You earn the right to sing new songs by singing their favorites.

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Just like you earn the right to speak by listening, as a worship leader you earn the right to play new songs by first playing their favorites. {Tweet this!}

At first this didn’t sound fair, or even Biblical. But in a brand new congregation this is essential.

Just like you really want to teach them your experiences with God through your repertoire, they really want to show you their church’s history and repertoire through their favorites.

Just like you want to show them your musical skills, they want to show you their music so they can show you how they can sing along well. They want to feel valued and show you they can be really good, too.

I’ve gotten this all wrong before. And still do. And you know what? God isn’t necessarily smiling on either side of this equation!

Swallow your pride as a musician. Let it all out to your Creator. He knows. Ask Him to heal up whatever holes other churches or people in authority over you in the past have carved. Ask Him to point them out, and fill them with His Son’s Love.

Then, meet those people where they’re at. Find a band member who’s good at their instrument and knows what the congregation likes. Ask that person to periodically meet with you to help you select good repertoire.

Ask God to humble you and help you muck through the pain of doing so. I promise there will be growing pains. But God will let grace flow from your ministry, and others will jump on board to your leadership train because you took the time to listen to their wants and needs.

They don’t care how much you know
until they know how much you care.

It may not always be the most fair or even Biblical– but in your role as minister, which is more important? The music or the relationships?

It’s literally taken me years to realize this. I kind of feel like a jerk! Ask God to heal that, too.

“Lord, please forgive me for not seeing this simple truth sooner when your Holy Spirit tried to reveal it to me. Show me how to lead with firmness when needed, but softness toward the hearts of the congregation even if it means laying aside my rockin’ playlists. Make me like a little cloud of grace, where people feel loved by You when I am near them, and to be like a contrail of grace that lingers long after I’m gone. Make me more like Your Son. Bring on the growing pains. Cultivate in me a pastor’s heart for your sheep. Amen.”

Instead of saying I’m a music minister– in your head, rearrange it to say Minister of Music. Ministering to their hearts and needs is first, music is just the avenue + as a result, comes second. {Tweet this!}

You don’t have to be a doormat to be a servant-leader.

A few tips for dealing with “Post-traumatic-personal-playlist-loss” disorder:

  1. Pray over those K-love | Emerging Voices | Hillsong faves of your’s and see which fit their hearts. Make sure they’re catchy and easy to sing. In doubt of that? Ask a friend who is your average melody-singing worshiper and see what they think. Then do them as a special with your spouse, best friend, one of your students, or talented band member.
  2. If there are a few songs you just know God wants to add to the repertoire for worship set- start by doing it as a special, offering, or prelude for 4-6 weeks. I’m not joking! That seems like forever, but I’ve heard it takes 3 times to stick, and with members coming and going out of town- your best bet is 4-6 weeks. The band won’t resent the extra rehearsing. I promise.
  3. Put 3-4 of these songs’ mp3s in the pre-service countdown slides, announcements, or welcome video… and leave them there. (i.e. don’t put a new 3-4 each week!)
  4. Especially if your senior pastor loves these songs- meet with him or her, too. Ask him or her to go more in-depth about what they like to sing. It’ll show respect and earn trust.
  5. Less is more. Introduce them one new one at a time, and stick to your guns. Wait for another 4-6 weeks after the in-the-service-debut so it catches on before adding another new one into the mix.
  6. When you do their favorites, whether they’re a million years old or not- just freshen it up a bit. Write your own electric tab or drum part and meet with that band member to rehearse. It will change the entire sound- plus build a relationship with that one person!
    Sometimes, if there’s a song they love but you hardly agree with theologically: just throw it in (I call it the ‘ole “Father Abraham”).
    I’m not saying become a people-pleaser. But just once in a while it’s okay if it makes them happy. I think God understands the mildly shallow or inaccurate lyrics. As long as it’s not heresy, throw it in once a quarter or something!
  7. Pray, pray, pray. My friend, church elder, and guitar student Coy reminded me that we have already been given all the authority from God to pray over the congregation’s needs. Pray for soft hearts, pray to be used + poured out, pray to be an ally and friend to the congregation. Pray they will see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven. Pray you’d be softened, too.

Blessings on you and your ministry. Thank you for reading. If you need prayer, feel free to contact me on my |Contact Page| or even just to say hi.

I pray that God can give us all strength to be worship leaders that lead more like Jesus!

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Live in grace, walk in love.

So I met Bob Goff- the author of that phrase above- oh- and the New York best seller “Love Does”, yesterday at the Midland Prayer Breakfast.
He is as loving + REAL as he sounds in his book.
He put his personal cell number in the back, & got called crazy for it. He insists on all walks of people calling him and picks it up every time.
I met him, and I hadn’t finished the book and he hugged me, took a photo with me and said, “would you call me when you’re done and tell me what you learned?” Boy will.I.EVER!!!!
I learned to be a constant learner + reader from William Attaway. The day I began work he piled 10 books on my desk and said the resident-internship and internship program was designed to be sort of like drinking from a firehose. I’m so glad I did!
Bob Goff is one of those people when you hear, read, or meet him… You wonder: “Are you for REAL?! No ones that nice- + not exhausted or FAKE.”

He’s not exhausted, and he’s not fake.

People teach you not to spread yourself too thin or you’ll get burnt out. I realized something. If the love of God compels you- and He goes before you… Then we can trust that he’ll send you not only the right people in the right timing, but also the soul-rest you need.

See Bob Goff doesn’t let compete strangers eat on his deck, drive his boat, + get engaged in his backyard out of obligation… He does it because he’s spent so much time with Jesus he’s started to become a lot, {A LOT} like him.

Bob Goff is Jesus with skin on.

He never lets his calls go to voicemail. He encourages strangers to call him.

Can’t wait to call him tomorrow and tell him all the stuff I learned from his book.

Someday when I die- I pray my funeral is standing-room-only… People rubbing shoulders with people who’ve never met each other, but were EACH discipled by me personally. I want the discipleship that comes from my reading + spending time with Jesus to become like a domino effect. I pray I touch many lives even until my last breath.

I have a long way to go.

Buy his book. Read it. Read your Bible. Underline + scribble the heck outta both of ’em.

What have I… Have we all… Been waiting for?

“Our gospel says: ‘agree with Jesus!’ The Holy Gospel: ‘DO STUFF!'” -Bob Goff

“I love the book of Acts, because it’s not called the book of OPINIONS.” -Bob Goff

“Hope calls fear’s bluff every time. We can quit anything in a Thursday. Quit being afraid.” -Bob Goff

“We won’t be extravagant with our love if it’s more important to us to get everyone’s approval. Love big.” -Bob Goff

“Every kind word to someone we disagree with is report card on what we’ve learned about love.” -Bob Goff

“We keep telling God about our opinions. He keeps asking about our hearts.” -Bob Goff

“Get off your spiritual butt and just love. Start with the hardest-to-love. It can only get easier after that.” -me

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Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You: let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Guard every thought and action you have by checking it against what God says to do first.

Give God your everything: not your most tired, bored, half-distracted mind… He wants all or nothing because He is a Jealous God and worthy of it all.

M&M. Memorize & Meditate. Lock it away in your heart so there is no room for anything else in there but God’s grace for others, godly actions and desires!

All I want
All I need
More of You
Less of me
Take this life
Lord it’s Yours
Have my heart
Have it all

Be Mine, Valentine

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“In marriage, to last you need the strength from above…
It’s not the love that sustains the promise: it’s the promise that sustains the love.”

This year with Valentine’s Day and our 3rd wedding anniversary quickly approaching… I want to give my husband the best gift I can. I want to give him the gift of a lasting promise, not just romance (because romance can quickly fade when two sinners abide under the same roof!) I want to give him the gift of praying for him, and for our marriage. I want to give him the gift of praying and listening more than I speak, and for praying for God to be put first so that we are drawn closer together. Prayer that we find times to just be fun together even though times can be stressful or hard.

Clear The Stage

Just a heart cry today!

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews & all the decorations, too
Until the congregation’s few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social
Then seek the lord & wait for what he has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful

’cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song

Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for god to whisper
Beg him please to open up his mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken

We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
And anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
And anything that I give all my love is an idol

’cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to
I can sing all I want to
And still get it wrong
And you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song
Worship is more than a song
Worship is more than a song

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols