I'm beginning a series of posts here at cheval glass about church planting over the next few months. As I begin this dialogue, I want to give some perspective to what you will hear from me on this subject. I am the daughter of a church planter. I have been a part of 3 other church plants as a staff member. I have also served in 3 established churches. All 4 of the church plants were different from each other in the way they were launched. All 4 churches are still serving their communities. With 80 percent of new plants failing in the 1st year (CLICK HEAR to read about it), I consider it an amazing privilege to have experienced what I have. I will hit all the highs and lows of the experiences, but before I begin, I want to share this statement. Church planting is not a higher or better calling than any other. You are not less of leader, Christian, or servant of God because you have not done this or been a part of it. Sometimes as church planters, we can be a litle full of ourselves about our "stepping out in faith" to do a new work. I've been there. I have a lot of respect and have learned so much from those ministry friends in my life who have been faithful to "bloom where they are planted." As we begin this dialogue, hear my heart. I want to encourage church planters, empower "soon-to-be" planters, and affirm all who are doing this great work called local church ministry.
I blogged here about legacy last week...and then I watched Leno's last show. WOW...I was exhausted from moving all day and I was almost jumping out of my skin watching this...one of the most POWERFUL moments in TV that I have witnessed. If you didn't see the whole show, click here. The one thing this clip doesn't have is Jay's acknowledgement of his wife of 30 years, Mavis. He said that he brought her to the dance 17 years ago and he was so glad to still be dancing with her. Watch this video clip with the eyes of a Christian leader and think about the legacy you are leaving when you take your "final bow."
Last night, we hosted a vision night for our church campus. We gave an update on finances, future plans, and the BIGGEST news of all...we are GOING LIVE every week now with our Message instead of video. Our Senior Pastor, Jeff, co-led the night with Todd. These guys have known each other for 23 years. Todd was in Jeff's youth group as a kid. I was sitting in the back of the room observing these two men talking about God's vision for this church (and I was kicking myself that I left my iphone at home!!!) and I just was hit with one word...legacy. How many of us a ministry leaders get the opportunity to see those we invest in actually go out and do their thing on their own and then get to serve with them as colleagues? I was overwhelmed for Pastor Jeff, thinking about his 26 years of ministry and that he is getting to be a part of the fruit of that work through Todd's life as his Campus Pastor on Hilton Head. We had about 80 people total there last night including kids...there was SUCH excitement about the road ahead. For me, I was smacked in the face once again with the importance of investing in the lives of our students. They are our future. I just saw it play out right before my eyes.
When I arrived in Hilton Head 2 years and 2 months ago, the thing everyone kept telling me was, "You will never find any musicians." Yeah...that is what you want to hear as a worship leader. I got on my knees for the 6 months before we launched our campus and prayed for God to send them. I told him I would use them if he sent them. Out of the 20 months that our campus has existed, I have gone only 2 Sundays without anyone on stage with me and 1 of those was a service outside at the beach. I am losing Rob our cellist to college, Susan our flautist to a job transfer, and Carma our Lead Producer to a job transfer this summer...I'm grieving. Not only are they wonderful artists, but they were the 1st ones to say "Sure, I'll join the team." But God keeps doing His thing and sending, as I call it, "Fresh blood." I have 2 new bass players joining us this summer, a worship intern who plays drums, keys, and sings, and a guitarist who also plays drums. I write this post to give God the glory...100 percent. I also write it to encourage all Worship leaders and Worship Arts Directors to pray...just ask God for what you need. I also encourage you to use who God has sent you. Have extra rehearsals...spend time with them...put them with a more experienced person on your team so they can learn. I do my best to find places for everyone who wants to use their artistic gifts for God. The key there is "gift." I am looking for gifted people. I am looking for people who have ability and maybe need some development or opportunity to grow. The pros on our team are so willing to help guide the younger ones on our team...it really overwhelms me to see their servant's hearts. I pray everyday for musicians, tech people, producers, and artists in the low country to find their way to LowCountry Community Church. I love my job.
Are you praying for "Fresh Blood?"
As a leader of artists in my church, I deeply desire that all of us pursue a fully devoted life to Jesus Christ. We all love our music, art, and creative outlets, but IS our desire toward God first and foremost and serving others? We have great conversation about God and our spiritual journey (I love having multiple services because of the "chat" time) but are we "working it out?" God has been answering me very specifically that my "job" is to model it, talk about it, pray for them to do it, and give HUGE kudos when I see is happening. My cellist, Rob Rechey, is a Senior in High School. In the last 2 years, God has done some really cool things in his life (through the ministry of our AMAZING High School pastor, Rob Jacobs) and by being a part of our worship team. He is leaving in 2 months to return to Mexico and attend college (his parents live here.) Rob showed up at 9 AM this morning to translate all our announcements into Spanish today for our Easter Egg Hunt. I just wanted to give him the biggest bear hug when I saw him today. He was simply serving. I can't help but smile :) and I know My Father is smiling, too.
I'm listening to Louie Giglio's book "I Am Not but I know I AM" from a few years back on my ipod during my workout. I was so struck today by this chapter describing John the Baptist. He gets the ball rolling for God's Son, he baptizes the Son of God, then Jesus takes a good bit of his followers. How would we feel about that? Louie describes John the Baptist as a "Little Leader" because John saw his role to decrease and prepare the way for the Son of God....that was his goal. I really thought about that. Is it my goal to decrease and let the Son of God increase even if that means I have to take a back seat? When John's followers "brought it to his attention" that he was losing followers to Jesus, John's reply was, "He must increase, but I must decrease. " (John 3:30) Are we comfortable when others succeed? As church leaders, are we "a tad bit jealous" when another church hits a home run? How much of my time is spent on "positioning" myself instead of seeing how much I can take myself out of the equation so that Christ is honored and not me? We all need encouragement and it's nice to get kudos, but, if we are living for that....just think about it.
Do you want to be a "Little Leader?"
This past week, our staff traveled in 2 unmarked white vans :) to Anderson, SC for NewSpring Church's one-day conference, UNLEASH. This was our 2nd year attending this as a staff so there were a lot of things that were repeats, but definitely one "heart" thing that I wanted to share.
Lee McDerment's session on the heart of a worship leader really hit me where I am right now. Lee has been in a portable situation with a handful of people to where he is today leading thousands in worship every week in their own facility. I appreciated his honesty and transparency. To be honest, I don't need more "how to" in my life. I need encouragement and that it was he gave us. He shared something so simple that I have written it down in my journal to read everyday. My priorities are 1. I am child of God 2. I am a minister to others 3. I am a musician... in that order. Simple, but very profound. I love being a musician and I love serving others and I am so thankful to be a child of God...but THE ORDER IS IMPORTANT. It is diffcult in church planting to not be about "doing." It was easier for me when I was in a large church with staff and a ton of volunteers to not be about "doing." In this season of life with young children and a young church, SO much more discipline is required in my life to not let it be about serving and doing. I am a child of the King, first and foremost! The trip was worth that session for me. I've been pondering this for the last 2 days and asking God what that looks like in my life. Fill in the blank on #3 with what you do (if you're not a musician). Do you need to be reminded of THE ORDER?
Attending this conference is like drinking from a fire hydrant for your brain. I come away overwhelmed with new ideas, encouraged by old and new friends, refreshed in my spirit, and charged up to face the world at home that awaits me. No matter who you are and where you are from, this is a safe week in your life because you are among people who get you. We all have unique personalities as artists and it's OK to be "quirky" here. The draw of the week is the coming away from everyday life and being in community with like-minded people.
Randy Elrod (conference leader) led a session for the 1st time at Recreate. Here are some thoughts I gleaned from that session...
- We need real people who are physically present in our lives. Technology is great (social networking), but we need to be where we are.
- A person of influence is someone who makes you feel better when you leave their presence.
- "It not just about life and art. It's about the ripple effect."
- We view suffering in our culture as if we have done something wrong.
Ian Cron led a beautiful communion service for all of us. It was so refreshing to be a part of this and not have to plan it or play for it. He incorporated liturgy and as well as songs of response written at his church...it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had in worship. I attached some pics of the table.
Anne Jackson led our last session on Thursday. She recently published a book entitled Mad Church Disease that discusses burnout in our churches today (it's on my list to read!) Here are some thoughts I gleaned from her...
- Is serving in my current church role interfering with my communion with Christ?
- The only way to fulfill our purpose with people is with a sincere relationship with God. Apart from God, we can do nothing.
- Am I living with integrity in my conscience?
- it is not my job to be my provision - it is God's job!
I need some time to process alot of what I heard and experienced and I look forward to sharing that over the next few weeks.
Don't mess with a good thing...that is what I have always said. So, I didn't know how Recreate would be this year because it was going to be different than in years past. I have lost count, but I think I have been to Recreate 5 or 6 times. This is the 1st year I brought my hubby Todd...we were not all staying at the same place. Let's just say, all apprehensions have been removed. I LOVE IT! Randy and Chris have once again KNOCKED IT out of the PARK!!!! Our sessions today with Dr. Steve Guthrie and Ian Morgan Cron were...I am without speech. Here are some random thoughts.
- The truth of God is announced in words or deeds...not just finding a song with the word "humility," but showing it.
- Music and the Arts have an important teaching experience to give. Teaching is not limited to the words.
- The most meaningful we may do as worship leaders is allow God's people to sing.
- A Contemplative life is not all about content - it's about intent.
- As artists and worship leaders, we need to help others seek clearly what they have felt vaguely.
- Action without contemplation is a disaster
- Contemplation without action is a disaster
- There is nothing wrong with the loud moments in our worship, but nothing can imitate or replace the importance of silence.
- Consider Jesus' prayer life.
- The paths of beauty, truth, and goodness must all be explored to be a true contemplative.
Some of this might not make any sense to you. However, I encourage you to read Ian's book Chasing Francis...it changed my life...get it here.
We enjoyed a songwriter's night with Meredith Andrews, Matt Boswell, and Michael Farren. The songs they shared were unbelievable and will definitely become a part of our song list at LCC-HHI. If that wasn't enough, Michael W Smith ended the evening by leading us in worship. See the quick video clip below or view it on the right at Cullenhouse TV. I can't wait for Day 3...
The greatest thing about being a part of the blogging community is connecting with people...people that are just like me, totally different than me, smarter than me, crazier than me...you fill in the blank. The biggest blessing to me has been how God uses blogs of friends and leaders I respect to speak truth into my life...at just the right moment and just the right time. Today, I received 2 blogs from 2 people I read a lot...Perry Noble and Seth Godin. These guys are on opposite ends of the spectrum of what they do and why they blog. However, today, they both had a word for me. Perry's blog is pretty self-explanatory for why I loved it today. #11 and #13 were a needed reminder. However, Seth's blog may be a little strange to you. He hit on something that I have experienced, watched happen to others, and that I want to help my children with one day when they face it. You're just dying to know what they said, huh?