June 19, 2005

To be a Worship Pastor

So as I mentioned in my last post, I got the chance to be a worship leader last weekend. Whether or not our church is desperate for people should be obvious, since I was onstage, but that's not the issue - I really enjoyed it, for the most part, and it was way cool to be back on stage playing and singing and leading people to worship the God of the universe.

That said, as I'm sitting in the worship arts office this morning, it made me think about the role of a worship leader. Why are we here? What are we supposed to do? What are our responsibilities?

I think the first thing is that worship leaders are here to not be noticed - it's on the list of "least prestigious jobs" ever, somewhere just ahead of "nursury worker" or "janitor" or "building committee secretary." At least, it's supposed to be, which doesn't (of course) mean that it always works out that way. Another way to say this is that worship leaders are here to point to God, to say "there's God, watch/worship/adore/praise/love Him!" and then go about what they were doing as people do that.

This means that people will never notice a worship leader. Just as my piddly attempt at composing in theory III pales in comparison to a Mozart symphony or a U2 concert, so does watching a worship leader (or even the whole worship team) pale in comparison to worshipping and watching and being loved by God. Why, then, would people want to watch the worship leader? Only one thing comes to mind - that the worship leader isn't pointing people towards God as he or she is supposed to. But they really look like they're leading worship.

It worries me that I got a lot of compliments last weekend - "oh you did so great!" or "it sounded phenomenal!" or "you guys looked so great up there, thanks for being back and leading worship again!" I mean, I felt great at first - who doesn't like compliments? - but the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I was like ... did what I did detract from people noticing God? I mean, if I'd really led people towards God, I would think that I'd have heard comments like "man, worshipping God was awesome this morning, you wouldn't believe what He told me!" or "thanks for showing me towards God today, I got to talk to Him."

Or even ... "I hate you, why did you have to go and ruin my little secure bubble by allowing God into the room?" I think anything could really be better than "YOU did a good job" ... and no mention of why we were there.

What would a church be like if its worship leaders were dedicated to getting out of the way? What if they went into a service asking God "how can I point people towards you and not towards myself?" What would it look like if they did?

Just so we're clear, I'm not saying that it's always a show, nor am I saying that what we do doesn't impact some people in a positive way, inspiring them to meet God. I know of some people who really do meet God with the way we tend to do things.

I'm just saying we should always be striving to do it better.

June 15, 2005


Deliver me out of the sadness
Deliver me from all of the madness
Deliver me courage to guide me
Deliver me Your strength inside me
[David Crowder]

I wonder sometimes about the outcome
Of a still verdictless life
Am I livin' it right?
[John Mayer]

Two songs that have been high on my listening list as of late. It's been a few very trying weeks, and I'm not quite sure why. In some ways, its the uncertainty of the problem (meaning I have no idea what in the world is bothing me) that is so hard.

It makes for a very tense lifestyle ... I go to work slightly depressed, and I come home moreso, to be compounded by the fact that I just did about an hour of dishes (in addition to my other duties) and find that I have more to do at home. And life spirals farther downhill.

Why do we - I - as people get fixated so strongly on our emotions? I know that lots of guys tend to be very emotionless, but who are we kidding, right? We just bury them deep, hoping nobody will notice how sensitive we can really be, and eventually it will all come out in whatever form we tend to favor.

For me, it's moping. And I'll admit it, occasionally I cry. Like a girl.

Please stop laughing at me.

I feel terribly sorry for my wife right now, because I know she's been entirely puzzled by my mood for the past three weeks. And so I begin a new journey forward, struggling with the brokenness which I unwittingly prayed for and now find myself desperately recanting. How could I have been so dumb? I felt so secure in my relationships with God and family and friends, and then I went and ruined it by wanting something deeper.

Trust me, if you ever find yourself praying or singing about brokenness, please know - it's going to be hard, and that goes for everybody - because brokenness leads to wisdom, and that's a request that God always grants.

June 14, 2005

An Update

So lots has not happened (and continued to not happen) since the last time I posted. Honestly. I feel like I've done very little in a week. I've done some unpacking, a bit of graphic design, led three worship services (this past weekend, with my wife), mostly worked my butt off at the cafe, but ...

We have our first (official) donor! Which is absolutely fantastic, the couple are friends of ours, and so it's always nice to know you have the support of your friends.

Anyway, that's where we are right now. Mostly busy running around with the randomness that is my life. Time to focus on some important stuff now: back to web design.

June 6, 2005


Lack of internet access is going to be the end of me.

My new apartment is in the basement of my inlaws' house, and that means no readily available access to the internet. At least, not on an instantaneous basis like I've been used to for the last four years. I've become soft or something.

It's amazing what getting used to having something does to a guy. Suddenly you start feeling like this isn't just a perk, isn't just a benefit of being where you are, isn't a luxury item ... it becomes a need. Suddenly you feel like hey, I deserve this, I can't live without it, I'll give anything for five minutes online!

Pathetic, isn't it?

And I really feel like that sometimes. And so begins my trial by fire, my "burning" (as
Stace calls it). How long can I go between times online? Aka, how many hours can I go without pining to check my email?


June 2, 2005

Moving Day

My function in life has decidedly changed as of late. Before, I was a husband, a student, a part-time employee at a coffee shop, and every so often, a musician, in that order. But since graduating, my priorities seem to have taken a bit of a mix up, sort of a “shaken, not stirred” kind of deal.

These days, I’ve noticed my life revolving more around the husband, lifter-of-heavy-things, carpenter, slightly more part-time employee of a coffee shop (now we call it a “cafĂ©”), an amateur musician, and a student of … life … (a scholar?) in that order.

Even as I’ve written this, I’ve done all sorts of things – I’ve hung a flyswatter (“honey, I need a nail!”), I’ve taken the materials out and put them away, I’ve thought about my next project (installing some shelves into the bathroom), decided to ignore said project, tried to help with dinner, gotten in the way, and hoped my wife will finish dinner soon because my stomach can’t take it much longer.

Moving is not easy.

To begin with, you have to put everything into boxes. No, check that, to begin with, you have to go get a lot of boxes from your local whole-sale store (for us it was BJ’s), cart them home, get them into the house, and then put your lifetime accumulations of stuff in them. Then you have to put all those boxes back into your car (and three other of your finest friends’ cars – finest friends because they helped you move the heavy boxes) and cart them off to your new abode. Then you go get the rest of the stuff that doesn’t fit into boxes, like the couch, the bed, the bookshelves, the table … the list goes on … and bring that down.

Then you try to cram it all in. Space is short, as are tempers and emotions, and you pray to God that your marriage survives something as simple as moving from point A to point B.

The next two weeks are spent asking “do we really need this?” through everything you own, and trying to look as far down the road as possible to see if you do, in fact, really need that. Then you throw out or donate all the stuff you decide you don’t need, and probably a few other things.

And then you spend all of monday afternoon slacking off. It's a beautiful thing.