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Worship Fertilizer from Ad Lib Music
9 minutes | a year ago
233 What is Your Lid?
https://adlibmusic.com/schedule-a-call https://adlibmusic.com/233 https://store.johnmaxwell.com/The-21-Irrefutable-Laws-of-Leadership--Follow-Them-and-People-Will-Follow-You-10th-Anniversary-Edition-Hardcover_p_2780.html I’ve been getting up at 4:30 AM the last couple of weeks to spend quiet, uninterrupted time writing and editing my past Fertilizers. I’m putting them into a book to publish. You’ll notice this is the 233rd Fertilizer I’ve written. I started in 2009. I’m going through each one and painstakingly and cruelly editing them. Well, that’s a bit dramatic, and it’s pretty enjoyable to do. I cringe occasionally, but I like revisiting most of what I’m seeing. And some of it I just love! But I’m not doing it alone. For a mere $139 per year, I’ve hired Grammarly to help me improve my writing skills. Ok, so it’s just an app that scores your document, finds errors, and makes suggestions. But it’s making me a better writer. (See, I usually would’ve written, “It’s actually making me a better writer,” but I’m used to Grammarly telling me that “actually” is overused or unnecessary.) Turns out, I have a problem with creating tautologies. A tautology is when you say the same thing twice. Like “My own life,” or “he always over-exaggerates.” or “I want to see him personally.” I also say “that” a lot. So after I’ve gone through the whole document, I search for instances of the word “that” and try to reword the sentences. I like to add “just” to things. Not quite as often as your average twenty-something in their prayers, but… And Grammarly knows just how to make me change it. The prompt asks, “Do you want to sound more confident?” Ugh! Of course, I do, so I remove it. (See, there’s no “just” before “remove”?) There’s a cool feature that grades your paper with a classic 0-100 score. Most of the Fertilizers start with a score in the 80’s, and I love working the post until it scores s99 or 100. It’s a little game I play. Here’s how you can use this. With the Great Reset we’re experiencing, take some time (get up early if necessary) and evaluate your leadership skill. Think about your interactions with team members and ponder how you can improve them. Imagine yourself as an unchurched person or a new believer and listen to the things you say on the live stream. Watch it again with no audio and look for your physical quirks. Send the link to another worship leader and ask them to (lovingly) tell you two things they like and two things you could improve. If you can listen back one track at a time, solo your instrument and check for sloppiness or a lack of musicality. Think of a change you’ve wanted to make. What’s stopping it? How is the way you lead, contributing to the delay? Read (or re-read) John Maxwell’s classic The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership book. Sign up for a free coaching session to finally find out what they are like Do an audit of your songs. Find the ones you’ve only scheduled once in the past year and consider removing them. By looking at the top five songs you’ve led, what is the general theme you seem to go back to? (And here’s the most valuable question: why is that theme central for you?) Make a game out of it. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Work to be better. Maxwell’s first law, the Law of the Lid, states: “leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his or her potential.” This means you want to work to “raise your lid” or take off the limits you’ve place on yourself. You may be a fantastic musician, but if you can’t lead people, you won’t be a very effective worship leader. You might love people, but if you don’t know how to create change, your effectiveness is capped. You might have significant energy and ambition, but if you don’t understand the principles of leadership, it will just frustrate you! I’m NOT saying you have “all this time since you’re just sitting at home doing nothing because of the quarantine!” You might have to join me in getting up extra early for things that matter. :) - Dave ps. Full disclosure: Grammarly found 28 necessary changes in this Fertilizer...so, we all have a ways to go! :)
13 minutes | a year ago
232 The Great Reset
https://adlibmusic.com/schedule-a-call https://adlibmusic.com/232 https://adlibmusic.com/023 Maybe we feel disoriented because God is trying to reorient us. As churches, we’ve been forced to rethink virtually everything about our weekly gathering rhythms. Naturally, we feel a growing anticipation for when we can meet again. Once this storm has past, what will you restart and what will you put to rest? And what if we don’t look at it as "when we come back" but "what God is inviting us into?" This is such a time of unusual opportunity. We must take the time to ask this question. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV) "Jesus responded, "Why do you keep looking backward to your past and have second thoughts about following me? When you turn back you are useless to God’s kingdom realm." (Luke 9:62 TPT) Can you mow a straight line if you keep talking to your neighbor as you look back over your shoulder? So take a moment to reflect: what was Sunday really about? Fellowship Gathered worship Learning Outreach Fundraising (don’t hate me) You can read the Fertilizer called "Why do we Gather?" here to jumpstart your thinking. Here are some further questions for your team: What do you miss most about gathering? Why do you miss that? What scriptural model, design, or narrative does that desire come from? (this will either help strengthen it or help you let it go) How is the Church better positioned to be the Light of the World with these limitations? What are the benefits of physically gathering on a weekend to worship? (List them specifically and comprehensively) What energy have we been over-investing or under-investing in planning the hour on Sundays? How has this season kickstarted the church (versus just the leaders)? How can we re-tool to continue this healthy shift? What is one thing that we’re sure needs to stop? What sacred cows do we need to grill? (things/ministries we used to do that we thought could never end, but now have been paused) Where is our greatest opportunity for sharing the gospel? How do finances shape what you do when you gather? How was the way we were doing ministry failing to make strong, radical disciples? How would we shape ministry to more fully do that? How do our gatherings and ministries love, serve, and lead in ways that are scriptural and Spirit-inspired in the context of our emotionally-driven world? How can the Church be more unified, not with the world but, for the sake of the world, with Herself? How has your worship ministry failed or succeeded in training your congregation to be homes of worship? What can you do to strengthen that (beyond the helpful idea of sending them videos of you doing a song)? Seize the opportunity given us! Let’s get in sync with the Lord’s perspective and purpose in this time. We ask Him together to reshape, realign, and reset us for His desire! And this would be a great time to join the other worship leaders who are resetting their next decade with a round of coaching. Having someone to talk with who is outside of your ministry context is so helpful! We’re offering a free session to leaders who haven’t tried it yet. Just schedule a time by clicking on https://adlibmusic.com/schedule-a-call.
6 minutes | a year ago
https://adlibmusic.com/schedule-a-call https://adlibmusic.com/231 Lucas. Now you know how to say Luke in Spanish. Well, only if you pronounce it Spanishy. But do we know what to do when a messenger from God shows up when we’re just doing our weekly service? I was in my daily scripture reading in Luke 1. I felt a resonance with Zechariah and Elizabeth who were from…shall we say “a long line of worship leaders.” And Zach had just showed up to lead his weekly worship set. He was a good man, and godly. And “God showed up.” Or perhaps I should say there was heavenly activity. And he flipped out and didn’t know how to respond. He was “shaken and overwhelmed with fear.” Granted, an encounter with the Holy is overwhelming, affecting our whole being - spirit, soul, and body. But Zach’s response seems to be unbelief. He questions, which on face value could seem perfectly appropriate. The message was naturally impossible. But the angel’s response tells me there was something in his heart. It wasn’t innocent curiosity like Mary’s would be later in the chapter. There was something untrusting, resisting, resting-on-logic in his question. Something that lacked faith. And without faith, it is impossible to do the heart of worship, aka please God. (Hebrews 11:6) So I’m reading this story and I think about us as worship leaders and pastors. There’s no question that along a long enough timeline of us showing up to perform our appointed duties that God has interrupted us. He has spoken. He has revealed His heart. Have we been ready? Are we ready? I know most of us, if we are leading right now, are recording or live streaming from homes and empty sanctuaries. But are we expectant? Do we yearn and pray for more than just proverbially burning incense? And when God’s Spirit breathes and moves on us, how do we respond? Zechariah said, “How can I be sure?” Like “I don’t want to be a fool for proclaiming or believing this.” Mary said, “How will this be?” Like “Give me some details about Your plan, Lord…this is exciting!” Our response to when heaven invades earth seems to have bearing on what happens next. Do we believe that as we record, as we stream, that God wants to say something, that God wants to meet us? I say “Give me some details about Your plan, Lord…this is exciting!” His life will follow! - Dave
8 minutes | a year ago
https://adlibmusic.com/schedule-a-call https://adlibmusic.com/230 https://youtu.be/gqizuYHaw-k?t=1559 https://www.nirandfar.com/indistractable/ https://thehollisco.com/pages/next90 http://unite714.com/ https://louengle.com/pentecost/ https://lovingonpurpose.clickfunnels.com/sales-page1586430902957 http://brightones.bethelmusic.com/ Our lives feel a bit like this picture of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The first picture is before the 2004 tsunami and the second picture is just after. I’m not trivializing the 230,000 people that lost their lives in that tragedy. It paints a powerful picture of what many of us feel in this time of global quarantine. As we slowly crawl through this time, we can get disoriented, discontented, distracted, disillusioned…lots of things. But stay the course, friends! I remember the end of 2008. I was working at Starbucks and my store closed on November 22nd. Now what? Well, it’s when I decided to jump into Ad Lib full-time. When I worked at Starbucks, I had to get up at 4:30 AM. And now I didn’t have anyone telling me when to show up. I could just start working whenever I wanted to. So I decided to “sleep in” and get up at 5:30 AM every workday. That single decision has stayed with me for twelve years. And it has shaped the way I approach what I do. This quarantine has challenged that, but I’m pressing into that discipline again. Because it brings life! Schedule your life as though someone else was requiring it. In other words, when we lose our routine, we get disoriented and unmotivated. A day or two like this is fine, but weeks…not so much. On Easter, as I watched the livestream from ACTS Covenant Fellowship (our sending church in the States), Bruce Lengeman challenged us. He recounted his experience that week where he “wasted an evening and ate too many chips.” (Let the one without sin cast the first stone. LOL) And then he acknowledged, “It was sloppy.” And I thought, that’s it! It’s really easy to live sloppy right now. It feels like this time doesn’t count. Like we’re just killing time until this is over. But this is a time of TREMENDOUS purpose, of GREAT opportunity, of CRUCIAL intentionality! This is a time to be “never lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11) Some questions I’m asking: What is God doing? What is the Father inviting us into? What is flaring to the surface? Pay attention! What dross is He refining from you? What are you doing to keep your worship team from isolation? What are you praying for most? And “where” are you tarrying in Jerusalem (at home) for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? (Acts 1:4) Where are you stuck or where can we help each other out? How are you investing your time? Five ideas that I’m implementing: I just started to listen to Nir Eyal's audiobook Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. He said, “Distraction is the opposite of Traction. Don’t let yourself get distracted.” Whoa! We need to gain traction in these days. I also just signed up for Rachel and Dave Hollis’ “Next 90 Days.” (They usually do a “Last 90 Days” to invest the same kind of energy for the last 90 days of a year that we do for the first 90 days, but this is focused on these current 90 days.) They focus on doing the “5 to Thrive” (the five things you commit to doing every day for 90 days): Water, Exercise, Food, Wake Up, Gratitude. Sounds good, eh? I’ve also joined spiritual movements: Unite714.com and https://louengle.com/pentecost/ These give me motivation to be prayerful and tune me in to what God is doing across the Church. I will be watching Danny Silk’s “how to SURVIVE your kids during QUARANTINE” webinar. It has one for parents, one for kids. We’re always on the lookout for good family movies. From April 15-21, Bethel Music is streaming their movie “Bright Ones” for free! We’ll be watching tonight: brightones.bethelmusic.com This time matters. It may well be that the dude that hid his talent because he was scared was a lot like us right now. Let’s steward it well together! Avoid being sloppy. -Dave
6 minutes | a year ago
https://adlibmusic.com/schedule-a-call https://adlibmusic.com/229 https://www.instagram.com/jesuscalling/ https://www.facebook.com/lifecenteronline/videos/1312623769125284/ https://youtu.be/qFdakrPNoN8 “You tend to feel in control of your life when our wills are in harmony.” - God (via Sarah Young) Control. Remember that feeling? Life in sync. Options. Gatherings. Freedom. Routines. Poof, eh?! As my wife read our devotional of the day, my heart perked up. …I can have a feeling of control simply by spending energy in aligning my will with the Father’s? Wow! The context for the quote that Sarah wrote in 2004 says: “On some days your will and Mine flow smoothly together. You tend to feel in control of your life when our wills are in harmony. On other days you feel as if you are swimming upstream, against the current of My purposes. When that happens, stop and seek My face. The opposition you feel may be from Me, or it may be from the evil one. Talk with Me about what you are experiencing. Let My Spirit guide you through treacherous waters.” Now, in quarantine, the application is likely obvious. But what about when this blows over and life feels normal again? And the grind of ministry ramps up Your drummer shows up late again Your vision is ever so slightly different than your pastor’s You don’t quite know what songs to pick You don’t feel supported by your audio tech The congregation “just stands there” You can’t get the right feel for the song at rehearsal You don’t have a bass player You question whether you have what it takes to be a worship leader The vocalists don’t know how to sing the harmony The team doesn’t respond to the PCO invite The church bathroom is overstocked with TP You know, normal life. (Sorry, I just had to add that last one) What would it look like in those moments when you feel out of control, to stop and seek His face. Tell Him what you’re experiencing and be guided by the Holy Spirit? For each of the examples above (or the ones your mind drifted to), what would it look like to ask the Father to align your will with His to bring a sense of peace, of control? And what I love about this truth is that there’s this massive freedom we walk in when completely trusting Him. So much so that rather than even asking for situations to change, we begin channeling all our attention and focus on asking for His will to be done. It’s the freedom of letting go and trusting God in the truest way. I love and hate moments like the one we’re in. I hate it because it’s hard and I had plans! I love it because we’re in a global classroom of the Spirit. Not everyone knows it, but God is awakening His Bride and teaching us to pay attention. Let Your kingdom come, Lord Jesus! Let Your will be one! Dave ps. As a bonus, here’s a short, encouraging video: https://www.facebook.com/lifecenteronline/videos/1312623769125284/ pps. Such a beautiful surrender…Control.
16 minutes | a year ago
219 Take it or Leave it
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/219 https://www.worshiptraining.com/media/bam-worship-teaching-bombs-and-how-to-use-them https://adlibmusic.com/216 I was leading worship and I felt like the congregation could take it or leave it. 💔 I mean, several people were deeply connecting with God, but I couldn’t shake this feeling like the American consumerism had taken hold. One woman stood there singing pleasantly, holding her cup of coffee. And that’s pretty common. I’ve done it myself. I’m not judging folks. I don’t know what’s going on in their hearts. But when people are having an encounter, you can tell. I know how to read body language. I get to lead worship in 10-20 different churches a year, so I see a pretty broad spectrum. And a fully engaged congregation is…a refreshing experience every now and then. But this just felt different, starker. I felt…caught off guard. But what to do? I was processing this with one of our overseers, and he said very plainly "Disciple them in worship." See, I was serving at a historically "obviously worshiping" church, but we’d had lots of transition and a ton of new folks. It was time to sprinkle some teaching into our leading. And I’m certainly not complaining. It’s our job as worship teams to disciple our congregations in worship. If they aren’t learning to be a worshiping congregation, it’s our fault. Here’s the response I’m suggesting: Be a worshiper in your private life See it as your role to disciple others in worship Don’t settle for typical Sunday morning Show up prepared Be a worshiper in your private life Get the full story in Fertilizer #216, but nothing has a greater impact on your effectiveness as a worship leader as the health of your own worshiping life. Nothing. See it as your role to disciple others in worship You’re not a filler, a warmer-upper, an entertainer, a rally-er, a singer. If anything, you’re a trainer, a discipler. But this isn’t an add-on to your identity. It’s not another hat you have to wear. This is your core role. You must see everything you’re doing through this lens. Don’t settle for typical Sunday morning Don’t settle for engagement when you can have encounter. Actually meeting with God and allowing Him to transform us with His gospel and His spirit is our main goal for gathering. No ear-tickling, please. (2 Timothy 4:3 NASB) Show up prepared You’ve planned your songs, but did you plan your bombs? (Dan Wilt explains what I mean here: https://www.worshiptraining.com/media/bam-worship-teaching-bombs-and-how-to-use-them …it’ll keep you from sermonizing.) I spend lots of time on Saturday evenings and early Sunday mornings thinking about what I’m going to say to help the congregation "get it." How will I activate them? What scripture will I read? How will I say things so they stay off of autopilot? What will I bring that actually disciples them in their worshiping life, by experience and understanding? How can I cooperate with the Holy Spirit and be in alignment with what the Father is doing? So declare the WORTHship of the LORD, lead your congregation to actually meet with God (Psalm 42:2), and reignite your passion to disciple your congregation in worship. - Dave
12 minutes | a year ago
218 Angels on the Road
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/218 https://youtu.be/3OMDxdkb_Po Disclaimer: This is NOT a post about Amy Grant’s “Angels” song. Look it up, young people. In Costa Rica, I am pleasantly surprised at how kind drivers are. They let each other in to traffic. They honk, wave, or flash their lights to give you the right of way. There’s this kindness built into their culture. And as I’m driving and someone in front of me lets someone in, I’m thinking, “Why would you do that?!” But if I look up the street 100 feet, I’ll inevitably notice that I’m not really losing out because there’s traffic up ahead anyway. I would’ve stopped soon anyway. And it’s like this all the time. So it didn’t cost me anything, but it was kind. And in my (United States of) American way of thinking, I’m just so efficient, so ready to get there as quickly as I can. I’m trying to be productive, to get something done here! I want to be as expedient as possible. Because of the relational culture here, there are priorities in the culture other than just being efficient, than just getting the job done. I’m kinda impressed and I bet it feels nice to be kind and make someone’s moment by expressing that kindness. Especially if you don’t just do it once as an experiment, but “as a way of doing things.” I bet it feels nice to live that way. And what if you thought that way in your worship team, at your rehearsals? Have you already been making the application? I’m going to be kind to someone here. I’m not going to be so rushed, so task oriented. I’m going to be kind to my team mates by asking how they’re doing and actually giving them space for a real answer. I’m going to be relational and loving. I’m going to be a little less focused on productivity and efficiency, getting there the fastest way possible. I’m going to take time to pray together when someone shares that they are not doing so well. But back to driving in Costa Rica, there is one important caveat, one exception to the kindness. Motorcyclists. You know those dashed or solid lines between lanes? Motorcyclists consider those lines to be their lane…in between other cars. And if you’re stopped for any reason, they maze around your car literally only inches from taking out a mirror, scuffing your bumper, or dinging your doors. I’m not just talking about passing you, but turning in front of you and the car ahead of you. Snakes! (Spanish lesson for the day alert) They are atrevidos! It means bold or daring, but insolent or rude would be more fitting. And we all have “motorcyclists” on our teams…or have been them ourselves. People who act like the rules of kindness and order don’t apply. But our teams need to be safe places. Sometimes that means we need to be more relational, less efficient. And if you’re on a team that’s naturally wired more relational (and less efficient), do be like the driver behind the driver that’s being kind. That’s been me saying, “Come on, can’t you hurry up?! Why are you letting them out? Why are you being so kind?!” (Honest confessions) Don’t be that person. Get with the kind culture and enjoy your time together. Have fun. It’s a great road we get to share together! - Dave
15 minutes | a year ago
217 Or Just Be Random and Chaotic
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/217 I just learned the other day that one of the team members at one of my former churches took a break from the team and never came back. She’s at another church now. I was so sad to hear that. And even though I’m sure there were other reasons, I couldn’t help but think that if we had only had a better system, she wouldn’t have burned out. She was always cheerful to serve, did a great job, and volunteered to help if no one else was available. Yet, I knew inside that it stressed her to serve and that I wanted to care for her. I just didn’t have any accountability or intentionality in the way that I scheduled to make sure my people were serving at a livable pace for the long term. But I do remember serving somewhere that had great systems. It was 2008 and I look back on it with fondness, really: my thirteen months as a shift supervisor at Starbucks #13636, or as my friend Jeremy calls it “The Mermaid.” I’d most often ride my bicycle to work at 5:15 AM and wait for Liz, Chris, or another partner (aka “Starbucks employee”) to show up. We had to open the store at 6:00, so we’d hustle for those 30 minutes getting the coffee on, the pastries unwrapped, and counting in all the cash registers. I’d go throughout my shift bantering with partners, serving customers, and complaining about how last night’s partners didn’t do this or that very well. There were lots of great systems and tools that our employer had created for us. They literally have thought of everything and addressed it. One such system was the Daily Coverage Report. I know, it sounds earth-shattering. Ok, it sounds mind-numbing. But stick with me for a sec. The DCR (as we called it) had lots of helpful info on it: Who was working that day What time they start What time their lunch or 10-minute break was How many partners were scheduled per each half hour, including if we were over/under-staffed How many hours each partner was scheduled for that week As partners, we often used it to see who we should text if they hadn’t showed up yet, or we’d fight about how so-and-so (Becky!) was scheduled for more hours than we were. As supervisors and managers, this was not only a clear communication tool, it gave us details about how efficiently we were running the store. It allowed us to send someone home early if it was slow and they wanted to go anyway. But this isn’t about Starbucks, though. It’s about you and how you lead your worship ministry. The reality is that our most valuable resource is our team, our people. Do you know the condition of your flock? (Proverbs 27:23) Do you have any system that helps minimize burnout from overuse or disengagement from under-use? Can you see a report that shows you how this may be happening? You might be advanced Planning Center users, able to whip out a scheduling report at a moment’s notice. Or you may have 5 people on your team who serve every week. The thing is this: you may have scheduled a perfect month, but have you scheduled livable years? In other words, we can all withstand a typical “Christmas Eve month” schedule, but can we do 12 or 36 of those in a row? So, a simple question: What would it look like if you had a DCR for your team? How can you implement accountability an intentionality into your scheduling so that your team is healthy and cared for? - Dave ps. Now once again as simply a fan of Starbucks, I wrote this with a Pike Place pour-over at my preferred store at the Paseo de las Flores. :)
16 minutes | a year ago
216 :: It All Comes Down To This
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/216 https://youtu.be/sF2lyAPI-eU Imagine calling yourself a chef. You have libraries of cookbooks…that you’ve actually read. You watch every show on Food Network and have even met some of the stars! You can even guess at the beginning of the show who’s going to get Chopped. You grocery shop and fill your pantries with supplies. You just love the smell of food cooking. But you have never experienced the moment when the whisk in your tired arm actually begins to make the egg whites form peaks. Worse, you’ve never fed anyone with the food you’ve dreamt about, but never made. That’s silly, right? But our imaginary friend has completely missed the core of being a cook. But follow me for a moment. What is the core of being a worship leader? Is it good musicianship? Is it pastoring your team? Is it discipling the congregation in worship? Is it serving your pastor? Is it leading great songs? Is it being able to “flow with the Spirit?” Is it being organized and running efficient, fun rehearsals? Is it having great congregational engagement? Is it creating inspiring stage designs? Is it having the right theology? Is it in being “prayed up” to lead worship? That’s eleven nope’s from me. Those are good. Great even. But not core. Not even close. What is the core? The core grows day after day. The core learns the language and ways of God. The core is shaped by the words of God. The core is quiet. The core? Your life with God. Long roads traveled with God in close fellowship, developing intimacy, trust, and being loved. “The secret is the secret place.” - Dan Wilt That is the ONLY thing that will give us true authority when we lead worship. Why do so many of us miss the core? Is it insecurity? Is it that pastors feel pressure to “have someone do the music each Sunday” (so any Christian musician will do)? Is it the commercialization that has converted the lifestyle of worship into a style, a mere genre? Is it that not enough of us are saying it? Is it that we forgot? Is it that nobody ever mentored us? I don’t know. I suppose we each have our reasons. Dear friends, what I want more than anything for you is that you spend this whole year in Mary-mode. That you prioritize strengthening your friendship with God simply by the amount of time and energy that you sit as His feet and listen to His voice. “Waste” copious amounts of time just singing to Jesus. Read it in Luke 10:38-42 and ask God how it applies to your habits. When you play your instrument in that place, I want you to do it with “no intention for presentation.” (This is how my friend Dan Wilt said in this video that was the inspiration for this Fertilizer. https://youtu.be/sF2lyAPI-eU) I think back to hours I’d spend in college in practice rooms. I wasn’t doing my school work, I was building intimacy with God. As I learned to play piano, I learned to love God in song. As I’d prioritize the 8 minutes between classes to just sing Him one more song out of my Integrity’s Hosanna songbook, I built a highway to Zion in my heart. I long for our worship teams to be filled with those burning hearts who are spending their lifetimes building their lives with God, growing in intimacy, and prioritizing time in His presence for no other reason than Him. This is what makes a worship leader truly effective. -Dave ps. In case you need just that little push to engage this, here’s Luke 10:38-42: Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
13 minutes | a year ago
215 :: ¿A Que Te Dedicas? (...what?)
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/215 https://youtu.be/qg1d26IYsyA I got off the airplane when we first entered Costa Rica, and the customs official asked me “¿A que te dedicas?” “Músico” I’d answer. I walked up to the counter when my number was called when I was signing up for the national healthcare, and the worker asked me “¿A que te dedicas?” “Músico” I’d answer. I moved from chair to chair as the “line” crept forward until it was my turn to see the doctor. He asked me “¿A que te dedicas?” “Músico” I’d answer. I was getting car insurance (after literally about a dozen other appointments and offices to get the car ready for this moment), and the agent asked me, you guessed it, “¿A que te dedicas?” “Músico.” What does “¿A que te dedicas?” mean? Basically, “What do you do for a living?” But literally it means “What are you dedicated to?” And “Musician” has been my answer. But what an interesting way of asking that question! I know that most of us don’t lead worship for a living (though some of us do.) But we certainly do it with the seriousness of a job or career. And that transliteration made me ask the question “What am I dedicated to as a worship leader?” Or “How would I answer someone that asked me what I’m dedicated to as a worship leader?” The beginning of a year (decade!) is a great moment to stop and take stock of where our dedication lies. I’ve met plenty of worship team members and leaders that seem dedicated to self-promotion, self-protection, self-actualization, people-pleasing, or other misguided motives. I’m sure that’s not you, but all of us get off track now and then. So what’s your aim? What are you dedicated to? Strengthen it. Interestingly, as I searched the scriptures for the keyword “dedicated,” everything came up as explicitly or implicitly dedicated “to the LORD.” I especially love 2 Chronicles 29:31 that says, “Then Hezekiah said, ‘You have now dedicated yourselves to the LORD. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the Lord.’” Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit if you’ve dedicated yourself to anything other than Him. Ask Him what it would look like to walk in a way that’s more fully dedicated to Him as you lead this year. With the highways to Zion in our hearts, onward friends! -Dave ps. Did you miss last week's encouraging video? https://youtu.be/qg1d26IYsyA
15 minutes | a year ago
214 :: Get Your Hopes Up. WAY UP!
We made it! To a whole new decade. But do you have hope? This isn't hype. It's something that will carry you through the ups and downs of the next 10 years. Rather watch this week's Fertilizer? https://youtu.be/qg1d26IYsyA https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/214
30 minutes | a year ago
213 Drums and Sound Clinic
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/213 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.eventbrite.com/e/drums-and-sound-clinic-tickets-86608740073 https://adlibmusic.com/Tony If you’ve ever said (or heard) any of these phrases, I have something to tell you about. One drummer hits too hard, one too soft Our drums sound terrible, dead, too loud, or like they are not part of the mix Our sound people don't know what to do with the drums The drums drown out the vocals If we balance the sound with the drums, everything is too loud. Our drummer has been begging to lose the electronic drums in favor for "real" drums. How can we do that and can our room handle it? We have 3 different drummers - jazz, rock, heavy metal - and every Sunday the drums are different in the mix. Nobody claps People walk out because it's too loud I don't like the way the tech mixes my drums We can't agree on how loud the mix should be I am afraid of drums What am I talking about? Well, this coming February we’re offering a one-of-a-kind clinic for drummers, sound techs, worship leaders, and pastors. The clinic is a deep dive into the relationship between drums and sound and how we can maximize their effectiveness in the context of contemporary worship. We will look specifically at fixing problems: At the source through drum and cymbal selection, drum heads and tuning and dampening, sticks, brushes and beyond Room Acoustics Microphone selection and positioning Processing and soundboard approach If this sounds as amazing to you as it does to me, make sure to listen to this week’s podcast. Tony Guyer and I speak at length about this event so you can get a feel for what you can learn. (and to be honest, this week's podcast is the real teaching for this Fertilizer) Even if you don't mic your drums, you'll benefit because you'll learn how to have the best approach to playing - this will apply in any environment. The audio teacher is Ad Lib Audio Coach Tony Guyer. Not only is Tony great at what he does as an engineer, but his love of music is infectious and his commitment to unity from the front to the back shifts cultures. The drum teacher is Gabriel Staznik. Gabe is an active freelance percussionist, educator and arranger residing in the Washington, D.C. area. He is currently the drummer in Max Impact, the premier rock band of the United States Air Force. Gabe was the house drummer/percussionist in over 1,300 performances at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA and has performed and recorded with Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award-winning artists. We’re excited that this event is a partnership that’s sponsored by Ad Lib Music, The Worship Link, Mission Church, Remo, Heartbeat Percussion, and Vic Firth. -Dave ps. Tickets are $39 in advance and $49 at the door. But if a drummer and sound tech bring their senior pastor, the pastor's entrance is FREE! Or Bring Your Whole Team for only $150! pps. If you already want to register, you can do it here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/drums-and-sound-clinic-tickets-86608740073
15 minutes | a year ago
210 Worship Team Missional Retreat in Costa Rica
https://www.acts-online.org/give https://youtu.be/wO6nxd8o-iI https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/210 Imagine your worship team on a retreat. On a missional retreat in Costa Rica. Step into the cozy mountain lodge, the break you need to laugh and pray and worship together awaits. We will lead you through team times and opportunities for solitude. You’ll grow deeper in your relationships with Jesus and each other. Be reinvigorated in your purpose as a team. Retreat, recover, relaunch! And then, step into the shoes of another part of the Body of Christ, right here in Costa Rica. Help build a home for a family in need (with Homes of Hope), serve in a children’s home (Roblealto or Hogar de Vida), give practical helps for a church’s worship team, or partner with other missions groups here (VidaNet, YWAM, Praying Pelican Missions), etc. Afterwards, regroup at the lodge with its large living room and beautiful fireplace. Be nourished together over intentional conversations and savory meals while delighting in the mesmerizing views of the Central Valley below and the magnificent mountain ridges surrounding. The property also features multiple wooded trails that invite you spend times in prayer and solitude. At 6,500 feet elevation, experience a pleasant 55º-75º temperature no matter what time of the year you join us. All that’s lacking is you and your team! But for this vision to become a reality, we need your help. We have the opportunity to buy this fantastic property and bring this dream to life… not only for you, but for pastors and missionaries and their families, and worship teams and leaders from around the world. And we want to give you the opportunity to have the joy of giving and partnering with us. Our goal is to raise $250,000 by the end of December toward the purchase of this property. You can make your tax-deductible gift through our sending church, ACTS Covenant Fellowship. It can either be a one-time gift or a monthly gift. Click here to give. And make sure to select “Missions - Dave & Heather Helmuth” in the FUND dropdown. Our VISION for this mission base is: To be a safe place for leaders, teams, and families to be inspired, cared for, and equipped To be a place that models givenness to each other and the Lord To be a place that plants the seeds of raw, honest, deep worship To be a place of refreshing and perspective outside your regular context The EXPERIENCE for your team will be tailored to your needs, but to give you an idea, here’s a sample schedule: Monday - travel day (with direct flights from the US under $400) Tuesday - team retreat Wednesday - team retreat Thursday - service project with a local church or organization Friday - service project Saturday - ecotourism experience (beach, rainforest, volcano, zip-line, white-water rafting, coffee tour, futbol game, you name it!) Sunday - travel day (and we can help you find a worship team to cover at your church) We plan to begin hosting leaders, families, and teams in the spring of 2020. We’d love it if you’d share this Fertilizer with your friends, team members, pastors, and the worship leader down the street! We're honored that you'd consider partnering financially with us! -Dave ps. This property will be owned by our Costa Rican ministry called "Isaias 61" (Isaiah 61). We will live on the property as hosts and caretakers.
8 minutes | a year ago
209 Jamming is SUCH a Waste of Time! (Or is it?!)
https://youtu.be/tAmU08XWjJo https://accidentalcreative.com/resources/manage-your-day-to-day https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/209 You’ve likely been at rehearsals where someone starts to play something in between songs and some or all of the band picks up and begins to play along… …only to get scolded or scorned by the leader (or the timekeeper), reminding you to "get back on track with the music we’re rehearsing!" Of course, there’s value in rehearsing the music. But what value does just "jamming" have? Any? Loads! Or maybe this sounds familiar. The electricity was out (or you couldn’t schedule a full band) so we had an acoustic Sunday. With a more relaxed atmosphere, we had a few minutes before the service so we just started jamming a bit. It was fun, and something about it was so captivating to those listening, that I looked up at one point and saw several people taking videos with their phones. What?! Here’s what I’m contending for: Jamming is one of the core disciplines of great musicians. A CORE DISCIPLINE! We often think of jamming as "that annoying guitar player that can’t stop noodling between songs." How can this be essential to good musicianship?! (Side note: if you’re the player that whips out "Sweet Child ‘O Mine" in between every song, a word or two: Stop. It.) To jam is simply to play without a plan, to improvise. Someone starts and others follow. Or just pick a chord progression and give it some life. If we never play improvisationally together, if we never jam, if all we ever play is what’s planned and written on the page, our music will lack depth, it can feel sterile, and I contend that it will miss some of the "sing a new song" anointing that our worship music is desperate for. Todd Henry talks about the discipline of "Unnecessary Creation" on his Accidental Creative blog. He says "This allows you to develop your skills, tap into your deeper aptitudes, and take risks in a relatively low-risk environment. Unnecessary Creation provides a forum for the pursuit of voice, and a reminder that you are not the sum of what you make. You and I are not machines, and no matter how efficient we become at delivering brilliant work, we need regular reminders of our capacity to contribute something unique. We need to stay in touch with the intrinsic desire to strive for the ‘next’ that has driven progress throughout the ages. Initiating a project with no parameters and no expectations from others also forces you to stay self-aware while learning to listen to and follow your intuition. Both of these are crucial skills for discovering your voice." But is it worth it to intentionally schedule time for jamming at your rehearsal? I believe: It makes your music sound more conversational and relational and less robotic and scripted. It trains your ear to listen to each other and respond - which is one of the core skills to being a true musician. It gets you out of your comfort zone and builds your creativity muscle, accessing a different part of your brain than when you just play a song. It’s fun and helps you be more relaxed during the service because you took risks during a low-risk environment. It builds the foundation for your team to be more responsive to the moment. So don’t overcomplicate it. And try not to shut it down when it breaks out naturally. Have someone just start playing and invite the rest of the team to (potentially awkwardly) amble in. Keep it a rule-free zone, other than playing in the same key! And have the singers join too. They can just make stuff up or use scripture as an inspiration. If that’s all too far-fetched, just lift a chord progression from a song and change something about it - the key, the tempo, the time signature, the duration of each chord, whatever and then let things ebb and flow, rise and fall, you can sit out and then come in, take turns making it go somewhere, and for the love, just have fun with it! -Dave
15 minutes | a year ago
208 Team Unity
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/208 "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." My Dad had written this quote from Edward Everett Hale and stuck it in his bible (that my Mom gave me several years after he caught his heavenward chariot). Is your team "working together?" Like really working? And together? Firing on all cylinders? What would it look like if you’d describe your team as "working together?" Not a measure of that, but in its fullness? Every time we walk alongside a church’s worship team as coaches, we ask ourselves the question "What would this team look like if it was the very healthiest version of itself?" See, we’re not used to all the unhealthy habits that you’ve grown accustomed to. We don’t feel tired from helping things get better like you may be. And we can see the great possibility that your team has…and can help you get there. But I think a very important part of the process for your team’s success is for you to know what success even looks like for you. And because there are so many different versions of teams and churches that we can learn from, it can be easy to get caught in wishing we were like the church down the road (or on YouTube). But that’s kinda irrelevant. Who has God called your team to be? Discovering its glorious uniqueness is the first step. I mean, maybe "working together" would look like one of these: Mark gets together with Bob, the new guitar player, on the weeks he’s serving to help him grow in his confidence. And you didn’t ask him to. Tim, the guy that knows he tends to have too many opinions about how the song should be done, asks others what they think because he’s aware of himself and want the team to contribute. Sara and Jess met on the team, but have been trading prayer texts lately, since Jess lost her job. We had rehearsed the song the same way in the midweek rehearsal and Sunday run-through, but Joe was watching the leader’s body language during the service and caught the unplanned chorus repeat…avoiding the train wreck that would’ve happened otherwise. Brent used the talkback mic to ask the team is there was something he should highlight as he mixes that song. Mylin didn’t give the singers any particular direction for the chorus, but Seth and Sonya had already worked out their parts beforehand with each other. Juanita just found out she was going to be out of town on business three weeks from now and had contacted the two other drummers before she told the leader that she needed to switch dates. Your team regularly coordinates meals when team members have new babies, they wrangle muscular help when a team member moves, and offer to swap babysitting services with each other. I don’t know what it looks like on your team, but let your holy imagination run wild with what your team would look like if you went just coming together for rehearsal, refusing to quit the team, and really landed at working together fully. Last (and SUPER important) last thought. This is some of the best advice I’ve been given when trying to develop your team. Set your GOALS HIGH and your EXPECTATIONS LOW. What? See, if you make your expectations match your goals, frustration will set in quickly when team members don’t…behave perfectly. Ha! Set your sights high. Have lofty goals. Aim to do and become amazing things! For instance, if you’re trying to establish a weekly rehearsal where none existed, say things like "we’re moving toward having a weekly rehearsal." Begin building with those that can make it. Make them valuable times. But don’t get bent out of shape because people don’t jump on board right away. It’s a big change. Have tons of grace. Don’t expect anyone to show up (but be ready to roll if they do!) Set your goals high and your expectations low. From the beginning, to the process, to the land of sweet success, we’re with you! -Dave
14 minutes | 2 years ago
207 The Glorious Privilege in Psalm 149
http://bit.ly/Psalm149 https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/207 It was a tough day. I was in the kitchen, making dinner. The kids were asking for snacks (why do my kids always ask for snacks when I’m cooking?!?) My wife was having a bad day. It was hot. I had decided that peeling, hand grating, and sautéing camote (purple sweet potato) was a good idea. I quickly regretted it halfway through the first one. “I told you to buy a food processor before we moved to Costa Rica,” my beloved reminded me. Ugh. And then I heard this sound coming from...well, I thought it was the front porch, but upon further investigation...it was the "baño." At the top of his lungs, my precious 9 year old Louis singing. “‘Cause the enemy has been defeated, death couldn’t hold You down, we’re gonna lift our voice in victory, we’re gonna make our praises loud…” A smile broke over my face at that sound…pushing back the darkness in our house, as his singing did. A few minutes later, he came and asked if he could help me peal the Granny Smiths for the apple crisp I was making. As we worked together, I asked him why he was singing. His answer blew me away. “I was singing because I thought God would like it.” Be still my father’s and worshiper’s heart. He had nailed the core of worship, and I told him so. Psalm 149 had been in my daily scripture reading that week, and what my son had demonstrated was something we don’t often do in corporate worship: Singing the high praises of God. Oh, we sing. We sing up-tempo songs. We praise. But do we do warfare as we praise the LORD at the top of our lungs? I told him he was doing warfare. “What’s warfare, Dad?” “Well, you know how there’s a physical and a spiritual world? When you please the LORD with your singing in the physical world, it changes things in the spiritual world. Your singing changed the atmosphere, the attitude, the way we’re feeling because of what God is doing in response. He’s chasing the demons and their influence away. It’s powerful!” This, friends, is our glory. This is our privilege. All the time. And yes, on Sunday mornings too! Here it here in the New King James Version: Praise the Lord! (Yes, it’s a command!) Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds. (Love this one!) Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, (there it is!) And a two-edged sword in their hand, (But why?!?) To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishments on the peoples; To bind their kings with chains, And their nobles with fetters of iron; (hear how influential this is and the “governmental” the influence is) To execute on them the written judgment— This honor have all His saints. (You? Yep! Me? Yep! This is our great honor and privilege!) Praise the Lord! So. What’s in your mouth? Let’s make it the high praises of God, and not just to sing, but to walk in the privilege He has given us! - Dave ps. I can’t read these verses without hearing Kent Henry’s old rendition of it. In one recording, he said, “This is why God gave us this stuff. It’s not a joke, it’s not just a toy to play with. It’s a very potent force to terrorize the kingdom of darkness. That’s why we do it so long, and that’s why we do it so loud!” :) pps. Today's spanish lesson was the word for bathroom - baño (that'll come in handy when you visit Costa Rica, as in "¿Donde está el baño?" - but you probably remember that from your high school spanish class.)
13 minutes | 2 years ago
206 Against Such Things There is no Law
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/206 I’m a lawbreaker, a rule breaker. I once answered an internet poll asking "Describe yourself in three words" with "I am a rebel." (It might take a sec to let it sink in) So when I see a scripture that gives me something to do that nobody can put a law against, my heart leaps. "Against such things there is no law." I take that to mean that we can do as much of this as we want. We can go for thirds even. I get so excited!! But what is this glorious thing that we can just go to the absolute limit with? Things like… affection for others exuberance about life serenity a willingness to stick with things a sense of compassion in the heart a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people we find ourselves involved in loyal commitments not needing to force our way in life able to marshal and direct our energies wisely I think of it this way. Nobody will mind if I do more of any of these things. And with a lofty list like that, it’s easy to see how anyone would welcome more of them. But what if it was true of you and me? What if it was true of our music and tech teams? What if we pursued these more than any form, formula, format, or style? What if we’d take this list out at rehearsal this week, and let each team member share how we could embody one of these "things" as a worship team? But first, context, right? Before we start grunting (that’s the non-spiritual version of "striving") in order to accomplish these things, take stock that the first half of the verse reads "But the fruit of the Holy Spirit (the work which His presence within accomplishes) is…" We make the choice, and yes, there is effort, but we rely on and receive as our complete Source, the Holy Spirit. He’s the one that brings these things to life. So here’s how it can work. First, have the discussion of how your team can walk more generously in these "things" and second, use that discussion to shape your prayers as you ask the LORD to work them into your team. I’d love to hear how this helped move your team forward! -Dave ps. Thanks to Eugene Peterson’s The Message version of Galatians 5:22-23
11 minutes | 2 years ago
205 The Slightest Signal
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/205 I remember one of my favorite things to do when a regular customer came into our Starbucks and I was on the bar (the one making drinks). There’d be a line and I was making other drinks, but I’d hurry myself and make the drink just like I knew the customer would order it. By the time he got to the register to order it, I’d hand it to him. BAM! I loved serving like that! It’s been over a decade since I worked there, but I still remember how it felt. And I know he was very pleased to be served like that. And while pleasing people is a trap, pleasing the LORD is the very essence of worship. I was reading Psalm 123, and was struck hard by a phrase at the end of verse two. It read: We keep looking to the LORD our God for His mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal. What a heart posture! Imagine if we’d do that more as worship leaders and team members! I mean if pleasing the LORD is our goal in worship, how could we be more attentive to the little ways that He communicates. What if someone standing with their arms crossed, not singing, is a signal to extend love and pray for that person as you sing. What if your phone not working one weekday morning was a signal to just be quiet and listen to the LORD, Who may be wanting to give you direction for Sunday. What is the congregation standing expectantly at the end of a song is a signal to invite them to sing a new song to the LORD? What if your 18-month old’s fussiness is a signal to connect with him, showing him the heart of the Father? I don’t know what it is for you. But let’s be attentive to the LORD’s "slightest signal."
15 minutes | 2 years ago
204 Failing 7 out of 10 times
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/204 If you can hit a 90+ mile per hour baseball with a piece of wood just three times out of every ten tries, your grandchildren will experience wealth. This is the reality (in the US) for Major League Baseball players. If you’re able to hit the ball three out of every ten at bats, you’ll be a millionaire. I kinda wish it was like that with worship leaders. Not the millionaire part, but the “winning” part. It’d sure take the pressure off, right? What pressure do you feel when you’re leading? I bet they are tied directly to your church’s values. Here's what I mean. If you’re an attractional church, you might feel these pressures: look good, act competently, speak well, bring the energy, perform near flawlessly, and stick to your allotted 13 minute and 47 second slot… If you’re at a charismatic church, you might feel these pressures: respond to the prophetic word, sing in the Spirit, reach a climax of high praise… If you’re at a denominational church, you might feel these pressures: use enough hymns, don’t be too contemporary, don’t repeat too much, don’t be too charismatic, dress nice… If you’re at a mormon church, uh that’s not pressure, that’s the Holy Spirit telling you to run! LOL (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) You may have your own set of pressures that don’t even come from your church, but from your own personhood, background, family, etc. Or you may have pressures that come from a church staff culture that doesn’t fit you. But we all feel pressure. And I think that if we’d think a little more like professional baseball players, just aiming to get a hit three Sundays out of ten, we’d be more effective. And here are some pressure-defeating truths I want you to walk away carrying: For the LORD is the Spirit and wherever the Spirit of the LORD is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17) You carry this freedom now. As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find hope in your word. (Psalm 119:143) This is where we turn when we feel “under it.” You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23) Nobody but God “owns” you. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6) There is NOTHING we are trying to prove. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) It’s not on you to “make it happen.” John answered, “A man can receive nothing, except it have been given him from heaven.” (John 3:27) Humility is a defense against pressure. One of the expressions of my life purpose is “Leading leaders that are fear-free leaders.” I hope this helps you walk that way!
12 minutes | 2 years ago
203 Turn the Cursed Mountain into a Mountain of Blessing
https://adlibmusic.com/contact https://adlibmusic.com/203 https://www.facebook.com/pg/FincaCanaanda/photos/?tab=album&album_id=503720366419118&ref=page_internal When we signed up for 12 weeks of language school, my wife added a fitness class for me (because I’m…not yet thin) and the kids. We thought it’d be playing games, learning sports, and a little kid-friendly "working out." Our first day almost killed me. Granted I’m transitioning from a pretty sedentary lifestyle to one that is much more active, but it was tough. There was a little sliver on my cap that wasn’t drenched in sweat by the time we were done. See, our fitness instructor Tony is a professional bodybuilder who has transformed his mountainside home into something he calls "Fitness Rustico" (just take off the "o" for the translation). He could call it Mountain Crossfit. He has a small futbol field, a climbing wall, a number of exercise stations, and trails that go up and down the steep slopes of the mountain. For example, the other day the circuit we did was to jog 100 feet over to the steep, gravel driveway, jog down it another 100 feet, turn in and touch the big stone, climb up the grass steps to where you started, and do 5 pull ups. Then repeat. On my second time through, as I was carefully going down the driveway, my first thought was "this cursed mountain!" Followed instantly with a revelation: "Tony took what is an almost unlivable mountain and made it into a tool of blessing that is helping me lose weight and get in the best shape of my adult life!" (I’m actually already down 10 pounds and my clothes are starting to fit differently!) And many other people have been helped by his efforts. But his vision for this place is inspiring. There are even weight benches placed strategically on platforms that overlook the valley below and mountains in the distance. It’s stunning. (see below) I know that we each have "mountains" in our ministry that either seem insurmountable or cursed. But what could they become? What revelation might the LORD give us of how to transform them into a benefit for others? Maybe your mountain is that you don’t have enough team members? Could you invite others to join you that would be blessed by being a part of a tight-knit team? Or could you use the season of "smallness" to grow deep rather than focusing on getting bigger? Maybe your mountain is that you have too many singers. Could you use this to train and develop them into worship leaders so that instead of just having 4 vocalists and a leader, you have 3 leaders and 2 vocalists? Could you assign 2 singers to serve as "section leaders" by sitting with the congregation? Maybe your mountain is having too much on your plate. Could you think about each area of ministry that you’re overseeing and pray for the LORD to show you who to ask to lead that area? Here’s what you could do: Think of the biggest, most frustrating/draining situation you have in worship leading. Prayerfully begin pondering how God might want to turn it into something of blessing. Take a single step of faith toward that. Here's a final encouragement. The other day we were doing a circuit that involved running up a steep path for 15 seconds at a time. We had just completed it and as I was about to gasp for air, I looked to my left. The beauty of the view instantly settled me. I literally went from a heaving chest to still. I can't even explain what a drastic change it was. I felt like the learning for me was that in a hard moment, I can either let myself be winded as I expect myself to be, OR look for beauty in the moment and experience rest. So even as you face the mountain, look for beauty, for God at work. I’m excited to hear from you what it was and how the LORD reframed your mountain. It’s almost like a practical "tell this mountain to move" exercise. :O -Dave
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