Archives For For Worship Leaders

Over the last several weeks and months I’ve had the privlege of “meeting” several folks who lead worship throughout the country.  These people range from staffed positions like “director of worship” or “worship pastor” to volunteer worship leaders in local churches or church plants throughout the world.  One thing I’ve yet to see though, is what inspired all of you to begin to lead worship in the first place.  I (and probably others) would absoultely love to hear your story. Ultimately God is the one that puts the spark in us, but he uses people, places and experiences to do it.

So come out of the woodwork – don’t be shy, and share your story with us.  Was it encouragement from a family member or friend?  Were you surprised to end up leading worship somewhere but ended up loving it?  Even if you are “just a piano player” or “just the screen operator (you lead worship too!!),” please let us know!

For me it was rather interesting.  I was in my first year of Bible School at the Association Free Lutheran Bible School in Plymouth, MN. I was excited to possibly begin a career in youth ministry.  One weekend, while counseling at a camp, there was no one to “lead music.”  I had sort of done something like this before, but didn’t really know what it looked like.  I was just getting introduced to “leading worship” at the time.  Someone said, “Hey Ryan, you have your guitar here.  Maybe you could lead.”  So, I jumped in.  Let me tell you, it was amazing. To be able to be a part of helping those teenagers engage with God through music was unreal.  I never went back and have been pursuing leading worship ever since.  Granted, it’s not my job at the moment (hopefully someday it will be again) but it is my passion.

So what ignited your passion?

Pride.

Ryan Egan —  July 29, 2008 — 12 Comments

Image of a dapper proud guy in a modern suit straightening his tie

I have to make a confession today.  What I’d like to confess is that I want this blog only to be used for the glory of Jesus Christ and to lift Him up.  What I’d like to confess is that I don’t want to use this blog to spread my name.  But, what I’m confessing is actually the exact opposite.  My human nature is fighting, fighting with the fact that I know I need to give up my thoughts of spreading the word about what I write.  My human nature is fighting the fact that when I look at my stats and see them rising I know that it shouldn’t matter.  My human nature is fighting pride.

God’s Name or Our Name?

Especially as bloggers – we tend to do what we can to build our followers, promote our blogs, trade links, whatever – but why? Are we truly doing it so that God’s glory can be known and exalted through our blogs – or are we doing it so that our name can be known?  I don’t know about you, but I am fearful that there will be a constant struggle for me as I write and continue to make new acquaintances that I will want more and more to promote myself.

I pray that God is always rightly exalted through me and that I would continue to decrease while He continues to increase.

I guess I just wanted to confess this to the world today, ask for prayer – and encourage us all to keep things in perspective.  Is it wrong to want to promote ourselves?  If it’s under the guise of “oh – I’m doing this so that Jesus will be lifted up” but really, deep down we just want ourselves promoted – yes, I think it’s wrong.  If we truly have the desire to lift Jesus up more than anything, maybe not.

What About You?

So, those of you who are bloggers out there – what do you do to remain humble?  Are you justifying self-promotion because “it’s all about Jesus” but it’s really all about you?  For me, thankfully, God used a couple of different circumstances to say, “Hey, Ryan, slow down – this is about me, not you.”  And it was right when I needed it.  God’s Word says,

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) as well as

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

My prayer, for all of us, is that we would have humility and wisdom before everything else.

(photo by Forrest Cavale)

Yesterday at Living Word was a bit different than usual.  Our pastor is on a much needed vacation, so I filled in with the teaching yesterday while the other two deacons helped to lead the service.  Will, Kelli and Robin did a fantastic job of leading worship, bringing back a few of my favorite hymns that I hadn’t sung for a while.  Songs for the morning:

One of the best parts of the day for me was a testimony from Hans, one of our youth who had just been to what’s called FLY BootCamp (Free Lutheran Youth Boot Camp), an intense time of training and encouragement for youth from the Free Lutheran Church around the country.  This year they focused on evangelism with some hands on training.  I must admit, when it comes to evangelism – especially on the street, everyday, talk to whoever you meet evangelism, I fall way short.  Hans challenged all of the adults in the congregation to be examples for the youth, because that’s where the youth get their inspiration and encouragement to keep going.  I was sure convicted!  What a great challenge for adults for every area of life as well.  People are watching, folks.

By the way, Fred McKinnon just started something pretty cool to get people seeing what other churches around the country are singing week to week.  This post is part of his ‘Sunday Setlists’ post. Check it out, especially if you’re interested in some new song ideas.

Tomorrow, I want to dive into a hard topic, one that I’ve been wrestling with this past weekend as some interesting things have happened with this blog – pride.  I’m going to be honest and raw and hope that some of our thinking might shift a little.  See you tomorrow.

I did it.  I did it without even really thinking and I didn’t really mean to cause a stir.  I wrote a sentence about my thoughts on a popular blog and didn’t really think about the consequences.  I didn’t mean it to be a personal attack – but how can it not be a personal attack when we say something even slightly negative about someone’s blog – the place where they poor out their lives for the world to see?  But here’s the cool thing – even though I was negative (without really meaning to bash or criticize) – just share a thought -  Los contacted me gently, asking me why I said what I said in all fairness.  I think that was a big thing to do from a well established blog finding a blog rookie like myself mentioning a small note of criticism.  I’m really thankful for his reaction and hope God can still be honored and glorified through my mistake.  I added an edit to the original post as well.

What I Blog About – From Wordle

Since Billy Chia just confessed that he is a “church addict” after entering his blog into wordle, I wanted to see what would come about if I did the same thing.  Here it is:

The best thing about it – every time I refreshed, the words “worship” and “happened” always showed up prominently.  Thank You, Lord, for reassuring me that “worship happened” every time we have gathered!

Blog Love – Some Links You Should Check Out

Shannon shares a great series on Maturity in Christ.  I’d highly encourage reading all parts.  Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, a bit more, and a bit more!

Brad Loser (loh-ser, not loo-zer!) is going through Worship Matters. If you want some detailed thoughts from some folks going through the book, definitely check it out.  He shares quite a bit, so be prepared for some reading, but it’s worth it.

Billy shares a really fantastic post on complaining and feedback to follow up his humorous post that he posted in response to Ragamuffin Soul’s “you-asked-for-it” question. I think I’m one of the few people that actually recommends not reading Ragamuffin soul, but I thought Billy eventually turned this around quite positively. *EDIT* Los contacted me directly with a very positive comment asking why I said this in the comments.  I really appreciate it and explained why I said this below.  I shouldn’t have said it and should have let people come to their own decision about his blog.  I do apologize for that and hope we can all be at peace.  The power of words are quite incredible at times.

Russ has a fantastic story about his privilege to be Fred’s guest at National Worship Leader Conference and hang out with some of the more famous worship folks.

Lorie King has a featured article on The Worship Community on how to enhance stage presence. I think her perspective is right on with all of these tips.

Finally, Fred has a wonderful post about making sure we focus on good things happening and celebrate victories.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!  More thoughts from my teaching this Sunday will come next week.