Qualities to Look for in a Worship Leader

I believe that an essential, but often difficult, aspect of successful worship ministry is to “get out there” and see what’s happening outside our own church. It’s essential because we often risk getting too insular or tunnel-visioned ministering week-in, week-out at our own church without seeing the bigger picture of what God is doing in churches around us. It’s difficult because worship ministry is intense and demanding. Even with the best of intentions, worship leaders often don’t get much time to visit other churches and ministries (unless they are on holidays!).

Which is why I love what Ps Michael Battersby is doing with Metroworship Academy (MWA) – a space in our city for worship leaders in our city to gather together and learn together, all centred around the subject we love to study best – worship!

Yesterday, Dave Wong and I had the honour of facilitating one of the electives at MWA’s Worship Leaders’ Summer School.

Besides having the opportunity to impart the wisdom gleaned from our own ministry, it was great just to meet and network with other like-minded ministers in our city. Sometimes, even though you might think you are experienced, there’s always something new you can learn from others, a new perspective to glean, or even a tried and true principle that simply needs refreshing.

Metroworship Zac

Zac Gageler, Riverview Church’s worship pastor, gave the keynote address. He shared on some characteristics he looks for in his worship leaders. They were gold and I thought it’d be good to share them here, especially for those who didn’t get to attend the session.

Character 

  • Positive attitude
  • Committed
  • Dependable
  • Servant’s heart
  • Bold in their faith
  • Loves people
  • Humility
  • Teachable
  • Authentic
  • Student of God’s word
  • Empowered by the Holy Spirit

Competence

  • Strong vocal ability
  • 360 degree leadership (i.e. able to lead both the team and the congregation)
  • Attractional
  • Able to read a room
  • Responsiveness to the Holy Spirit
  • Able to lead without singing

Culture and Chemistry

  • An encourager of people
  • Able to release the gifts of others
  • Clear communicator
  • High level of emotional intelligence
  • Seeks and gives feedback

Essentially, what Zac was describing was really all the characteristics of a good, well-rounded leader. That sort of person is often hard to come by. If I measured myself against that list, I would have some glaring shortfalls. But I think the point is that, even if you’re not there yet (or the people you are working with aren’t there yet), we must be moving in the right direction towards developing those traits.

What other traits do you see are essential in your worship leaders?

The Metroworship Academy Summer School for Worship Leaders // 16 January 2016

Happy New Year friends.

Things had gotten a bit busy towards the end of the last year and it meant I didn’t end up writing as much as I would have liked.

I’ve just returned from holidays and I’ve just spent the last couple of days tidying up around the house, so everything is neat and orderly for the coming year. Why would I do such a thing? Because (whether it makes a difference or not) psychologically I feel that a neat and orderly environment gives you the best platform for success.

The same principle applies in ministry. When you start the year, you want to lay down the vision for your team; set out some strategies and goals; and make sure you have good procedures in place.

With this in mind, I want to invite worship leaders in Perth to kickstart their year at Metroworship Academy’s Summer School for Worship Leaders, happening next Saturday 16 January 2016.

As an alumni, I gained much from the tailor-made modules for those in worship ministry, but also from networking with like-minded, passionate worship ministers across our city.

The Summer School is a great appetiser for those who are looking to enrol in the full course.

But it will also be a great opportunity for those involved in worship ministry to learn from other leaders in the city and to see what others are doing in their churches. Being a worship leader in your church can often be a daunting task. I have personally found it helpful to get support from other worship leaders from other churches; to glean ideas from them; and just to have someone else from outside your church to be a listening ear.

The keynote speaker for the Summer School is Zac Gageler from Riverview. Dave Wong and I will also be leading an elective session on “Working with Your Senior Pastor”.

For more details and to register, read this: Summer School Invite

Looking forward to seeing you guys at the Summer School next Saturday!

Come See a Test that Told Me Everything About Myself

I’m not a big fan of psychometric testing. They always seem to ask too many questions about too many details and you never quite know what, or how, to answer. But I recently did a test as part of Metro Worship Academy’s Interpersonal Relationships Module and I was blown away by the results. It was as if the someone was exercising the gift of knowledge about me – accurately!

The FIRO-B test measures your interpersonal needs in three areas:

  1. Inclusion: the need to form new relationships and to associate with others;
  2. Control: which is about decision making, influence and authority; and
  3. Affection: the need to form emotional ties and the extent of closeness with people.

The test measures your expressed need (ie the extent you initiate the behaviour) and your wanted needs (the extent to which you want or will accept that behaviour from others) in relation to each of the three areas of need.

Here are my results!

Overall Interpersonal Needs

  • “Your involvement with others is sometimes a source of satisfaction, but it depends on the people and the context”
  • “You work most effectively alone, or with others when the objectives are focused”
  • “You probably enjoy work that involves concentration on data or ideas and occasional discussions with or presentation to others”
  • You probably consider yourself more introverted than extroverted.”

Total Expressed vs Total Wanted Behaviours

  • “You prefer to wait and see what others will do before taking action. In some situations you may feel inhibited from doing or expressing what you want. You value reliability in others because it helps you predict how they will behave and therefore how you should act.”

Total Needs

  • “In a new situation you are likely to focus on understanding the order and structure of the organisation or of the situation. You will want to know who is in charge, how decisions are made, rules and policies, and the priorities of the various tasks. Once you are comfortable in the Control area, you may then concentrate on satisfying or expressing your needs for Inclusion and Affection.”

Patterns of Need Fulfillment for Inclusion

  • “You prefer working with a small group of people”
  • “You find recognition less important than accomplishment”
  • “You need time alone to do your best work”

Patterns of Need Fulfillment for Control

  • “You may accept direction from those in authority”
  • “You may not be interested in gaining influence.”
  • “You are a loyal and cooperative member of the organisation”
  • “You like to perform your work according to standard operating procedures”
  • “You may be frustrated by inconsistencies”
  • “You may feel the need to check your decisions with others”

Patterns of Need Fulfillment for Affection

  • “You may have difficulty saying no to requests to take on more work.”
  • “You may avoid conflicts yourself but be willing to help others resolve theirs.”
  • “You may attempt to gain closeness with others by managing undesirable projects.”

Leadership

You will strive to be leader who:

  • “integrates divergent interests”
  • “shares decisions”
  • “uses democratic decision-making processes”
  • “is able to build a sense of ownership”
  • “wants to have a noticeable impact, to leave your mark”
  • “likes to be viewed as a popular leader”
  • “is gratified by public recognition”

Yup, all of the above describes me to a tee. I’m just wondering how answering 20 short questions gave the marker such remarkable insight into my inner psyche.

What really set me free about the test however was what Michael Battersby taught the class about how to apply the FIRO-B results. Too often, we often see certain personality traits as weaknesses that need to be built on and improved. But Michael taught us that in fact, the results are simply descriptions of our needs – they are part of the way we were created and we shouldn’t feel bad about them. Rather, they help us understand why certain things give us a sense of satisfaction or dissatisfaction and how to modify our environment and expectations.  But it doesn’t mean that we are less of a person because we are wired a particular way!

In a worship team context, there are usually different personalities and temperaments. Some of them can be quite extreme. It’s what you get for hanging with artistic people. So I want to encourage you to get to know your team. Understand what makes them tick and what ticks them off. And let’s see if we can accommodate each other’s expectations. But also let others know what our expectations are, like my need for control and structure! You’ll make a better team!

So what sort of leader are you anyway? Feel free to share!

Steppin’ Out: Reflections on Global Day of Worship

Global Day of Worship1

It’s now the 364th day of the year (sorry I started writing this on 30th December and I’m only finishing it on the 31st).

Today, I was challenged as I went to New Creation Church (I’m in Singapore at the moment) for the final service of 2012. I was there during the first service of the year (watching it via livefeed in a movie cinema) on 1 January 2012 when Pastor Joseph Prince announced the theme for the year: Unceasing Fruitfulness.

Today, the challenge was from Psalm 90:12 – that God might teach us to number our days because there will be days that aren’t lived for God and which will be completely lost. God can (and does) redeem those days that were lost, but only in today’s terms.

I can say that 2012 has been a year filled with God’s fruitfulness in my life.

One of the highlights for me was the privilege of being able to organise Global Day of Worship for Perth this year.

The story was one of God’s orchestration, because frankly, I had never organised something like this before.

It all started a few months earlier as I was on Facebook posting a photo (as I often do) of something I was about to eat. At that moment, my friend Wendy Yapp Facebook-messaged me and joined me into a conversation with Global Day of Worship director, Eunice Barruel.

Within minutes of our chatting to each other (via the keyboard and my dessert’s subsequent melting) we struck a chord and Eunice asked if I could coordinate GDW in Perth.

I was hesitant at first.

I’m sure you’ve all had that feeling – when faith and doubt fight it out and you are left really not sure of what to do. So I said to Eunice that if I could get a team together, then I would do it.

When I said “team”, I meant “musicians and worship leaders”, which really was quite short-sighted of me. Not long after, it became quite apparent that the task was bigger than just getting musicians together to facilitate worship: there was venue hire, logistics, marketing and a whole lot of other peripheral (but important) things to organise too.

But within a week, some of the core group of musicians had agreed and so I guess I had to eat my words and commit to organising GDW.

One of the things I learnt was that sometimes we need to just step out in faith. Hebrews 11:8 says that “by faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

I think we seldom understand the gravity of what Abraham was doing. If you think about it, it was much more than a man going after God’s promise by faith. Can you imagine what Abraham must have gone through?

  • He was being asked to change his religion.
  • He was being asked to abandon his culture.
  • He had to leave behind his extended family and his property.
  • He had to move a lot of people and possessions; presumably he had to explain himself to a lot of people who were questioning what he was going to do.

And for what? The writer of Hebrews says that Abraham had no idea where he was going. He just knew that God had promised him a city with foundations whose architect and builder is God. And so, in faith, Abraham stepped into the unknown. In that same step, he also left everything that was known.

I’m not saying that I have experienced anything that dramatic, but organising GDW was a step of faith. I had no idea how it would work out. People used to ask me “how many people are you expecting to come?” and I would say, “I have no idea. I haven’t even really thought about it. I suppose, a hundred?”

But beyond just a worship event, and beyond the fact that we would be participating in a world-wide 24-hour continuum of praise, I believed that GDW had to be something which was also a step towards unity amongst worshippers in the city.

So part of the process of assembling the team was also about getting musicians and worship leaders from different churches involved.

We had some anointed worship leaders with whom I had worked in the past, but then more prominent worship leaders came on board, including Mel and Daron Crothers and Michael Battersby. In the end, there were musicians from 10 different churches on the team. This was only something God could have done!

And I believe that this is just a stepping stone to further expressions of unity amongst worshippers in our city.

As GDW drew near, I was re-reading some of my old posts, and I came across this in my very first post:

Even though we had doubts when we stepped out, like Peter we sensed the voice of Jesus steadying our steps and keeping us from sinking.

We’ve also felt the call to unite chuches in worship. Can it happen?

I didn’t know what to expect when I wrote that on 4 December 2011.  But just a year and 150 posts later, God showed me that it can happen!

I could not for a moment imagine that on the night of GDW, over 250 people from different churches would show up in passionate, rousing worship and intercession, inviting the rule and reign of God into our city.

It was more than the night of course: it was also the brothers and sisters from different congregations appearing out of the woodwork, offering help with planning, promotion, advice, logistical support and prayer cover. It was indeed a team effort!

If there was any doubt that God was a covenant-keeping God who is able to fulfill his pomises and plans, one of the worship leaders also shared with me before one of our rehearsals a passage of Scripture that (unbeknownst to her) had been a life theme that I had carried ever since I was baptised in 1991. It was from Jeremiah 1:5-10:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with youand will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

This passage was actually prophesied over me during my baptism by the mother of one of the worship leaders on our team 21 years ago. The next I heard it declared over me was in 2007 when I led a mission team to Japan to conduct a worship seminar. And now, here was the verse again. I knew that what we were doing with GDW was not only significant for the city, but it also significant for the nations.

To hear that Word released at such an opportune time was overwhelming – I sensed that God was reassuring me even in the moments when I was constantly asking the questions: who am I? and why am I even doing this?

I have a lot more to share about GDW, but I will probably leave it for another day.

But I will conclude with this: we are all on journeys and I have definitely not arrived by any sense of the word. But I’m glad that God often marks our lives with milestones to remind us that He has plans for us and that He will fulfill the dreams He puts in our hearts. Being part of GDW was one of those moments.

Here’s the video again if you missed the event:

Photograph courtesy of DTW Photography and Darren WoonVideo courtesy of Peter Liddicoat and Visual Reality Productions.