Worship Ministry As Discipleship w Aaron Keyes2

Ministry has never been about making music. It’s always been about making disciples. Namely, we make disciples THROUGH music (the songs shepherd our congregation), and through making music TOGETHER (doing life week to week with our team). Music is just the tool we use to make disciples. But practically how does this play out on our teams? 
Disciple making can feel like a daunting and mysterious process. Thankfully, on this month’s episode, I have discipleship expert Aaron Keyes to discuss how we can use our ministries to better disciple our worship team members. Aaron has been running 10,000 Fathers, a discipleship and training school for worship leaders (and now pastors) for the last decade. He’s got a ton of wisdom and advice to share. Be encouraged as you listen in!

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Alex Enfiedjian 00:09 Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the worship ministry training podcast, a monthly podcast for worship leaders and worship team members. My name is Alex Enfiedjian, your host. And as I always say, if you are a new listener, thanks for being here. And I want to encourage you to look through the list of episodes previously recorded over the last five years because we try to cover a ton of topics that will be applicable to you in your worship ministry. I think there’s about 80 episodes or so now. And each episode covers a specific topic and I try to be as in depth, practical and helpful about those topics as possible. My long term goal honestly, is to create this massive online archive of relevant topics that you can immediately begin implementing and applying to your ministry. As soon as you finish listening, so go download some of them and be sure to subscribe to the podcast. This month’s topic is using your worship ministry as a discipleship tool. Now, I’ve talked about worship ministry as discipleship in the past with Zach Hicks. And in that episode, which I will link in the show notes, we talked about using your worship services to disciple your congregation. But in this episode with Aaron keys, we’re talking about using your ministry to disciple your team members. And Aaron, I would consider him a discipleship expert. He’s been running 10,000 fathers, a ministry of discipleship and training for worship leaders for the last 10 years, maybe even a little more. And so Aaron knows a ton about life on life discipleship, which is exactly how Jesus did it. And so we’re gonna get into all the ins and outs of that in today’s episode, and I’m excited to share a lot of the wisdom that Aaron had with you. But first, I want to tell you about Planning Center, our sponsor for this month, Planning Center is the most robust, easy to use highly effective software to both plan, manage and execute your worship services. And as a worship leader, I honestly couldn’t function without it. Like I use it every single day, maybe, maybe not Saturdays, but every other day of the week, I’m on Planning Center. And I think you should be on Planning Center too. I use it to schedule my teams to plan my sets to communicate with my teams to transpose songs to house the mp3 is in the chord charts for my teams to reference. And one of my favorite features of Planning Center is that if you input your chord charts into their chords section for each song, it will automatically transpose those chord charts to the correct key with a click of a button. So if you add a new key to that song, you don’t have to retype the chart, you don’t have to find it somewhere new, you don’t have to download it from ccli. You just get it automatically into your new key arrangement. And so check that out if you’re not using that feature. But Planning Center will make all the administration of your ministry so much easier and simpler. And I want to encourage you to check it out. You can try it for free for 30 days. And after that plan started just $14 a month. You can check all this out at planning dot center or by clicking the link in the show notes. Alright, let’s get into my interview with Aaron keys about discipleship.

Alex Enfiedjian 03:04 Everybody I am here with Aaron Keyes, who is a worship pastor, a songwriter and the founder of 10,000 fathers, which is a discipleship program and a worship school specifically aimed at developing worship leaders. Aaron, welcome to the podcast. Thanks, Alex. fun to be here. I’m stoked to get to chat with you. I’ve seen you from afar for many years and finally get to make this happen. So that’s gonna be our There we go. Thank you Skype. So I love on your website. Aaron, you said that the whole mission of 10,000 followers is kind of like the bold statement on the top of your website. It says nurturing worship leaders who lead songs into worship pastors who lead people, and that is like, wow, I mean, even just the word nurturing, evokes all sorts of kind of thoughts in my mind. But we’re talking today about discipleship, and we’re talking specifically about using our worship ministries as a discipleship tool. And I think most of the worship leaders listening to this podcast in their greatest moments of clarity. They know that their worship ministries are not primarily about making music, but about making disciples specifically to make disciples through music or through making music together. And I think you and what you’ve done at 10,000 fathers for the last year is you’ve really honed in on the discipleship, part of what our ministry is supposed to be about. And so maybe just for our listeners who aren’t familiar with 10,000, fathers share what it is share how it works, and kind of how it came to be like, What was the need, that kind of birthed the 10,000 fathers movement.

Aaron Keyes 04:37 Well, it’s super fun to hang with you and to chat about this. This is obviously deep in my passion and in my guts in my bones, so to get to talk about it’s always really fun. So we are a community based out of Atlanta, but we have alumni all over the world. We are a community of creative leaders, who Yeah, a lot of us are worship leaders, worship pastors song writers, we’re now training senior pastors, communicators, preachers, and then even just organizational leaders through a few major modules. So the first one being the character of worship pastor, if we’re going to talk about worship school, we would say the character of a worship pastor. And the second module for six months is the competency of a worship pastor. The third is kind of the calling and the culture building that a worship pastor could bring in. And so what we’ve basically evolved into over the last decade is we started as a residential program where young worship leaders could come and live in our home and do life with us and go on the road with my band and sit in church with me at staff meetings and go pray for people in the hospital, we just did all of life together, writing songs leading on the road, leading a church. And that was really fun. But it’s also really limiting. We can only do so many people at a time. And we still can only do so many people at a time. But we’ve moved from being residency to be in grad school, actually. So now as this is an accredited third of a Master’s of Arts degree from Northern seminary. So this is an extensive and in depth discipleship journey for anyone who really feels God’s called them to, and to shepherd people and worship, or Shepherd people through preaching and homiletics. You know, so it’s been really fun to get to kind of grow this thing from pretty organic come live in the house, we’ll open the Bible every morning to we’ve developed this curriculum, and we’ve basically assigned all the work. So every week, they’re reading different chapters of books, or writing different papers, or writing specific songs or sending video of themselves leading worship, they’re doing that and then showing up in a small group online, that means just like this, but then once every six months, they come to us, and we get to spend a week together and get a taste of the residency. So we do get to share all the meals together. And we do get to, to have a drink together and to share songs together that we’ve been working on. And we get to lay hands and pray and do prophetic stuff. And we get to kind of do the best of both worlds now. And that’s been a real special thing, because that’s allowed hundreds of people to come into V train and be discipled through this 18 month journey that weren’t able to move to Atlanta and live in our house, you know, so people still sometimes go, I would love to do origin school, but I can’t move to Atlanta for a year. I’m like, you don’t have to do that. We haven’t done that in 10 years. We haven’t done that in eight years. And we did it the first three years. But for about the last 10 years, we’ve been training leaders from all over, they come for a week, and then they go home and they do normal life. So if they’re a college student, that’s fine. If they’re full time at the church, that’s fine. If they are just by vocational, they can pop in for their online, basically classes, you know, during their lunch break. And it’s been really, really fun. So at this point, we’ve got over 300 graduates out there in the world, and about 15 to 20 countries. And we just actually polled our alumni. And we were kind of blown away to find out that every weekend like 10, father’s alumni are leading worship for a quarter of a million people around the world. And that’s really encouraging to us because, you know, it’s only a few 100 graduates, we’re not even close to 10,000 fathers, or mothers. But when you do the exponential investment and leaders, and like we talked about it takes nurturing it takes time. I mean, it’s the language in the Bible for what discipleship looks like, is so familial, you know, it’s so tender, and paternal and maternal even. I was teaching at my church Sunday and Romans 16. And Paul talks about this guy, Rufus, and his mother was like a mother to Paul. It’s like the language in the New Testament, once you get after the book of Acts. I mean, it’s all family. It’s you don’t find the word disciple, actually, in the rest of the New Testament. I don’t know if you knew that. But once you get after x disciple is not it doesn’t show up. But what you find over and over and over is language like, I can’t come but I’m sending you my son, Timothy, whom I love, or john saying, I don’t have any greater joy than that my children walk in the truth. Or Paul saying, I’m in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, that language of family. And obviously, our name comes from First Corinthians four, where Paul says, even if you had 10,000, teachers don’t have what you need. You need fathers, you need mothers, you need missional family. And I think we’re seeing that these days. There’s more and more places you can go get the information. You can get taught, you can read the books, there’s podcasts, I mean, I love we live in the information age, man, it’s awesome. But what we need is an imitation age, like when we can actually open up our lives so people can learn through osmosis learn through proximity. They can learn what Can’t be taught but can only be caught, you know. And so we’ve got four sons, you know, 18, down to 10. And I know that I’ve taught my kids a lot with my words and my devotionals. And they’ve seen me lead worship a million times, but they have picked up at least as much just by growing up in our house, as they have from hearing me teach, you know, the Bible or marriage or anything else, that you learn so much more, just by catching it, then by being taught, right. And so that’s been our huge passion is we’ve got to let people in close enough to see real life, not stage life, not album studio life. Not that we exclude people from that either. It’s just that man that early acts to church, it says, met regularly in the temple and in their homes. We’ve basically have negated, you know, the home thing today and want the temple to do everything it can. It wasn’t meant to. We’ve got to actually bring people into our homes, let them see our real life. And it’s funny because our worship leaders will stand up in front of the church talking about so good to have you in the house. Great to have you in the house and the Lord’s house, but they never actually have anyone into their house.

Aaron Keyes 11:14 And that’s where things really change. I mean, it’s in family that were formed. And we’re such individualists such isolationists, you know, and American 2019. But families, everything I mean, that’s, we are formed in family. And so basically, we’re just trying to train people who and nurture people, it takes a long time, but nurture people who think their job is to lead songs for our church. We’re just saying, if that was a big deal, there’d be one verse about it somewhere in the New Testament about leading worship, but there’s actually not one, not one verse in the New Testament that justifies the role of horseplayers, not in Romans 12, spiritual gifts are first Corinthians 12, or 14, it’s not Ephesians four, it’s not like he gave some to be apostles, prophets, shepherds, evangelists, teachers and worship leaders. You know, it is not there. There’s like nothing about worship leadership in the whole New Testament, tons about worship, tons about leadership, nothing about what we all understand worship leadership to look like. And so that just presents us with such an opportunity to go Okay. Well, worship leadership is for the first time in church history, this has never happened until our generation, there wasn’t such thing as a worship leader 100 years ago, definitely not 1000 years ago, no such thing. So there is now so we have for the first time in history, we’ve arrived at a point in church where, because you can lead people musically, they assume you are also able to lead them spiritually. That is new, that is not in the Bible, that has never happened before. 1969. That’s when it started. And now we’re just like, in the wake of what what Jesus did with the Jesus movement. And so now we all just assume worship leadership is this thing that’s been around forever. And then we read it into the Bible, we read it in the Second Chronicles, we read it in the Levi’s and all this hilarious stuff. But Paul’s like, here’s what it looks like the leader in the New Testament Church, have character have competency and particular competencies, be really good at teaching sound doctrine, and really good at hospitality at opening your home. These are the common denominators that just keep popping up the New Testament. And neither of those two things are very critical for being a successful worship leader today. And that’s just where we’re like, Alright, we’ve got to help do something about that. Because no wonder most worship leaders feel a little bit ill equipped a little bit unprepared, a little bit like they’ve been thrown into a battle without a shield, a strategy or a general, you know, they’re inspired, they want to do it. They just haven’t been empowered. They haven’t actually been equipped. They haven’t been supported. And so no wonder so many worship leaders come through our own, who when you ask them, they look good, and man, they’re talented goodness. And I’m sure that they’re competent and called and have amazing character, but they have no confidence, or their confidence is in the wrong things. And they’re going is this is it like sing a little louder? Is that what I want to give my life to for people sing a little louder, you know, or a little longer or to have more singing nights like worship nights? Like, is that big enough like for my life to fit in and for my purpose to be constricted down to like, if songs were going to do it, they would have done it. So we think songs are going to change the world as much as and I’m a songwriter. I write probably 50 songs a year like I wish the songs were going to change the world. I do believe in the power of songs help foster all kinds of beautiful things. But songs don’t disciple people. Neither do sermons People disabled people. And we can use songs, we can use sermons towards that end of discipling people, but if it becomes about the songs over the sermons for that matter, we’ve kind of mistaken the means for the ends, and maybe the forest for the trees.

Alex Enfiedjian 15:19 That’s so good. And, you know, I kind of want to recap a little bit of what you said, Sorry, Tom, because no, no, no, it’s really good. And I think the, you might have blown a few people’s minds when you said the worship leader role is only like a 50 year old role and never existed before. And it’s not in the scriptures. And it’s not what anyone has ever been called to do. We’re called to be leaders in the church. And we just happen to lead by helping people sing to the Lord. But the whole role, like you said, has raised up a whole generation of young worship leaders who are capable musically, and who do love the Lord, but who are so ill equipped spiritually. And that’s kind of where we’re going to go with the rest of the conversation is how do we as worship leaders, train and disciple, the young people, and even the older people in our ministry so that they are strong spiritual leaders, and not just strong musical leaders? Because we do on the podcast, talk a lot about the music, but obviously, it’s just a tool to make disciples. But I’m curious, Aaron, what your thoughts are like, why is the church today? And this is a generalization, of course. But why is the church day so bad at making disciples? And I think you did hit on like individualistic society and this and that, but like, what is your take on? Like, why is the church and why our worship ministries in particular not making disciples who are spiritually grounded and scripturally rooted and all those things, man?

Aaron Keyes 16:40 Well, I don’t know that, that the church in general is really bad at this. But I can tell you, it’s hard. And it takes forever. And we live in a society where we want things quickly. We want things easily. So discipleship, I mean, think about goodness, it took the most brilliant, most miraculous person who ever lived years, and he didn’t bet 1000 he lost Judas. Several of the others weren’t looking too good there at the end until Pentecost. Basically, Peter was an impulse control case, you know, Mark, it says ran away naked in the garden. Thomas is downing like, it’s a mess. It’s a huge, messy process. If you actually want to disciple someone, and again, that word gets thrown around by everyone. So it kind of means nothing to anyone. But what we’re talking about when we say disciple, when we disciples, our discipleship, we use Dallas Willard a lot. He’s He’s really formed us. And he said, discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were me. So instead of asking, What would Jesus do? I don’t know. I’m not carpenter and galley 2000 years ago, it’s a terrible question. What would Jesus do? a great question is, what is Jesus doing? Because he’s still at work. Like he actually is still working? And what is Jesus doing in my marriage? Like, what is Jesus doing in my kids? What’s she’s doing in the room as I’m leading? So if it helps to ask what would use it, that’s fine. But really, a better question is what would Jesus be? How would Jesus be if he were in my marriage with my wiring, and my spiritual gifting and my natural gifting? How would Jesus be how would Jesus be at my church? How would he be with my kids? and growing into that?

Aaron Keyes 18:35 image? That’s what we call discipleship. So if you go to most churches and ask him, tell him about discipleship, they’ll tell you some course. You can go through like, well, we go through this, and then you do Dave Ramsey, you know, that’s part of our discipleship. And that’s all great. It’s just actually, it’s going to take more than getting the information into your head, we’ve all got more information than we know what to do with, we need transformation. And that that’s going to come through processes of imitation, where I can actually see your life up close, I can see how you did that. I can see how you got that’s like, it’s like a math teacher in algebra who you got the right answer, but they’re like, I want to see your work. How’d you get there? You know, if you’re just really good at it, you don’t even need to show your work. But they need to see that you actually know how you did it. With worship competency. Sometimes you’ll find the most competent vocalist with the most competent songwriters don’t know how they’re doing what they’re doing. So they’re actually able to inspire you to be better, but they’re unable to empower you to be better because they don’t know how they’re doing it. Like they don’t know how they had that idea. So that’s very unhelpful in terms of me getting better. And what’s crazy, is you’ll hear leadership gurus in the church, and I love them, but I vehemently did. Agree when they say like, our job is to inspire people to believe they can do better. I disagree wholeheartedly. Our job is not to inspire people to believe they can do better. It’s to empower people to actually be better not to help them think that they can that maybe that’s the first step. I don’t know. But a lot of our leaders don’t even they’ve given up. They’ve been doing it for 15 years and nothing’s changed. They’re worn out, they’re burnt out. And how should they not be those things? They haven’t done seminary, they haven’t been trained in ecclesiology, and philosophy and theology they to lead worship in 2019, with Donald Trump in the White House, with everything else going on in the world, like to lead worship today, prophetically pastorelli precisely, you better have all kinds of wisdom, nuance, Grace, patience, discernment, communicative kind of abilities, that stuff just forms over a long period of time, you just don’t, you can’t get there quickly. You know, that’s why I think we see probably little discipleship at the levels that I think we all wish our leaders had gotten before they started leading, because takes forever. And it’s really messy. And it’s really hard. Again, we spend a year and a half in weekly personal coaching with every one of our leaders. And it’s also one of the reasons why so few students are still coming to worship school, like, they would much rather do a four month or two week or three day, shot in the arm. The thing though, with a shot in the arm is sometimes it just inoculates you, you get enough of a virus to not really get the virus, you know. And I fear that leaders who need to be empowered are settling to be inspired. And five years from now, inspirations just not going to take you very far, I’ve been really inspired and a lot of movies and concerts and museums, never once did going to a museum helped me become a better artist. It made me wish I was a better artist. But it didn’t help me be one. So the reason that I think Sophie churches are doing it well is because it’s so hard. And it’s such a long game.

Alex Enfiedjian 22:28 Yeah. And even when you were talking about it, I was like, Oh, my gosh, this sounds like an impossible task. Because first of all, you need somebody who already is spiritually mature, to open up their life and give enough time and enough commitment for a long game plan to sit down with several people and work through these things. And I’m like, where are we going to find enough leaders who are actually spiritually already at that level to then begin, you know, training? And so it seems like an impossible task, if you think about it in that sense.

Aaron Keyes 22:56 Yeah. Well, let me jump in real quick. Yeah. Because with that, you name something really helpful. Most people aren’t doing it, because they’ve never received it. Right. They have no concept for what it could even look like. And so you probably won’t be what you’ve never even seen, you know, you probably won’t do what you’ve never had done for you. And so it just continues generationally where instead of it being like, I’ve received so much from my spiritual mentors and mothers and fathers, I’ve got so much to give. Instead, you’ve got a bunch people who don’t even know what they carry, they have a ton to give, don’t know it, or they’ve actually stalled out 20 years ago, and they’ve been coasting, and you only coast downhill, you know. So that’s probably another reason people have the heart to do this. But they might not have the plan. Honestly, that’s how we felt the first few years of worship school we had these guys live with us for six months or a year at a time. And we had the heart to do this. But we didn’t really have much of a structure or a skeletal system to kind of support all the guts in. We had the guts of desires that we just didn’t have the structure. And so we spent a year by eight years ago, we moved to spend a year in a community on a sabbatical where we could learn we thought these are the best people actually making disciples that we’ve heard of in the world. We spent a year to go live in that community and to get everything we could from them so that we could maximize the energy and investment we were putting into these young leaders because I love the local church. I love what happens when we gather when we worship, I believe in it. I just can’t live for Sunday morning. It’s just too small. No matter how awesome Sunday morning is. It’s too small. My life is 167 other hours besides that one every week and I can’t live for something as small as literally less than 1% of a person’s real experience week to week. So I actually talked to my pastor I was like I’ve been trained and groomed to pull off a great Sunday. I want to be trained and groomed in pulling off The rest of the week to actually not just for myself spiritually, but to help other people grow and not only grow spiritually, this is another thing I think we really miss growth is part of it. multiplication is the second part of it. That’s the other reason why a lot of people don’t ever make disciples because they actually think they’re still supposed to be growing at their church. This shouldn’t have been about your growth for a decade, it should have been about reproducing for the last decade, like physically, you grow to a point. And then you multiply, you grow, and then you reproduce spiritually, it’s supposed to be the same way. We just haven’t gotten that yet. So people are leaving their churches after 20 years, or they’ve been walking with Jesus for 30 years, they’re leaving the church gone. I’m not really being fed here anymore. When like, Does your mom still feed you at home? Like, shouldn’t you know how to feed yourself? And actually, shouldn’t you be feeding the younger people? Shouldn’t you be multiplying what God’s done in you, instead, we turn it into this whole, it’s about me. We use phrases like, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon following Jesus, not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I’m just saying. That’s a lie. It’s a relay always has been. And it doesn’t matter how hard you run a relay, if you drop the baton. There are generations at stake here. And what God has called his people to isn’t just to be a little Chrono centrists who believe that their time is the time. You know, we sing songs about we’re the generation that we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do that I’m like, we’re probably not, you know.

Aaron Keyes 26:41 But, but the next generation might be. So I don’t know, if we’re the generations that’s gonna do all this remarkable stuff. But what I do know is we’ve been given a lot by the previous generation, and we have a lot to offer to give the next generation a head start, we can give them a baton at a really good clip, and they can go further than we will go. That’s my hope for my kids like, naturally, that should be our hope, in the kingdom spiritually. But if we don’t have the character thing worked out in our own lives, then instead of being like Jesus, who said, you’re gonna do greater things, and me will be like King Saul, who heard a song about David did greater things. Saul Slade’s 1000s data centers. And that’s the song that we should want to hear. It’s the song that ruin Saul’s life, his character, his envy, his insecurity, his jealousy, that’s all character stuff. So if we get that character thing worked out, then we can give away freely, anything that we’ve ever had, because it’s not about us. It’s about Jesus. And it’s not about us, advancing our empire is the empire of Jesus, the kingdom of God. And so, so much hinges on our character, our identity, all of that being worked out a missional family, and then having the competency to be able to actually give it away. Well, you know, so just because you’re doing it doesn’t mean you’re doing it well. And it’s anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. It’s just good to know if you’re doing it poorly. We were doing it poorly 11 years ago, when we first started, but it was the only way to eventually do it well, right.

Alex Enfiedjian 28:20 And now you’re doing it well. And like you’ve kind of hit on a couple key ingredients. And I’ve heard you talk about time, it takes time. And then you keep saying loyal family, right. And I found and I’d like you to add to these ingredients, if you think there are more, but I found that in order to help people grow, you need to have a lot of time, you need to be loyally committed to them. And then you need to be able to speak the truth in love into the areas where you think they need to grow. And when you add those three things, truth and love plus oil commitment, plus time, that’s when people start to grow. What are some of the other key ingredients that you think maybe I missed in that little formula? Do you think there are other things too, that

Aaron Keyes 29:01 he Yes. And I actually would want to qualify the lot of time because if people hear Yeah, I don’t have time to make this little thing like, yeah, okay, I don’t have time between my work, my family, my own saw, I don’t have time. But here’s what I want to push on. Instead of thinking of discipleship as something else to put in your calendar, see it as how you do everything on your calendar. So a long time ago, my wife stopped being able to meet with all the women who want to meet with her. She can’t sit down and have a two hour coffee every other day. But she can say, Hey, I’m going to the grocery store Come with me, Hey, I’m making dinner for my family come home, we make it then eat with our family. So we can invite people into our calendars, stuff that’s already on our calendars instead of add stuff to our calendar. So I think when people go it’s going to take a lot of time I need to open up my calendar. No, you don’t need to open up your life to the stuff that’s already on your calendar and let people do it. With you, there are wise ways to do that their own wise. And there are different ways to do that at the beginning of a discipling relationship than the end, at the very beginning of Jesus’s disciples, he’s like, hey, come follow me, I’ll make you fishers of men. And then he starts giving them more and more challenge. He gets tons of invitation, here’s his real life. But as the relationship increases over a few years, by the end, he’s going, I don’t just call you servants, I call you friends, you’re going to do what I’ve done, you’re going to do greater things and I, he’s commissioning them, they are, as he is, they are doing what he does. So Jesus does not start that way with his guys. They’re idiots. I mean, look at Luke chapter five, with Peter in the boat. All the Gospels show us the approach that he takes as a leader with his guys when they’re just starting, versus how different looks a few years later. So I would only want to push back and say it’s not just like you need to Open wide your calendar to have coffee with people. We are not talking about mentoring. Mentoring is come meet with me. discipling is come follow me. Come join me. Come do it with me. So that’s a huge distinction. mentoring, yeah, get together and have coffee, talk about the book. discipling mothering or fathering has come into my life, we can still talk about the book, but you can actually see my life up close to see if the book meant anything to me or not know what I mean?

Alex Enfiedjian 31:28 Totally. Yeah. And, you know, for me, I work at a church where we are able to have a couple of other worship staff, right. So I have a I have a couple young men who work here. They’re young worship leaders growing into it. And they’re learning a lot from me, because they’re around me all the time, like you’re saying. And in that situation, it’s easy for these two young men to be around me a lot. But then I think about the rest of my worship team, who, you know, they’re all at school, or they’re at jobs, and they, you know, it’s like, and I’m like, when can I be around them? And I guess my question for you, because you’re talking to a bunch of worship leaders who have ministries, right? ministry happens in this kind of weekly, monthly rhythm. How do our worship leaders listening? How do they make time to disciple their team as a whole? Or is that even an oxymoron? And you can disciple your team as a whole? Just give us some practical wisdom on what discipleship looks like in a ministry context? Or is that just an oxymoron?

Aaron Keyes 32:24 Yeah, well, the way that Jesus reaches the whole world, is by investing in a few interesting, they are going to multiply into more who are going to multiply anymore. So I think we can sometimes it’s a non starter, because we’re intimidated. We’re like, How am I supposed to disciple these 20 volunteers on my team, you’re not, who would be the first four or five that you can begin loving? Well, like really well prioritize that Jesus had different levels of priority in his own disciples, I mean, Peter, James, john, different level of priority, then these other guys, it’s fine. You’re gonna have natural affinity to some people, you shouldn’t just disciple the people that you like the most. You should pray about this. I mean, Jesus says that all night and praying, and seeking God on who he’s supposed to call into discipleship, but he’s pretty unequivocal about it. After that he calls these he calls some who don’t follow me, he calls the rich young ruler, he gives them the exact same language as he gave to the other disciples. I mean, that would have been like the 13th, you know, would have messed up though Israel picture and 12 tribes and aza but you just look at who can I commit to love really well for a focus season of their life in such a way that I’m actually joining my future to theirs, and joining my family to them. So that’s why you can’t do it for 20 people, Jesus couldn’t do it for 20 people, I promise, you can’t. But you can invite two or three or four or five, you can bring them into your real life. And you can say, look over the next year, some of the stuff that God’s done in me, I’d like to walk with you through and I want to learn about what God’s doing in you, I believe in you. And so you speak hi invitation to them, they’ll come alive to that sort of stuff. And then you can also speak clear challenge and say, but I also because I believe in you, I want to push you, I think your songwriting could be better. I think you’ve settled a little bit musically, it’s all a little bit repetitive or theologically, like I want to keep pushing you to dig into the scriptures more or not. I’ll share some of the resources that have been helpful for me, you know, so you can invest in them. And then if the first year, you just invest in a few second year, you can keep investing in them a little bit less, maybe you know, intensity, and begin investing in a few more and and trust those first four or five to begin investing in a few. And in this in the second year. You might have already hit all 20 people, but the third year, you’ll be able to hit 60 Yeah. So the way the most words as if we would do this. Well, if you do it like Jesus, actually, when we step out of the picture, it gets more exciting. I mean, that’s the craziest thing, the greatest person who ever lived wanted to be surpassed. And he was like, Paul’s handkerchief, healed people. Jesus never did that. So that’s one thought. The other thought is the brutal reality that you don’t reproduce what you want, you reproduce who you are. So that takes time. I mean, think about if you have kids, how long it takes to prepare them to be independent representatives of your family, it takes a long time, right? So you can’t do that in a year, I hoped you wouldn’t be like, you got your one year old, release them to the wild, good luck, you know, like, and obviously, it’s a little bit different spiritually and physically and biologically. But the principles are the same, the way that this works, and you know, and Luke five, there’s that the story where Jesus starts his relationship with Simon Peter is interesting, because he gets into his boat, he says, put out a little way into the shallow water, and Jesus teaches and then the crowds disperse, and Jesus goes, now let’s go into the deeper water and let down the nets for a catch. And Simon Peters, like, we worked hard all night, and we didn’t catch anything. St. Peter’s a professional fisherman. Jesus doesn’t know his builder. I can just imagine Simon Peter, like, Look, you don’t tell me how to fish. And I want to give your talks. But Simon Peter goes, we worked hard all night, we didn’t catch anything, but I’ll do as you say. And so they go out into the depths, they catch so many fish, that the net start breaking in the boat started sinking. So it’s a really, I think it’s an incredible picture of discipleship, because the first thing you lead us into the boat, take you to shallow places, and then you go to deeper places, he wants to take us all deeper, and you need to go deeper in the Lord in Scripture and worship all that stuff. But the point isn’t for you to just be super deep. It’s to let down your nets, we go into the depths so that we can let down the nets and the nets are like we teach us and worst school, the nets are yours, your strategies, your structures, your tools, your tactics for actually bringing people into what God’s done in your life, and being able to release them into the fullness of what God’s called them to be. And then the net start breaking and the boats start sinking. Then the other boats that Peter calls around. So James and john, they come and they help carry some of the load. So the boats are the that’s your your missional family. That’s the people you’re doing this with, that’s your oil cost the people that you can call and say, God’s doing something amazing here, will you come help us not sink out of the weight of it? or lose? The majority of it? Will you help. And that’s exactly what we’ve done in 2005. So 11 years ago, we had, you know, all these students live with us for a few years, it’s changed. Now there’s about 11 families that have moved here to help us steward what God’s doing here. And so now I might not be the coach, if a new student starts with us in January, they’ll probably have someone better than me, someone who’s already gone through it and has moved their family to join us in this and they might not be staying in my basement. I mean, they might be but they might also be staying in the neighborhood next to us, that set up just like our house with hospitality. And with familial devotion and affinity, all that same kind of stuff, we’ve multiplied it. So we’re not just trying to grow this thing bigger and bigger and bigger, but we actually want to multiply it more and more places. Because ultimately we want to see, man worship changes things when worship goes right in the Bible. Everything goes right. And when worship goes wrong in the Bible, everything goes wrong. I think it’s why the enemy comes after worship. The best thing the enemy can do is get you thinking that worships going right when God says it’s going wrong.

Aaron Keyes 39:02 So just because you mean well does not mean that it’s going well, it God’s looking for a specific stuff longest chapter. The longest conversation Jesus has in the Bible is about worship. The longest book in the Bible is about worship, like it matters to God, how we worship, and as leaders and servants of worship or songwriters, we’re just trying to say, Hey, are you being thoughtful about what you’re leading people into? Because Hebrews 1228 says, since we’re receiving a kingdom that can be shaken, let’s worship acceptably. The question is, if we inadvertently have been leading people to worship unacceptably, it’s God’s actually looking for something else, you know, so are we leading people to worship acceptably? I think it has a lot less to do with how intensely they’re singing, and a lot more to do with how well we’re helping them actually walk with God and love God and follow Jesus. Instead of feel really intensely Jesus, right.

Alex Enfiedjian 40:02 I love what you said about bringing in these other boats, other people to help you disciple, you know, as I’m thinking about the worship leaders in their ministries, like, maybe that’s something for them to consider, because at our church, so one of the reasons I started thinking about this discipleship of my team a little bit more is because I do have a lot of young people on my team, you know, in their early 20s, or even like upper teens, like 1819. And everyone in that age, and stage has a lot of immaturity. And it was kind of like, Oh my gosh, like, these kids are so talented, but they’re so incredibly, annoyingly immature, you know, I love you guys, if you’re listening to this. So I was like they need they need some older, wiser, godly people, showing them how to walk a life that honors Christ. And so something that I did that maybe our listeners can try, and maybe you can kind of critique this, the smallness of this mindset is, I had a couple of our older team members, who they’re playing a little bit less, because they have less free time. And the younger kids are just so incredibly talented. So the older players are playing less, but they’re still so incredibly valuable to being part of our community. And I said, Hey, would you guys a couple of you guys who are spiritually mature, can you teach these young people how to live and walk with the Lord and cover like, not just, you know, their devotional life, but like, you know how to be a godly man, or purity or budgeting or how to honor the Lord with our finances, and kind of all those things. So every other week, these older parents in our team are discipling, these younger students in our team to train them up in the ways of the Lord. What do you think about that? I mean, is that kind of what you’re talking about? I guess what I’m trying to do is, within a worship ministry context, how can we disciple our people? And I know you kind of gave an answer to like, pick four and then disciple them, and then release them to disciple others. But is there other things we can be doing?

Aaron Keyes 41:52 Yeah, for sure. I mean, any of our leaders on our stages, I hope, would be not only leading our congregation musically, but setting an example for our congregation of what it means to, to lead faithfully and spiritually as well. And so, so what goes into faithfully following Jesus? All of the answers to that question would be areas of discipleship, incredible opportunities for discipleship. So scripture, unless you’ve taken Bible classes, how are you supposed to know how to interpret the crazy stuff that’s in the Bible? Like, unless you’re reading it in Hebrew, or Greek or Aramaic, like you don’t get to say God said it, I believe it, that settles it, like you need to say, God said it. I don’t read Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic, God help all of us, you know, because if the Word of God is sharper than a double edged sword, I would just never put a sharp sword in my 10 year old hand, he’s gonna cut someone’s head off. So how do you read the Bible? That’s a huge place that a leader hopefully, like if you’re leading people in worship, you feel somewhat equipped to engage with the scriptures. Okay, what’s prayer look like? What What does hospitality look like? What does generosity look like? What is what is art and skill look like? I’m just saying everything that you do in worship ministry is an opportunity to actually help people engage with Jesus, to be more faithful, to learn to hear what God’s saying in their life, and then act on it. Like just that, if all you do is help people recognize what, what is Jesus doing in their life? And then what do they need to do in response? That’s probably 95% of discipleship right there. I mean, that’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of hospitality, all that kind of stuff. We’ve already talked about to earn the trust to speak into such a sensitive thing, like what is Jesus doing your life? And how can I come alongside you and helping discern that? And how can I come alongside you and helping to deliver you into the fullness of that, that gets really exciting, and that’s, that’s kind of the basis of discipleship. So sorry, the last time I know I’m talking too much, but in Psalm 78, it’s about asef, wrote about David and it says this, verse 72, it says, David shepherded the people with integrity of heart, and skillful hand. I love that that’s character and competency. That’s the main things that we dig into for preachers, worship leaders, worship pastors, even organizational leaders. These are the kinds of leaders that we respect we trust, we want to aspire to become leaders of character. So that’s my integrity. That’s my authority. It’s my spiritual gravitas to integrity and competency, my reliability, my ability, my skill, like am I as a leader pushing myself or am I kind of subtle too. So any of the competencies that you’re engaged in, if you’re a singer, are you pushing yourself are you just kind of coasting as a guitarist, are you pushing yourself? Are you learning anything challenging? Or are you just kind of like the whole worship thing is kind of coming down year after year in terms of the skill required to pull it off? Right. And that’s great in terms of accessibility. I don’t know if it’s great in terms of beauty and artists. So are we are we setting the example in our ministries on, I am pushing myself and my character, my walk with God, a healthy marriage, all the basics of character, and I’m pushing myself in terms of my competency, a leader who’s doing those things will create a culture where that’s normal. And that’s the kind of culture that I think you want to create. That’s a discipleship culture, where we’re, we’re intentionally, and communally going after character and competency. And we’re all speaking into each other’s lives in both of those ways. And it’s normal for us to say, guys, I blew it here this week, or I think you really could have done better than that this week, when we just make it normal, that character and competency we are trying to push forward. We’re trying to pull each other forward. I think that’s a really beautiful thing for a culture.

Alex Enfiedjian 46:10 Yeah, totally. I want to begin wrapping up the conversation here. But I’m curious, just from your experience, you know, discipleship is such a big part of 10,000 fathers. Have you seen any local churches that are doing discipleship? Well, that you can give us as examples of some of the things that they’re doing. Obviously, it seems like to me so much of it is just relational and cultural. But organizationally within a church, have you seen it really be something that is championed and executed at a high level?

Aaron Keyes 46:41 Absolutely, man, it’s happening all over the place. So and that that is our hope for one of our graduates that they would have the tools and the training, to be able to turn their worship ministry into a disciple in culture. So it is happening. I’ll give you three examples. One of our guys is from Northern Ireland. He lived with this did worship school years ago. He’s moved down to South Florida and he started training young worship leaders who wanted to improve in songwriting in shepherding in the congregation in singing, he’s just taken a lot of what we’ve done here, he’s adjusted it and adapted it. They’re doing an incredible thing in Fort Walton, Florida, where they’ve now trained lots of worship leaders in that local area. So people aren’t traveling from all over. It’s a it is a local expression. But they are writing lots of songs, they’ve completely shifted the culture of this entire church. It’s shifting the culture of the entire city because more and more churches are their leaders are jumping into this community. It’s absolutely awesome. They Oh, and they’ve recorded I think, like four albums in the last five years between this little community, where before, no one in the community was writing songs for their churches, and Little Rock, Arkansas, this church called fellowship Bible chairs, amazing church, we love these guys. We’ve walked through worship school with about, I’d say, 10 of their leaders, their multisite mega ship the whole thing. But we took a season to just invest in their top maybe 10, leaders, songwriters worship pastors, but they have about 60 volunteers in their worship ministry across all their different venues and campuses and all that stuff. So instead of trying to do this for 60, we did it for their top 10. And they have now since we finished with them several years ago, they’re now in their third generation of those 10 each pouring into a handful and now those handfuls who report into for a couple years are now pouring into more people. So it’s this trickle down multiplying effect of Kingdom life that’s permeating not just the worship ministry now. It’s affecting the whole church. So a lot of our graduates start as you know, their worship leaders in their churches, they end up getting offered discipleship pastor positions in their churches. And then the third illustration I was going to give you is in Denmark, several of our students actually are from Scandinavia. And they’ve begun a worship school called Cantor Rio, which means worship school. But it’s based off of the 10,000 fathers model, where they’ve got worship leaders from all around Scandinavia coming and they don’t do a week at a time like we do here. And they don’t have vocational worship leaders not normal in Scandinavia, most churches can’t sustain that. So they can’t do a week intensive. So they do basically a weekend every three or four months with the coaching in between just like we do a week intensive with coaching every week. So what we love is seeing transformative discipleship initiatives happening for creative leaders all over the place. We don’t care if it’s called 10,000 followers. I don’t care what you can call it whatever you want. We just care that it’d be deep enough to be actually transformative, that it be intimate. Active enough for it to be interpersonally relational. Like the fam again, I go back to how Jesus related to those guys how all of the New Testament apostles who wrote a pistols, the language that they use for the people that they’ve raised up is not a teacher to a student, it is a father to a son, it’s mother to daughter, it’s that kind of intimacy. It’s that kind of familiarity and support and challenge that that happens in a family. So basically, we just want to see that happen everywhere. And we don’t see that happening very many places. But hopefully, as we continue to send out these kind of leaders into the world, we’ll see more and more churches that used to be contented. Just have a great music ministry, we’ll see those music ministries become basically the central discipling culture, subculture in the larger culture, and that will begin to trickle down to change the whole church.

Alex Enfiedjian 51:02 That’s a beautiful vision. Before I ask you the final question, how can people plug in with you guys? How can they get connected? How can they apply for 10,000? fathers worship school? Give me a little locations where they can find you. And then I’ll ask you one last question. Sure.

Aaron Keyes 51:17 I mean, the best thing would be just to check out worship dot school. That is where most of the information lives, the schedule. Basically, we take new classes every winter and every fall. So in January and February, we have new classes that form in August and September with new classes the form. So a lot like college or grad school. I mean, we we are grad school at this point. Yeah,

Alex Enfiedjian 51:40 that’s rad. All right, Aaron, last question. Are you ready? Ready. So just you know, one last word, whatever you want to share to the worship leaders listening about discipleship, the importance of discipleship and using our worship ministries as a discipleship tool?

Aaron Keyes 51:56 Yeah, the World Series, you know, ended a couple weeks ago, and it was game seven situation. And what I couldn’t believe was you know, if anytime there’s a home run, you get a dugout shot, right of the, the guy that hit the homerun going into the dugout, after he’s run the basis, and what I just could not believe, and it got me thinking, how many coaches are in that dugout, it’s like, these are the best baseball players in the world. And there are alike. I mean, conservatively, a dozen coaches, in the dugout, there’s only nine players on the field. Alright, so and there’s also coaches out there as the first base coach, the third base coach. So what got me thinking about was this, like, I’m watching, you know, my kids play peewee sports, the younger you are in a sport, the worst coaching options you have. So if you watch five year olds play soccer, it’s usually like a dad, you know, out there running around trying to corral these kids, the higher you go on something, it’s not that you need less coaching, you need more, the better you get, the more coaching you should want. And and I want to leave with that. Because I think a lot of us have this idea that I’m 41, like, I shouldn’t still be needing a coach, that’s embarrassing. None enough, you don’t get a coach, because you stink at something, you get a coach because you’re serious about something. And if God’s called you to lead people in worship, you should be serious about that. You should be thoughtful, and not care less. And if you’ve ever been to the gym, and worked out on your own versus with a trainer, it’s just a whole different world. If you have someone else helping you, someone else, pushing you nudging pulling, they can’t get on the bench and do it for you, you’re gonna have to do it. But you’ll probably get a much better end result. If you don’t try to do this on your own. So my final challenge would be, man, if Serena Williams needs a coach, and LeBron James needs a coach and the Washington Nationals need 15 coaches, you might need a coach, you know. So that’s why we exist. We’re not just looking for these people who are interested in Oh, man, I’m curious about worship. We’re interested in empowering people who think maybe God’s called them maybe for a season of their life, maybe for the longevity of it to help steward the worship of the nations to Jesus. If you’re serious about that, get some help. We are happy to walk with you through that. But even if it’s not us, let it be someone because it is worth it.

Alex Enfiedjian 54:41 Awesome. Aaron, thanks for your time, man. And I’ll put all the links in the show notes for everybody but thanks for Thanks so much, Alex. Love that man. Good to meet you, bro. You too. Alright, that’s all we have time for today. I hope this episode was an encouragement to you. If it was please pass it on to someone you think Could be helped by it. And definitely hit subscribe if you’re not subscribed to this podcast. Also be sure to check out our sponsor this month Planning Center by going to planning dot center and just really take advantage of that incredible tool that they’ve created for you, the worship leaders of the world. Alright, I will be back next month with another helpful episode. Thank you for listening and I’ll see you then.