April 16, 2008
I’ve got so much to think about this morning and so little time. I am most excited about where God is leading our church as we gather around our coach, Gary, over the next 2 months and he gives us the game plan. It is God’s game plan, his mission for our church as we continue to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in our homes, community and beyond – and it is exciting! I am discovering a grander view of the role of corporate worship as it relates to our church mission. Changing metaphors from the game to the battle, I think of the biblical account of the army of Israel going into battle with the worshipers leading the way and the worship of the great army resounding as the battle call. “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever!” All of the attention was on the Almighty God – all hope was in Him and victory was certain. I want to lead our church in the same way, intentionally toward the mission that God has called us, our worship expressions resounding our mission call and the greatness of the One who has called us. I’m not sure what that looks like, but have a strong sense that God is calling us there and that we’re about to see. Please pray for our church and the role of Worship Ministries in what his glorious gospel is accomplishing among us here at Trinity Church.
In the meantime, I will reflect upon the last of the 7 Affirmations of Trinity’s Philosophy of Ministry. It has been a great experience for me to use this document to clarify the role and vision of Worship Ministries. Now I need to clearly communicate this vision to those who share the role of leadership with me, namely my Worship Planning Team and Worship Leadership Team. If you are on one of those teams, I praise God for your partnership, and invite your feedback as we unite in purpose and lead our church family in the worship service.
The last affirmation is stated as follows:
7. Our emphasis is on church health rather than on church growth.
a. While numbers are important, we believe that church health is about whether we, as a body of believers, are functioning as God intends and about whether we are fulfilling our God-given mission and purposes.
b. We will develop effective structures of leadership and ministry that allow us to accomplish our mission, maintain effectiveness and efficiency, guard integrity and establish appropriate accountability.
This affirmation is self-explanatory. While I agree wholeheartedly that church health is the focus, I do think that the lack of church growth should alert leadership to evaluating church health. In other words, stagnation in growth may be a symptom of disease. It takes boldness to step back and critically evaluate our own leadership, and more importantly turn to God and ask him to reveal areas of sin, blindness, shortsightedness, or weakness. We should always be adjusting, evaluating, refocusing, and pressing onward in our call to be a church who is all about God and his mission and purposes. I need to take primary responsibility for the Worship Ministry teams that I lead and also help my leadership teams do the same as they share responsibility for the health of their teams. My worship planning team met last night and we are entering a period of critical evaluation of what we do and where we are going. I am excited to see the results as we turn to God with our questions, desires and dependence on him to accomplish his perfect will in and through us. This same pattern should exist in every area of leadership God has given me – in my marriage, in my family, my friendships, my occupation, etc. Catching problems right away, putting them out in the open, devoting ourselves to prayer and then dealing with them is the best way to ensure health. That’s hard to do in our quick-paced, demanding and noisy culture that robs us of any time to be quiet, listen to God, and evaluate where we are. That’s hard for the leaders of a large church that has a packed master calendar. But we must if our emphasis is really on church health.
Second, is the issue of structures of accountability and integrity. I will speak mainly to my own responsibility with the teams I lead. There is a place for formal evaluations, but having an environment of constant evaluation is much more profitable. The foundation on which I strive to operate Worship Ministries teams is affirmation and encouragement. However, we also need to be not only open to critical feedback, but aggressive in inviting feedback – from our leadership, our colleagues, and those we lead. Ego and pride are unwelcome, and detrimental. Fortunately, they are also unnecessary when there is a strong spirit of love, affirmation and encouragement. But, that is not enough. When a team wholeheartedly owns its purpose and mission, the desire to accomplish them takes it to the next level of inviting critical input from each other. Critical input is messy at times, especially when we as artists are bearing our souls through our art, but it is worth working through the mess together to find the nuggets of truth that will make us better, stronger, and ultimately more effective for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. But it is the leader that must lead the process of being accountable and humility is the defining principle – pride is the killer. God, make me this kind of leader. May I build up leaders and teams that are single-minded in purpose, united in vision, and effective because we are full of your Holy Spirit. May we join you in building up Trinity Church for your glory alone! Amen.