Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stepping Stone, Milestone, or Cornerstone

When you look at where you are at, what do you see?

Some people who lead worship for church plants see their position as a stepping stone. They want to eventually lead worship full-time, preferably in a big church. They may want the position to grow with them, or they may have another destination in mind. Regardless of the specifics of their situation, whether they are volunteer or paid, they saw an opportunity, and were glad to accept it. They have hearts that long to worship God, but maybe not through 3 hours of set up/tear down every Sunday. Also, they long for the day when they can have an actual church office, rather than just a room in their house with a computer, a guitar, and their collection of star wars memorabilia/vintage video games/vinyl records (whatever their spouse won't let infect the rest of the house).

Other CPWLs (this is what I will use for "Church Plant Worship Leaders") just happened to be able to sing, and perhaps play an instrument. They are musicians who responded to a need. This is probably one of the only times in their lives they will lead worship. For them, this is a milestone, a moment when they responded to the call to help a young church. They have hearts that long to worship God, but not necessarily on a mic from the front. They are also genuinely confused about the sheer amount of people who are interested in influencing their song selection. Who knew that "I Can Only Imagine" was still so popular?

Finally, there are a few who are called to both Church Planting and Worship Leading. Where they currently are is the cornerstone of where they want to be, and they are personally invested in the highest order to the health and well-being of the church. They are pastors who sing, ministers who play guitar, and builders at the core. They have hearts that long to worship God, and spirits that long to see something amazing happen, no matter how long it takes. They are also slightly crazy, as most people would not move to new cities or new jobs for what is essentially a part-time position at a currently tiny church. For some reason, when you call them crazy they get positively giddy. Don't be scared.

Each of these are commendable, and while I find myself as one of the third type, I thank God for the other two. I think the challenge that the Stepping Stone CWPL faces is one of patience and investment; patience in waiting for that opportunity God has created them for, and investment in where they are now. You will never regret the God-centered relationships you make, so embrace the chance the impact lives and make lasting friendships. I have a heart for such people, because I felt what they are feeling in reverse (in that, I knew I needed to be doing something that involved church planting, while God had me experiencing being a "normal" worship leader).

The challenge that the Milestone CWPL faces is one of confidence and humility; confidence to know that God will give you the strength to accomplish His purposes for you, and humility to know that it is God, and not your own sacrifice, that is truly impactful. Being in smaller, poorer churches for much of my life, I have a heart for these as well. In a way, we are kindred spirits, because to this day I pray for people like you in my first couple of churches.

However, it is the challenge of the Cornerstone CWPL that I will address the most, simply because this is what I know. That is not to say I don't want the others represented; in fact, I would prefer to have all kinds of contributors to this blog. I am simply letting you know where my own voice is, and the range of contexts that Church Plant Worship Leaders find themselves in. There are other subsets, like the fish out of water, or the leader in exile, or the do-everything worship leader (I am one of these, being also a youth leader). While this blog subject, Church Plant Worship Leading, seems like one that would be rather narrow, I can assure you that this is not the case.

Also, some things we post about will be general worship-leading stuff, like musings about why Chris Tomlin insists on singing so many great worship songs in such a high register, or why David Crowder songs don't sound as awesome without the beeps and boops (and perhaps stories of failed attempts to emulate said beeps and boops). Either way, I hope you enjoy this, and that you will consider contributing. I will write every other day until we have someone else who will contribute, but I am worried that I will run out of ideas pretty quick, so the sooner you decide, the better!

And seriously, is "I Can Only Imagine" to the 90's what Rich Mullins' "Awesome God" was to the 80's? I feel like I'll be hearing that song until I find myself surrounded by His glory. I hope I am dancing, and I hope He's pleased with my tremendous "sprinkler" and "lawnmower" dances.

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