GUEST POST: Be Re-Created

ChurchMusicToday.Net welcomes a guest post from Joshua Dickey, Worship Arts Minister at Lake Superior Christian Church, Marquette, MI. Josh and I became friends our freshman year of college studying music together.  Since then, we have remained close and I have been privileged to watch him grow as a musician and minister.  Recently, we met up while he was on vacation.  I count it a privilege to be able to see him.  Since he moved from Owensboro to Michigan, we see each other once every couple of years.  I asked Josh to write to our readers today about ways to be refreshed in our ministries: workshops, conferences, trainings, etc.  Read the article from Josh and hopefully you can find ways you can be “re-created” in your ministries.  – Dennis

It’s hard to believe that nearly seven years ago I moved from my beloved Kentucky home to begin ministry in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Leaving family, friends, the church, and a comfortable life-style took a real leap of faith for my family and me.  Interestingly, the most difficult transition for me wasn’t all of those things, but it was beginning in ministry with very little experience and no one to mentor me through the rising tides and shifting seas we call worship ministry.  I was literally coming up here on a hope and prayer and my church was taking a formidable risk on having someone with my skills come to try and rebuild a struggling ministry.  Of course I attribute everything that has happened to this point to my Faithful God and His gentle way of guiding and giving me discretion and wisdom when all seemed hopeless…but I can also attribute much of the blessings I’ve experienced to the opportunities I’ve been given to learn from others.

Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”  Notice that this verse says “get” twice…in order to obtain wisdom and understanding we need to “get” it.  There is an action required if we want to grow and become more effective in God’s kingdom and anything worth having is going to cost us something.  You’ve probably heard the old adage, “Nothing in life is free”.  Our children may see a sign that says “free puppy or kitten”, but you know that animal isn’t free because it has to eat and vet visits aren’t free.  If you are a good owner, you will also invest a great deal of time and love knowing that in the end it will all be worth it because you will have a faithful, furry friend, right?  I would contend the same is true when it comes to investing in your God given calling as a minister…if you are going to grow and “get understanding” it is going to cost you resources, time, and energy.

I’m a realist and understand that one of the unfortunate things about worship conferences, training opportunities, and ministerial retreats are the financial costs.  If you are like me, your budget is small or maybe even non-existent due to tough economic times and limited resources in your church, so attending these events may seem impossible.   I knew if I was going to grow musically, as a minister, and as a leader, I’d have to get creative in my thinking and search out alternative and cost effective ways to attend conferences or training sessions.  Here are some of the things I’ve done over the past few years…

  1. The easiest and most effective way is to get your senior pastor and church leadership to buy into the fact that you need to grow as an artist and leader.  If they see the value of your continuing education, the funds will be no issue at all…you just need to prove the value, then ask for the funds
  2. Go to a conference or training session with another like-minded minister or team member (of the same gender) and split the costs for everything including food, lodging, and gas
  3. Go to a local (within 100 miles) conference and open up the opportunity to others on your team and split costs that way
  4. Research then arrange a visit during the week with a larger or more progressive church and take time to observe and work with them…take a list of twenty or so questions you need answered…I promise this will be a fruitful exercise, you will get lots of great ideas and feedback, and usually larger churches are more than willing to share their knowledge and give you lots of input…they may even feed and house you during your stay
  5. Use resources on-line to find training books, CD’s, and websites that you can do training on your own time with little to no costs except your time and energy
  6. Take online mentoring classes or attend simulcasts…I use a great website called worshipleaderinsights.com hosted by Jason Hatley and Nelson Searcy.

Anyone who has made it a priority will tell you that the benefits of visiting off-site venues for training and encouragement far outnumber the costs.  When I came to Lake Superior Christian Church, I didn’t have much leading experience, my team was small and pretty inexperienced, and I really had nowhere and no one to turn to for help so I took it upon myself to read and research, locate and steal every good idea I could find.  I’ve still got a long, long way to go in being the kind of leader and pastor that God wants me to be, but I can assure you that I never want to stop “getting” understanding and my mentality is to keep growing and never get complacent.  When you begin to see your congregation respond and grow, when the music teams are growing spiritually and musically, you have gifted and godly people coming out of the woodwork to be on your team, and you have created a culture of excellence, it’s obvious that God is blessing your efforts and honoring your plight to do more and do it better for His glory.  One of the other great benefits of visiting an off-site venue or going to conferences is the encouragement received and the freshness it can bring to your ministry.  Every time I spend time away from home, especially if I’m at a large conference, I come back feeling re-energized.  Sometimes I have to slow myself down because I get so many good ideas I just want to change everything right away.  The same thing would happen if you took some of your team members with you…a new fire is lit…you are re-created…and that passion is immediately evident to all you serve and serve with.  I encourage you to take a leap of faith and invest in yourself because when you grow everyone and everything around you will grow too!

Joshua Dickey is the Worship Arts Minister at Lake Superior Christian Church, Marquette, MI.  He resides in Michigan with his wife, Jenny, son, Blake and daughter, Lauren.  Josh has his degree in Music/Business from Kentucky Wesleyan College.

From his church website:

As the Worship Arts Team Minister, I have the privilege of serving along-side a great team that exalts God, encourages the church, and evangelizes the lost. I have been married almost 18 years to my beautiful bride Jenny and have two wonderful children, Blake and Lauren, a cat named Moby Dickey, a Golden Retriever named Maggie, a bird, and a rabbit! After graduating from Kentucky Wesleyan College and working as a financial advisor, I answered God’s call into ministry and moved my family to Michigan in 2005. Since then I’ve converted from Vikingism to Packerism, get blamed for all the big snow storms we have in the UP (because I pray for snow), and am convinced that no matter what “Yooper’s” tell you, there is no such thing as a snipe. Outside doing the greatest job on earth, I love to watch movies, hike and camp in the beautiful UP, travel, and be with my family!

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