I know what it is to have much and to have little…the church I came from in Kentucky was very blessed with an abundance of everything, but the church I serve in currently doesn’t have those types of resources or funds, so I’ve had to get creative in order to continue growing myself and my team. One of the ways I’ve been able to do that is by offering my team the opportunity to go to short conferences nearby or by holding them myself.
The first mini-conference I had was very specifically geared toward my guitar players. I invited Jon Nichol, a worship pastor and avid guitarist, to come here from Ohio to due a seminar that would challenge my guitarists to take the next step in their playing. I could sense that once my team started to grow and new and more gifted players were joining, there was a growing sense of dissatisfaction and even lethargy in their playing. I asked Jon to come up and share what he does best and breathe some new life into my team, but I also used to the opportunity to invite other guitarists in the area. Jon stayed and played with our team on Sunday and it turned out to be exactly what we needed. My guitarists learned some new techniques, a little theory, and most of it helped refresh their attitudes and hearts. You can find out more about Jon’s ministry at www.worshipteamcoach.com.
At the beginning of my ministry here in Michigan I was absorbing all the information I could from whatever source I could find it. In that search for ideas and assistance, I ran across Rory Noland’s book series The Heart of the Artist. I was challenged and captivated by Rory’s honesty and practical manner of relating how he dealt with things beyond the musical realm. He contends that the gift is only part of what we bring to the table in worship…the most important aspect of our worship is our heart-attitudes and vertical-focus. He addresses all sorts of issues that we all deal with on a daily basis in ministry in his books, so I thought it would be really neat to have him actually come and do a spiritual retreat for my whole team. That’s exactly what occurred last October in the height of fall at a local Bible camp. I invited everyone on my worship team and churches from all over Upper Michigan to come and sit under Rory’s knowledgeable teaching. It was a great way for us to do a quick, inexpensive, and much needed refresher and since it was in our own back yard, it was accessible to many more than I could ever have taken on a trip to an out-of-state conference. I would go as far to say that this was a conference that the whole church could have benefited from and I would highly recommend checking his books and website out if you are in a budget crunch and want to offer your team something completely unique and altogether beneficial! You can find out more at www.heartoftheartist.org.
I have been to a variety of other training conferences that are specifically geared for worship leaders and their teams and they are always refreshing and helpful, however, it’s usually only me and maybe a couple of others that can afford it or get the time off work that can make it to those big events. That’s why I’m such a believer in doing things closer to home and more ministry-specific. I believe the more people on your team that you can impact, the more likely you are to get things to stick and then benefit your whole church. I can’t downplay the benefits of large conference because I love being fed and encouraged and am already signed up to do one later this year in Florida, I just know the power of personal connection and want to continue to try and leverage that for the kingdom and glory of God!
Grace be with you,