This is for any of you young people who aspire to be a leader in God's Church & God's Kingdom. You want more influence, you want more authority, you want to be a leader one day.
What should you be doing right now, in this season, to prepare yourself to be the kind of leader that God chooseswhen the time of leadership transition comes?
Well the answers are found in 1 King 19. This is the passage where Elijah chooses his successor.
These 6 words should describe YOU as a young leader preparing for future leadership opportunities.
HUMBLE - Elisha was at the back of the pack. Last row. Didn't need to be seen. Didn't need glory. He was just in the back doing his job. Are you humble? Or are you looking for attention? Good leaders are humble: "Lord, you gave your all for me. I am just so glad to be a servant in your house."
DILIGENT - Elisha was exactly where he was supposed to be, where his family expected him to be: in the fields, doing his job! Diligence means doing what you're supposed to be doing, when you're supposed to be doing it, and in the way that you've been asked to do it. It means you're reliable. When someone gives you a task, you're gonna get it done the right way at the right time. Are you diligent? Or are you sloppy or lazy?
WILLING - When the Prophet came and threw his cloak at Elisha, he was ready to follow him immediately. He dropped everything, kissed his mother and father goodbye, and said I'm willing and ready. Are you willing to do whatever is asked of you? "Hey we need help in the Kids Zone." "Hey, we need help setting up chairs at 6am for the baptism". Are you ready and willing to jump in when asked?
WORSHIPPER - The first thing Elisha did, right in the middle of this big life transition, was that he stopped everything and sacrificed his oxen to the Lord. He marked this big life moment with worship and gratitude! He was a worshipper. Are you a worshipper? Or are you just performing?
OTHERS-CENTERED / SERVANT-HEARTED - After sacrificing the oxen, he cooked the meat and fed those around him! He served people. He blessed people. He was thinking about how he could bless others! Do you walk into the church and think about how you can bless people? Are you servant hearted / others minded?
HELPFUL - Elisha went and ministered to Elijah. His life mission while he was in training was to make Elijah's life easier. "I want to serve this man, I want to help this man, I want to encourage this man. I'm gonna look ahead at his needs, and whatever he's going to need, I'm gonna get there before he does and I'm gonna take care of it for him. I'm going to be helpful to my leader." Are you helpful to your leaders in this church?
Let's aim for those things. Take a good self assessment and ask the Lord how you can grow in those areas. You WILL be the future leaders one day...be good ones.
In Psalm 90, David says: "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." When we know our time is limited, we can live wisely.
This time of lockdown and quarantine is a gift. I realize for some of you it’s a hard time. Maybe you lost your job. But God is doing something…and in that sense it’s still a gift. We need to treat this time as special, and precious, and limited.
He’s given all of us extra time in our schedules. The question is, how do we use that time?
My encouragement to you is to take advantage of this time.
You don’t want to come out of this 2 month break going…what did I really do? I binged watched 5 episodes of friends and watched the Mandalorian season for the 3rd time in a row.
What a waste of a precious opportunity! I want you to come up with some big, audacious goals for yourself. Imagine how much better it would be to come out of this time having accomplished some really big milestones in your life. The things that you didn't have time for before, God has given you that time now. How good would it feel to make progress on some things that are actually going to move the needle for you.
For me, I have a few big goals I want to accomplish during this down season. I’ll tell you, to maybe get your gears turning:
1) I want to make some major progress on launching my worship ministry training courses.
2) I want to build an app for our church during this time.
3) I want to build a deck in my back yard
4) I want to fix my back gate
5) Do more fun things with my kids and my wife
For you, some goals might be:
1) Write 6 worship songs for the church
2) Record an album or EP
3) Release 3 video projects to social media
4) Build a website for a side hustle
5) Do an in depth study of a book of the Bible
6) Take online courses to improve on your instrument or camera skills. Use this time to educate yourself!
7) Learn a new skill
Listen…when this is over, we will hit the ground running and start serving our church again. DON’T LET YOUR SKILLS GET RUSTY! In fact, opposite: use this time to improve them even more!
You have an opportunity to get to the other side of this time and be proud of how you used it. Or you can get to the other side and realize you squandered a great opportunity.
This time is a gift. Use it wisely.
Love you guys.
This is a RANT, based out of love. I love you guys so much and I want God’s best for you and for myself.
I want to talk to you about finding rest, making margin and cutting out the unnecessary junk in our life that drains us, so you can focus on the necessary:
A few weeks ago, Lauren shared a focus Friday about how she felt like our team was tired and she encouraged you guys to decline some of our requests if you needed a break. Of course we want you to take breaks, and we don’t want anyone to burn out. She was right in thinking that you were tired because we got a WHOLE bunch of declines over the past few weeks. Again, we don’t mind the declines. If you need a break, take a break.
However, it did get us discussing how the teams in the past at this church would serve EVERY service, ever week, for years and years on end, and that they weren’t burnt out. So why is our team burning out? Why are some of our 20 years olds and 18 year olds feeling burnt out and anxious and full of anxiety? I think it has to do less with the amount that you are serving, and more with the era that we live in! The 21st century, where we are constantly connected.
We live in a time where there are no boundaries any more. There used to be a time when you finished reading the newspaper, there were no more articles to read, you folded it up and moved onto something else. There was nothing else to read until they delivered the newspaper again the next morning. Now there’s infinite scroll. You can keep reading. Or you can jump to a different blog. There used to be a time when all the good TV shows ended at a certain time, and since there was nothing worth watching, you’d turn it off. Now you can keep bingewatching Netflix late into the night. There used to be a time when you went home from work, and you couldn’t do any more work. Now your smart phone follows you everywhere. You get work emails at the beach, at knotts berry farm, in your bed.
There are no more boundaries. The internet is a wonderful tool, but it is has completely obliterated the boundaries of our lives. There is no more sacred space or sacred time. Everything interrupts everything else. It’s no wonder people are feeling tired, overwhelmed, anxious and burnt out. Our brains never get to rest!
Let me tell you, Jesus wants you to rest! "He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Come to me and you will find rest." If you’re feeling tired, maybe you need to stop crowding your mind with worthless, time-wasting, energy sucking things.
If you stay up till 3am watching Netflix 4 nights in a row, of course you’re going to be exhausted! If you never hear from the Lord anymore because you’re brain is always craving a dopamine rush something new on instagram and snapchat, then of course you’re going to feel weary and empty.
Listen, serving God is not something you should cut out. If you’re too tired to serve God, then something is wrong. Serving God should be the 1st priority after abiding in Him. You shouldn’t cut out serving God, you should cut out all the useless cr*p in your life that’s making you tired, restless, and burnt out. You should do a major life audit and evaluation. Look at your phone statistics and be HONEST with yourself! You should evaluate your email habits, put some time limits on your phone, sleep with it in another room and don’t turn it on till 8am AFTER you’ve read your Bible. If you do those things, see if you start feeling better. See if you start finding rest. See if you start to have mental and spiritual margin in your life!
Guys, the fight for our souls is the fight against distractedness. We need to fight to create margin. Fight to have spiritual health.
Paul says we have to FIGHT the good fight of Faith. It’s a fight. Don’t let society or your smartphone dictate how you’re doing. YOU chose to be healthy!!!
Paul says "he disciplines his body and keep it under control.”
So I want to encourage you guys, please fight to make margin in your life. Cut out the junk and do the good things! Spend time in the word. Be at church. Serve the Lord. Love your family. That’s what you SHOULD be doing. All the other stuff, cut it out. Be focused and be healthy, so that we CAN serve the Lord.
Love you guys!
I want to talk to you today about Stewardship. And I’m not talking about Money. I’m talking about using an opportunity that’s been given to you, to the fullest. Capitalizing on it. Crushing it. Being awesome with it.
It’s a biblical principle that if someone asks you to do something, and you do it extremely well, you'll be asked to do it again, and if you crush it again, they’ll probably ask you to do something of even greater significance. Because you’re trustworthy. You’re showing yourself trustworthy to handle more. It’s called stewardship. Good stewardship leads to more opportunity.
In the Bible, Joseph kept getting promoted…why? Because he kept bringing his best to every opportunity. He brought himself fully to whatever lay before him. He worked hard. He didn’t let even the most seemingly insignificant opportunities pass him by. Even in prison, where no one sees you, he was known to be excellent and hard working. That’s why he was promoted to 2nd only under Pharaoh, king of the known world.
Jesus also told teaches us…that if you crush it with 5 coins, he’ll know he can trust you with 5 cities. If you crush it with 3 coins, he’ll know he can trust you with 3 cities. But if you just stink at what he’s given to you, he’ll take it away. He’ll know he can’t trust you. He won’t give you greater opportunities. He’ll actually take the opportunity away from you!
People often ask me, how can I play more in the worship ministry? My answer…do well, with every opportunity entrusted to you. Let’s think about some examples.
If I text you to ask you to lead a song and you don’t respond back to my text for 5 days, and then you show up late to rehearsal, you don’t know the lyrics, and you mess up leading the song during service because it’s obvious that you didn’t practice at all… that’s not stewarding that opportunity very well. Am I going to ask you to lead another song later that month? Probably not. I’m gonna be like nervous to ask you…wanting to avoid the train wreck that happened last time.
But if you come prepared, and prayed up, and lead with power and authority…you really lead the room in worship…you crush it…I’m gonna WANT to ask you to lead again next week. And if you crush it next week, I’ll probably ask you to lead 2 songs. You are being a good steward with the opportunity before you, and because you're trustworthy, I will trust you with more. But if you are laze faire about your opportunities and you don’t bring your best to them, you won’t be someone who is talked about behind the scenes as someone we need to give more opportunity to.
If you’re a worship leader, and we ask you to lead worship for a baptism, and you show up and it’s evident that you’ve worked hard on your set and you lead an incredible, moving, prayerful and worshipful set, guess who’s going to come to mind for the next baptism? YOU!
And if you crush it the next time, maybe we’ll think about having you lead in men’s. And if you crush it for several month’s in men’s and we have a worship leader get sick and drop out of a Sunday PM in the main…guess who we’re gonna think of calling. YOU!
For musicians, if we ask you to learn a lead line on guitar or piano and you show up and nail it perfectly, not just getting the notes right but the tone and delivery…we’re going to have confidence in you and trust you to do it again next time. If you show up and wing it, or don’t know it…we probably won’t trust you to learn the hard parts next time.
That is stewardship. You are stewarding your opportunities with excellence, and because you are doing so, we can trust you with at least the same amount next time, or possibly even more.
Be faithful with every opportunity. Even the little ones. Bring your best. Bring your full self to it. Be a good steward and watch God reward you with opportunity!
Most of you knew Nathan Cimino, the young man who did sound for us for a few months after Steven Clark left. Nathan was the best. What you may not know is that Nathan’s older brother plays electric guitar for one of the biggest alternative rock bands of the past decade, "Foster The People". They’ve had multiple #1 hits, many platinum albums, and sold-out arena tours.
Nathan’s older brother used to always tell Nathan, “In music, intention is everything.” Every note, every hit, every nuance should be purposeful and intentional to bring out the best emotion of a moment.
Think about your favorite records, the ones you can listen to over and over. Those musicians didn’t just walk into the studio without a plan. They didn’t just hit record and “figure it out on the fly”. No way! Every note, every sound, which instrument they used, the tone of their instrument, the velocity with which they played, which fills they used were all mapped out, pre-planned, pre-meditated, pre-determined and agreed upon by the entire band AND the producer that THAT specific part and that specific take was the best thing they could play to communicate what they wanted to communicate in that particular moment of the song.
That is intentionality, and that is why those records are so good, because every detail is mapped out to be the best it could be.
We should be intentional with our musicianship. How long you hold a note, how you get into the note, how you play that note in the first verse, versus how you play it in the 2nd verse, should all have a reason, a purpose, an intention.
That is good music making. There is a reason you are playing it that way. Not just because you can, not just because you want to, not just because you’re “feeling it”. No, “I want to hold the note THIS long and on THIS part of the song I go down here, and on this part I go up here.” That’s how intentional we should be in our art making.
We shouldn’t just haphazardly play through a song. We should think about how what we’re playing at that moment in time is contributing to the emotion that needs to be conveyed in that moment.
This goes for the technical artists too. Those of you in production. How you get a shot. What you do with the lighting. How much reverb you put on the vocals in verse 1, versus how much at the end of a song…should all be done with purpose and intention.
I want to encourage you guys, as we continue to grow together, keep bringing intention, purpose, and attention to the most minute details to your craft. Make everything mean something. Make it communicate what it needs to communicate. Bring that attention to detail that’s going to bring the excellence the Lord deserves.
That’s it for today. Hope this was helpful. Love you guys.
Pastor Jeff recently taught about sowing and reaping, from the book of Galatians, but the concept is also get’s repeated in 2 Corinthians 9, where the Apostle Paul says this: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
If you only put a little in, you’ll only get a little back. If you only work a little, you’ll get little return. This concept applies to so many areas of our life…
Let’s pretend there are two young drummers at our church. They’re both 15, years old, they both have natural talented, and they both want to get better… one drummer practices for 15 minutes a day, and one drummer practices 4 hours a day. Which drummer is gonna be better at the end of a year? Of course, the one that practiced 4 hours a day. Substantially better! If you want to get a good return, you got to put in more seed, which costs more up front. The upfront sacrifice is greater but harvest yields greater results.
Let me ask you: Are you sowing sparingly into your craft? If so, you’re going to not see a good return on the gift the Lord has put inside of you, and entrusted you to grow. He gives talents that we might grow them and give them back to Him as a return. We should all seek to be the very best we can and thus bring honor to the Lord.
Lastly, our spiritual life. If you want a strong spiritual life, you have to sow generously into it. The apostle Paul talks about “TRAINING” spiritually so that we’re strong. That means you WORK at it! You can’t just open your bible app, and skim the “verse of the day”, and call that your time with the Lord. You’re going to reap a weak spiritual life. What if you set aside an hour to dig into a chapter of the Bible, take notes, use a concordance, cross reference scriptures. Don’t you think you might dig up some life transforming gold if you put in the time?
It costs more up front, but the reward is greater.
Don’t deceive yourself: When you sow sparingly into an area of your life, you are only cheating yourself. You are the one who misses out.
So ask yourself, which area of your life do you want to see some gains in? And what do you need to cut back on so you can invest more into that area. God wants to bless you and wants to fill your life with good and abundant fruit, but you have to focus on it, and sow good seed generously into it.
See you at the Worhip Collective on Saturday at 5pm in the MPR! Love you guys!
Why do you do what you do in ministry? Whether you serve as a worship leader, singer, musician, sound tech or camera operator, if we’re not careful we can forget why we’re serving in the first place. We can get into a routine and a rut. We just start showing up because it’s what we always do.
Or maybe we show up because WE get something out of it. It might be good things like fellowship and fulfillment, or it might be more nefarious things like the desire for recognition, or because you enjoy the applause of others, or in some cases because it’s your job here.
But why are you doing what you do?
We should only have one reason for serving in this ministry: Love. Because we love God.
“Lord, we are here because we love you. We wake up early because we love you. We work extra hours on top of our already busy schedule because we love you. We print out chord charts, and set up the stage because we love you and we just want to do this for you Lord. Because you made us, because its your energy we are borrowing, because you gave us your son, because you’ve given us everlasting life with you. We are so grateful Lord. We could never pay you back. We just love you Father. That’s why we’re here.”
“When ministry is hard, Lord we do it for you. When we are tired, Lord we do it for you. You are our motivation, and we could never run out of reasons to serve you.”
We do what we do because God gave it all for us, and we want to love him back and give it all for Him.
Family, that’s why we do what we do. Do it for Him! Make sure your motivation is pure. Our motivation matters!
Last week we talked about how each and every part of the body is valuable, even the parts that are less visible (1 Corinthians 12). Each one of you contributes whether you are on the stage or behind the scenes. The background singers, the percussionists, the lighting people, might feel like they’re not adding much, but if you take them out of the equation, we miss out on some really crucial elements. Every role matters, and no one part is more important than another.
Today I want to give another body analogy. Not only is each part necessary, but the STRENGTH and HEALTH of each part is critical. The stronger each one of us is, the stronger our ministry is as a whole.Your health, your strength, the quality of your contribution matters!
Paul tells us in Eph 4, that “when each part of the body is working properly, it makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Did you realize your health or lack of health affects me? And my health or lack of health affects you! I’m talking spiritual health, and I’m also talking the health of your skill. When you are strong, you make the body stronger. When you are weak, you make our church body weaker.
Let me give you an example:
When I lead worship by myself acoustic, it’s pretty mediocre quality!
But when I add an excellent drummer, and a killer bass player, and an electric guitar player who has developed his tone and his scales, and you add some really great background vocalists who have great pitch and know how to blend, and know when to sing to add to the song…then pretty soon, my mediocre little worship set becomes a very rich, powerful and excellent experience.
With each excellent player added, the whole ministry gets stronger.
That means we each should seek to be getting stronger and stronger. Both in our craft and our relationship with the Lord.
For your craft:How much time do you spend working on developing your skills? How much time do you spend developing and improving your tone? That’s sort of the level we’re at right now. Everyone is doing so great…now it’s the little things like tone, or how consistently you hit your drums, or how you dial in the reverbs…the little things are going to make the biggest difference at this stage. Are you continuing to develop what God has put in your hands and called you to do?
For your relationship with the Lord: How consistent are your quiet times? How deep are they? What are you reading to stay focused on God? How are you fighting distractions and sins in your life? Are you as strong as you can be spiritually?
Your health matters. Each one of us needs to be strong. Each of us needs to operate at 100%to make this thing the best it can be for the glory of God.
When YOU'RE strong, WE'RE strong.Make sure you’re staying strong and healthy, both in your spiritual life and in your musical life.
Note: I want to encourage you guys to try to watch all the Focus Fridays so that we continue to move together in the same direction, at the same pace, with the same concepts in mind. Thank you guys!
The church is called the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that each one of us is a part of His body. We are all body parts.
Just as each part of your physical body is designed with a purpose and a function, so too each one of us in the body of Christ have a specific purpose and a function.
In our worship arts ministry each of you plays a specific purpose and function.
Some of us are in more visible positions, like singers, musicians, pastors, preachers, people on stage. Others of us would be in less visible positions… behind cameras, lights, computers, and director boards.
But I want to encourage us: Every part of the body is valuable, regardless of how visible it is. The visible parts, and the invisible parts, are equally valuable.
The visible parts of the body are not any more valuable than the invisible parts. In fact, in many cases the invisible parts are even more valuable than the visible ones.
For example, would you rather have hair on your head, or a heart in your chest? The hair is visible, the heart is invisible, but you cannot live without your heart. The heart is more valuable than the hair (even though the hair makes you look pretty). :)
Imagine a church service without the sound guy! You never see him, but it would be hard to do church without him!
Don’t feel discouraged if your role is less visible than someone else’s. Your role is still incredibly valuable!
Let me highlight two examples of people who have invisible roles, but who add a lot of value to the body of Christ:
Walter Lyles:Walter leads our stage team: He, LaMonte, Vince, and Taylor set up the stage every Sunday. Walter says, “Alex, I don’t want you doing any work on stage. I need you to save your energy so you can lead the people in worship!” You see, Walter and the team are incredibly valuable to the church, even though no one ever sees them.
Linda Kalamahelps me plan a bunch of events and hosts team potlucks at her house. No one ever sees Linda on stage, but through her invisible service, she helps knit the team together and cause us to know and love one another more. She is invaluable, even though she’s invisible.
So if you’re discouraged, thinking “What do I really contribute to the church? nobody sees it or celebrates it.” You know what, it matters. And more importantly, God sees it!Your role, even if it seems like it’s not that big or important. It is! Your body can’t survive without the liver, or the spleen! You need the invisible parts to serve their purpose and fulfill function. They are all valuable and you are valuable.
You are all valuable!
A few weeks ago I came across this passage in John 15, where Jesus says:
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
“By this my father is gloried.” Do you want to glorify God? Jesus tells us how. By bearing much fruit. What kind of fruit? Apples and oranges? No, of course not…
I think there are two kinds of fruit that we can derive from scripture: 1) is the fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.
The fruit of the Spirit is given to us when we abide in Christ. When we’re abiding in the vine, these fruit naturally pop up on our branches. So assess your fruit, ask these questions:
Are you bearing the fruit of the spirit in your life? Are you loving, or spiteful? Are you joy filled or grumpy? Are you full of peace, or full of anxiety? Are you patient, or are you hasty? Are you kind, or are you mean spirited? Do you dwell on good things, or let your mind go to wicked things? Are you gentle or harsh? Do you have control over your emotions and desires? Or are you impulsive and do they own you?
So are you bearing the Fruit of the Spirit?
But also, the 2nd fruit is are you reproducing other disciples? God’s first command to humans was "Be Fruitful and Multiply". Jesus’ last command while on earth was "Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to do all that I have commanded."
The only thing we are called to do in ministry is make disciples. Everything we do is about disciple making…We are called to love God and love people and teach others how to love God and love people.
Sometimes we overcomplicated our ministries. It’s never been about the music, or the technology, or the sounds, or the gear….are we helping the people around us become more like Christ? Are we modeling the Christian life for them? Are our words being used intentionally to encourage and spur one another on towards love and good deeds?
Are we helping the people we serve with become more like Jesus? And are we helping the people we serve to become more like Jesus? The people alongside of us, and the people under us?
If we aren’t making disciples, then we should just shut down the whole church.
Let’s be focused on what really matters…the fruit of the spirt, and the fruit of disciple making…. and when we do these things, we will glorify our Father by being fruitful.
In music, they say melody is King…meaning everything that happens in a song should support the main melody.
In worship music though…lyric is King. Melody is still important, (perhaps it’s the queen), but lyric is King.
Why? Because if we’ve chosen our worship songs wisely, the lyrics of the songs are filled with the truth of God’s word, and it’s the truth of God’s word that transforms our people’s hearts, strengthens their faith, convicts them of sin, comforts them in their trail, and lifts their eyes to see Jesus.
So it’s our job, as musicians and technical artists, to make sure we are always supporting the lyric. We want to bolster the lyric, strengthen the lyric, enliven the lyric, and enrichen it by our artful skill.
There’s a negative way and a positive way to do this.
The negative way is to not distract from the lyric. For example: if the lyric slides are late, that’s going to distract the congregation from the lyric. If the lights are flashing out of context, that can distract from the lyric. If the piano player or electric guitarist are playing their own melodic lines that interfere with the clarity of the melody that’s a distraction from the lyric. So firstly, we never want to distract from the melody and lyric.
But more importantly, we want to ENHANCE the lyric.
How do we do that?
Well, it means matching the emotion of the lyric. For pro-presenter, is the song joyful? Then use a fast bright background. Is it worshipful and moody, then use a slower darker background. Is it about God’s glory in creation? Then use a mountain or ocean or field graphic. Same for lighting…is there a big part of the song? Then use bigger lighting moves and bolder colors.
For singers…if the lyric is tender and intimate deliver it with tenderness and nuance. If it’s big and bold, deliver it with power!!
For drummers and bassists, make sure your rhythms support the phrasing of the lyric…that it sits underneath the vocal timing and meter of the words to match and bolster it.
For piano players and guitar plays, don’t play across the melody. Maybe pick notes and timing that can come it a different parts to support the melody, or play core hooks of the melody along with the singer. Support the TONE of the lyric with the tone of your guitar or tone of your piano. There are many piano sounds now available to you, don’t just use the same one for every song!
So guys, as worship artists, our goal should always be to support the lyric in all that we do. Match the emotion of the lyric and draw out the essence it’s trying to communicate. The clearer we communicate the lyric the better…because we know the lyrics have the power to change hearts and lives. Let’s do our best to keep this in mind each time we are scheduled to serve our church through song.
We have a lot of new people in our ministry serving in our various venues. Welcome everyone, if you're new!
As new people get added to the ministry, they might not know that we have 7 core values that drive who we are and what we do. If you've been a part of the team for a while, do you know them by heart yet? Take a listen to the list, and try to memorize them. Also determine one or two areas that you believe you need to work on in this season to become the best team member that you can be.
WE ARE WORSHIPPERS
Our relationship with God and desire to honor Him is the number one priority in our lives.
Our hunger for God is something we seek to ever increase.
Our public ministry is the overflow of our individual relationship with God.
We long to be more like Christ and increase in our personal holiness.
We have daily rhythms of worship through Scripture reading and prayer.
We actively fight against sin in our lives.
We hold each other accountable to God-honoring standards of living.
WE ARE SERVANTS
We are humble.
We seek to excellently use our craft to draw attention to Christ and away from ourselves.
We choose simple, tasteful excellence over flashy extravagance.
We put the needs of our congregation above our own stylistic preferences.
We love to help.
We see things that need to be done and do them without being asked.
We receive feedback and coaching with humility and grace.
We are willing to serve wherever there is a need. There is no task or venue beneath us.
We are humble, teachable, and open to learning from one another.
WE ARE COMMITTED
We are committed to our church family and attend church even when not scheduled to serve.
We show up on time (or early) for services when we’ve been scheduled.
We do not have a habit of cancelling or backing out of responsibilities last minute.
We have spent time practicing and know our parts before we arrive to rehearsals.
We remain mentally and spiritually engaged during our responsibilities. We are “on the ball.”
We attend all team meetings and make it a priority to be at other events related to CCSB Worship Arts.
We are committed to doing everything with excellence, every single time, because God deserves our best.
We pay attention to detail.
WE ARE ENCOURAGERS
We build each other up with our words, actions and attitudes.
We do not gossip or talk bad about team members or congregants.
We speak well and supportively of our church and our pastors in public.
We encourage our congregants both on and off the platform to worship God with their lives.
We use our stage presence, body language, and countenance to encourage the congregation and spur them on in worship.
We identify and train up the next generation of worship musicians, leaders and technicians and help raise them up in their craft and calling.
We share our knowledge and experience to help others succeed.
We help others surpass our own giftings and abilities.
We give praise generously to others.
WE ARE FAMILY
We love each other and love being together.
We do fun things together.
We eat, play, laugh, cry, and pray together.
We share each other’s burdens and pray regularly for each other.
We communicate openly and honestly about our opinions and feelings with one another.
We respectfully disagree with each other and carefully consider other’s points of view.
We desire the overall success of our team and are willing to pitch in to contribute to that success.
We need each other.
WE ARE CREATIVE
We use art and creativity to draw people’s attention to God, enhance His truth, and stir people’s souls.
We seek to paint the beauty of the gospel in new and fresh ways.
We bring new ideas to the table.
We dream, take risks, and think outside of the box.
We are not afraid to innovate, experiment, and try new things.
Our art rivals and surpasses the ungodly art of the world in excellence and craft.
We come up with creative solutions to problems we face in our ministries.
WE ARE PROGRESSING
We are constantly seeking to improve upon our skills because we desire to bring God our best.
We practice and research our craft at home.
We are self-starters, who take initiative to make things better.
We never settle for mediocre.
We pursue excellence because it points to a God who is excellent.
We continually raise the bar for our ministries, making each week better than the last.
We are up to date and modern with musical trends and technological abilities.
We are expanding our knowledge into other spheres (ie: learning new musical instruments, learning sound).
Do you ever feel unworthy to serve God?You show up to church to play or sing or operate your equipment, and you have feelings of guilt and shame and an awareness of your unworthiness? Maybe you blew it big time that week, and shame is just hanging over your head.Or maybe it was something small, but you knew better than to do it and yet you did it anyway.
The guilt and shame and accusations can be overwhelming and you can think…God can’t use someone like me. God WON’T use someone like me.I’m a failure. I’m a fake. He won’t bless the work of my hands. I know those feelings well.
*Satan is the accuser. His name literally is a title…not a name. The title is Accuser. Satan accuses us. He is the one who whispers, “unworthy…”.*
But the truth is, you and I ARE unworthy! We are sinning 24/7. All day every day we are falling short of the glory of God.We are totally depraved.
We are more sinful than we can possibly know…but we are also more forgiven than we can possibly imagine. As far as the East is From the West, so our God has taken our transgressions away from us.
Every time you step foot on stage, or take your place to serve, you ARE unworthy to do it. We are unworthy servants. You never will be worthy to do it.…But guess what….God LOVES His church and He is committed to building His Kingdom in spite of us. He will bless His Church in spite of us, not because of us.
In Deuteronomy 9, God reminds Israel of this very fact…listen to this:
After the Lord your God has driven out the peoples before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
God is saying, “I’m going to do this for MY name’s sake. I’m going to do this because of who I am. My nature. I’m going to bless my people. My church.”
It is God’s job too bless.
So, when you feel unworthy to serve, Remember that you ARE, but you are forgiven and loved, and God will work to bless his church in SPITE of you. He just needs you to show up in humility and reliance on Him. He will work.
I want to talk to day about excellence.
About a year ago I went out to lunch with the music director for Hillsong LA to ask him some questions about how they achieve such high levels of musical and technical excellence. He said that their volunteers WANT to bring excellence, because they know God is worthy of the very best we can bring to him. He gave his very best for us, so we should give our very best to Him. It’s like the little drummer boy song “I have no gift to bring, that’s fit to give a King…so I’ll play my best for him.”
But anyway, one of the things he said was this… If your favorite artist called you up and asked you to go on tour with them, what would you do? Well, first you’d freak out!!! But then you’d go home and practice, practice, practice until you got it perfect. You’d upgrade your gear. You’d think about it day and night, and prepare so you could bring your very best for that artist. Then he asked me a question…"Why would we give God, the God of the universe, any less than that?"
Wow. I was floored. Lord forgive us for giving you our left overs…both of our time, our heart, but also our abilities.
Let’s approach our craft as if we were playing for the God of the cosmos…because we are!
Not everyone on our team gets to serve each week. So what should you be doing on the weeks that you’re not serving?
Answer: Preparing. You should use the time when you’re not serving to prepare for the weeks that you ARE scheduled.
That means both spiritually and practically.
*Spiritually:* On the weeks you’re not serving, make sure you are spending time with God. Be in the word. Be in prayer, be in fellowship with other believers having conversations about God. Maybe even try fasting.
Use your time off to fill up spiritually. That way when you step into your role of service, whether you’re on the stage or behind a piece of gear, you will be operating in the Spirit’s power. True power in our service only comes from being filled with and operating out of the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 says, “be filled continually with the Holy Spirit.”
When you’re off, use your time to fill up Spiritually. Then you’ll be more effective when you’re scheduled.
*Practically* Also when you’re off, spend time preparing practically for the next time you’re going to serve. If you’re a musician, learn the songs, and learn your specific parts perfectly so you’re ready for service. But also, spend time working on improving your craft and your tone. Spend time working on your skillset. Watch videos on how to improve. Read articles. Get hands on time. I recently interviewed a guy from another church, and he said, it is not our responsibility to help all of our team members improve. That is their responsibility, and the ones who are actively working on improving their craft are the ones who are more effective. I agree with him. If this is you’re calling. If this is what God has called you to do. Why would you not want to improve and invest the time and resources to do it to the absolute best of your ability?
Those are the things you should be doing when you’re not on the schedule.
As artists we can sometimes view our art as an extension of ourselves. This makes us particularly sensitive to criticism, because if somebody doesn’t like what we do, or asks us to change something in our art, we can be hurt, offended, and take things personally.
It’s understandable, but in the church, this shouldn’t be our attitude. In the church, God has gifted us with our abilities for the purpose of SERVING.
Serving means doing what’s needed. There’s no ego, no agenda, no strings attached to serving
Serving means, “I’ll do whatever, whenever, wherever, however. I’m just here to be a blessing."
Often, I’ve worked really hard on a set, and arrangement of a song, and Pastor Jeff will tell me on Sunday morning, that he needs more time for his message, and he needs me to cut a song. My response should always be, “No problem. I just want to be a blessing. I’m here to serve, so whatever you need I will do.”
If I ask you to sing or not sing a certain way, if Stuart asks you to direct or not direct a certain way, if Steven asks you to mix or not mix a certain way, your attitude should be, “Of course! I’m here to serve. Whatever you need! I just want to be a blessing.”
Ask your leader, “What do you need me to do? How can I help? How can I be a blessing?”
“Do you need singers in kids zone? Of course, I’d be honored to use my gifts there. Do you need more musicians in marriage ministry? Of course! I’d love to bless the church in that way. You want me to take the mic off stage during the sermon? I’d love to help in that way. You want me to not play that fill? No problem, whatever you need.”
That is a servant mindset, and again, we’ve been gifted to serve.
Let us be willing to do whatever, wherever, whenever, and however.
If we all learn to say those 4 things, and mean them, our ministry will be filled with many servant minded ministers.
Ok. That’s it for today! Love you guys!
I want to encourage you guys with a simple phrase. Memorize it. Keep it in mind each time you serve.
The phrase is this: Pray while you play.
What we are engaging in is a spiritual work. We aren’t just playing music, we are teaming up with God to do a spiritual work in people’s lives. We aren’t just musicians, we are ministers.
What you may be doing is physical…hitting a snare drum, pointing a camera, clicking a keyboard, pushing a fader…but what God is doing through that is completely spiritual in nature.
Each time you guys serve, God is doing something miraculous in the room. Hearts are softened. Faith is awakened. Doubts crumble. Sin is confronted and repented of. Lives change. The Church is strengthened. People are kept on track. Or brought back from the brink.
I want to remind you to connect the spiritual to the physical.
When you stand on stage, or when you sit behind the console, or the camera or the computer, you are engaged in a spiritual work.
Let’s remember to pray while we serve. Pray while we play. Pray while we do our task.
Jesus said “if anyone abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.”
Abiding in Jesus means praying continually, and relying on Him in every moment. This couldn’t be more true than in the moments we are serving.
So next time you’re serving, pray for the people sitting in the pews. Ask God to give you His love for them and to see them how He sees them. Ask God to do miracles in their lives. Ask God to bring healing, protection, guidance to them.
I promise you, that when you and I serve, while being connected to God through prayer, the Holy Spirit will do incredible things in the lives of our church members, and our church as a whole.
So remember, pray while you play.
I wanted to encourage you that when you guys serve, you are doing SO much more than simply playing music or pro presenter or shooting video, or doing sound. Each week you serve, you are making disciples; and you are doing it in two specific ways.
1) You are helping people express their praise to God. You are giving them words that they may not have been able to articulate on their own. You are allowing their spirit to connect to God’s Spirit. You’re giving a language of praise and worship that allows them to pour out their hearts to God.
2) You are also pushing the Truth of God’s word deep into their hearts. The lyrics that you help people sing, are going deep down inside of people and carry them through trials, troubles, and tribulations. Those truths will sustain people in ways you may never know. It’s possible they may never even know!
As you serve, you are encouraging people to continue believing, to continue trusting, to continue obeying. You are strengthening their faith. You are making disciples.
What you guys do matters. Thank you for doing it so faithfully.
In creativity, excellence is found in the details. It’s the tiniest things that make the biggest differences.
Anyone can hit a snare drum, but how you hit a snare drum is the difference between a professional drummer and an amateur.
I was talking to someone who does product photography, and they were saying that they literally obsess over every detail of the photo, moving the props by 2 millimeters until they’re just perfectly laid out. They said, people will purchase or not purchase a product based on how artistically pleasing the photo is.
It's a subconscious decision.
Our brains and our souls are wired for beauty and for art, and it's the details that matter.
Last Sunday Jesse and Mikey were playing and in 3rd service they were doing these tiny little nuanced things, like hitting a lead in note before the chorus, or sliding up with just the right amount of speed and intensity to make the moment feel perfect.
In videography, things like matching the edits with the time of the music, or adding sound effects to mimic the visual transitions. No one would say that they specifically noticed those tiny details, but they do feel it.
In graphic design it is adjusting a specific color until it’s just the right hue to match the other colors perfectly. It's obsessing "No, it needs to be a tiny bit lighter, a tiny bit brighter."
I know in professional music production, producers will have a singer sing 20 takes of the verse and they sill say “I like the end of this word and I like the middle of this phrase, and I like how you pronounced the S on this take, and I like how you swooped this note, and he will stitch every nuance together into the perfect take. That’s what you hear on the radio.
Why the attention to the details? Why such precision? Because the details actually matter. The details make the difference.
Art can reach these amazing transcendent moments that are almost, forgive me for the term, magical. When everything just coalesces perfectly and is executed just right, it points to a reality beyond the art, beyond the moment, beyond the creativity, to Creator God Himself.
It is beauty, and excellence, and emotion, and inspiration all hitting at the right time, because artists had such control over their craft that they were able to bring about just the right action at just the right time.
The details are the difference between mediocrity and majesty. Between crude noise, and beautiful music, or between an image, or an artistic work.
So, as you serve in this very creative ministry, ask, how can I take my craft to the next level? What are the little details I can focus on as I operate the camera, or play my guitar, or swell the cymbals, or sing? Maybe you need to take some lessons, to learn how a professional holds his drum sticks, or sets his camera ISO, or dials in his reverb.
What are the little things that are going to take it to that next level. It's probably only a 10% difference in skill between an amateur and a pro, but it's that last 10% that sets them apart.
We aren't crude workers building with brick and mortar. We are artists and artists obsess about the details because we know it's the little things that make the biggest difference.
A couple months ago a friend of mine was playing drums for a worship set. I was playing bass and also music directing. It was obvious that he had not prepared his parts, and was making things up as he went along. As the music director, I had to give him a ton of input to get him to play the parts that would work best for the arrangements that the rest of the band were playing. You could tell he was frustrated with not getting to just play whatever he wanted. We got through the service and he played the parts we rehearsed. Afterward he came up to me and said, "You know…I really hated that, but I realized that those parts really helped the people worship and connect with God more than the parts that I wanted to play."
We had a really good conversation about the purpose of music in worship. He said, "I had to realize that worship is not my creative outlet to play whatever I want. It’s my chance to serve the body by playing what’s going to best help them worship God. It is sacrificial in nature, rather than selfish."
I understand that as musicians you may want to play something crazy, or challenging, or really out of left field, and while that might feel good for you, it is almost never good for the people who are sitting out in the congregation worshipping. When you play whatever you want without thinking of how it is affecting the song, or the people in your room, that is a very self-centered way of playing. It feels good for you, but is not good for anyone else. It is selfish playing. We are called to self-less playing. Laying down our preferences to serve the greater good.
So when you pick your parts, make sure you are playing not in a way to draw attention to yourself, but to draw attention to God through the simplicity and tastefulness of your parts.
Remember, worship is not your creative outlet. It is your place of service. So play selflessly, not selfishly.
I have been reading in the book of Numbers, and if you’re anything like me, sometimes the Old Testament can be pretty boring with all the Levitical laws. But I’ve found that God always honors His word and if you stick to it and keep reading He always shows you something from it. His word never returns void. Just an encouragement to keep reading the Word even when you don’t feel like it. Anyway….
In Numbers 18, it’s talking about the Levites, the ones who were the priests. Those who fulfilled the duties of the tabernacle or temple.
It says that the Levites didn’t get an inheritance. All the other tribes of Israel got land, but the Levites don’t get any land. It says the Lord is their inheritance, so they don’t get any land. That means, they don’t have any land to cultivate, they can't grow crops or have livestock and all those important things.
So they have to rely on the Tithe of the other Israelites for their provisions. The rest of the Israelites are commanded to bring 10% of their stuff to the Levites to live on.
The interesting thing is that in Numbers 18:25, it says: “The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.”
God tells the Levites, “That little bit that you get from the Israelites to live on, I want you to give me 10% of that as an offering. And not only that, but…”
*V29 You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.*
So when the Israelites give 10% of their stuff to the Levites, the Levites have to go through and pick out the BEST and holiest parts. They go through and pick the best sheep, the best lambs, the best goats, the best grain. The best everything. And they’re going to present that to the Lord as the Lord’s portion of what they’ve been given. The little bit that they’ve been given, they give the BEST to the Lord.
So what does that mean to us? It means a lot of things.
Are you bringing the best to the Lord? Even of the littlest things that you have?
We are all very limited on time. We can all say…"I’m very busy today, so I don’t have time to read the Bible this morning.”
But this passage reminds us that even when we have very little time, when we are limited on resources, we should give the very best, the FIRST to the Lord.
So are you giving the Lord the best of your time? Does He get your attention in the morning? Or does instagram, or snapchat, or email, or your task list?
It also relates to our talent. Maybe you feel like you don’t have a ton of talent. But with the talent that you've been given, are you working to bring your very best portion to Him, as HIS PORTION? To serve Him? Are you preparing musically, spiritually? Are you practicing your craft? Are you bringing your best to the Lord?
So I just want to encourage you. In everything, God deserves our best. I know you know that, but let’s just continue to say, “Lord you deserve our very best, and we’re going to bring it to you to bless you!”
There are so many things I learned in Israel, but maybe the most eye opening and impactful was seeing the life-sized replica of the tabernacle in the wilderness of Zin.
It’s so helpful to see it with your eyes, and understand what it all means.
First of all, did you know the concept of having a mobile God was completely unique to the Israelites? All the other gods of the ancients were gods who dwelled up on mountains or in caves or under trees. You had to go up to visit the god in his dwelling, and appease him with a sacrifice so he would give you success or children, or whatever you wanted. But Yahweh was different, He chose to dwell in the midst of His people. He chose to dwell among them, to tabernacle with them, to camp amongst them and go wherever they went. God wanted to be with people.
But God is also Holy…thus all the rules. He was WITH the people, but He was also separated from them.
Did you know the Israelites NEVER were allowed to see the ark of God’s presence? They couldn’t see it.
God’s presence was separated from the people by the veil that led into the Holy of Holy’s, that veil’s name in Hebrew is Separation…the veil is called, the separation. That’s because God is so perfectly Holy. He is separated from sinful humanity.
Even when the Israelites took the tabernacle down to travel, first they used the veil to cover the ark of the covenant from the outside, so they didn’t see it. Then they covered it with 2 other layers of material. Only then would they carry it. But they could not look at it.
That’s why God commanded sacrifices be made, so that people could deal with their sin. But every single time they sinned, they had to bring another sacrifice. The role of the priests was literally endless. Every day, every year, they had to continually offer blood sacrifices to pay for their sins. And still God was separated from the people by the veil. They couldn’t be in His presence. Once a year, the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, to make the sacrifice of atonement. But even then, before going in, he had to fill the holy of holies with the smoke of incense so that He wouldn’t see God’s actual presence.
God wanted to be with people, but we were separated by our sin. Enter Jesus the Messiah. The anointed one. The perfect human. The perfect lamb of God. The perfect sacrifice.
Unlike bulls and goats, He was able to fully stand in the place of sinful man, because He was man. Since He had no sin of His own to pay for, He was able to pay for ours.
Jesus, the great High Priest, stood in our place, and offered Himself as the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. Dying on the cross, paying the penalty for our sin, He cried out IT IS FINISHED, and with those words, the ground shook and the VEIL of separation in the temple was torn TOP to BOTTOM. God ripped it open and His presence was free to be in the midst of humanity.
Now the Holy Spirit can dwell in the hearts of sinful humans, because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. There is no more separation between God and man, and we can know our creator, face to face as Adam and Eve did in the garden.
The veil was torn, the work is finished, Christ is in us. It is indeed Good Friday..
The body of Christ is a beautiful and diverse place. There are so many wonderful and unique gifts…and each one of us has been gifted to serve in unique and special ways. But sometimes within the diversity there can be a competitive spirit.
I don’t see this right now in our ministry, but I think it’s worth teaching about as a preventative measure, because a competitive, ego driven nature is part of every one of us, whether we like to admit it or not. We get attached to our roles, and we find meaning and value in them. As more and more people get added to our team, competition and insecurity can begin to creep in.
When someone comes along who serves equally well, or even better than us, it can cause insecurity, resentment and competition in us.
Instead of celebrating that gift given by God to bless the body, we feel threatened, or insecure, or territorial.
This is silly. We should want the church body to be the most blessed that they can possibly be…whether we are the ones rendering the act of service, or someone else.
I recently read this passage in Numbers and it jumped out to me. Moses gathered 70 elders to the tent of meeting so that the Spirit of God could anoint them to help him lead the Israelites:
However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
Moses wanted EVERY single person in Israel to have the full measure of God’s prophetic gifting. He wanted EVERYONE to be operating at the highest potential. He was not concerned about His position, because he knew that the more people were filled and equipped by God to serve the community, the stronger the community would be.
Moses was not territorial about his position. His security and identity was in God. We should all be that way. We should serve in our position with open hands, and be willing to serve wherever God opens a door for us. We should elevate and celebrate others.
If we have that mindset we will ALWAYS find places to serve. I recently read a quote that said, if you want to be lifted up, lift someone else up.
As we make room for more and more people, as we elevate and celebrate, the body of Christ will be most blessed, and the outward expansion of the Kingdom will go out further.
As our team continues to grow and more and more people are added, we should celebrate, not compete with one another. If someone can do something better than you, praise God! We should not hold tightly to our positions, but seek to see the body blessed to the highest degree possible.
We should be secure enough in our identity in Christ, that we aren’t insecure about our position in the church.
Let’s be a team the celebrates, not a team that competes.
You and I live in our heads. No body knows the thoughts that spin around up here except for you and the Lord. Thinking is internal, but it never stays internal. It always spills out into external. So how you think is how you live. You’re thinking leads to living.
The last week or so I’ve been stuck on some unhealthy and even sinful thinking. I don’t know if the devil put the thoughts there, or if it’s just my own wicked heart. And I don’t know about you, but he usually takes me through a few rotations and cycles of the unhealthy thought pattern. It’s something that we have to identify and then consciously break. The only way to break the lies is to take the thought captive and replace it with truth.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ 2 Cor 10:5.
That is an active choice. We identify a thought as false, as untrue, as ungodly, as sinful, and we say. No….I’m stopping the cycle. You aren’t allowed here. I’m going to remove you. I’m going to put you off to the side. I’m going to contain you in your own little jail cell. That is what we have to do, or the devil will spin a thought out of control and he’ll keep us wrapped around it.
Thinking always grows into action. That’s why Jesus said that the seed of adultery is lust, and the seed of murder is anger. When we don’t stop the thinking it grows, and eventually manifests in our outward actions.
Pastor Jeff recently told a story about two dogs. A good dog and a bad dog. The dog that wins the fight is the dog that you feed the most. The more you feed wrong thinking the bigger it grows. It’s better to step on that thought while it’s a small seed before it grows into a big ugly weed. Take the thought captive and kill it.
Kill it before it kills you. Remember the devil is a liar, He has been lying from the beginning. The devil also wants to steal, kill, and destroy. So, kill the lies while they are still small. Remove them from your mind and replace them with truth.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace *Romans 8:6*
Paul says to seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. *Col 3:1-2*
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. *Phil 4:8*
Preparation has become a big part of our team over the last two years. Nearly everybody on the team is now practicing their parts at home and coming to rehearsal fully prepared, with everything mapped out specifically how they plan to play it.
I'd like to see this habit extend to the other ministries as well: youth band, marriage, women's, Spanish etc.
Preparation is good for several reasons.... Which I will outline in next week's Focus Friday...but today I just want to focus on one reason:
Preparing beforehand allows you to worship during the service.
I had two conversations in the past couple of weeks with people who said that recently they hadn't prepared for service and they were distracted and fumbling through the set. They said it was not a pleasant experience. And I assure you it also wasn't a pleasant experience for the congregation or the band either. When we don't prepare, everybody loses. But primarily the person who doesn't prepare misses out on being able to worship.
What we want to do in our preparation time is get so familiar with the songs and our parts that they get engrained in our muscle memory. Our fingers or voices automatically go to the right place. Our hands are on autopilot.
I heard a professional musician once say, that practice isn't playing it until you get it right...practice is playing it till you can't get it wrong.
When we prepare to this extent, our minds are freed up to engage with the Lord and with the church. We aren't distracted by our parts or by what chord is coming next.
Not having to mentally engage with the music allows you the freedom to emotionally engage with the Lord.
You are able to sing, and close your eyes, and worship.
This is the power of preparation, and this is why I want us all to prepare each time we're scheduled. It's not so we can execute the parts correctly, (although that's a side benefit). It's so that we can worship the Lord while still giving the church our best.
I know we are all busy and life can be crazy...but please make the time.
Be preparing at home so you can worship on stage.