Weekly Worship Thought – Three Leadership Tips

I think a leader is someone who does three things very well:

  1. Listens well – Leading is about relationships. If no one is following you, then you’re not a leader. In order for people to follow you, you have to be a listener. You have to know what people care about, what motivates them, what concerns them, and what will be best for them. That all comes by listening.
  2. Loves well – Because leading is about relationships, leading is also about love. You cannot lead well if you don’t love the people you are leading. A leader has to be motivated by love. The ability to do what is best for someone else is rooted in your love for them.
  3. Serves well – Jesus is our model for servant leadership. Jesus takes the towel and basin and lowers himself to the servant’s role. Jesus tells us that in God’s way of structuring the world, the last will be first and the first will be last. Anyone that wants to lead has to put themselves underneath everyone else.
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Weekly Worship Thought – Leading the People’s Song

474910_381360428576470_143418169037365_1103926_791013435_oYour chief role is to lead the people’s song. You can do this from any instrument in the band: drums, bass, keyboard, guitar, or vocalist. Being a leader includes knowing the skills of the people and preparing well. Leading also means being a steward of the beat and breathe of the assembly’s song. Maintaining a good, steady tempo is most essential for effective leadership. Successful musical leadership does not need to be complicated and fancy, but it needs to be steady and take into account that people need to breathe together in order to sing together.

(excerpt adapted from “Musician and Cantor Overview” in Leading Worship Matters: a Sourcebook for Preparing Worship Leaders (Augsburg Fortress, 2013), by Jennifer Baker-Trinity, p. 177.)

Quality Worship Leadership

“If you miss your notes, if you are flat when you sing, if your prayers are self-absorbed, if your song choices are predictably narrow, if you read Scripture poorly, if you prepare your sermons on the fly, then it’s unlikely that your people will worship well. They will be distracted and uninspired. On the contrary, if you perform with musical excellence, if you pray with thoughtfulness and authenticity, if you choose songs that reflect the breadth of God’s revelation, if you read Scripture with the reverential awe or interpretive depth due the Word of God, if you tell God’s truth with insight and conviction, then your people will be encouraged to offer themselves to God in genuine worship.”

~Mark D. Roberts, Worship Leader Magazine, July/August 2012, p. 10

Small churches breaking 100

Read an interesting post over at Tony  Morgan’s blog. It was about small churches that are trying to reach/break 100 folks in attendance. Since that fits our situation over at Theophilus, I found it relevant. Now, I’m not one to put a lot of value and weight on how many people show up on a Sunday. It’s easy to make a crowd (you just need the right attraction). It’s better to take that attendance number and put it next to the number of people involved in small groups, the number of people that give financially, the number of people that volunteer or serve in ministry, etc. Here are some interesting takeaways from the post:

  • It’s impossible to grow a church beyond 100 people if there’s one person who makes all the decisions and calls all the shots.
  • It’s difficult to build momentum with regular transitions in leadership.
  • Growth in churches is more about relationships than anything else.

Email is not a conflict resolution tool

From the Alban Institute:

  1. E-mail makes it impossible to read the non-verbal body language of the persons with whom you are communicating.  Likewise, they can’t read yours. I have occasionally made the mistake (perhaps you have, too) of trying to crack a joke through e-mail and having it fall flat. I can’t read the body language to tell how the joke is being received, and others can’t see the twinkle in my eyes when I am joking.  When a congregation is in conflict, folks are already very emotionally reactive.  Therefore, people in this situation are far more likely to misread or misinterpret what is being said under the best of conditions.  Eliminating visual cues and vocal inflection further cripples the communication process and opens the door to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
  2. E-mail appears to be fast, almost immediate, communication, when in fact the length of time it takes to deliver a message depends largely on the recipient’s personal habits.  Some people check their Blackberrys or iPhones for messages every few minutes, and some go for days without turning on their computer to look at their e-mail.  The uncertainty around when a message is received often adds to the confusion of who knows what and when they heard it—often a central communication issue in conflicted situations.
  3. Because e-mail language is often less formal than traditional written language, it feels much more like talking on the telephone, except that it is a one-sided conversation.  Your e-mail message probably makes perfect sense to you.  But it may contain unspoken assumptions, or even a typo that can change the meaning of the message for your recipient, and complicate your effort to communicate.  It can actually take longer to sort out miscommunication than it would to relay information in face-to-face conversations, one at a time.  I frequently have to tell pastors to stop using e-mail when trying to deal with a parishioner’s difficult behavior, and simply go talk to them.   A face-to-face conversation, with give and take, can often serve to sort out a complicated situation when a one-sided e-mail message only makes it more complex.
  4. E-mail is not confidential. No matter what kind of disclaimer or warning about confidentiality you include in your e-mail, anyone can forward any e-mail at any time. When I am about to send out an e-mail message, I always ask myself, “Would I feel comfortable if this e-mail were forwarded to someone else—even if it was accidentally forwarded?”  If your answer to that question is “no,” then don’t send it.  And that is related to another practice you might want to develop: get in the habit of re-reading any e-mail message before sending it out.  Usually, you will just catch typos and the occasional omitted word, but sometimes, you will hear a very different message than the one you intended.  Train yourself to pause and re-read before you hit the send button.
  5. E-mail is not a constructive venue for important conversations.  One of the strengths of e-mail is its ability to communicate details quickly and efficiently.  Important conversations, and especially those that surround a conflicted situation, need and deserve richer and fuller interaction—one in which nuance and non-verbal communication is part of the communication process.

Pecking order of worship leadership

Who is really leading worship during a service or gathering? I would say the Holy Spirit, the pastor, and the worship musicians (in order of priority).

The Holy Spirit is always the first and most important leader of worship. The Spirit’s preparation and work began long before the service was a twinkling in our eye. Before the first text or song is chosen, the Spirit is aligning the elements and people that will be included in the service. We need the Holy Spirit to point all the elements in a service to Jesus. The Spirit’s presence in the midst of a service is always the default leader. When the Spirit moves, we follow.

The pastor is always the second most important lead worshiper in a service or gathering. That’s right – the Holy Spirit does come before (and sometimes through!) the pastor. The pastor is the spiritual leader for the entire congregation, and this includes the congregation in worship. Just because you’ve got the guitar or mic doesn’t mean everyone is watching/following you. The pastor will always set the tone for worship in any setting. If the pastor’s heart and mind are engaged in the songs, prayers, and texts, then the people will be as well. If the pastor is shuffling through sermon notes, making small talk with the ushers, or not singing, then the people will be equally disengaged in worship.

The worship musicians are the next most important leaders in worship. Notice that “musicians” is plural. All who play instruments or sing are on equal ground. If you are on the platform in front of the people, you are just as important as anyone else in front. The lead vocalists aren’t elevated higher than the bass player. Being a worship musician requires a good dose of humility. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” Although the spotlights may shine on the musicians, it’s important to remember that everyone is following the pastors cues, and nothing is possible without the Spirit’s work.

Meeting Wisdom

I spent the majority of my work day in meetings today. One thing I have learned is that it is better to get all your meetings going on the same day if possible. If you can schedule all your meetings back to back, even better. This keeps them from breaking up the flow of the rest of your work week.

Perry Noble has 3 things you should NOT do in a meeting:

1. Don’t Assume Every Problem Must Be Solved On The Spot

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Leave The Agenda

3. Don’t Be So Concerned About Your Own Self Image That You Hold Back From Saying What You Really Believe.

These ideas were taken from the eBook “Leadership Learnings.” Download the whole eBook here: leadership-learnings

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3 step S.B.I. for Conflict Resolution

Leadership involves conflict. At some point, you will say/do something that another will think is completely wrong. Or you will think someone else has done something that is completely wrong. It goes both ways.

WorshipTrench shares some advice on dealing with conflict resolution.

S = Situation – Describe the situation to the individual to set context.

B = Behavior – Describe the behavior in question.

I = Impact – Describe the impact it had on you emotionally or otherwise.