January 1, 2019 | Get free updates of new posts here
In between amazing time with family and friends, a whole bunch of great Christmas Eve services at C4 Church, and watching all three Lord of the Rings movies I’ve had some great time to sit back, reflect on 2018, dream some new things about the future and spend time with God considering what’s next.
The opportunity to reflect and remember is an incredible privilege and one you should take seriously.
Here are some questions I’ve been asking myself over the last couple of weeks as I think about the year ahead:
What brought me the most joy? I’m asking this question to help me focus on the two or three things that really brought joy to my life in 2018. Life isn’t all fun and games but it should be part of your life!
What was trying to happen? I’m pretty sure this question came from a Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast episode and I love it. I’ve found it to be so helpful for evaluation and future planning. What was trying to happen around me in 2018 that I need to pay attention? Is there anything beneficial to my life, my leadership, my responsibilities that I can encourage to flourish and grow?
Where was I able to have the most impact? As I get older my desire to impact people changes. I want to impact large groups of people in ways that are different than how I want to impact individuals or those closest to me. I’m asking this question to think about the different ways that I’m serving different kinds of people.
At the same time, the start of a new year is a great opportunity to think about what you should stop doing, not just focused on starting a bunch of things.
These questions have been helpful for me as I think about what I should stop:
Where am I spending lots of energy and not seeing enough results? I’m asking this question to think about where I need to readjust the limited amounts of energy I can give. Maybe I need to give less, maybe I need to give more, maybe there are some things that would have significantly higher results with higher energy but I’m deciding to not focus on those things in 2019.
What am I doing that isn’t working anymore? The world never stops changing… and neither do you. What are you doing or trying to do in 2019 which just doesn’t work anymore? Your 2015 methods may not be the best way to bring you your 2019 results.
What do I want to do but don’t have resources for right now? Even though there are some things I’d love to do, maybe 2019 isn’t the right year for those. I’ve still got lots of dreams inside of me and I’m praying I’ve got lots of years too! So what are some steps I can take toward some dreams which may not see the light of day for years or even decades?
So that’s how I’m spending this chunk of time at the end of 2018 and hitting in to 2019.
What are some questions you’re asking to help you move forward this year?
December 7, 2018 | Get free updates of new posts here
As a musician, you know the importance of scratching notes on your chord charts during rehearsal – get loud here, don’t play at this spot, remember the key change. Your worship leader or choir director likes it when you do that because it means that you’re paying attention and maybe, just maybe, things might go according to plan on Sunday morning.
If you’ve spent any time in the Psalms, you’ve seen the same kind of note scratched in to a few of the chapters of that book. Have you ever seen the word selah in the middle or at the end of a psalm and wondered what it means?
Our best guess is that the placement of selah was an instruction to the choirmaster to have the song (remember, psalms are songs not poems) stop for a moment to let the people think about what they‘d just sung or heard. The choir would sing a couple of lines and then selah – stop and listen! A few more lines and another selah – stop and listen!
Psalm 3 is a great example of how this stopping and listening increases the impact of the text. Have someone read Psalm 3 out loud and give a few seconds when you get to the selah moments before continuing.
Psalm 3 (ESV)
O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah
The content of the psalm itself is incredible – the anguish of David as he’s fleeing from his enemies; the continued hope he has that God is good and hears his cry; the affirmation that God can still save and bless and sustain despite David’s uncertainty and fear. There is a deep fountain of encouragement that comes from this psalm for anyone seeking to follow God in the midst of very difficult circumstances.
But don’t miss the importance of the three selah moments which happen here in Psalm 3. Don’t disregard the instruction to stop and listen at each of these spots. Have you ever heard or said something like what David hears in verse 1? “There is no salvation for him in God!” Ouch. Of course we don’t believe that to be true – God’s love overcomes every sin, every wicked deed, every act of brokenness – but we’ve maybe thought that before, haven’t we? “Wow. I’m not really sure God could save someone like them. I’m not sure God could use a life like that. I’m not sure there’s any salvation for him in God.” Selah.
Selah. Stop and listen. Ask the Spirit to examine your heart. You may need to ask him to renew your love for those around you, those who seem so far from God that He could never save.
And there’s good news to come. God hears us when we cry to Him! Yes, He may seem far but He is also near. As near as a shield to protect us, He lifts our head when we’re weary and tired and overcome. He answers us when we call to Him. Selah. Stop and listen. Do you know that God is near to you? Are you crying out to Him? Are you listening for His answer?
David continues to be in fear, continues to see his enemies and at the same time continues to exalt God in the middle of all of it. More good news! Our God saves! Not only does He protect us and answer us when we call, He saves! He rescues! He pulls us out of the pit, defeats our enemies, protects us from evil and saves us from our sin. All of it – He does it! Salvation belongs to Him! What a blessing He pours out on His people. Selah. Stop and listen. Do you recognize the blessing of salvation in your life? How has He rescued you? Do you need Him to be your protector?
As you gather with your worship team, remember to take selah moments together. Times where you can simply stop and listen to the words you are singing or hearing. Listen to His Spirit. Be reminded of His goodness and His love for you. Cry out to God and remember His blessings.
July 27, 2018 | Get free updates of new posts here
Every creative leader goes through seasons where they feel like they’re knocking projects out of the park, hitting items off their to do list and being pretty dang efficient in what they’re trying to accomplish.
Then there are seasons where getting anything done seems impossible, where we really struggle to feel like we’re moving ahead on anything.
And we all know those times where we’ve written a to do list after we’ve done a few things just so we could have the satisfaction that comes with checking those little boxes ✔️✔️✔️
Creative leaders, as you grow in ability, in responsibility and in authority you have to continue to grow in other skills. You have to learn how to manage projects, how to manage your productivity and how to manage yourself. Not keeping up with your ability in these areas will eventually be a lid for you in your leadership and you will miss out on future opportunities.
Naturally, this is not going to be easy for you. We often have a hard time moving from the big picture vision to the down-and-dirty details to accomplish a goal or finish a project. So you need a system.
Thankfully there are no shortage of great systems out there and you’ve probably tried them all – GTD, pomodoro, inbox zero, the list goes on. And with really intriguing tools like Basecamp, Trello, Asana, Gantt charts, and so many more.
Like you, I’ve been willing to try pretty much every system out there and found that all of them work.. almost. Every system seems to have the nugget of effectiveness that works but at some point they all far short. And that makes sense, because there is no single system out there that will serve the need of every kind of person, every kind of team, every kind of project.
So I’ve landed on developing my own productivity system which has served me really well for several years while being much simpler (and cheaper!) than pretty much any other system out there.
My productivity system:
Email ✉️ Calendar 📆 Moleskine 📓
That’s it. Those three tools.
Why these tools and how does my system work? And what am I changing? Here’s the rundown…
Email really is the killer app. Yes it’s information overload and yes it generates more content the more you use it. But email is not going away any time soon and it is the ubiquitous communication tool. Everyone uses it!
Thanks to Google I’m able to keep all of my email stored in my inbox or in the archive. And of course the power of Google means that everything is searchable and really quick to find.
Did you know you can get really specific with your searches to make gmail even more powerful?
Want to find an email from your friend Jim about your baseball tournament with the schedule attached? Instead of just searching for the word or trying to scroll through endless messages, gmail has a ton of search operators that become really helpful:
baseball from:email@example.com has:attachment
Your email has become a tool where you’ve saved the info and can find it really quickly. That’s productive!
Email is for information and calendar is for scheduling. Again Google comes in really strong with this but really any calendar app (and there are tons!) will be helpful. I’ve used Fantastical in the past but it’s pricey. I’ve moved now to using the Calendar app on my Mac and subscribing to multiple Google calendars and that seems to be working fine.
Why calendar? If you’re going to do something and be productive while doing it, you have to make time for it. There are endless books and articles out there on why putting your plans in a calendar is so important.
I have three calendars that I’m relentless about keeping updated:
Fixed calendar – this came out of Carey Nieuwhof’s High Impact Leader course. Here’s my post where I talk more about it and how I’ve blocked out my fixed calendar.
Work calendar – any work-related appointments or meetings go on this calendar. At C4 Church we use Google Suites which means all of my coworkers have access to the free/busy blocks on my calendar. The staff I work with closest have full access to see details and what meetings or appointments are happening. My wife also has access to seeing this calendar so she knows what I’m up to at work.
Family calendar – This is a shared calendar between my wife and I where we put all of our family and social plans. All of them. If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist. Vacations, kids’ sports, date nights, it all goes on the calendar so we each have a clear picture of what is happening and when.
If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist!
Email and calendar are great but man cannot live on digital tools alone. Several years ago I started using Moleskine notebooks and I haven’t looked back. Yes they’re a little pricier but the extra cost is worth it. Your investment will force you to use it and the investment will be worth it.
I’ve tried different sizes and different styles and I’ve landed on using the Classic Notebook – black softcover, XL, ruled pages. I’ve been using these notebooks for several years and I find I go through one notebook in about 10 months. I tend to crack open a new one in late summer and get near the end in late spring.
The size of the notebook is great and fits in my computer bag right next to my MacBook. It’s also big enough for meeting notes, checklists, planning and concepts. I use it most Sundays to take sermon notes too and I’ve found that I will fill most of two pages for one sermon so I’m able to go back years later after hearing a message and review my notes from that day.
But why paper? Why not stick to digital? Great question.
There is something really powerful about putting pen to paper when you’re capturing ideas. The act of writing notes, sketching ideas, getting a list out of your head and onto a page not only helps you be more productive but also helps you remember what it is you’re writing down.
The system I’ve developed is to begin with analog – write things down, take notes, get a list – and then move it to digital. Get it on a calendar, type up some notes, start moving on some action items.
So what am I changing?
After years of running strong with this productivity system (and giving pretty much every app and digital tool out there a solid run for its money!) I’m making a change. The scope of my job is changing and I’m taking on some new life adventures (more on that soon!) so I’m feeling like I need an extension of my existing system to help me manage some of the extra work that’s coming.
Last week I bit the bullet and bought Things for Mac and iPhone and have started digging into the incredible functionality of this app as part of my existing system.
Why Things? I love the simplicity and straightforwardness of the app. I love their focus in being a single platform and in helping people achieve their goals. I love that the app is designed for the device, even though it is pricey and adds to the cost.
After a week of learning, exploring and checking out a ton of content online showing how other people have created workflows, I’m really satisfied with Things and I can really see how this is going to help me be more productive, keep me moving forward on more projects and help me accomplish my goals. That’s a win!
I’ll be posting more about this in the future, how I’m continuing to develop this productivity system and how it might help you in your own productivity as you grow in leadership.
February 17, 2018 | Get free updates of new posts here
One of the changes we’ve made in our worship ministry at the start of the new year is shifting how our worship leaders choose songs for our services.
I’m always paying attention to the size of our library when it comes to worship songs. I believe having a repertoire of songs that are familiar to our congregation and to our worship team helps in lots of ways.
Specifically, it helps our congregation learn the songs so they can sing with greater passion.
Also it helps our musicians so they can play with greater excellency.
In our context at C4 Church, worship leaders choose the songs from our library. Typically we sing five songs each Sunday and we use Planning Center as our home base for those songs. We store and track lots of content for those songs – chord charts, videos, mp3’s, how often we sing the songs, what keys we sing them in, etc etc etc.
Whenever we have new songs that worship leaders would like to introduce we use Planning Center to do that as well and we have all of our worship leaders agree on new songs that we’ll add to our library.
For the first few years I was here on staff this was pretty manageable. Until mid-2015 we were one service in one location with three or four worship leaders and the whole process was pretty contained. Our worship song library was full of very familiar songs for both our musicians and our congregation. Even with different worship leader personalities and preferences, it was still pretty easy to keep everyone and everything moving in the same direction from Sunday to Sunday.
As of January 2018 we are four services in three locations and we have about a dozen worship leaders who are either leading services or being apprenticed to do that, it gets way more complicated and much harder to manage.
Earlier this year we looked at how many songs we had been singing in our church and over the course of 18 months at C4 we had sung 151different songs. This included older familiar songs we’ve done once or twice in those 18 months, also included Christmas songs but from January 2016 to July 2017 we had included 151 different songs over those 18 months in our worship services for people to sing.
Obviously.. too many songs.
But it was hilarious to hear from worship leaders how many songs they thought we had sung in that same time period. They way underestimated the real number. Usually they were guessing that we had sung about 50-60 different songs, which is still a pretty big library if we’re expecting people to sing loud and passionately as they worship Jesus in our services.
So over the last little while help been moving towards a new model for choosing songs for our worship services.
The heart behind this is that we would sing the same number of songs in our worship services but over time we would sing fewer songs, more often. By doing this we can serve our congregation to really help them grow in their worship as they become familiar with the songs. We can serve our worship teams by not asking them to learn a library of 150+ songs to play excellently in our worship services. And we can serve God by narrowing the focus of our worship songs to some of the most important things we want people to sing about in our services when we are together.
This month we began rolling out our “Top 40” model. The short explanation is that every week our worship leaders will choose 4 of the 5 songs for the worship service they’re leading from an agreed library of 40 worship songs. These are songs that our worship leaders have had input in developing and that we’ve chosen together as the 40 songs that we’ll focus on in this season.
The 5th song for each worship service can be any song from our existing worship library so we still allow for individual worship leader’s personality and preference to come in to play which is definitely a hallmark of our worship services at C4.
A few times a year we’ll revisit our “Top 40” list and we’ll make some changes. We’ll add some new songs that we believe need to be introduced to our services at C4. We’ll also add some songs that we’re writing and recording. For example, all 4 of the songs from the C4 Worship “Hallelujah EP” are in our first Top 40 list. We’ll also remove some songs from our regular Top 40 rotation but keep them in our library so once a song has had a season at C4, we can still include it occasionally but we will make room for newer songs to be introduced.
I’m excited about this. I’m excited about our congregation getting even more engaged with the songs we’re singing because we will have more repetition of fewer songs over time in our worship services. I’m excited about our worship teams focusing more of their attention on fewer songs to help them develop as musicians and play better together as a team. I’m also excited about what God is going to do among us in our worship services as we celebrate Jesus together this way.
January 13, 2018 | Get free updates of new posts here
We’re at the start of the new year and by now you’re either thriving in the newness of it all or you’ve pretty much given up that anything will ever change. You may even have realized that you’re pretty much the same person in 2018 that you were in 2017.. and 2016.. and 2015..
We love the idea of newness and getting a fresh start. Worship leaders, you’ve bought that annual planner that you swear is going to change you’re life because this time.. I mean it.. you’re going to keep track of all those meetings, deadlines and action items, right?
If anything, you’ll have the best looking planner with the coolest looking pages and the most revolutionary features.
But will anything change?
You have the opportunity now to set a course for a new year. Not just another year, but for things to not be the status quo in 2018 as they have been in other years.
But it won’t happen by accident.
I want to help you.
After 20 years of leading worship and being in full time ministry since 2005, I’ve learned a few things about planning and succeeding in creative ministry. It’s possible but it’s not automatic.
One of the small but significant steps you can take is deciding now to place some markers on your calendar that will help you take some steps forward in the effectiveness and the fruitfulness of your ministry. You have a desire to grow the impact of the worship ministry in your church and in your community and you know that same old will not get it done.
So what you can you do?
If you are willing today to put 12 – only 12! – accomplishments on your calendar, I promise that 2018 will be your most effective year ever when it comes to your own leadership and fruitfulness.
I’ve put together this annual planning calendar that will help you put 12 accomplishments – one for each month – on your calendar today so that this year doesn’t have to look like every other year.
Every month you need to make a significant step forward either personally, with your team or with your worship ministry but the problem I hear all the time is that worship leaders are often uncertain as to where to begin. The task seems incredibly massive and we’re not able to break it down into achievable action steps.
This is where I can help you.
This is a free download. No tricks, no gimmicks, no upsell. Just click below and you’ll get a free PDF of this worship leader annual planning calendar with 12 significant ministry investments you can make this year.
Of course you’re going to make this your own. You’re going to move things around based on your own church culture and your own ministry priorities. You’re going to use this as a starting point to make sure that 2018 isn’t just another year where you coast along in your leadership and ministry effectiveness. You’re going to grow personally in your own walk with Jesus, you’re going to grow as a leader and you’re going to see the worship ministry in your church grow in ways you’ve never seen happen before.
September 5, 2017 | Get free updates of new posts here
September may not be the start of the calendar year but for most churches and most worship leaders it is the start of the new ministry year. Summer break is over, people are back from travelling, kids have returned to school and ministry activity is picking up again.
As a worship leader, what are the new opportunities before you this year that you need to prioritize now?
If you think forward to a year from now what are some of the things you’d like to improve on in your leadership?
September is sort of a worship leader’s January so you have the opportunity now to focus on the year ahead and get some of these priorities on the calendar.
Let me give you three suggestions of how a new ministry year can create new opportunities:
1. Get important dates on your calendar today
I’ve written before about the importance of a blocked calendar and how it’s helped me in my leadership. There are some similar principles when it comes to prioritizing dates on the calendar at the start of the year.
Before you realize it’s November here are some events you should have on your calendar now:
Auditions – if you don’t have regular auditions for your worship team, this is a great year to start. Even if you get auditions scheduled once in the fall, once in the spring you will be off to a great start. I’ve put together an auditions ebook to teach you more about the system I’ve developed for auditions to grow your worship team.
Christmas and Easter prep – one of the most beneficial conversations you can have with your pastor is around these two major events. Invite your pastor (and whoever else might need to be there) to a half day meeting to talk about Christmas and Easter. The potential impact of these two dates on your calendar to reach your community for Christ can’t be understated and you can be prioritizing those days now as you look to the year ahead. Christmas planning can easily happen in September, Easter planning in January.
Personal time away – whether it’s vacation or your church has opportunities for days away or even sabbatical, get those on your calendar now and make them a priority. Yes the work you do is important. Yes the role you play in your church is important. But if you aren’t rested and energized to do that work to the best of your ability you are hurting yourself and hurting your church. Get vacation and personal time on your calendar at the start of the year so you have the opportunity to work from rest instead of resting from work.
2. Decide what you can improve by 2%
Have you ever had the idea that you’d love something to be 100% better? Have you ever worked with a pastor who really encouraged you to make significant improvements?
Nobody can make 100% improvements overnight and if that’s what you’re feeling from your boss you need to have a conversation about exepectations.
But.. what about 2% improvement? Do you think you could make a 2% improvement in part of your worship service? Think of all the elements of your worship service and how they could be improved: rehearsal, call to worship, transitions, song selections, band communication, on and on and on. The list is endless.
What if you chose one element of your worship service where you could make a 2% improvement this week and focus on that? And then next week, something different with a 2% improvement. And then another 2% improvement. And then another.
Before you know it you’ll have invested 52 weeks in improving your worship service by 2% each week and you may be on your way to see an overall improvement of 100% in what you do. Not possible overnight, but focus on small changes over a long trajectory and see what is possible!
3. Focus on multiplication instead of addition
So often I’ll talk with worship leaders who tell me they need to add X number of musicians, add X amount to their budget, add X worship leaders to their rotation. Almost every conversation in those situations is a leadership issue, not a resource issue.
Not having what you think you need to succeed in your job is usually a leadership issue and not a resource issue.
And I’m not talking about the leader above you, I’m talking about you.
The difference in looking to add rather than multiply is often the death of worship leaders. The decision to invest leadership resources into people who can multiply themselves into other people is one that will change the trajectory of your ministry and of your church.
Who are the key musicians who can invest in the other musicians on the same instrument? Focus on those people and empower them to multiply themselves into the rest of the team.
Who is the one worship leader who can carry part of your role and is able to apprentice one other leader? Commit to spending time with that person this year and pray together for one other leader to be raised up and apprenticed by the time the year is over.
Who are the people who would love to serve you and your church through the work that you hate to do? Invest in the relationship to make sure that clarity and trust are high and then delegate the work to the person who will do it better than you ever will!
Don’t miss the opportunity at the start of a ministry year to look for ways to maximize your effectiveness as a worship leader. Your trajectory this year will impact – either positively or negatively! – your worship ministry and your church.
September 4, 2017 | Get free updates of new posts here
Over the last few years at C4 Church we’ve been writing songs, singing some of those songs and celebrating what God is doing in our church through these songs. It’s been an incredible privilege to lead these songwriters and this movement of worship across our church and I’m so excited that we’ll be releasing our first album of original worship songs on September 10.
The four songs, written and recorded by our team capture some of the beautiful work that God is doing at our church. Our hope and desire is that these songs give Jesus glory and inspire thousands and thousands of your own hallelujahs as you listen to them.
We’re going to be making physical copies available beginning September 10 but you can order the EP now direct from iTunes and receive it as soon as it is available for purchase:
The journey of writing these songs, recording them and now being able to share them with our church family and with you has been incredible. I’m so grateful for the people who have invested their time, their passion, their energy by helping to put to words some of the incredible work that God is doing at C4.
We’ve had the opportunity to get away together and invest in the craft of writing songs, invest in our relationships with each other, invest in the ministry that Jesus is doing in our church. Above all we’ve had the opportunity to invest in our own discipleship as we focus on who God has created us to be, how He’s wired us and how He’s helped us learn more about Him as we’ve written these songs together.
This summer we spent five days holed up in the basement of our pastor’s house (no joke!) and worked with the incredible David Leonard, Seth Talley and Brad King from Creak Music to take these songs from idea and inspiration to beautiful artistic expressions of what God is doing among us. We were really honoured to work with these guys and we learned so much from them.
So grateful for our team. Also grateful they are much better at writing and playing music than they are at arranging themselves for photos.
David Leonard making the magic happen.
Studio time is partly about performing the songs but so much happens in the preparation, in the praying even before we step out to play a note.
The man, the myth, the Lensink.
So many keyboards. So much vibe.
Such an honour to work with David, Seth and Brad on this album. Our team learned so much from them.
My personal favourite moment from our week of recording. Having 30+ of our worship team crammed into the basement, singing their guts out on gang vocals for each of these songs is something I’ll remember for a long time. So grateful for these people.
What a gift. We are seeing prayers answered and dreams coming true right before our eyes. As these songs move from inspiration to idea and now to become inspiration for you in your own worship of Jesus, our prayer continues to be that every hallelujah would be for Him and that these songs would inspire thousands and thousands of hallelujahs all over the earth.
June 20, 2017 | Get free updates of new posts here
One of the ironies of leadership – whether you’re a worship leader, a senior pastor or in any kind of position where you are leading people – is that success typically results in complexity not simplicity.
A worship leader grows their worship team and now has to manage scheduling multiple worship leaders and multiple worship teams. More complex, not more simple.
A senior pastor whose church is growing has to sustain new ministry programs, multiple worship services and perhaps launching new sites. More complex, not more simple.
Success isn’t wrong and complexity isn’t necessarily bad but unchecked complexity will quickly be the downfall of what was once success.
Success leads to complexity. Complexity undermines success.
As leaders, how do we push and pray for success while at the same time remaining focused on the key things God has called us to in our ministry? How do we raise up new leaders while personally maintaining visionary direction over the areas we have been tasked with leading? How do I as an individual stay close to Jesus and connected to the source of my leadership and my effectiveness so that I don’t burn out?
I’ve been thinking about this and working on this in my own leadership over the last year. Here are three strategies I’ve put in place in my life to help me do less as a way to effectively have more impact in my life and my leadership.
If you’ve never spent time blocking out your own calendar you are doing irreparable damage to your own leadership. Leaders will never have enough time for all the tasks, never enough energy for all the demands. If you don’t own your own time for the responsibilities which are crucial to your role you will find yourself overwhelmed with other’s people’s expectations, other people’s meetings and other people’s ideas of how you should spend your time.
Consider this a plug if it’s needed but if you haven’t checked out Carey Nieuwhof’s High Impact Leadership Course let me add my recommendation. After working through the course I’ve been able to develop a new, effective, prioritized monthly blocked calendar that places my primary responsibilities within my prime time effectiveness.
Of course we all have responsibilities to be flexible and available as needed and we get called in to meetings which may not be our favourite things but if you start with your own priorities scheduled first you will make much better use of your time. You’ll end up doing less so you can do more.
The biblical mandate to rest in the midst of work or to work out of rest is perhaps the most overlooked leadership strategy of doing less so you can do more.
The American dream which has made its way around the world is that we should work hard for five days and rest for two. Work for the weekend!
The cultural expectation for pastors is often to be available 24/7, working constantly for the people they are called to serve. This is a calling, not a job!
As usual, the biblical model is neither of these but a third way: work six days, rest one. Modelled in Genesis and instructed by God, all of creation is designed to fit this rhythm of work and rest that actually allows us to do less so we can do more.
By working hard for the five days we’re expected to work at our jobs and then a sixth day where we can work on a hobby, a side project, work on our home, whatever it is. We then guard that seventh day as sabbath and keep it holy and set apart for the Lord.
My sabbath is typically Friday evening to Saturday evening. We have family time, my wife and I have date night and the Saturday is spent “praying and playing,” encouraged by Eugene Peterson in his book Working The Angles.
By focusing on working six days instead of seven you’re freed up, energized, rested and you’ll discover how doing less can allow you to do more.
Time With Jesus
So far we’ve talked about strategy that will give you a monthly calendar as well as a weekly rhythm of doing less so you can do more.
In all of these leadership strategies we have to remember that our daily strength comes from our time with Jesus and how the Spirit of God equips us to do the work He’s called us to do. My personal ministry verse this year has been 1 Peter 4:11 “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
If we’re going to serve Jesus and His kingdom, we have to do that out of the strength that He gives rather than our own ability, talent or expertise.
This means as often as possible I need to be in communion with Jesus, strengthened by His Spirit so that I can continue to do the work that He’s called me to do.
This is more important than strategic planning. More important than casting vision. More important than scheduling volunteers. All of those are tasks which have to happen and all leaders need to spend time doing those things but if I’m doing those out of my own strength rather than this strength that God provides then it’s a downward spiral.
Leaders, every day. Time with Jesus. You will be doing less but in the end you will do more because of your willingness to be strengthened day after day after day by God who loves you and calls you to serve Him and the world.
What about for you? What are some ways that you have been able to learn how to do less so you can do more?
April 1, 2017 | Get free updates of new posts here
A few years ago I wrote a series of posts focused on help you write worship songs for your church. As much as I love to lead worship and equip leaders, I love writing songs and being part of a church community that love to work together on songs for our church to sing.
Of course we sing songs from Hillsong or Bethel or Chris Tomlin or Elevation because those are opportunities to join in with the church around the world in a unified song of praise to God. But there are also some songs that our church needs to sing that nobody else can write for us.
God is doing things globally which can be sung through our collective songs but God is also doing things locally which need to be sung in unique ways by your own church.
To help you with this I’ve gathered all ten of these posts as a guide “from inspiration to completion” on how to write worship songs and it’s available now here as an immediate PDF download:
Worship leaders wear many hats and one of the things we get asked to do is write worship songs for our churches. This is a good thing – writing worship songs that come from our congregation’s own experience and speak to our congregation in its own language is a privilege for worship leaders and an opportunity they should definitely pursue.
To write worship songs for your own church is to help give them the language of praise.
This book covers ten important steps from inspiration to completion when it comes to writing songs, cowriting and how to develop as a songwriter to write better songs for your church to sing.
The ten chapters I cover in this book:
3 People To Talk With Before You Write Worship Songs
The Most Important Conversation Before You Write Worship Songs
3 Ways The Bible Inspires You To Write Worship Songs
3 Reasons To Write Worship Songs With People Inside Your Church
3 Reasons To Write Worship Songs With People Outside Your Church
Where Do You Start – Lyrics Or Melody?
5 Things To Remember About Lyrics When You Write Worship Songs
5 Things To Remember About Melody When You Write Worship Songs
Share & Re-Write & Share – Great Songs Are Re-Written
March 24, 2017 | Get free updates of new posts here
No value judgements, no statement on whether these are good or wise or helpful questions. So much has changed over the past 10 years that what was present only in the biggest, most forward thinking churches is now possible in almost any church in most of the world.
As we lead in a new world and raise up new leaders who will lead in new ways we haven’t even dreamed of, we all have new questions we have to ask. The beauty of change is that we’re forced to wrestle with what we do and how we do it and sometimes asking new questions reveals better and more effective ways to reach more people with the gospel.
So, pastors, what questions are you asking now that you didn’t have to ask 10 years ago?
Here are some that I hear pastors asking today:
Should we have one Facebook page for our whole church or one for each ministry?
How do we deliver teaching by video to each of our campuses?
Are we okay with our musicians reading sheet music off their iPad when they play with the worship team?
How can we use YouVersion to help people in our church read the Bible more often?
Should our church build an app?
How can Google Adwords helps us serve more people in our community who are not part of our church?
Should the music director or the drummer run click and cues for the worship team?
Is automated giving better done through direct deposit, text-to-give or by an app?
How do we disciple people through Facebook Live and our online campus?
Should we be present and active on all social media channels or focus on the ones that get us results?