The Best Way To Lead Worship

Worship Leader:

  • Do you ever feel unqualified?

  • Too young? Too old? Too inexperienced? Not enough formal training?

  • Do you ever miss a note during a song? Blunder a speaking transition? Upset a church member or volunteer because of a decision you made or a song you chose?

  • Do you ever feel burdened by the weight of your role? If you’re honest with yourself, do you find yourself leading for the love and acceptance of the people around you?

There’s good news, my friends.

Jesus already loves you and accepts you right where you are. If he has called you to it he will see you through it! Your best efforts will never please everyone, but that’s never the goal.

This Sunday, remember that you are perfectly loved and fully accepted by God. It’s because of our relationship with him; not what we can do for him. That will change the way we receive criticism, serve our volunteers, and plan our setlists.

There’s a holy authority we receive when we lead from the deep well of God’s perfect love.

Lead from love and acceptance. Not for it.

The Most Important Thing

"Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care."- Theodore Roosevelt

That's been my biggest lesson as a leader in the church.

You can have the best programs, the best music, and the most education in your field... but if you don't show your team you care, your success will be short lived.

I'll be the first to admit I've had seasons of ministry where I've been so focused on "work", that I take for granted the people who invest their time and energy to help me do my job with excellence. It's funny, because as a worship leaders/pastors, our number one "job" is to love our people. 

I definitely don't have all the answers, but what I do know is that your team will go with you to the ends of the earth if they believe you and believe IN you. You earn that trust by investing and showing them you care. Any effort, big or small, to show people you genuinely care about their lives, goes a long way in ministry.

For example- Team Nights have been a game changer at my church. We spend a couple hours eating a great meal, playing a game or two, and then have some time to cast vision and celebrate team members. It's something I wish I had done a long time ago.

If you haven't already, take that first step for to start investing in your team. Do SOMETHING. Love your people. It's the most important thing you can do as leader.  

What are some ways you lead and invest in your own team? Leave some feedback in the comment section below!

Growing Pains

Growth is essential to any form of leadership.

But sometimes it can hurt like hell.

I remember waking up in the middle of the night as a young kid, feeling agonizing pain in my knees and elbows. My mom said they're just "growing pains".

I believe we all experience growing pains as leaders. 

We should constantly be trying new things, stepping out of our comfort zones, and taking huge risks. Sometimes it means having to be confrontational. Maybe it's learning how to speak in public. Other times it's just learning how to mundane tasks with diligence and excellence.

My encouragement for you is DO whatever makes you uncomfortable. And do it a lot.

Yes, it will hurt. But you will get better. You will learn. You will grow.

Believe me, it's worth it.

 

Passion > Polish

I once heard someone say that a passionate team always beats a polished program. I believe in that statement with all of my heart, especially when it comes to music in the church. I used to believe that the best worship teams had all of the nicest equipment, the brightest lights and the largest stages. 

I would honestly rather have a team who truly believes in their church and what Jesus is doing there than having all of those nice things.

We should be striving to create teams of passionate worshippers over polished stages and perfect services. Yes, put thought into your services, and always try to pull them off with excellence, but not to the point where it's all you care about. 

The most important thing your team can do is to lead like it's the last time - EVERY time. 

When your team leads with authenticity and joy in their hearts, the passion that pours out far outweighs the impressiveness of any fancy equipment you may own or executing a perfect service. The people who attend your church will notice authentic, passionate worship way more than your amazing gear.

So this weekend, take your eyes off of the polish, and lead your team and your church with passion. You won't regret it.

Authenticity Matters

 

This tweet from my worship pastor hero, Paul Baloche, really helped me put into words what I've been thinking about for quite a while. 

Authenticity > Being "Cool"

Don't sacrifice being authentic in an attempt to be cool. The world needs worship leaders who are less concerned about being cool, and extremely concerned about being true to the leader God has called them to be. People can tell when you're not being true to yourself, and it robs you and your entire church of leading the way God designed you to lead. 

This is something I've been challenging my team at Vertical Church to do every time they step on the stage. I'm not asking them to act a certain way... or dress in all black every Sunday (even though I do). I don't ever want them to be someone onstage and someone else offstage.

It all comes back to two things. Remembering + Responding.

My friend and mentor, Todd Fields, taught me this and it's something I'll never forget. Remember what Christ has done for you, and respond with joy and thanksgiving. EVERY SINGLE TIME WE LEAD WORSHIP. When we do that, it's much easier for us to carry that joy, peace, excitement and authenticity as we lead other to experience Jesus.

None of that requires you to fit into a pair of skinny jeans. 

God created YOU to be YOU. Be authentic. Even if it doesn't make you look "cool". There's too much at stake. 

Lead well this weekend!

Take A Chance

Every single job or opportunity leading worship I've ever had is because someone took a chance on me. Seems crazy, I know, but hear me out.

  • My first time EVER leading worship was for my youth group- All because my youth pastor took a chance on me.
  • I worked my first summer job as a worship leader/staffer at a christian summer camp in Missouri- The camp director took a huge leap of faith that I would be halfway decent. (I hope he was right).
  • Then there was that time I worked at Kohl's- I applied and never heard back, so I introduced myself to the manager and he hired me on the spot. He took a chance on me.
  • When I started to intern at my first church job- the worship pastor not only took a chance on me... he gave me responsibilities, and trusted me with them. That was huge.
  • I moved my family out to Houston, TX- all because a pastor took a chance on me!
  • Even where I'm planted now, at my incredible church in Jackson, MS - it's because someone believed in me.

 Now, maybe I'm just lucky. But I can't imagine how different my life would be if these people hadn't taken that chance on me. I wouldn't have had these incredible experiences to grow, learn, hurt, and believe in myself more fully because someone else did.

Which brings me to this question: who is in your life you can take a chance on? Who are you helping to grow?

You may be the catalyst in someone's journey- a piece of the puzzle for them to reach their full potential.

Invest. Share what you know with someone. Let them freaking do it. Go out of your way to resource them. Meet them for coffee. Believe in them. Help them up when they stumble. Encourage them when they flourish.

We all needed it at some point.

Abiding In Christ

John 15 has always been one of my favorite chapters in the bible. I particularly love verse 5. 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

I liked it so much that when I was in high school, a couple of buddies and I formed a band appropriately called "Among The Vine" (I'm not sure if that's grammatically correct). We were terrible. And if you're a close friend, I may even let you hear our one and only self-titled album. I digress.

What I love about this passage is Jesus's insistent message that He alone is enough.

How often do we try to do life on our own? How many times have you caught yourself onstage leading from your own strength? How often do you take on your work week depending on coffee instead of the promises in God's word and prayer?

The bottom line is apart from Him, we can do NOTHING.

Jesus isn't saying this to be oppressive. On the contrary, it is extremely liberating to abide in Christ. Here's why:

In verse 11, Jesus explains that he tells us these things because he wishes for his joy to be in us and made full. True joy can only come from Christ, and when we try to live on our own spirit, we feel the detrimental weight of it. 

Worship leader, Christ wants to abide in you. Lean into his power. The same power that raised Jesus from the grave is alive in you today. Let his joy be made complete in you and sustain you! It's the only way we can do this ministry thing long term. 

Worship Is A Choice

A few weeks ago, I got to lead one of my favorite worship songs- 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) by Matt Redman.

I didn't fully understand the hype behind this song at first. Sure, there's a catchy piano hook, it's very singable in church, and there is a lot of truth in it, but for some reason it wasn't hitting home with me. Maybe I just got tired of it being overplayed. Who knows?

But, one day I sat down, pulled out my guitar, and just started praying through the lyrics. It was amazing how the Lord spoke to me during this song.

This song perfectly demonstrates how worship is more than a song. It's how you live your life. Worship is a CHOICE. Every. Single. Day. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. - Romans 12:1

The very first verse of the song opens up with: "The sun comes up; it's a new day dawning. It's time to sing Your song again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me; let me be singing when the evening comes." Wow. Did you get that? This verse shows us that worship is choosing to wake up everyday with His song on our heart. No matter what happens in our day; no matter what season we are going through. We will still sing when the evening comes. Dang.

Verse 2 describes the many attributes of God and why he deserves praise.  "You're rich in love and You're slow to anger. Your name is great and Your heart is kind." It is because of His goodness that we sing. This is a beautiful reminder that even when we don't feel like singing, there's no denying that God is love, that He is merciful, and that His heart is kind. When we are reminded of these attributes, we cannot help but turn to Him and worship.

The final verse is my favorite. "And on that day when my strength is failing; the end draws near and my time has come. Still my soul will sing Your praise unending." Isn't that the ultimate goal of a life spent in worship? That with our final breath we choose to praise God for all He's done. THAT, my friends, is worship. 

Praise the Lord, my soul;  all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103: 1-5

 

 

 

The Same Power

It's early Sunday morning. You're at the church before the sun even creeps over the horizon. You haven't had your coffee yet, and already you're dreaming of the post-service nap.

Do you often catch yourself in the middle of a worship set pushing through? Discouraged at a lack of response? Leading on autopilot?

Sometimes we try to lead people in worship on our own strength. And, if you've been leading worship for a number of years, you've grown accustomed to the the flow of worship. You're good at it. You know the right words to say, how to transition to a prayer or an offering, how to be enthusiastic during the fast song, and reflective during the slower songs. 

But it always seems that when we lead from our own strength, it can leave us feeling even more exhausted then when we hit snooze at 5:30am earlier that morning. That's because it was never supposed to be that way.

Be encouraged today that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive in you. That's true for every believer who has been born again in Christ, but as a worship leader, you get to be a conduit of Jesus's power and love to those who desperately need Him. 

Interview With Worship Links

A few months ago, I had the privilege of being interviewed from the awesome folks at Worship Links. I am so grateful for these guys and their hearts to connect and provide resources for the local worship leader. You can check out the full interview on their site here


Interview: Creative Arts Pastor Chris Groat

Chris Groat is a Creative Arts Pastor in Texas. He also writes a pretty great blog. Recently, Chris talked to Worship Links about pursuing excellence in ministry and leading when you’re the youngest guy on the stage.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for us. It’s truly appreciated! The first question is an easy one. Tell us a little bit about yourself in five sentences.

I’m Chris Groat, born and raised in south Mississippi. I was called at age 16 to be a worship leader. I went to college at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS, to study worship ministry. During my time in Hattiesburg, I worked at a really great church and completely fell in love with ministry. In May of 2015, I took a job in Pearland, TX, as Creative Arts Pastor at CrosspointChurch.tv.

How did you get started in worship ministry?

I played guitar in the youth band at church in high school. My youth pastor needed someone to sing on a consistent basis. He told me he needed me to do it. I tried to resist, but he wouldn’t let me. I credit him for forcing me to step out of my comfort zone and into ministry. From that day on, I’ve been blessed countless opportunities to lead others to the feet of Jesus.

What’s your basic process for planning a service or worship set?

I like to get with my Pastor and figure out the overall theme of the message, what series is going to be about, how we will change up flow and service order for this series… and I plan the songs accordingly. We usually do 3-4 songs per week. If there’s a new song we want to introduce, we will sing it two weeks in a row, take a break, and sing it one more week before adding it into our rotation.

Desert Island Worship Mix: You’re trapped on a desert island, and for reasons too ridiculous to explain, you can only have one CD with five worship songs on it. What are they?

  • This Is Amazing Grace- Phil Wickham
  • Unstoppable God- Elevation Worship
  • The King Is Among Us- Elevation Worship
  • Lamb of God- Vertical Church Band
  • You Hold It All- Travis Ryan

What have you found are some of your greatest challenges in managing a worship team? How do you handle the balance between being a musician and being a manager?

I definitely think my age has been my greatest challenge, at least in my own head. I’m usually one of the youngest on my team every weekend. So, being the youngster and leading people twice my age can be intimidating. But, luckily I’m surrounded by a wonderful team who respects my leadership role and authority. Also, I hate conflict. Having to correct or discipline someone is never fun.

Being a musician is way less stress. You can kinda just show up with your part and do what you’re told. Being a manager, you constantly have to think about the bigger picture. Where you are going, what’s next, how this transition should go, who’s playing that progression wrong, how am I gonna fix this, the list goes on.

What scriptures speak to you the most about worship?

Romans 12:1 is my favorite. It’s speaks about what worship truly is: offering ourselves a living sacrifices.

Also I really love Psalm 96. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.”

If you could give one piece of advice to up and coming worship leaders, what would it be? Conversely, what’s some advice you wish you’d received earlier on?

Leading worship isn’t a right, or an opportunity to showcase your skills. It’s a privilege every time you step on a platform of any kind to lead a group of people in worship. Also, understand that it’s not about “how many” you are leading, but “who” you are leading. Take that very seriously.

What steps do you take to maintain a spirit of excellence on your team?

Excellence is in the details. I try to do the best I can to set my team up for success. Whether that means making a Logic Pro/Ableton (or any software you have) session to create click tracks/voice cues and loops to enhance the overall worship set, or creating detailed chord charts to help a team prepare for rehearsal… it’s by doing the little things and focusing on details that you make something ordinary, extraordinary. I also urge my musicians that rehearsal is not the time to be learning the parts. When the entire team comes prepared, you are able to focus on putting the set together, and making it your own… rather than figuring out that riff, or wondering if the chorus or bridge is next. Excellent teams come prepared. Most importantly your team needs to know that God deserves our excellence. He has given each of us a gift to glorify Him.

Any new worship artists on your radar at the moment?

My friends at Seeker & Servant are making some unbelievable, innovative worship music. It’s what I hope all worship sounds like in the next 10 years. Go check them out.

Thanks again for answering our questions. If people want to find you online, what’s the best way?

You can follow me on Twitter + Instagram, friend me on Facebook, or check out my site, chrisgroat.com!

Guard Your Joy

Worship Leader. Creative. Pastor.

Don't let the thief come in the night and steal your joy... Oh, and believe me... he will try his hardest. 

The thief says:

"You're not as gifted of a vocalist as the worship leader at ______ Church."

"You're not as creative as the guy you follow on Twitter. "

"You aren't making an impact because you aren't speaking at conferences of 10,000+."

But heres what the LORD says...

"I have anointed you to lead people to worship my name."

"I created you to be creative."

"I have commissioned you to preach the good news. Do it faithfully."

"You are my son. You are my daughter. You are fearfully and wonderfully made."

 

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

 

 

Chase The Inspiration

It's easier to just listen to great pastors preach great sermons.

It's easier to let amazing worship leaders write the next worship anthem of our generation.

It's easier to sit back and watch other photographers on instagram go out and capture the world in creative ways.

It's easier to read incredible novels and let the dream of writing your own book fade away.

Being creative isn't easy.

It's actually very hard work. It's something you have to discipline yourself to do. 

Don't just sit around waiting for inspiration to find you. Get up. Go outside. Grab the camera. Pick up the pen.

Chase the inspiration. Let creativity flow. 

He Knows Me By Name

"But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine."

-Isaiah 43:1

Great verse, right? It's an incredible piece of scripture. But have you ever truly thought about it?

I mean, really, REALLY, thought about it?

God. The God of the Heavens and earth. The dude who created EVERYTHING. Yeah, that one. 

He calls you by name.

Not only does He call you by name... He has REDEEMED you and calls you His own.

So, when you're feeling down on yourself, broken, hopeless, or abandoned... Just remember that the God who spoke the earth into existence is calling you by name. Saying, "I love you. You are mine. You have been redeemed."

How To Be Consistent

If you're a leader of any capacity, the greatest strength you can practice is consistency. 

People are willing to follow those who are consistent. Those who set goals and follow through with them. Those who start meeting on time. Those who know why they're doing what they're doing. You get it.

Something I've been learning as a leader is that to be consistent, you need to have clear expectations on your team, and reasons for the expectations. This is called a "system".

Your ministry is only as strong as your system. It's easy to change every little thing as they come when you don't have a firm system to place your ministry on. That's like building your house on sand, instead of a foundation. That's in the BIBLE (Matt 7:24-27) Boom.

What's a system? What does it look like? There are a million different styles and outlines, but Craig Groeshel, pastor of Life.Church, simply explains it this way:

Your team has to know:

  • This is WHAT we are doing.
  • This is WHY we are doing it.
  • This is HOW we are going to do it.
  • This is WHO is going to do it.
  • This is WHEN we will get it done.

When you're team knows your vision, and HOW and WHY to serve the vision, you'll see your ministry flourish. I encourage you to sit down and write a system for your team if you're in a leadership position. Systems create consistency. Be consistent.

Lead boldly this weekend!

Follow As Well As You Lead

Something I've learned over the years leading worship is that if you want to be a great leader, you must learn how to be a great follower first. 

That sounds obvious. We lead worship, so we must be followers of Christ. Of course that is a big deal. Jesus needs to be number one in your life. You must be following him day by day. Leaning on him. Seeking him. Spending time with him. That's the most important thing.

But other than being a follower of Jesus, how are you as a follower towards your Lead Pastor? 

How are you as a follower towards your Worship Pastor?

How are you as follower towards your teachers/bosses?

How are you as a follower towards your elders/parents?

If you find yourself answering those questions with doubt... It may be time to reevaluate what it means to be a leader and a follower. 

A great leader is submissive to any and all authority over them. If your Lead Pastor casts a vision, you do anything you can to serve that vision. If your Worship Pastor asks you to do something or serve somewhere new, you go out of your way to do it. That's just what a great leader does. 

I think a lot of it stems from our belief that "we've been doing this for years" or "we have it all together". The truth is, we don't. We should constantly be learning new things, growing more and more as a leader, and open to change and direction. A great leader is teachable.

I want to encourage you to follow as well as you lead. You'll find life and ministry more fulfilling that way.

Lead boldly this weekend!

Desire vs. Require

You may desire talent and skill. God requires obedience. 

You may desire to travel the world. God requires you to be a light in the world.

You may desire to be Twitter famous. God requires you to make Him famous. 

You may desire to be a boss. God requires you to be a leader.

You may desire prosperity. God requires integrity.

You may desire to pursue happiness. God requires you to pursue joy.

 

 

 

Excellence In Worship

In my years of leading worship, and especially leading teams, one thing I've learned is that excellence is developed in the little things. 

Great things are accomplished when the small things come together.

Now, what does that mean for worship?

  • It could mean that you and your team work on transitions between songs to make the worship set flow. 
  • Maybe it's adding some background music if you have a host that communicates in the middle of your worship set.
  • It could mean changing up a song every once in a while to give it your worship team's own flair. 
  • It could be using a metronome/click track if your team isn't already. Adding loops into your setup... Creating your own synths... Changing the set design quarterly... You get it.

I encourage you to work on those transitions and elements with as much energy as you work on your song set. If it enhances your entire worship experience, make sure you work hard and make it the best it can possibly be. Not to show off, but to give people an environment to meet Jesus without distractions. That's the goal.

Remember, excellence doesn't happen overnight. It is a process that takes vision, determination, and consistency. Take your team to the next level by making the ordinary things extraordinary. 

Lead boldly this weekend!

 

 

Learn How To Rest

Being a worship leader is an incredible, stressful, empowering, and blessed privilege. You do your best to put together songs that go with the sermon, attend meetings, schedule bands, rehearsal prep, leading rehearsals, and then making sure Sunday runs as smoothly as possible. It's a lot of little things that make a big thing happen. It's a lot of moving parts.  It's a lot of work. 

In all the mundane tasks you must accomplish to make a weekend seem effortless, I want to urge you to take care of yourself during the week. That means... REST. Not just more sleep, but actual rest. Here are a few examples:

  1. Stay in the word. Make sure you're constantly covering your heart, mind, soul, and spirit in scripture. As a worship leader, or anyone on a platform for the matter, you will be attacked daily. Make sure you're sharpening your sword and constantly staying connected with the Lord so when he calls you into action, you can hear him clearly. 
  2. Seek wise counsel. (Proverbs 12:15). Just because you are on a platform, that doesn't mean you've "made it". Not one bit. Find a mentor. This doesn't really seem like rest, does it? Trust me. Having someone who can pour into you, speak life to you, and build you up is just the kind of rest you need. I believe if you want to grow as a leader, this is a must. 
  3. SERVE. Now, this REALLY doesn't seem like rest. But it is! Nothing gives life more than serving someone. Going out of your way to serve someone else not only blesses them, but you will be blessed too. It's just the thing your spirit needs after a long week of work/tedious tasks. So whether its helping out with the preschool at church, feeding the homeless, or picking up someones bill at Starbucks... get out there and serve someone.

When God calls you into ministry and you respond with obedience, you will be truly blessed in your efforts and see God move in ways you've never imagined. Work hard. Rest well. 

Lead boldly this weekend.

Worship Talk with Chris Sligh

I've been wanting to start something cool on this site where we can put together some questions for worship pastors, leaders, and musicians across the country. Questions about life, worship, whatever.

I had the opportunity to ask my friend Chris Sligh a few questions about worship, leadership, and development. You may know Chris from his appearance on season 6 of American Idol, but these days, he is Creative Director and Worship Pastor at Shoreline Church in Austin, TX. 

 

Chris Groat- How often do you guys at Shoreline write songs and what does the process look like?

Chris Sligh- We are constantly writing. We're still fully learning our process, and I'm sure it will change as time goes on, but for now we are all writing separately & then we do "1.5 hour demos"- basically record a piano or acoustic version of the song. The team turns their 1.5 hour demos in to me & I listen & suggest changes as I see fit. If they rewrite to my satisfaction, we then produce a studio recording. If the song never quite "gets there", we have a pile of "almost/maybes" that we let sit. Once a studio recording is finished, it's considered for intro to church. The studio recording is what our band learns from, so a song isn't put on schedule w/o studio recording. 

 

CG- What’s your absolute favorite guitar to lead with?

CS- My favorite guitar is my 1980 Gibson ES-347. No guitars compare for me.

 

CG- What song has your church really been getting into lately?

CS- "No Longer Slaves" is our current #1 song. Our congregation loves it.

 

CG- How do you personally strive to grow as a better leader every day?

CS- I am working to empathize w/people more & understand that though I ask people to do it my way, it's my job as the leader to help people make the jump from their way to mine. And then once I can trust them to do it my way, I leave them alone & encourage them to use my way as a "jumping off point" for their own creativity & leadership growth. But none of that happens if I don't get them to feel included in the process of them choosing to do it my way in the first place : )

 

CG- What does an average work week look like for you?

CSEvery week is different w/some same elements. Monday 1:30-3:30 is Creative; Tuesday 10-11:15 is Sunday planning w/our Lead Pastor; 10-12 Wednesday is Worship Team Meeting; Thursday 3:30-5 is staff rehearsal prep; 6:30-9:30 is rehearsal. All around that crap, I mix the service each week (usually Monday), I do various things w/ our video dept, I work on recording, I write, etc. 

 

CG- How do you instill an urgency for community and fellowship in your team?

CSI don't know that instilling urgency for community is possible, honestly. We are trying to create a community that fills a need in people's lives... and I think we're succeeding. Every week, we have 10-15 people show up who aren't even scheduled, just to hang out & be a part of the family.

 

CG- How do you handle auditions?

CS- We do auditions once a quarter. Once they audition, we spend another few months getting to know them, mentoring them & workshopping them before they ever get on a mic.

 

CG- What is your favorite book on worship?

CS- Galatians

 

CG- What do you do to build up your worship leaders/production team?

CS- We workshop them & critique them. No one gets on stage w/o first workshopping at least 3 times & us seeing improvement each time.

 

CG- What is your favorite Scripture and why?

CSGalatians. I struggle w/Paul's differences w/Jesus but I love how Galatians is simply shock-full of practical living.

 

CG- Any advice/encouragement for younger worship leaders?

CSI'd say: work harder than any worship leader you know; be more on time than anyone you know; be more prepared than anyone you know; practice towards greatness; believe that God's calling is to anointing & blessing; and finally- to not be a jerk. Don't be a jerk. No matter how good you are.

Worship Leaders Can Serve Coffee Too

Serving in church is one of the greatest privileges in the world. Volunteers are the warriors who make EVERY SERVICE happen! A wise pastor once told me that a person usually decides whether they will come back to a church within the first 7 minutes of arriving.

That may seem extreme, but think about it...

A lot happens in the first seven minutes.

First of all, you have to find a place to park. If you're arriving at a church with multiple services and spend 20 minutes driving through traffic to find a spot, you may be frustrated enough to leave. Thank you, parking lot volunteers!

Once you make it to the doors, if no one is there to greet you with a smiling face, you may feel out of place or unwelcomed. Thank you, door holders!

If you have children, you may've already struggled to get them up, dressed, crammed into the car and to church on time. When you check them in with the kind, energetic, and watchful children's team, suddenly all of your worries about their safety have faded. Thank you, children's team!

Then there's the coffee team, who smile and welcome you as you take the steaming cup of "Thank you Jesus, now I can wake up", and head into the service. Thank you, coffee team!

You head into the auditorium and experience an amazing worship service and great preaching... all made possible by a team of production volunteers who are in the shadows. Thank you, production volunteers!

And then there's the worship team. The team that gets all of the recognition and praise. I'm a firm believer in being "church first". This means you serve WHEREVER you're needed WHENEVER possible. If you're a worship leader, please understand that its OK for you to serve coffee on Sunday! If you're under the illusion that your only role is to sing or play onstage, it's time for a heart check. You don't lose "cool points" for spending a weekend learning how to run lights, or hold a door for guests. If anything, it allows you to grow into deeper relationships with the people you're leading and serving with. It shows your people you're willing to be a team player both onstage and offstage by serving in other areas. I guarantee you won't regret it. 

When you volunteer to serve at church, you don't do it for the glorification of your hard work. Your reward is seeing life change. It's seeing people who were once far away from Christ come to a relationship with Him. And you get to play a part! If you're a volunteer- you are appreciated more than you know! If you're a worship team member- I URGE you to get off the stage and serve somewhere else once in a while. Experiencing life change never gets old.