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…
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filed under: Community, Family, Friends, Leadership, Music, TRF, Video, Worship | 34 Comments