Archives for June 2017

June 22, 2017 - No Comments!

Get Upstream


Just east of my home, the Snoqualmie River meanders for 45 miles through homes, farmlands, two counties, and then feeds into the famous Puget Sound. The river begins in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness way up in the Cascade Mountains. It’s there in the mountains that the source waters run and collide together to form the river before it begins its push down through western Washington.

Most (but not all) of my coaching clients are bi-vocational worship leaders in churches of 500 people of less. They are neck deep in all of the challenges that come along with wearing multiple hats and leading worship while balancing a hundred other things. They want to build great teams and have fun being creative in the local church.

That said, most of them reach out after they are overwhelmed or drowning a bit. This is natural I suppose, similar to how preventative medicine has been scientifically proven to be cheaper and more effective, and yet most of us elect to avoid the doctor’s office until a problem arises with our bodies. I’m no doctor, but I have seen a parallel in the worship leaders I coach.

My favorite clients are those that are trying to prepare in advance for the challenges coming for them. One of these leaders is Sarah. Yes, that’s her real name. Sarah is a delight. Sarah isn’t on staff at a church. She isn’t even in full time vocational ministry. She’s in a small town and has no aspirations of being in a big city.

Sarah is also clear in her calling to grow as a worship leader, so we’ve worked together for the last 6 months around how she can be best equipped for that future. Sarah wanted to get upstream, and learn how to organize, lead, and care for a worship ministry. She’s already grown a ton and now has tangible skills in her pocket that she didn’t a few months ago. I don’t share this story as some kind of humble-brag, but for clarity. Many of the leaders I speak with seem surprised that someone like Sarah makes for a great client. I tell them what I’ll say again now: I’d take a dozen more Sarah’s because she’s getting upstream and preparing herself for what’s ahead. She comes prepared, asks good questions, takes feedback with humility, and follows through on her “assignments”. She’s growing because she’s putting in the work. A few thoughts from her:

“Donald makes long-distance coaching effective…He cares genuinely about my growth as a leader and my growth in my relationship with Christ, with every meeting being centered around the gospel. The coaching has played an integral part in my development as a worship leader and leader. He has helped me to understand how to apply my gifts to serving God’s people through worship and relationship. I appreciate his wisdom, creativity, and insight when it comes to working with a team. I’ve grown as a worshipper, as a worship leader, and am more confident in my identity in Christ because of our time together.”

Sarah has invested in being the leader she wants to be in the future…she’s been pro-active instead of reactive. Be like Sarah. Get ahead of what’s coming. Ask questions of those further down the road than you around how you can grow in the areas of leadership that don’t come natural to you, and how you can leverage the strengths you already have.

Some good “upstream questions”:

-What will my team (up, down, and laterally) need from me in 6-12 months?
-What do I want the worship or arts ministry to look like this time next year?
-What do I need to do in my church to make disciples in the next year?
-Do I have any life stage changes coming (engagement, birth of a child, graduating college) and how can I plan for that?
-What do I want my volunteers and congregation to experience or learn this year?

I love the local church and local church leaders. If you or someone you know would benefit from some one-on-one coaching towards leadership development, organizing and recruiting artists, or growing your worship/arts ministry, let’s chat.

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June 15, 2017 - No Comments!

Confession for Jonah

As we’ve walked through the book of Jonah at Doxa Church, we’ve clearly seen how the book is obviously about Jonah, but also about Jesus…and also about us.

Jonah is a tough book. Believing that God’s grace is big enough for us and for the people we despise is where anyone that does Christianity as a hobby, a social club, or because their parents told them to, falls off and finds an easier path. To remind our people that we can be just like Jonah, and to reinforce our liturgy movement, we participated in this confession and assurance of pardon last week. I hope it serves you well.

CONFESSION
We have believed that you don’t have enough grace for us,
 that our sin is greater than you,
 forgive us Father.

We have believed that others don’t deserve your grace, 
that we know justice better than you,
 forgive us Father.

We have believed that we can run from you that somehow we could create distance between us and an omnipresent God. Forgive us Father.

We have believed that You won’t do what’s best, that we need to protect ourselves, sometimes in lieu of you, sometimes from you. Forgive us Father.

We have believed that you won’t provide for us, and assume the things that we care about are what we need, forgive us Father.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON
We say aloud that your grace is enough for us,
and for those that have wounded us.
We acknowledge that your presence is constant
and always for our good.
You provide for our needs without exception,
but in your wisdom know what we often strive
for that which can ultimately harm us.
Thank you Father for being quick to forgive,
slow to anger, 
rich in compassion, 
and eternally constant.

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