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What are your goals for 2015?

“Commit your actions to the Lordand your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

What are your goals for this year?

Goal setting is such an important process to our lives and if you are not someone who does this, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Without a target, it is hard to know where to aim. Goals provide you with a target, a preferred outcome, for you to try to achieve.

Another important aspect of goal setting is accountability. You are FAR more likely to follow through on your goals if you have people willing to hold you to them and help you accomplish them.

So this year, let’s do it. Let help each other accomplish our goals.

Share in the comments below what your goals are and how we can help you accomplish them.

Be blessed.

 

American Church Epidemic…

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Hebrews 13:15 NIV (emphasis mine)

As a Christian, hearing the term “praising God” is nothing new. And hopefully all of us participate in this act. As a worship leader, this is something that resonates with me on my many levels. But I have been noticing a trend that I would like to speak to…

Disengaged worshippers.

I’m sure many of you have seen the ARTICLE that spread around Facebook about this issue in our churches. Now, people are raising good points about some of the shifts that are happening in churches but I still feel we are missing the mark and not really getting to the heart of the issue.

The truth is, taking away the lights and set design won’t make people sing more. Just having people with passion but no talent, won’t help and will most likely distract people from engaging. Turning the overall volume down won’t solve the issue either. Singing only hymns and having acoustic sets isn’t the answer to the issue. All those things are really a matter of preference and don’t really speak to why people aren’t singing.

Singing in church actually doesn’t have much to do with your worship team, worship leader, or location. Singing has nothing to do with whether it’s a hymn or hillsong tune. And singing has nothing to do with it being acoustic or electric. We like to make it about those things…but it is really not.

Singing (or praising) is a choice! And ultimately a matter of one’s heart.

I think the heart of this issue we are facing in our churches is that we, as christians, are just a product of our culture. We are consumerists, and operate based on convenience and that, unfortunately, has become our largest basis for making decisions.

God didn’t say “praise me when you feel like it” or “when you’re happy and have energy…praise me” He didn’t say, “when life is good and all your things are in order, feel free to praise me then.”

Nope.

The verse above says let us continually offer a SACRIFICE of praise! Praising God therefore has nothing to do with our convenience. Praising God has nothing to do with the volume of the sound system or how many lights are on stage; whether it’s acoustic or electric or whether your worship leader is a hipster with a v-neck.

Praise is sacrificial. We do it out of obedience and to honor our Savior.

So next time you are in church and the worship starts…think about Hebrews 13:15. Next time the worship team plays that song AGAINNN…remember it’s not about us. It’s not about the song, the series, the lights, or the set design…

It is about Jesus and choosing to praise his name.

 

It’s the little things…

 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”       Luke 16:10

I’ve been circling back to this verse a lot lately. I can get in a trap so often where I just want to fast forward to the big. I’ll be working on my day to day and have thoughts like, “when’s my big break?” “When will my time come?” “I wish I was here by now.” I wish I made…” etc. I’m sure we have all had those thoughts. But if we just stay in those thoughts, we are really missing out.

The truth is, it is all about the small things. This verse isn’t talking about occupations, or even necessarily what you are doing…It’s not saying, “put your time in as a janitor and pretty soon you’ll be CEO.” What this verse is really getting at is character development. Whenever I’m reading Scripture, I ask myself, what is God after? Knowing that God is after our hearts can help shape how we receive some of these verses.

God wants us to be faithful in the little things because He knows that the little things actually are the big things. And as we journey in this life and are faithful with what God has given us and called us too, our platform can expand and increase. We can be handed greater responsibilities. God will give us greater things to be faithful with.

Today, think about the little things in your life. Think about the things that God has called you to and what He has given you. How is your attitude in your job? How much time are you investing in your relationships? Do you honor your leaders and bosses? It’s easy to make this a verse about doing things, but it’s not. It’s about our character…our hearts.

Be faithful in the little…those are the big things.

Be blessed.

 

10 Ways To Improve Your Worship Leading…

1. Make sure you are worshipping as well.

If you aren’t into the song, it’s going to be really hard for the people you are leading to be into it as well. They take their cue from you…so lead them.

2. Silence doesn’t have to be awkward.

Scripture asks us sometimes to just be still. When we talk, we can’t hear God speak. Sometimes we need to not talk and let the music speak louder than our words.

3. Be just as good if not a better musician as you are a singer.

There may be some disagreement with this point, however, you don’t want to be a distraction when you lead worship…and if you can’t play well and sing at the same time, it will be a distraction. Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”

4. Know your instrument.

This goes along with #3 but, the truth is, people look at you just as much as they look at the words on the screen. With that in mind, if you are looking back and forth between them and your instrument for every chord change…chances are, you are distracting them. Be skillful so you disappear and they can focus on connecting with God.

5. Don’t force people to worship in ways they aren’t comfortable with.

A big part of our job is to create and cultivate an atmosphere where our congregation can connect with God. Not everybody is ready or comfortable with raising their hands, jumping, clapping, etc. Don’t focus on getting people to worship a certain way, but focus on bringing them into the presence of God and He will take care of the rest.

6. Be careful how often you repeat or don’t repeat songs.

We all know how the radio seems to kill really great songs by playing them to death…well that can easily happen in our churches as well. Be careful not to play a new song that you are excited about to death. (i.e. Blessed Be Your Name, How Great Is Our God, Desert Song, Revelation Song, etc.) On the flip side, don’t play a new song every week and never repeat them. It will usually take a few weeks for a congregation to really grasp and pick-up on a new song. So repeat them for a few weeks then put them into a rotation.

7. Understand the different components to your worship team.

You don’t need to be able to play every instrument, but you should have a general sense of how everything fits together. Try to learn the general terminology and major components of each instrument. It’s easier to say, “hit your snare louder” versus “hit that big, white, round thing in front of you louder.”

8. Be mindful of how you direct your team as you lead during service.

Some worship leaders look like Richard Simmons in the middle of a workout when trying to communicate to their team to repeat a chorus or head to the bridge…let this not be you! Basically, be aware of your movements. Let your teams know during practices how you will communicate with them when playing live; this way there is no confusion and everyone will be on the same page.

9. Know the abilities and the skill level of your worship team.

Don’t get your team into situations where they are all in uncharted territory. This is setting your team up to fail and be a major distraction in worship. Meaning, if you discover a great worship tune on Saturday, don’t rehearse it and play it during the Sunday morning service unless your team is ABSOLUTELY capable of doing it. Practice makes perfect. So practice, practice, practice, then bring it to a Sunday morning service.

10.  Keep it simple. (This one is a repeat from Los’ blog.)

You aren’t on American Idol. Your job isn’t to sing TO people and have them go “WOW”. Your job is to get the people to SING with you and TO God.

 

Please let’s keep the conversation going…if there are more that you want to add, leave a comment below.

Verse Inspiration

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7