Wow. That’s about all I can say. Wow! Whenever I travel (which isn’t that very often anymore) I have what I call “Wow” moments – moments when something happens or something is seen and all I can say is “Wow.” Like when I rode my bike through the Tetons, hiked the Alps in Switzerland or the Cascades in Washington, or kayaked off the glaciers in Alaska. Sometimes I’d turn and all I would stand in awe and the word “Wow” would come out without even a conscious thought.
This week was a spiritual “Wow” moment. I find myself looking back over the past five days and all I can do is sit here and say “Wow”.
I figure I should start my reflection by going all the way back to the beginning of the week. I wrote the following on the first day at Ridgecrest:
In addition to attending conference sessions, I have a few goals for the week:
1) Plan worship services for at least July, August, November, and December;
2) Plan the Christmas cantata rehearsal schedule;
3) Spend time in reflection, prayer, and personal study and communion with God;
4) Network with other music and worship leaders from other churches around the country;
5) Do some journaling and blogging.
Let’s see how I did… In regards to worship service planning, I have some pretty concrete plans well into August and then rough drafts and outlines for September, October, November, and December. Overall I didn’t get done quite as much as I hoped in some respects, but a lot more in others.
In regards to looking at the Christmas cantata rehearsal, okay, I didn’t do this at all, except to get the date picked….
However, number 3 on the list, spending time in reflection, prayer, and personal study and communion with God was a HUGE part of this week. The worship services were outstanding, and my time outdoors was a wonderful opportunity to listen to him and talk to him. I can honestly say that this week has been a defining moment in how I am viewing m y ministry.
Number four dealt with networking with other musicians and leaders, and I feel as if I made some good contacts from various parts of the country. I met a lot of people, but spent time with only a few, but that time spent, and those conversations shared, were very inspiring and encouraging, and I found some people that I hope I can continue to converse with.
Finally, I hoped to do some journaling and blogging. I think that speaks for itself – every post this week was incredibly long, and I didn’t even post everything I wrote! This has definitely been a great week for getting some thoughts on paper and some others out on the blog.
So where does this leave me – or take me? I suppose that’s the question I need to ask and answer as I end the week. Melissa even asked me this morning on the way back from Asheville, “So how is what you learned going to change how you plan worship services?” While it is going to take a long time to fully process everything that happened this week, one thing is very obvious – this week has renewed my passions for pointing people to Jesus. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, I believe I lost sight of the focus of worship and began looking more at how to do worship, but God used these last several days to jerk me back to where he wants me to be. I’m redoing how I look at worship planning and design, and to start with I’m going to ask myself the question, “What is it I want people to see about Jesus?” as I plan every service. And everything that is planned is going to have an align with the answer to that question. But the focus will be on Jesus.
This month marks the beginning of my third year at my current church. My first year was focused on building relationships and just letting people get to know me and getting to know people. My second year I focused primarily on musical selection and stretching in the AM worship services. Now as I embark on the third year of my ministry my focus is going to be on fully transitioning my choir from a performance based group to a worshiping choir, as well as doing some major emphasis on our Sunday PM worship service. There are so many ideas I picked up this week – some philosophical and some very practical – and so my biggest struggle is deciding which ones to use! But this much is certain – I will use some 🙂
While this post marks the last “official” post on the Lifeway Worship Leadership Conference, future posts will be heavily influenced by all that God has done in my life at the conference. Hopefully I’ll be able to return another year to attend again, but even if I never set foot back at Ridgecrest for another LWLC Conference I have left there a changed person and a changed leader from when I first arrived. God is a gracious, good, and wonderful God, and he deserves my highest praise.