Archives For Worship

Building Strong Worship LeadersDid you know that when you and I worship Jesus, God begins a work of change in our lives?  God is in the business of transforming lives. He transforms us from old to new, dead to living, hurting and broken to healed and restored. Jesus told his disciples that he came to mend the broken hearted and set the captive free. When Jesus does His work of transformation, He changes sinners into worshipers of the Most High God.

Mentoring worship leaders should include opportunities for them to experience transformational worship. At Liberty’s School of Music, we strongly encourage our students to connect personally with God in worship. For example, several of our worship leadership classes begin with a time of musical worship, often led by students. Not only are these vertical worship experiences good opportunities for the students who lead them, more importantly they help to mold everyone in the class. Borrowing from an old saying, true worship of God needs to be caught, more than just taught.

Transformation, alteration, conversion, revolution, makeover, and adjustment are just a few of the words we use in the English language to describe…

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Building Strong Worship LeadersWhen was the last time you took note of someone in your church and thought, “I see potential in that person to grow and to lead”?

Jesus moved through crowds of people every day. He not only noticed certain individuals; He called them. For example, He noticed Peter and Andrew casting their net into the lake, and He challenged them to follow Him. However, Jesus did more than call them to Him, He committed Himself to them. He said, “I will turn you into fishers of people” (NET, italics mine); “I will show you how to fish…” (NLT, italics mine).

Why He Did

Have you thought how long it took Jesus to “turn them” into fishers of people? It took the rest of His earthly ministry. Yet, He never gave up on his disciples. He kept on working with them, setting the example for them, often being up close and personal with them, teaching them to observe everything He had commanded.

So, why would Jesus—with ministry responsibilities like healing the sick and teaching crowds of listeners—be compelled to prioritize in his weekly “to-do list” the mentoring of a small group of men? Why…

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10,000 Fathers

By Aaron Keyes

Building Strong Worship LeadersThere are some moments you never forget.

Bending a knee at the base of that frigid, windy waterfall, asking Megan to marry me; months later, the first glimpse of my beautiful bride walking down the aisle towards me; and then a year after that, the flood of tears I couldn’t hold back when I announced to our family in that hospital waiting room, “It’s a boy!”

I was thrown into fatherhood at a relatively early age—I had two sons by the time I was 23 years old, and two more by the time I turned 30.  By the grace of God, our boys are healthy, happy, and growing in their relationships with Jesus.  But understanding and growing into this role has been hard for me.

I’ve always had a great relationship with my father—I still do—but coming home from the hospital with our first son, I didn’t exactly feel prepared for what was to come, or for how difficult it would be.  And the more I speak with friends who are entering into parenthood, the more I realize I wasn’t alone in my un-readiness.

And while becoming a father has been difficult…

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Part 5 of the series: Building Strong Worship Leaders

For the worship ministry of Valley View Church, our end goal is not to produce great worship services, but rather, to produce great worshipers, who will in turn help produce great worship services. Therefore, we have a process for discovering and developing worship leaders. Our process is intentional, prayerful, and deliberate. It’s intentional because we believe training and discipleship don’t happen by accident. It’s prayerful because we recognize that in ourselves we are powerless to help people grow. Only the Holy Spirit can bring about lasting change in someone. This process is deliberate because we firmly believe we have a God-given responsibility to train up those He entrusts to our ministry.

Our Purpose

Our ministry’s purpose above all is to make disciples. We understand the verb translated as “make disciples”—mathēteuō—is beautifully complex, carrying more meaning than simply accumulating converts. It communicates the idea of a learning believer—someone who is growing in his faith and his love for the Lord.1

Our Vision

Our vision at Valley View Church is to be a sculpturing “factory” which helps build mature worshipers and worship leaders. This vision is necessarily supported and exemplified by our senior pastor, Dr. Joel Carwile.

Our Process

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Building Strong Worship LeadersPart 4 of the series: Building Strong Worship Leaders

Years ago, I served under a Senior Pastor who often told our staff that the most important gift we could bring to the church was a healthy self. I never forgot his words.  Since then, I have come across some worship pastors and worship leaders who clearly are flourishing. They still exhibit bright eyes, celebrating the wonder of God’s unique calling on their lives.  But others walk around with a look of weariness, carrying kernels of bitterness or skepticism or carefully disguised anger. They are not thriving…but simply surviving.  I believe that just as Paul told his disciple Timothy to “pay attention to his life and ministry,” so we must take responsibility for the vitality of our souls and spirit.

If we truly are to flourish like the tree described in Psalm 1, bearing fruit in its season, healthy and vital and filled with joy, we must pay attention to at least 4 life-giving practices.

Solitude

When was the last time you were alone, truly alone, and away from your phone, radio, IPod, and noise of any kind except the songs of birds…

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Part 3 of the series: Building Strong Worship Leaders

Building Strong Worship LeadersAlmost every week, I hear from pastors asking if I can recommend someone to lead worship for their congregation. Most of these are smaller churches or new church plants with limited resources. Most of the time I do not have anyone to recommend, and it saddens my heart knowing there are people who need a leader but have no options. I feel strongly that we must take seriously this opportunity to invest in the future of worship ministry for the sake of building the Kingdom.

About 18 years ago, I had a meeting with my worship team that changed the DNA of the worship ministry at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, TX. We decided that we had two purposes as a ministry. First, we wanted to provide an environment in our worship experiences where people could encounter a Holy God. Second, we wanted to invest in our young people and train up the next generation of worshipers. Since that day, we have made the training of worshipers a priority.

We created a system of training that has produced many worship…

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Part 2 of the series: Building Strong Worshippers

Building Strong Worship LeadersFor the second time this week Joe felt like he had reached the end of his rope. 

As the Worship Pastor in a growing church, he constantly felt overwhelmed and under-prepared.  Regardless of how hard he worked, how early he came into the office, or how many items he crossed off of his list, it seemed he never really got it all done. “If I just had someone to help me,” Joe thought, “then maybe I could at least get a day off this week.” Somehow this wasn’t what he pictured when he felt called to ministry seven years ago.

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Do you know a “Joe”?

Maybe not, but you do know Moses.  And Moses and Joe had a lot in common:  They had more than they could do, and no one to help.

This series on Building Strong Worship Leaders can help you move beyond the “one man show” to invest in and raise up leaders on your team.  This shift is about much more than just enlisting the help of a few others.  It’s a shift in mindset for you as the…

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Part 1 of the series: Building Strong Worshipers

Building Strong Worship LeadersWorship services are made up of people. I know that’s not news; it’s obvious. Yet, how often do we overlook this important detail? Most of us would like to take our services up a notch or two. But we tend to focus on things like newer songs and cooler lights and stage sets, in hopes these will prompt our folks to worship better. We hire talented worship leaders and invest lots of money in externals. All these things can be good, mind you, but none of them really cause worship to happen. Think about it. Worship’s not something we can muster up or generate on the outside, if it’s not first taking place on the inside…of people.

I agree with those who teach worship is best experienced in a corporate setting with other Christians. However, you and I both know that just because someone attends a worship service doesn’t necessarily mean that person is actually worshiping. Worship doesn’t “rub off” on us from those around us. Worship starts on the inside of a person. Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must…

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A Christmas Eve service can be one of your church’s most meaningful moments, and one of its largest outreach events of the year. Use these two secrets for planning a meaningful community-wide event to honor Jesus’ birth.

Secret #1: Early Prep

  • Carefully plan a top-quality program of worship. Forty-five minutes or an hour is ideal. Establish a minute-by-minute timetable for program participants so every second counts. Make it relaxed, yet power-packed.
  • Prepare fabulous music, and include some traditional carols. The Pastor’s sermon is strategic, but may be different than usual. And pass-it-on candle lighting never goes out of style.
  • As early as possible, ask for a commitment from your choice vocal and instrumental musicians, your media team and reliable leaders for greeters and fellowship reception.
  • Preplan unique exterior lighting to attract guests that night—a high, giant star, searchlight or laser lights.
  • Purchase needed supplies early, such as individual candles and paper guards, or jingle bells for kids.
  • Offer at least two service times to enable more families to make it a tradition.
  • Prepare guest cards and handouts ahead. A “Celebrate Jesus All Year” handout can invite guests to return, listing worship…

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ConfusionCan you imagine what it would be like to walk into your church for the very first time? Not as a veteran church attender or someone steeped in American Christianity, but as a complete rookie to the church experience.

As you walk into the lobby you see signs like “Worship Center” and “Connect, Grow, Serve” but you have no idea what they mean. You follow the crowd into what appears to be the “Worship Center”, and when the music starts you stand when everyone else does. The band is singing songs you’ve never heard before, but you notice a few people around you singing along. You mumble through words on the screen to try to fit in. Other than the National Anthem at a ballgame the last time you were involved in group singing was 7th grade choir. That’s an experience you never thought you’d have to repeat.

Finally the band finishes and everyone sits down. The stage lights focus on what appears to be a large bathtub. A girl about 10 or 11 climbs into the bathtub while an older guy addresses the crowd saying something about “baptism” and “profession of faith”….

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Small to MegaI recently joined the staff of Valley View Church in Louisville. Prior to coming to Kentucky, I was serving as worship pastor at a church plant in Birmingham, AL. Over the past twenty-five years I’ve served on staff in several different churches. In the majority of those churches I was bi-vocational and the congregations were quite small. Although the church in Birmingham had grown significantly and my staff position there was full-time, its total membership was still not more than a few hundred.

So, how did I suddenly go from a church of hundreds to serving as worship pastor at a church of thousands? Good question!

Of course, the short (and truest) answer is “God and His grace.” But that’s not the answer you’re probably looking for, is it? Most likely you’re taking precious time to read this article because you want to know exactly how such a thing could happen. Anyone who knows me may wonder how a guy from some small backwoods town in Alabama could “land” such a big church job. Well, keep reading. I believe I may be able to shed some light on that for you.

Contentment with…

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Up All Night to Get LuckyEverywhere I go I hear that song playing. It’s on TV, radio, at ballgames, in convenient stores – all over. It’s got stuck in my head. I started thinking on the title and reflecting on past experiences and conversations.

I started thinking about how many pastors stay up late Saturday night working on their Sunday morning message hoping to get “lucky.” Hoping that they will deliver and come through with excellence. Friends, it doesn’t work like that.

I used to serve on a church staff with a senior pastor that would come in and change his message every single Sunday morning. He’s switch points, slides for the presentation software, music. He killed our creative flow. We had an entire worship and creative staff dedicated to creating amazing worship experiences and they were constantly handicapped by last minute changes.

Hear my heart. I worked with another pastor who planned a year out. He was awesome. But on the rare occasion that he would come to the team and say God had laid something new and fresh on his heart, we would move heaven and earth to accommodate and support him….

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