tell them to call your office with the less-than-thrilling idea of a screening,
3) tell them to find you on Facebook and then you lose their message amongst the hundred that are already sitting in your message box,
4) have them play or sing fairly quickly for you right there on the spot and instantly realize they’re either ready for your program or they are not,
5) kick yourself realizing you need a program or a system for finding new players and singers,
6) repeat a combination of 1-5

Trying to find people who would “be a good fit” for my programs (services, choirs, orchestras, bands, etc.) can be a very dangerous dead-end street. If we are constantly focused on the potential in our program, we will only be building the kingdom of our program, and not the Kingdom of God. What about the potential of that person that came up to you? What if we shifted our focus and investment to instantly seeing potential in people instead of programs?

If we don’t have a place for people to go who have potential but are not quite there yet, how do we ever expect them to get anywhere? We send them away thinking they are going to come back six months later magically better and ready to be able to hold their own. No wonder most of them never come back – we never offered them help.

The disciples didn’t have it all together when Jesus invited them to follow Him around. In fact, they were a glorious mess. But Jesus saw the passion and potential in every one of them, and He knew that if He just gave them a place, if He just gave them a chance to learn from Him, they would grow. Never once did Jesus think about the gravity of saving the world and think, “Nah….these guys can’t cut it.” He let them follow along, fumbling a bit here and there, putting their foot in their mouth every once in a while, but they kept learning…so they kept following….and they kept learning…and kept following…do you see the cycle?

The most important students in my band development program are not the students who are already playing main stages here in our venues. They are not the ones who have the best equipment plus the ability to use it well. They are not the ones who can play blindly without charts even if I transpose on the spot. I love all of my students, but the most important students are the ones who aren’t ready yet.

The most important students are the ones who are working hard every week in small offices with coaches just learning how to sight-read rhythm charts and keep up with a song. No lights, stages, or loud amps – just hard work. They don’t know exactly what they’re doing yet, but they are learning more and more every week. And when it’s time, their coach will tell me “They’re ready,” with a big smile on their face. But those students have to have somewhere to go, and somewhere to grow. Those students have to have someone who see potential in them and believe in them enough that they will create a place where that development can happen.

They’re the most important people in my program because they are the future of The Church. Long after my programs are gone, long after I’m gone, there is a good chance these students will be somewhere in the world leading worship. If I’m really going to walk the talk and be a Kingdom Builder, I cannot see every player through the filter of the holes I need to fill in my program. I have to trust God to fill those holes at the right time. I have to have a season where maybe I don’t have a player who can pull off leads like John Mayer.

I have to get my focus off the vision of a stage that sounds perfect and instead have a vision of people simply making it to the next step in their development. Jesus never asked me to turn every student into a professional player. But He did ask me to see them like He sees them, and to help train them and disciple them and give them a chance to connect to Him in worship through their talents. And I’m finding at the end of the day it’s a much better view from up here.


help for the hurting

Because of the wonderful invention of the laptop computer, I’m able to write this blog while hiding underneath the covers in my bed. I’m under the weather and since it’s crunch time around the office with Christmas preparations in full swing, I don’t want to risk getting any of our music staff sick this time of year.

I don’t do sick very well. I miss community, and I don’t like having to isolate myself from the rest of the world. The more time I spend alone, the more I realize how much we were designed to need interaction with other humans.

We are approaching the holiday season, which is a tough time for many people. And while we can all find cause to rejoice in Jesus no matter the circumstance, there are some who will need help discovering the blessing of worshiping our Savior when they feel like their lives are falling apart. And they will not be able to do it alone.

During the next couple of months as you come across people who are hurting, you can serve immediately by leading others to focus on Jesus and stay in community.

Leading others to focus on Jesus:
Worship is literally making God the most important thing – exalting Him above everything else. As worship leaders, we have the opportunity to literally “lead” others to the truth of who God is and the hope that is found in focusing on Him instead of focusing on our problems. Just that shift in thinking can change a person’s whole outlook on life, and might be the lifeline they need to keep things in perspective this season.

Leading others to stay in community:
Whenever I’ve had to endure hard seasons of life, I can tell you that the most valuable thing to me was not advice, opinion, or guidance. It was sitting at a dinner table with others, watching movie marathons on the couch of a friend’s house, or running errands with a friend who didn’t mind if a tear ran down my cheek every block or two. And although we may not be able to drag people out of their houses, it’s important that we do what we can within reason to encourage others to not isolate but rather immerse themselves in fellowship with others when things get tough.

What a great time of year to be reminded that God is literally our hope and our peace. And what a blessing that we can celebrate Him by singing together, breaking bread together, and living life together in a way that is literally the manifestation of God’s love for us here on earth. Emmanuel, God with us!

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