WorshipTeamCoach blog has moved to the new site. Click to go to WorshipTeamCoach.com

New Site - New Blog

Just wanted to let you all know that the new WorshipTeamCoach.com is now up and running. That means this is the last post here at Blogger. All future posts will be at WorshipTeamCoach.com. And all the past posts that you've read are there, too. Guitarists, WorshipGuitarWorkshop.com is integrated into that site, too.

You may need to reload/refresh to get rid of the old pages cached in your computer. And some of the past blogs need to be cleaned up, so be patient with some "wonkiness" and cleanup.

See you there...~jon

Blog Reboot: Kind vs. Nice

Here's a post from a few years ago. Something we all need to be reminded of... 

There were two musicians that I worked with in a previous ministry. Because they're both still participating in the ministry, let's call one Pete and the other Paul, and for further anonymity, let's say they both played "instrument x."

Pete is a long-time member of this team (i.e. I inherited him). He's extremely talented on his instrument--and, for awhile, he was the only one that played "instrument x." Pete's a great guy and has a sincere desire to serve on the team. However, he kept the kind of schedule between work and family that would exhaust a Fortune 500 CEO. As a result, he often did not attend rehearsals and more than once called at the last minute to cancel on a Sunday morning.

Paul was a newcomer to our church and a welcome addition to the team: he was a multi-instrumentalist (don't you love having those guys!). He filled in on other instruments for a few months before playing "instrument x." The first rehearsal with him on "instrument x" was rough. His timing and feel were off, and I wondered if I made a mistake letting him play in this position.

I loved both guys (still do) and didn't want to risk either of them leaving the team. But both of these situations warranted some critical input. Looking back, I made two different choices: I chose to protect the feelings of one and speak truth to the other. I chose to "like" one (and really, to have him like me), and to show love to the other, and risked him not liking me.

I chose to be "nice" to one and "kind" to the other. [Read more]

52 Tweaks to a Stronger Team: #18

#18. Create a true Sunday morning sound check.

I would venture to guess that the average Sunday morning “sound check” is just a re-rehearsal with the sound guys dialing in all the more-me requests in the monitor.

Here are a few suggestions to start steering in a new direction:
  • Work with your team (techs and musicians) to have a true sound-check. That means your band needs to have a “ready to play” time and stick with it.
  • Stagger the sound check. Bring your instrumentalists in at 7:45 and your singers in at 8:00. By 8:10, you’re ready to roll with less stopping for monitor adjustments.
  • When you sound check the band, go without monitors for a song (see #36). This lets the tech get a great FOH mix. Then add into the monitors only what you need to keep the band on time and on pitch.
Is this easy?

Will it frustrate your band?
Oh yeah.

But it will force them to listen to each other in a brand new way?

And they just might realize they need less of themselves.

52 Tweaks to a Stronger Team is a upcoming ebook releasing on the new WorshipTeamCoach site, which will be launching this Fall. And did I mention the ebook is free? It is. So be watching for the launch of the new site and release of this 52 Tweaks.

Three New Launches...

If you’ve been coming around WorshipTeamCoach.com for awhile, either to check out the blogs or you read the newsletter, you maybe have notices a drop in frequency of both. Besides some wild changes at my church where I’m worship pastor, I’ve have three new “births” or launches that have just happened or are about to. These are in order of occurrence, not necessarily importance:

1. Small Church Big Worship
We just held the first Small Church/Big Worship Seminar in the Columbus, OH area. It was blast. A big shout-out to all you who were there and now on the e-update list! I recorded it and hope to make sections, or possibly the whole thing available for download.

If you’re interested in bringing a small church/big worship seminar to your area, let me know. 3 – 4 committed churches in an area could create enough buzz to cover the costs.

2. Corbin
This second birth is quite literal. Corbin Benjamin (7lb 10 oz, 22 inches long) was born yesterday (9/29) around 11:30am. He surprised us by coming 2 weeks early (mom was happy about that). So yeah, my world is now sideways and will be searching for a new normal for quite some time.

3. The new WorshipTeamCoach.com
The new site is designed, coded and ready to launch. I just need to hunker down and create/transfer the content. It will include WorshipGuitarWorkshop.com and also be a place where SmallChurchBigWorship.com is developed until it can be launched into the world on it’s own. (By the way, that big open green spot under the header will have something more interesting than, well, a big open green spot.)

Big. Crazy. Stuff. Over the next few weeks, new content will likely be limited, but don’t worry. We’ll be back to new blogs and resources soon enough.

Six Lousy Methods to Get More Musicians, Part 2

Read part 1
Photo: Kandyjaxx, Flickr

The third lousy way to get more musicians…

3. Let Your Non-Musical Pastor do the Recruiting.
Senior pastor to me, the worship leader: “Say, Jon, there’s a new family that just started attending and I heard that the wife played piano and sang at their last church. Incidentally, they sat behind us last week, and she does sing nicely. During the greeting time I told you REALLY needed people for the team. She acted excited. I told her you’d call her this week.”

Where’s a cliff I can jump off?

[Read more]

Restoration and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I've got a 1971 350 Honda motorcycle. It's in relatively decent shape, until I look at the fully restored ones online. Then, not so much. Would I like to restore it? Yes. Wait. No -- I'd like it to be restored.
Mine doesn't look like this...

I don't want to do the restoration. To restore it means tearing it apart. Removing dents. Repainting. Getting intimate with grease that predates my birth and dealing with gunk that remembers Nixon. I'm learning that if one owns a vintage bike, one either needs the skills to fix said bike, or enough money for someone else to do it. I have neither. So it runs, usually. And I smell like gasoline after I ride it.

I got mad at my 6-year old son the other day, madder than the situation warranted. Afterwards, I told my son, "Daddy's sorry." And I meant it. I asked God for forgiveness. And I meant it.

But I stopped there. Confession was easy. Saying 'sorry' is even simpler. But I wasn't restored.

Restoration's expensive. The price is the costly question "why?" Why did I get so mad? And the cost of asking why leads to the tough work of dismantling my heart and finding the broken piece. And the broken piece is a boy not much older than my son Aedan. Wounded by the words and actions of another. And then believing that this broken piece is who he truly is.

But seeing that broken part isn't enough. I need listen as the voice of the Restorer speaks truth into the heart-lie I'm holding. I need to let the hand of the Healer reach in and return that soul-part to its original glory. I need to succomb to the embrace of the Abba Father and, from there, forgive those who wounded me.

I'd like to be restored. But until I'm ready to pay the price of intimacy, I guess I settle for a life that's in relatively decent shape and runs, usually.

Upper and Lowercase Vision

For an introduction to this series, check out my article The Preferred Future (or Why I Get up at 5am) at WorshipMinistry.com

I want to make a distinction between two kinds of vision. (And this distinction is somewhere between "thinking out loud" and a working hypothesis. So if you don't agree, that's OK. In six months, I may not either.)

When it comes to vision, I think there’s the big, almost "capital-V vision" that gets put in the hearts of people by God. Nehemiah’s vision of rebuilding the wall would be an example of that. That kind of Big-V vision is something that I can’t act on right away or it’d be ruined. It needs be developed and refined. I need be developed and refined. Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering* will help guide you through the process of a Big-V vision.

Then there’s what I would call the "lowercase-v vision" that simply sees a problem and sees a solution to that problem. (And the people without vision see problems to solutions– but that’s an issue for later.) A lot of the building blocks spelled out in Visioneering are the same for little-v vision – just on a smaller scale. And it seems like, for me, operating within this realm of small-v that God starts to instill a Big-V vision.

Vision, big or small, at its most basic definition, is a preferred future. And the path between vision and our current reality is one part strategy and planning, one part “continual course-correction,” and two parts getting off our keisters and moving towards it.

Speaking of keisters, yours might feel like it’s being kicked right now. Some people are not future or vision oriented. That’s OK. Some people are so big-picture/future oriented that they can hardly function in the real world. Some are so tied to the practicality of real world that it’s difficult to see the big picture. The good news is we need all of us to make this work. (Of course, the bad news is, we need all of us to make this work.) If you have a hard time seeing thinking about vision and future and you’re not sure why, spend $15 and buy StrengthsFinder 2.0* book and take the assessment. It will show you your top five strengths and explain them in way that lightbulbs will be going on all over your brain. It will also help you understand what areas are NOT your strengths and how to work with people who have those.

In the next post in this series, we'll use a simple exercise to start developing a vision for our worship team.

*Full disclosure - affiliate links for Amazon.