Questions #1

28Feb08

Let’s get this thing started. I love the questions and today I want to focus on those that have to do with my role and tasks as a Pastor. Please feel free to ask even more questions after you’ve read what I’ve had to say. Maybe it brings up a thought or maybe I didn’t answer well enough. Either way, here we go…

Ric Booth

Why are you a pastor?

I believe I have been called to the role I am in. God placed it before me, opened a door and I stepped through. It is hard to communicate in a short post, the way the Holy Spirit has truly lead me to this place. How God has cleared up doubt. How God has provided education and opportunity. I look back and I have no doubt I have been where God wanted me to be. As you all have read recently, I feel God is asking me to seek for more right now. That may just be personal or it may include things like evaluating my roles. But, I will be faithful to lead or get out of the way, whatever He wants.

Darla

What is your job description and what does it require of you?

My official title is Creative Arts Pastor. I am sure that means nothing 🙂 More specifically I am in charge of all media and music. I basically have 3 roles.

#1 Arts Pastor – I am one of 12 Pastors we have here at Table Rock that work together to lead our church. As a Pastor, my role may include anything from general work in the office, to counseling and visitation, to interaction with the team members in the worship ministry. I am not confined to a specific aspect of ministry when it comes to relationship, but I do focus heavily on worship ministry. My role here is to manage, schedule and train all technicians, musicians and vocalists. I also work with the Teaching Pastors and Creative Director to facilitate the order and elements for all services. This is my biggest leadership role and one I feel I have had both have my biggest gains and failures as a leader

#2 Worship Leader – I lead the music at the majority of services at Table Rock. I have one other leader I work with and a 3rd that will get started soon. This role sees me planning and arranging the music and preparing the musicians and vocalists for all services.

#3 Tech Director – This role sees me managing all media needs from equipment to video and audio. Our church is not media heavy but does use video projection and some lighting for services. I need to make sure all the equipment is operating and all personal is facilitated to make each service happen. So in other words I get to maintain, play with or facilitate people to use all the flashing lights and buttons 🙂

Cheryl

How do you prepare for a weekly service…picking out songs, rehearsing, preparing the musicians…basically how do you go about doing that?

There are a couple different aspects to prepping for the weekend.

#1 Spiritually – I’ve always said to people that I can’t lead someone where I’ve never been. I need to be consistently spending time with God. Worshipping, learning, praying. I love going down to the Piano and just play. I love reading things that challenge and inspire. If I am not spending this time during the week, I cannot expect to get on stage on Sunday and tell someone else to.

#2 Physically – We use an online service called Planning Center Online. This webpage allows our entire tech and music ministry to connect with all music, video and scheduling needs we might have.

I schedule all the teams in 2 month bocks and when they are on, they recieve notifications that allow them to review the upcoming services, listen to the music and download the sheet music to prepare for rehearsal.

Picking out music is different every week. The way I decide on what to use has to do with the message, personal worship time, what the band line up is and doing newer or older songs. There are so many factors, but I always try to relate to what is being taught that weekend or during that series of messages. Sometimes a song is picked specifically for a portion of the service to communicate something specifically.

We rehearse on Saturdays before our Staurday service. Only the people scheduled for that weekend attend the rehearsal.

The team is expected to come already rehearsed and ready to go. Our Saturday practice is not one to work through a lot of parts and issues, these should have already been dealt with before they arrived. Our rehearsal is generally a run through for the weekend.

By way of training, I try to focus one on one. Each person is at different stages of growth in participation time and ability. So if someone needs help with something I will spend that time with them. That time would be a part from the scheduled rehearsal though. A couple of times a year I get the different ministries(tech/music) together to go over any house cleaning or training needs.

Lazrus2(D)

How do you manage in your M-Th ‘office’ days to keep up with so many blogs (read and comment on them), stay current with all the news, politics, entertainment and fashion worlds, post and reply to comments on your own blog, and yet still honor all your pastoral ministry commitments? Should I assume you consider all of the other things part of the ‘job’ you get paid for as well?

Honestly, I’m good at multi tasking and a bit ADD in my thought process. I am in front of the computer a lot. I love to research and study everything from scripture to pop culture. I’ve become an ok reader this last year and that is focused on both articles and books. Blogging is my connection to other thoughts and ideas and I have learned a ton from it, so I stay connected to it. For you computer geeks out there, your answer to all your browser needs is Flock. Web browsing, RSS reader and social network connection all in one place…love it! It also allows you to add on any Firefox extensions.

My blog has always been a place where I can release and think through stuff. It is invaluable to my thought process. Before now, I would just sit and allow my head to spin and didn’t really have a great way to process it. But I’ve found that journaling, through my blog, has been very beneficial to me working out things that are mulling around…so to speak.

Some days I can spend more time on this, some days I cannot. So there are spurts. But, I see my personal walk and faith as a huge part of who I am as a Pastor. So, all the connections, discussion and researching I do online is very much a part of my job.

I have more recently picked a couple of times a day where I will manage my own blog, so I don’t have to look over it all the time. And when I am home, I would be more apt to be on the computer than in front of the TV. My role as a Pastor is multi faceted and I see my involvement and connection to pop culture as a large part of that.

Part of my role here at Table Rock is to research and experiment with any type of online service or software which can better help connect our fellowship as well as resource them. Do I get paid to blog…no. But, I am honored to be able to take all my passions, gifts and calling and know that I will be able to feed the family and manage the household.

Praise365(Scott)

What are your feelings on arrangements (solos etc.) and how far can you take it in a worship setting?

When you read about worship in the Bible, there were amazing productions and performances all in God’s name. I think that the performance of music is as valuable as the lyric that is sung. There are some that see their guitar playing or keyboard playing as their expression of worship to God. There is never room for displaying a person in worship, but there is always room for their musical expression.

We have a couple of our vocalists that will lead songs, but we very seldom if ever do a “special”. I don’t have an issue with it when the message calls for it, but generally what we sing is encouraged to be participated in, not just listened to.

Instrumentally we do solos all the time. I think they are as valuable a part of the song as an intro or a chorus. They are part of the expression and dynamic and often mood. Again, not the person, but the expression. I love that.

Darla

Is it hard to separate the work aspect of leading worship and having your own personal time of worship?

YES! It is very easy with my multiple roles to get busy and not stop and take the time for my spiritual life. It is easy in my role to say I am worshipping on Sunday AM’s with everyone else so that is enough. It is crucial that I spend the time He deserves, with Him.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to be discplined to something consistent and to let that pour into other aspects of my life. It has succeeded in many ways, but it hasn’t deleted my selfishness. I have to purposefully focus on my personal time of worship everyday, or it does not happen. And sometimes doesn’t.

Praise365(Scott)

If you could do anything with your ministry and you knew that God would bless it, what would it be?

I look at this questions from two aspects.

One would be, in the role I play now as a Pastor at Table Rock. I personally am much more edgy and progressive than we as a church are. I would tend to completely revamp our creative ministry and introduce more artistic elements. I love color and video and light. Our area is a little traditional and gets a bit freaked out when we introduce some things. They have always been aprreciative, but I have to do my best to balance the personality of the church with my own. It’s hard to do

Another would be in Music production. For years I managed and operated a recording studio. Focusing on music engineering, production and live sound. That is my biggest passion. My role at Table rock allows me to dabble in this, but to not give it much focus. I miss it everyday. I would love to work in audio again. Wherever that would be…maybe even at a church. Someday, I see myself here at Table Rock, having people in place to lead worship and manage teams. I could then just sit back in the sound booth or recording studio doing what I love for the people I love to worship with.

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34 Responses to “Questions #1”

  1. I am fascinated and excited about your church ministry. I understand “Table Rock” a little better.

  2. You have a full plate! I am sure it would be easy to lose focus on the reason that you do it. I have a lot less on mine, and I do pray for focus regularly because I know how easy it is to side track. God is so patient with us. I really am striving to give HIM some private worship just me just HIM, and although my life is to be worship, there is something to me setting aside time just to worship that HE acknowleges. Thanks for answering my questions, I understand better what you do, and how complex that is.

  3. 3 ronpai

    Wow! You got some hard questions!!! Over at ragamuffin they were like “why are you bald”. LOL. I don’t envy you for having these questions.:)

  4. this must have taken you forever. i’d love it if you blogged about that planned center thing more. sounds like it is pretty helpful.

  5. Thanks Indian Lake and Darla, glad you could get to know me a little better.

    Darla, I do want to say that I love what I do. I don’t think I relayed that really well in my responses. Although things can be complex, it is a joy to be in the position I am in.

    Hey ronpai Hahahaha!!! I know. I remember reading his and they were so easy. I love to talk though and I love to share about what I am a part of so its all good.

    Tyler, thanks for coming by. Dude I love your blog and congrats on your position at Sunset Pres. We were going to be up there last year for the Leadership Summit and had to back out, but hope to be back sometime. I would love to have coffee sometime if i ever come your way.

    Planning Center rocks. Your best bet is to go right to the site and watch some of the videos. It really shows you what you cna do. and for us as a church it’s only $50 a month. that is WAY reasonable.

    And yes…this is long 🙂

  6. 6 Nevin

    When your up there leading worship…I wanna know how you keep all of those black and white key thingys straightened out… It’s SO confusing…

    Nev

  7. Whatever Nevin.

    Guys Nevin is one of my keyboard players and I truly do not deserve to be on the same stage as this guy. He is a brilliant musician. Perfect pitch…could score in his sleep…and he is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

    By the way, he’s devoted his time and career to teaching music to kids in the school system

    You rock Nevin!

  8. Um, I have a question.

    When you’ve eaten, say, Mexican food, something spicy, you know….”gassy” stuff….and you feel it coming on while you’re on stage…do you “restrain”/”refrain”?

    😀

  9. Sorry Hun…questions are closed 🙂

    Maybe the next round.

  10. BUT, your music terminology brings me a smile..

  11. 11 kim

    Great answers to some huge questions. This is the most detail I’ve ever been able to read about someone’s job that’s so close to the same as mine. At this point in time (almost midnight), it’s equally inspiring and depressing (as in…”I’m not doing THAT very well…. I’m not doing THAT at ALL…”) Anyway, it’s amazing that you took the time to write all of that out.

  12. I TOTALLY want to know the answer to Tammy’s question!!! hahaha!

  13. 13 Cheryl

    You guys are funny! But on a slightly serious note, thanks for answering my question. As was meantioned that was a detailed response but it was clear! I appreciate the fact that you take personal time to prepare yourself spiritually. I think that there is always that difficulty in separating personal worship time from leading worship.

    I think folks may be under the misconception that you (any worship leader, not only you) just throws songs together and presto! you have worship for the weekend. I’ve always appreciated your leadership in this area…I should have known that you would have found some kind of online service to help you out! 😉 But it shows the work you all put. We are blessed to have the team lead us evey week!

    I like that you come together with the expectation to be ready to rehearse. THere is nothing worse than not seeing the music until Saturday night and then spending 4 hours rehearsing for 15 min of worship for the next day! Talk about stress!

    I had to laugh though at this: “Our area is a little traditional and gets a bit freaked out when we introduce some things.” Oh boy do I wish I could take you to my home church…you think some folks here get freaked out… You would get run out of town if you “messed” with a hymn. You know what I’m talking about!

    Keep pressing into Jesus!

  14. Cheryl – we attend a very “traditional” church service in Fl and a “contemporary” service back in Michigan. I love the hymns! :o) We use a piano and a beautiful organ. We have a well blended congregation that runs about 400 on Sunday AM. I think what Brent is doing at Table Rock is phenomenal! I appreciate the “look” he has given us.

  15. Hey Kim, I would love to compare notes some day. I’ll bet there’s a lot of ideas we could trade and challenge each other with. Maybe next year at re:create!

    Brandy, let me put it this way. We tend to go through bass players. They stand behind me on stage. enough said…

    Cheryl, I know the traditional thing is based on my perspective. We actually have a pretty relaxed contemporary church overall, but my tastes would lend to some other options 🙂

    Thanks so much for your kind words. The team is exactly that. What I do on stage is only presented the way it is because of all the people that I ma involved with. There is now way Table Rock would be what it was without every person we have. It is so fun working with all of them.

    Indian Lake papa, I love a really good organ player. I grew up in churches with no more than piano and organ. I always enjoyed it. I obviously grew to enjoy more ‘dynamic” styles, but I love to just strip it all down sometimes and enjoy the simplicity.

  16. Hey Brent, Thanks for the answer and answers. I’ll be back. Gotta run.

  17. 17 Cheryl

    Papa – I’m not dissing hymns… I love them myself but at least your church gets 400 folks in the pews…we were doing well getting 70 every Sunday. It was more than the hymns really…many issues..lack of young people…pride in a building but the music was one of the main issues.

    Brent – I’m curious as to your other options…

  18. Options? Clarify, just so I can answer correctly 🙂

  19. 19 lazrus2

    Well, it took me almost 24 hours to make it past the second section of your answer to Darla’s question, but I did manage somehow to get to the end of it all today.

    It sounds like your concluding comment to praise365’s question indicates you’ve ‘come full circle’ from 1997, doesn’t it (re: what you really wanted to do fulltime)?

    Answer if you will, but I think you clearly already have.
    I won’t be here to read it anyway.
    D-

  20. Hey lazrus2, ya, it was a bit long, but they were good questions and I wanted to be clear.

    Full circle? I don’t know. My love has always been music and audio production. For a while at TRF (when things were smaller) I was able to spend more time with that and keep my hands wet (Songwriting, recording) but as things have adapted over time, my priorities have shifted and taken me away from that kind of stuff.

    It is my favorite line of work, but I know I am where God has called me, so I am content here. I do think however that God is asking some new things of me (spiritually and physically) so I am going to be listening and waiting intently. Whether He ever leads me away from Table Rock or not, He is working on me to be who I need to be and in the midst of where I am right now.

    “I won’t be here to read it anyway.

    I am assuming your busy today? Hope you’ll be back soon.

  21. I love getting to know people. Not many are willing to answer questions and be willing to be vulnerable. Your doing good Brent.

  22. 22 Cheryl

    Brent – You mentioned in your response that your “tastes lend to some other options” I was wondering what options you were takling about

  23. Ohhhhh…Got ya 🙂

    Um, I really like the use visual elements in worship. I like lighting, video and even art.

    Our church doesn’t do art too well. Remember the “all church” canvas they did. That was hilarious. I would love to see more art incorporated in the worship time…maybe even live painting sometimes.

    I love lighting. i would love to integrate more lighting like we did at Christmas. I think people would respond to it, but it is very expensive.

    By way of video, we are doing backgrounds and such during the worship time, but I would like to make it more of a priority to create and use video all throughout the service. We’ve done a little bit of this, but I would love to do more. It is not a priority right now. It was really interesting to get the response we did over our “Sasquatch” videos. We got a really wide variety of opinions. Sometimes I don’t get people’s opinions.

    Finally, music. I would like to be a little more diverse in style and we are going there. We have changed a lot in the 9 years we’ve been a church. I have been working towards integrating actual styles of music that lend themselves to more response and I’ve appreciated how that has gone.

  24. “Sasquatch” videos were awesome! We laughed SO HARD!!!

  25. 25 Elaine

    Wow, these questions/answers sure must have taken a long time but thank you for doing it. It’s great getting to know you better and know the church better. You are truely gifted!

  26. B – “We tend to go through bass players”

    I can play bass, any plastic molding jobs in the area?
    Thanks for the insight.

  27. Elaine, I like to talk, so it wasn’t too bad fro me 🙂 thanks for your kind words!

    Scott, you read the post right? there is a reason we are going through bass players. Me…gas…bass player…behind me…

    I’d still give you a shot if you were in town though. When you guys come out this Summer, you’ll have to check it out and see if you could hang with us 🙂

  28. 28 Pete

    “Another would be in Music production. For years I managed and operated a recording studio. Focusing on music engineering, production and live sound. That is my biggest passion. My role at Table rock allows me to dabble in this, but to not give it much focus. I miss it everyday. I would love to work in audio again. ”
    ~ Dude this is my background exactly. We need to go do coffee. Maybe I could meet you half way.. Chicago?

  29. Pete, you are on my “to do” list. There is no way…if I ever get to your area…that I would not stop and say hello.

    We are trying to figure out as a family how to take a blog trip and see all our blog friends in the midwest and east. Would be a blast.

  30. Brent,

    I’m playin catch-up this morning before I get into the day (busy weekend). Re:

    I personally am much more edgy and progressive than we as a church are. … It’s hard to do

    A visiting pastor, Darren Heater, spoke at our worship gathering yesterday at Mid Atlantic Comm Curch (http://www.themacc.org) about Art Missionaries. I posted the audio of his message on the site last night. He operates an arts parachurch ministry called Creative Paradox (http://www.creativeparadox.org). You definitely should give it a listen and check it out when you get a chance.

  31. 31 Cheryl

    I’m just getting a chance to see your response to options…Ahhh! Interesting…I thought that was where you headed. Have you ever been to Bethel Church in Redding? Their services sound like what you are talking about with the art. I know someone at Simpson who does that.

    I attended Risen KIng Community down there and we did some of that. But then again we were more of the “college” church and Bill (Randall) is a cool guy who never limited people and the ways we all worship differently…Not saying that is what is happening at TRF in the least! Like I said we had a lot of college students so the audience is different.

    A lot of what you are describing reminds me of Chapel times at SImpson. Of course, there we had a variety of ways/means of expression b/c of the setting. Student led worship was always the basis…I have to admit I do miss that very much. But as I always told the students, what they experienced and were able to do in chapel didn’t always translate into the local church services once they left the Simpson bubble.

  32. Ric, I’ll check that out. Sounds really interesting.

    Cheryl, I love what Bethel is doing. They are by far to me one of the coolest churches in the northwest, style wise. They have the Jesus Culture ministry that is amazing. I was hoping to get to their worship conference in February, but couldn’t make it. I will definitely make it next year.

    I think you nailed it though. Although I would prefer this style, out church make up is a lot different. It is not less or more, just different. We have a church that loves to worship enjoys the music and soaks up the teaching. It is a great ministry to be a part of.

  33. 33 Cheryl

    Bethel is very cool…I caught the tail end of a couple of conferences. Very cool. Hey if you go next year and need a place to stay sometimes Simpson has dorm rooms they rent out. It all depends on if enrollment is up. I know that at the moment one dorm is being used for conferences. It’s cheaper than a motel and they now have wi-fi. That way you could check out a chapel service if you had a chance.

    Our church is just as cool and you are blessed to be a part of that.

  34. I’ve got a friend that is going to Simpson in fall and the conference is next winter, so it would be cool to stay there if that works out, cause it would be great to catch up when I am there.



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