More lessons from church planting.
Today was another good day of worship. It came at the end of a great week of ministry, or begins another great week of ministry.
1. I have talked with a lot of church planters about their worship ministry. Typically, lead church planters/ministers/pastors claim that they have to go through quite a few worship leaders to find one that sticks. Nelson Searcy with Journey Church devoted podcasts to easing the tension between ministers and worship leaders. Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill (in one of his books) fired his whole worship team and spent 3 months worshipping without singing. Other church planters have expressed frustration with worship leaders being too elitist, disorganized, and not committed to the general vision of the church. I found this advice helpful. One church went through 7 to find the right one. Others shared with me the same turnover rate. We have finally settled with Frederick Berry. Fredrick came from Mallory church, is middle aged, and has a great heart for God's calling at Agape. Today, he reinstated the praise team and leads, develops, and encourages others in worship. It is exciting to see such an ethnically diverse team leading us in worship. I find that my stress level is much lower as I go to church on Sundays.
2. I learned (back in the 90s) in my doctoral work how important it is to delegate, trust, and empower others to do ministry. I found that other leaders in churches had a more difficult time with this and I always had to drop the issue when it came to delegation. The basis of this is trust. We have to believe that God works in others and that Christians have the potential to glorify God with their own hands. Unfortunately the bottom line is trust, something declining churches struggle with. I find the more that church leaders are led by fear the more they control. The more they try to control, the more they lose control. The more that they lose control, the less that they trust, delegate, and empower others. At Agape it is exciting seeing our other staff members minister to people and grow in their own spirits. God has led some gifted men and women to us and they are spiritually maturing. It is also exciting watching people come, plug in, and generate enthusiasm.
3. I have seen God work in powerful ways. Today one of the guys who has been coming had a medical issue. He is 29, was born with a heart condition, and has been given 6 months. His heart rate dropped drastically. While some of the college students were attending to him, an EMT was visiting Agape. He helped. One of the Pre-med students just happened to have food in her car for diabetics. While there the EMT listened to my sermon on 1 Cor 5-6 he shared with me that some of the things spoke to him. He said, "There is a reason God had me here." He was right on many accounts. This is only one of many stories that God has shown me.