Tag Archives: Worship

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Facing Conflict at work? 6 Skills to help you through

One of the hardest things, I deal with is helping worship leaders work through conflict and brokenness in their churches.  If you have spent any time around the church you will realize that conflict resolution skills and experience are a must for a team.  People will hurt you! People will disagree with you! People will sin!

The challenge for the worship leader is to develop and maintain a healthy relationships with all the staff that he works with regularly as well as the others in leadership at his church.  Whether you serve at a church of 100 or 4,000, the skills that will help you survive the certainty of conflict are essential.

Here is my short list.

Meet regularly with a colleague outside your situation. Don’t do this alone!  If you have opportunity to meet with other like minded leaders do it.  Don’t meet with an opposite sex leader, recipe for disaster there.  You don’t need to confide in you co-worker or assistant.  The best place to begin isn’t your wife either!  Take time to find another worship leader or person you trust and begin to talk regularly about the stresses and challenges of your work.

 

Humble Yourself! Remember The enemy is roaring lion!  You are a target! Don’t ever forget that!  The evil one wants to make you completely unfruitful and unproductive, angry, hurt, bitter and toxic.  Remember and memorize this verse.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV)

Learn about conflict  read a few good books and take a class or two!

The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
Related Article from Peacemaker Ministries: Accountability: The Mark of a Wise and Protected Leader

 

Develop good boundaries No one needs to be taken advantage of.  If you find yourself, in a hurtful and abusive situation you need to know how to recognize it and deal with it.

Boundaries: Henry Cloud and John Townsen

Safe People: 

Necessary Endings

 

Remember Sin and conflict is not always intentional!  One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that people are sinners!  People and leadership teams don’t think! People and leadership teams are unwise  and sometimes People and leadership teams are intentionally sinful!

One of the best books to read about his concept is Bold Love by Dan Allender.

 

Choose Joy! You will grow to be like Christ!  I hate it when i grumble to my wife about some issue that is bothering me. (yes I’m also prone to talk to my wife)  She looks at me and says, “you’re gonna be so shiny.”  As much as it bothers me, she is right!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

It is my prayer that you never have to encounter a situation at your church and ministry that causes conflict and pain, but you will!  Don’t despair!

Jesus hasn’t left his throne! He is praying for you! You are not alone!

 

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Life Coaching and Worship Leading

photoJohn* came up to Pam one Sunday after church and shared how much he liked music and wondered if he would participate in our worship.  Pam being one of our volunteer worship leaders, said sure, why don’t you come up on Saturday morning when we have our rehearsal, I’ll give you some music, you can sit by the piano or in the front row and sing along.  Once I hear you sing and figure out where you are maybe you can participate.  John, showed up Saturday, eager to sing.  It was apparent that he didn’t have much musical training.  I was volunteering to lead that week, and also leading the rehearsal.  You would think that having this type of individual join a rehearsal would completely mess everything up.  Actually in another church, or situation and even earlier in my time at St. Paul’s, it would have been quite the challenge.

This kind of thing isn’t new to Pam, who has taken on new developing musicians like lost kittens at times.  I certainly don’t have the knack for either attracting or helping people in this situation.  Honestly, it gets in the way of me running a rehearsal.  This week, as I led the rehearsal, I watched with interest in how Pam was interacting with John.  Other people have come to mind, such as James* who came to sing and participated in our worship, sometimes taking part by doing a reading rather than singing.  Mike*, came and sang as well, and as with the others, didn’t have as much training and needed to develop more as a musician.

As I have watched Pam, I began to think about Saturday morning rehearsals as a place for mentoring.  It certainly didn’t help with efficiency of time and quality of music, however it “smelled like Jesus” (to take a phrase from author and radio host Steve Brown). I might have thought that these folks would be better served through individual voice or music lessons, but bringing them to practice created an all together different dynamic.  As these individuals came and went through our congregation, I realized that in God’s eyes taking the time to help someone learn to sing, was just as important as providing quality music for service.  The rest of the worship team began to see that people were also important.  They learned by seeing Pam’s example.

By providing a way for a singer to come to practice and try to sing with us, even when they might not even sing on a sunday, they were able to see the gospel in action.  Who merits the grace and favor of God? Not me! None of us.  This thing called church and worship music isn’t about my performance anyway.  I say that all the time.  Could it be that the father is just as happy with their singing as mine?

In taking time to love people who are interested in music but may not have the ability now or maybe ever, still is an approach to people that acknowledges their being created in the image of God.  They have have value no matter their skill.  Taking time for them both musically and personally Pam is modeling what our ministry, WDA, calls Life Coaching.  “Meeting people where they are, helping them take the next step”®

I learned something these past few years watching my colleague take time to love someone practically during our rehearsals and sometimes even in our services.  “Come on over next to me on the piano and sing.”  What a great example to me and to others of the gospel at work.

Thanks Pam for teaching me how to love and showing me a practical way to bring others into community!

*John, James, Mike are fictitious names for actual people. There are probably many more!

For more info about Life Coaching visit the WDA website: Life Coaching part of WDA’s 28/20 Project.  

Asceticism and the Christian Patron

flowers_of_the_fieldThe Christian Artist is faced with a dilemma when we consider a particular view of the church.  Some would say that the Christian life should be marked by a love for God and not of the things of this world.  Certainly that would mean that Christians shouldn’t waste their time and money on useless frills, decoration, and art.  Why should we bother with the things that will one day burn up.  It doesn’t matter.  “Don’t store up for yourselves treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal.”

I don’t know about you but when I read the words of Jesus, I wonder as well, should I not store up treasures! The wonderful thing about the Christian journey is that seeming paradox and confusing issues can be worked out when we dig a bit deeper, consider other scripture and prayerfully consider the ideas in God’s word.

Certainly Jesus says, “Don’t store up for yourselves treasure.”  Why is he saying this?  Because our first love is to be found primarily in a relationship with God our Father, through Jesus and evidenced by the Holy Spirit.  How can we as lovers of Beauty, Art, Music, Dance, Literature not be storing up treasures!

The person who believes that to be a follower of Christ means that he or she avoid the things in this life, in order to be more holy, is what the apostle Paul called an Ascetic.  Asceticism is defined as “severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.”

Paul says in I Timothy 4:1-5 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

Here we see clearly that God has created many things for our enjoyment and to reject them is to forget that God himself is the source of all good things!  God himself spoke the world in to begin and said it was “Good.”   To avoid certain gifts of God then should not be done because we consider doing so a measure of our religiousness.  Instead we are called to worship as we see all of creation clearly cared for by God’s common grace.  The flowers bloom and sunsets glow and we through them are drawn to the glory of God.

So in the context of being a patron and lover of the Arts we have a great opportunity to enjoy God as we enjoy his creation.  To love a great meal, to smell fresh baked bread, to see the laughter of a child, to look at the leaves from the heights of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to look with wonder at a painting, photograph or film, to listen to instruments and voices, melodies, harmonies and rhythm all are an opportunity to appreciate and “receive with thanksgiving” the gifts of God.

When I love the good things in this world as a gift of God, I have placed them in their correct context.  So today we have the opportunity to look around and be amazed at the wonder of God and his creation and also consider the amazing work of humanity.

So how do you find a balance between loving God and not finding yourself “storing up treasures.”