How good is “good enough” in worship ministry? It may seem like a silly question, but all of us have limited time, personnel, and resources. Why chase after excellence, when what we are currently doing serves the church just fine? And why does worship ministry get all the special attention? Should a church’s worship department pull talent and resources from other departments? In our second Q&A episode this month, we tackle the many various reasons to continue pushing our ministries forward, and share some practical tips on how to do just that.
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Alex Enfiedjian 00:04 Hey everyone, we’re back with our second q&a episode of the month I have Brenton Collier and Justin bell on the line to answer a question from a listener who is struggling to grasp why we should push to be excellent in our ministry instead of content with the current level of our musicians, especially if it’s already good enough for the church to sing along. Before we get to the question. This episode is sponsored by Audible audiobooks are a great way to learn while you are on the go. I’m always listening to books that helped me grow as a leader. And it’s really great to be able to do that when I’m driving or working out or doing chores. So check out Audible for free for the first month and grow your leadership by going to worship ministry training comm slash audible or just click the link in the show notes. Alright, today’s question comes from Craig Jackson, who writes, hey, Alex, I’m a worship leader at a new small rural church in Oklahoma. And I’m struggling to grasp why I should devote time and energy into building our worship ministry over the other ministries at our church. What I mean is that many churches, worship ministries seem to turn into its own isolated ministry, sometimes at the expense of other ministries of the church. I would like to see our worship ministry get better, but it seems like trying to get better than good enough, might pull attention and resources away from the other ministries of church like missions, and community outreach. Our musicians are good enough for what we’re doing. Not great. Not excellent, as you often talk about. But can you help me understand why I should strive to develop our worship ministry beyond good enough? And how to go about it when resources including human resources are so scarce? That’s a great question, Craig, I’m going to take a crack at it first, and then guys feel free to jump in with your thoughts. So why should we develop our ministry beyond good enough? I have a couple thoughts here. First of all, because scripture commands it so Psalm 33, three says play skillfully to the Lord that’s specifically talking about music ministry to the Lord, play skillfully. So the first reason is out of obedience to Scripture, we should want to do that. Also, because God is worthy of excellence and of the best, like, if you think about the temple, in the Old Testament, the instructions were so precise, and the craftsmanship and materials were the finest available. So God is worthy of the very best. And you know, you’re you’re viewing your worship ministry as separate from the other ministries, but I really believe you shouldn’t, because all of ministry, whether it’s music ministry, or any other ministry, it’s the same. It’s about discipleship. So one ministry is no more important than any of the other ministries, or at least it shouldn’t be perceived that way, they are all various means of accomplishing the exact same thing, which is discipling people, and we should disciple people excellently whether it’s men’s ministry, women’s ministry, children’s ministry, they all should be done with excellence, because they are all accomplishing the exact same purpose, which is discipleship. So those are a few thoughts. Let me let the guys jump in. And then I have a couple other thoughts for you at the end.
Speaker 2 03:09 Okay. Sure. Yeah, I mean, I definitely totally agree with Alex, what are you saying about making an excellent ministry and working towards that is in and of itself, an act of worship and obedience to God, I just had the opportunity to go to Italy, with my wife. And it’s amazing as you walk through some of these old Italian churches, and you just see this beautiful art everywhere, that we don’t often experience in some of our churches, where I am in the United States. And it’s interesting to know that, historically, that they did that as an act of worship, that they were trying to stir human emotions, of beauty and transcendence and point, the human heart towards the beauty of God. So we have that same ability as worship leaders to, to bring that sense of excellence to our congregation that can stir the human heart. And I think that’s, that’s a beautiful thing. One thing I would say is that, in this, you want to have the right pace. In working towards a more excellent ministry. I’ve seen some leaders that they have their eye on on a goal that’s really probably five years out, and they try to do it in one year, that could be very damaging to your ministry. So be okay with maybe moving towards what your idea of an excellent ministry is maybe a little slower than what you would expect. You want to have a healthy pace. You also don’t want to move too slow. Of course, I would also say that if someone’s not stirred up and mad at you, then you’re probably not leading. This is all part of being a leader is we are changing the status quo, and we’re working towards something better. And then I would also say that you want to be careful not to fall into the trap. That excellence is the most Important thing, because it’s not, you have on one end, the person who says, you know, good enough is good enough. But then on the other hand, you have someone that’s so obsessed with excellence that it almost becomes an idol to them, and it actually stops them from being able to accomplish what they want. So you want to have that excellence in part of having an excellent ministry is also shepherding the people within your ministry, I think that’s something that’s often neglected. We think of excellence, we think of great sound, great musicianship, a great looking stage, great equipment. It’s also having great relationships and great discipleship, people becoming more like Jesus. Are you helping them to do that?
Unknown Speaker 05:41 Yeah, absolutely. That’s great. Justin, those are a lot of the same notes that I had. And I saw your notes. Oh, you saw him? Okay. The first thing I’d say is, you know, this might sound like an odd question if you hear it at first. But the truth is, that struggle of finding time to pour into a ministry is real. I mean, I’m full time on staff at my church as a worship pastor is my primary role. And if you can believe it, I have a hard time leading my worship ministry, okay. There’s just there’s always so much to do. There’s a lot of things and many worship leaders listening right now are volunteer worship leaders, you you work full time you you are raising your family full time and coming in on the weekend. So that’s just a very real thing to think about, Hey, I’m just trying to pull this off. Like, I’m just trying to get these people together and lead some songs, you know, where does this idea of taking things to the next level fit in into the grander scheme of things? So that’s a real question. But I would just think of it simply this way, if you’re not moving forward, if you’re not developing, if you’re not growing, you’re moving back, you’re slipping, you’re losing ground, there’s no such thing as just parking it in neutral, and whatever level of quality or excellence you have, and maintaining that that just doesn’t happen. If you’re not moving forward, you’re slipping back slowly. But surely. And I think anyone would say, Well, I don’t want that, you know, I don’t want to look up a year from now and realize, man, this is like, barely holding together, you know. So if it for no other just real practical reason other than you don’t want to find yourself in that boat. You know, that’s one reason why I think it’s important to move forward in progress. A couple other thoughts are excellent to me, is doing the best you can with the time, the skill and the availability that you have. Okay, so so your version of excellence, there’s no one standard version, I don’t believe, you know, it’s easy for us to look online and see live worship videos on YouTube and think, oh, that’s excellent. If I’m not there, I’m falling short, don’t buy into that, please don’t buy into that worship, call a local worship context can look many different ways that is suitable to your culture and your region of where you’re at. And so, but but what excellence means is that you’re you are working towards growing, you’re taking what you have, even if it’s an hour a week, and you’re saying, I want to do the best I can with this. And if you between you and the Lord, if you can say, That’s all I’ve got, and I am doing the best, then I believe you can be confident that you’ll be faithful to the call of the Lord. However, if you’re saying, I’ve got this hour a week, and it’s just fine. So I’m just going to do the same thing again I did last week, I’m not gonna put any energy into that, well, then you’re not being a good steward of the leadership role that God’s put you in. So for you that might mean putting new strings on your guitar, that’s your step you can take towards towards more excellence, you know, something as simple as that. But, you know, like Justin said that the idealization of excellence is out there, for sure. You know, so don’t fall into that. There are other things that are important, but just make sure even if it’s just a little bit, you’re moving forward. You know what I mean? You’re growing. You’re working on honoring God, the best you can.
Alex Enfiedjian 09:10 Yeah, that’s so good. I just have a few definitions that I think are going to be helpful. One of them Brenton stole my notes somehow. So here it is, here are four words that might be helpful to any of you who are trying to improve your worship ministry. I did want to say one thing, though. Excellence attracts excellence. So like when you do pursue excellence like it, it brings other people who are excellent and who want to be a part of that. So that’s important. That’s kind of like a side benefit of pursuing excellence. And we do have an episode that Brenton and I did like way back in the very early days of the podcast called something about how to be musically Excellent. So I’ll post a link to that episode. And there’s an article is very memorable, obviously. Yes, very memorable. Yeah. That’s the one reason you know, I should probably have episode numbers. On my episode I don’t Oh, well, so far definition stewardship is taking something God has entrusted you with and causing it to thrive and flourish. That’s exactly what happened in the Garden of Eden, God put them there and said, Be fruitful and multiply, take command over this land and make it flourish. So that is stewardship. So whatever God gives you take it and make it flourish and thrive. The second definition, the one Brent install is excellence is doing the best you can with what you have. And like he said, that looks different for every single person. discipleship is helping people develop as Christians and in our case, Christian musicians, so we want to help them develop. And then success is helping your congregation see and savor and sing to Jesus. That is what a successful worship leader does. And so if you can keep those four words in mind, I think that will help direct what you spend your time on and how you pursue excellence. Because I think Breton is really wise to say that it does not look the same everywhere. It’s not about comparing yourself to what the church down the street does. The win is actually faithfulness, faithfulness to what God has called you to discipleship of your team and your church through music, and helping your church see and savor and sing to Jesus in compelling ways. That is the win. So I think with that, we’ll cap it unless you guys have a final thought or to cap it. All right, that’s episode number two this month for the q&a. And we will do Episode Three in a week. See you guys then