Today’s post is written by Geoff Twigg, Adjunct Professor at North Park University in Chicago. Geoff is a pastor, singer/songwriter, worship leader and ministry consultant, and serves the ECC as a member of the denomination’s Commission on Worship.
Our Facebook discussion group, “Better Together” now has over 250 participants. This size of community has its own momentum, and in some ways becomes representative… so it struck me that we can really use it to detect what’s important to people about being able to ‘fellowship’ with people who work in a similar field. These are helpful reminders, and good indicators of balance.
As a community of Christians, it’s only natural that we share prayer requests; as worshippers and leaders, we particularly seem to share needs, illnesses and situations of those in our ministry. So this week, two of our number shared the needs of choir members and one leader told of his prolonged difficulty with a throat-related illness.
This reminds me that we are all charged with the pastoral care of those in our ministry, and that praying for people is a vital part of the care we provide. It’s also a reminder that self-care is an important aspect of exemplary leadership. It’s difficult to serve a local church and stay healthy, especially over the long-term – and it’s good for us to agree and encourage one another that this is a priority.
Keeping a holistic view of music and art, and learning new material are vital habits for practitioners who serve the church. It’s easy to get a functional or utilitarian view of the arts we love, and that can detract from the enjoyment and enthusiasm we share with the congregation. So (and our leader, Matt Nightingale, is particularly good at this) we regularly ask the question “What are you listening to?” – promising not to judge the responses on issues of credibility or style. I’ve discovered several artists and songs that are becoming favorites through this discussion topic… and I really enjoy the way this enhances my credibility with my children (who are in their twenties, and encounter the ‘scene’ more naturally than I do).
I could go on and on about all the great issues that come up, but I’ll restrict my comments to just two more areas that are important:
The first is a “use of technology” question, that is normally phrased something like this. “Looking at replacing our projector for worship. I was wondering if any of you use the Canon LV-7490 Projector? What do you think? Any advice as we are exploring a variety of projectors?”
Can you think of a better venue for technological advice than a community of experienced users? Given the amount of essential regular use our equipment is put through, we’re probably one of the wisest, most balanced (and least brand-oriented) “field-testing” systems around for AV technology.
The second area is in discussing (for lack of a better term) “big picture” issues. You may recall that last week on this blog, Zanne Dailey wrote comments on Todd Johnson’s blog at Fuller Seminary’s site, discussing a theological perspective on performance. This week’s Facebook dialog had a long-running and lively commentary on Rachel Held Evans’s blog, centered on the politics and faith dimensions of the same-sex marriage issue, including criticisms of an evident lack of grace in the church’s handling of the topic. It’s massively important for worship leaders, who are constantly monitoring and reacting to the cultural context of their congregation, to think through the issues and the tone of the discussion.
I’m grateful to God for my colleagues and for their Godly opinions and reflections – because as we walk forward together, we all benefit in seeking the mind of Christ.