I’ve got a new job. In addition to playing and speaking on behalf of Compassion and leading Compassion Bloggers, now I’m the “leader of worship leaders” at WellSpring Christian church in Spring Hill, Tennessee – a small church that meets together in an elementary school cafeteria and has met my family’s need for community for the last few years. Here’s how I got the job.
First, there was the amicable parting of our youth minister/music guy. He’s on the lookout for a job that plays more to his gifts. As much as we all know his leaving was best for all involved, it sure hurt. His departure left a hole in our community that’s hard to fill. In fact it’s gonna take five of us to (attempt to) fill it.
We have a “worship administrator” guy who’ll be handling the organization and logistics, scheduling musicians, coordinating efforts with the lead sound guy. We have an incredible team of volunteers who set up the room, the chairs and curtains and whatnot every weekend as well. This way we creative types don’t have to do anything we admittedly suck at and don’t have the time to do.
Then there are four of us who will be leading the music on Sundays: JD, Ty, Doug and me. We’ve all led the music before as substitutes but now we’ll be on a regular rotation. Actually, I’ve only sung at our church once so these guys are the real experts. My primary volunteer roles so far have been teaching 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday school and substitute teaching in “big church” six to eight times a year. There are probably people in our church who don’t even know I sing and wonder what kind of job lets me get away with this hairdo!
Our pastor asked me to step in as the leader of these worship leaders, paying most of my attention to the spiritual and musical development of our team. It’s a volunteer position – one I was reluctant to take because of what it would mean for my career, but since the original invitation was given I’ve become more and more convinced of its perfect timing.
Between now and October I’m on the road a lot. But after that I’ve decided to limit my gigs to two weekends each month – which will mean fewer children get sponsored, fewer CDs get sold and my “career” takes a backseat for a while – ends could be harder to make meet. But this transition and these great people I get to serve alongside now deserve as much attention as we can offer them. And I’ve slowly become convinced this is the right move for me.
I know how to arrange songs, put bands together, rehearse them, improve a player or singer over time, etc. But I’m not passionate about all that music stuff. I’m excited to see what will happen to our heads and hearts and relationships in the next year or so as our priorities take shape. I’m most excited about expanding our community’s definition of worship, beginning with our musicians.
What does success look like in this job? I’ve thought about that a lot. If success is innovation and cranking out a CD of original tunes penned by our team or doubling church attendance because of awesome music then, well, I’m not the guy.
Thankfully, that’s not our definition of success. Success is: If the music is very very bad one Sunday, nothing goes right, and no one complains. If musicians are worshiping without songs all week, reading the bible, meditating on it, memorizing it, silently listening to God every day – because they want to. If there are more people in line to teach and serve and give than there are to sing and play. If we can cancel music for a month and people still show up on Sunday to be with God and each other. If silence isn’t squirmed through. If great players befriend pretty good ones and treat them with respect and genuine love. If musicians quit to tend to their marriages or their kids or their faith. That’s what success looks like to me.
God, lead the leader of leaders.