Monthly Archives: November 2013
We are in week 30 (!) of a 31-week series called The Story. It’s been a fantastic jump into the Bible, but that’s – as they say – another story… This photo shows the weekend that we were talking about the fall of Israel. We tried to think about how we could represent the collapse of that nation and thought: “What would it look like in here if things collapsed?” Here’s what we came up with…
My role at Northview church is Creative Arts Pastor. That’s a pretty generic title, but I asked for it to be changed from my former title, Pastor of Worship and Programming (people thought I took care of the church website). The easiest way to describe what I do is the Producer of the worship services. I lead the worship, production and video staff members, and lead the creative planning process for the services.
This is the hardest job I’ve ever had (I’ve also been a teacher and a corporate buyer in the three careers of my life). It’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. However, the “to do” list each day really does threaten to get to the completely unmanageable level on a daily basis (for example, I’ve had several e-mails come in while typing this post). Here what I have to do to survive – keep databases. As you run across new ideas, enter them in databases organized by theme or idea.
More than that though, keep a master database with key upcoming information in it that key team members can access to know what’s going on. I keep a Yearly Worship Planning database on SmartSheet. All of my staff can access it (although only some can edit it), and it can also be viewed by the other members of our Lead Staff and key staff members from other departments. Here’s what’s in it – hope it gives you some good ideas:
Series Title, Service Title, Topic, Service Dates, Stage Look, “Givens,” Communion/Baptism/Other Elements, Who’s Preaching, Service Host, Video Announcement Host, Worship Leader, Video Story Topic/Individual
(Note: This post was written, for the most part, about 6 months ago – thought it was time to finish it up…)
I had to do something very difficult yesterday. We had an idea for a service that would really stretch us as a team. The whole team worked on it, but two of the guys in particular put in a ton of hours to make it happen. As we got to our Thursday run-through (two days before our Saturday service), it became clear that things just were not progressing in a way that I felt was going to give us dependable results for the weekend.
There was really no doubt in my mind that the correct thing to do was to go with our backup plan, and adjust the service, cutting that particular element. So I did. However, I still thought about it long and hard. I really value my team. God has blessed me with a really good group of folks to work with, and I wanted their work to be rewarded by being able to see their ideas come to life…
It’s still going to be a great service (after-the-fact-note: it was), but I wish it could have gone as planned and let the idea come to life. We’ll bring it back someday and try again…
Any time that you deal with people, things get messy…
There really is a fine line between communication and manipulation – actually, a very blurry fine line, if that’s even possible. In fulfilling our job to lead worship (to really help people engage in worship), there are two primary schools of thought. Let me use their extreme examples to highlight the difference. One is the “I’m worshipping God privately here, and everyone can watch me doing that, and that that will inspire them to do the same, because I’m so worshipful.” The other is the “I’m a worship cheerleader, hey I can’t hear you, you’re not singing loud enough, hey, I’m talking to you, person in the 5th row!”
I don’t have the perfect answer. I’ve headed too far in both of those directions at various times over the years, but my gut feeling is that there really needs to be a balance. It’s kind of a representation of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, if you will – a call to worship God above all, and a call to care for those around us. It also is a call to be a part of a community. I really am kind of distressed how attached to our gadgets we are, and how alone we can be, even in the midst of a crowd… Worship in community – praising God, encouraging each other – is better than that. It’s good for our, souls, and is just – well – right.
We need to communicate God’s love to each other, to support each other, and to help each other walk away from our pain, temptations, weaknesses and hardships (even our boredom). This takes worship leaders who will look us in the eye and show God’s love, all while actually showing love back to God. Not put on a show (i.e.. manipulate), even though everything in our culture pushes us in that direction. Not close off the world, because that locks out the very people God wants us to show His love to. It’s not easy to get it right. In fact, it’s impossible to do without God. But we all need real worship leading – and leaders – desperately.
Treat your sound people right! Here’s one quick tip to help that to happen – have one person communicate from the platform/stage to the soundboard. At our campus, it’s the worship leader. If someone needs something, they relay that need to the worship leader (who filters the ask to see if it really is a need and not a “diva-type” request). The worship leader then relays the ask to the sound person (respectfully), and the situation is worked on until it’s done. This helps to make sure that there aren’t multiple requests coming from the stage at once, and that issues are resolved before moving forward. Here’s a link to an article which will help the worship leaders among us to walk in the shoes of our soundpeople – I don’t agree with everything here, but there’s a lot of truth. (click here)
At the first big church that I served at, we had what we thought was a great idea… “Let’s ask our people to review our services,” we said to ourselves. “It’ll help us to know what’s impacting them in a positive way and what’s not working as well.” It looked great on paper. So we actually did put it on paper. We created a two-sided sheet asking folks to rate every element of the service, from the arrival in the parking lot through the child check-in procedure through the worship music through the message. In detail. “Rate each of these 1-5,” we said, and provided plenty of space for extra comments. Then we choose random people each week and handed them out, 10 or so per service.
The problem? We were unintentionally asking people to change from what they were – people engaging with our services – into something far, far less valuable (especially for them) – people judging our services. Instead of thinking “Could this incredible Hope possibly be true?,” they started thinking “Was that delivered well?” Instead of being floored by person after person expressing their love for God through baptism, they started thinking “Was the lighting on the baptism tank good?” That’s a major biff on my part, and the sad thing is, I find myself being tempted to do it (in various ways) again and again….