4 comments Written on January 26th, 2012     
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[Smashed Guitar]Today’s post was written by Chris Logan, Pastor of Worship Arts at Community Covenant Church in Lenexa, KS.

A few weeks ago I had this killer rehearsal. I don’t mean that in the colloquial sense, I mean that it was really awful and I had images of being run out of the church after about our third note. Come Sunday, people came up to me afterwards very complimentary, people who had worshipped and wanted to thank me for our team’s hard work. I wanted to ask them if we’d really been in the same room together, but instead I politely thanked them and silently wondered if I needed to get my ears checked.

Things, evidently, are not always as they seem.

A week later we had another rough rehearsal, and come Sunday it again was feeling like it would be another one of those days where I try to explain to somebody through gritted teeth how much we appreciate their compliment. But I remember a moment in the middle of our worship set, very distinctly, when all of a sudden words came to me unbidden: “Am I really present?”

It dawned on me that I had somehow detached myself, from the team and from the music … and in doing so, from the Spirit at work in the room. And on confession of this in my head (I’m still singing during this whole inner dialogue), something about the gathering shifted. It became beautiful.

The music hadn’t changed; but I had.

I have this tendency to get so caught up in the minute details that I lose sight of the bigger picture, of why I’m there. After listening to the mp3 both weeks, I can say that the team did a great job; yes, the rehearsals were rough, but after they rehearsed they went home and practiced and really did pull off the music well. The difference seems to be all in my head, how much I was paying attention to God in the room. I spent a full Sunday and part of the next effectively absent because I let myself get psyched out.

One of the other pastors at my church likes to tell us to ‘move slowly through the room.’ It means that we need  to take the time with people who are in front of us, see them as people and not as an audience or as tools. It is the same on stage; we need to let ourselves, even as we stand in front of a mic, move slowly through the room, to practice the discipline of presence. As leaders of a spiritual flavor, we have to remember that things are not always as they seem.  We have to look deeper, see the things floating just under the surface of our own minds and of the people in front of us. The question is always, are we paying attention?

Are we really present?

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4 comments “Present”

Thanks for sharing from your heart, Chris! And what a great reminder for all of us to be present in worship or whatever we do in ministry. That’s what we hope for in our congregations–that they would be present with God and with the people around them–and it needs to be true for us too.

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Chris, SPOT-ON!!! Just so on target, and so often the missing link (pun intended) in my and our lives. Present in the moment. Thank you! -Glenn

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Thanks for honesty.  I think most pastors, myself certainly, would have to admit to some of the same feelings about the messages we deliver.  The work is done, the right elements are added and taken away, but we step into the pulpit or onto the platform and become overly concerned about our delivery, the looks on the faces of our people or checking our slides and notes.  This should be a call to all who serve in the spotlight in any capacity to make sure we are fully engaged first with our Creator, and secondly with the amazing process we are allowed to participate in.

I hope and pray that your honesty will birth some great new thoughts in all of our church’s public leaders.

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I’m not gonna lie, this is a harder thing for me to do (not to write, just to do) because I’m naturally an introvert and prefer to just be in my own little bubble … one of the next books on my list is about introverts in the church and how to better pastor them as well …

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