On Excellence...

In ministry we often talk about being people that prioritize excellence. In my context as a worship pastor, that looks like playing the part absolutely correct, or hitting the entrances, exits, and cues with precision. We want to have clean, inspiring spaces that are comfortable and inviting to our people. Our parking and welcome teams should be smiling, inviting, and helpful. Our leaders should be connecting, our stage presentation should be flawless, and our follow up should be consistent.

All of this is good and necessary, but instead of focusing on excellence in the things we DO, we should first focus on excellence in WHO WE ARE.

Here are 4 characteristics of leader with an excellent spirit.

1. A leader with an excellent spirit is HUMBLE/TEACHABLE.
There are few things as frustrating as trying to deal with someone that thinks they know it all. Maintaining a humble, teachable spirit keeps us learning, keeps us seeking, and keeps us improving.

GALATIANS 6:3
"If anyone thinks they are important when they aren’t, they’re fooling themselves."

PROVERBS 12:1 (ESV)
"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid."

I am convinced that as leaders, we should maintain the attitude that we can learn something from anyone. be open to criticism, even if it’s not delivered in the best way (See “How To Deal With Negative Criticism”).

2. A leader with an excellent spirit is MOTIVATED TO IMPROVE.
To improve you have to be honest with yourself. Understanding who you are as a leader, your strengths and weaknesses, the way you process information, and your personal rhythm are so important, understanding that God wants to work in you and change you to be more like Him. Don’t internalize the things that God might want to change in you. Saying, “I’m just a late person,” or “I just yell when I get angry,” might be true most of the time, but are not the way that God wants you to interact with the world. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the things that you’ve internalized that He might want to change.

There are many different ways to gain a more accurate understanding of your self. DiSC tests, Meyers-Briggs, Enneagram, and others are all ways to give you a snapshot of your personality and how you process things. Well worth 15-20 minutes to take a test (Check out 16 Personalities for a free Meyers-Briggs personality inventory).

3. A leader with an excellent spirit is INTENTIONAL.
An excellent life takes excellent planning. Do you have a vision for your life and ministry? What do you want to see built into your life and the lives of those around you. Nothing truly great happens by accident.

1 CORINTHIANS 3: 12-15
12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

What are you using to build your life with? God showed us INCREDIBLE intentionality in the construction of both the tabernacle in the wilderness and the temple-which were both meant to host the presence of God. Today, the temple is you and I. We should approach our lives with intentionality and vision.

PROVERBS 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it; but that it’s too low and we reach it.
— Michaelangelo

4. A leader with an excellent spirit knows how to PRIORITIZE THE IMPORTANT

A leader with an excellent spirit avoids wasting time on things that don’t matter. There are so many things to do in ministry-reaching our community, building relationships, building our families, and the list could go on and on. Let’s be people that make the most of every moment, which includes knowing how to say “no” when the need arises, remembering that God has called us to live and walk in love towards one another.

1 TIMOTHY 6:20-21 (NLT)
“Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness”

TITUS 2:10 (NIV)
"...in every way...make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

A leader with an excellent spirit will be a person who naturally produces things that are excellent. If we can focus on having an excellent spirit (WHO WE ARE), we will naturally do things that are excellent (WHAT WE DO). On the other hand if we focus on producing excellence without first focusing on who we are internally, we will burn out and become frustrated. Let’s be people that live with an excellent spirit!

What's Your Volume Philosophy?

Every worship leader should have a volume philosophy.  Beyond just "loud" or "soft",  I would suggest that there's another, better way to think about the volume in your services. 

Here are a couple volume philosophies to think about:

1.  Run the volume soft enough that people can hear each other singing.  This creates a sense of community-that we're all in this together.  As we sing together, we can hear those around us and realize that we're all a family doing life together. 

2.  Run the volume loud enough to create a sense of togetherness with God.  If you run your volume loud enough that people can't hear each other as well, there's more of a sense of individual connection with God in worship as people feel more free to sing out without being heard by everyone around them. The sound envelopes people and creates a space to really connect with God on a more individual level. 

3. Run the volume as a combination of these two. If you want to have a combination of the sense of community and a more individual worship experience, perhaps there could be a section of your worship set where it's just the voices lifting up a chorus with just a guitar or keyboard-allowing people to hear others around them as they lift their praise to God.  A softer, broken down section, or a voices and drums chorus in the middle or end of a worship set can be really effective if done right.  These sections, combined with sections of higher volume can give you the best of both worlds. 

The main idea is that you have though/prayed/talked through why you run the sound the way you do.  Let the volume be something intentional that serves the purpose of your ministry and your church.  Having a clear philosophy takes pressure off of your sound techs as they have a clear understanding of what you as the worship pastor or leader is looking to achieve.