When you look at your music ministry, worship leading, etc... what is your scale of measurement as you determine if it is successful or not? What would you need to see for you to feel that something has come of all of your time and efforts? What would make you feel like you've successfully lead the worship/music ministry of your church? What would make you feel like your actions as a Christian artist had been successful?
I ask all of these questions as they came to me because of a comment from another Christian artist. He was bitter towards music ministry as he felt that "nothing had come" of all of his efforts in his music. So it must be because God just hadn't stepped in yet to do anything with him.
What is he looking for and waiting for? What about you?
So what am I waiting for? Perhaps an end to this internal (infernal?) need to suggest "improvements" in my current praise team environment, so that I'll be in compliance with questionable best practices from people I've never met in places I've never been. And to just soldier on.
Not to be snarky, but... have you tried calling around to see if there's a church in your area that is looking for a contemporary worship leader ? It does seem like you've got a leader personality inside who is frustrated at not being able to... what was the phrase? Lead from behind...
I'd want it to be a church that actually enjoys music in the abstract sense - that is neither afraid of singing hymns with a real piano and organ nor afraid of playing contemporary material both like and unlike recordings. And that might have higher standards than to select me as a worship leader.
Anyone that believes music within the church can only be one set way / style / format is not very familiar with worship as seen throughout the Bible. Whatever style a church typically rolls with, they can't get stuck there. If there is life and a healthy environment, there should always be times of singing to the Lord a "new song". No one could ever show me Biblically anything to support worshiping in a stylistic rut for the life of your church.
So, to answer, "... have you tried calling around ...?"
If I found a church close by that seemed to be a perfect fit and they were interested, I'd question my motives and their veracity. Besides, leading means singing to many, and it's better for everyone involved that I stay with what I'm good at.
Greg, just wanted to suggest a book I'm reading right now called "Originals," by Adam Grant. It's not a "Christian" book at all, but it does offer some observations and suggestions on what could be referred to as "leading from behind." Chapter I'm reading right now talks about status vs. power and how they affect how seriously suggestions are taken... I got it from our local library, it wasn't quite what I expected, but I thought of you while reading it over Chinese lunch yesterday.
Thank you for that suggestion.
I just watched his ted talk about powerless communication. The bit about the new 20 something instructor giving a four hour training session to a bunch of 50 something navy wing commanders was very enlightening. I immediately connected it with trying to explain as an electric guitarist to an experienced choir/hymnal oriented pianist how to sight read a complex bit of syncopation, a thing I was familiar with from sight reading musical theatre scores. Hard to overcome the defensive "electric guitarists aren't supposed to be able to sight read" thing even now.
It's Monday morning, and I have come to the conclusion that I-really have no idea how yesterday's service went. My perception of success from Sunday to Sunday may be more dependent upon my mood and the presence or absence of bible time and prayer during the week. It may well be that nothing has changed except my dependence upon the Relationship. I still feel as though things have gone well or badly, though I have no yea or nay expressed to me, no measurement of who was participating fully, no clear and unambiguous evidence that this was actually so. So I don't know.
I am reminded of this interview with Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead Movie...
When I lead last weekend, midway through the first song (a new song by the way), something happened to our in-ear mixes. It sounded horrible and there seemed to be nothing I could do to address it. It was so distracting to me and I had to fight hard to focus on the task at hand. After a while, I just took my ears out. No one was with the click... and it seemed to just be falling apart. When we finished, the guys all told me how they couldn't hear themselves... couldn't hear other things they needed to... BUT, we survived. We got through the set and did lead people in a time of worship. While I felt like it was probably the worst time of worship I had lead in a long time, it turns out that the congregation didn't have the same horrible experience that those of us on the platform did. Thank God for that!
After Sunday's service, "Hey, did you guys adjust the monitors or mix or something? I heard the team quite clearly for a change. It sounded better."
No. Only change I made was turning up the gain on the Marshall to 10. Master volume was still quite low. Buzzy and harsh? I didn't build it to do that, so no.
So, responses from a church full of older people: electric guitar clean - "Did you play? I couldn't hear it." Single coils with delay, reverb, mild overdrive - stone-faced, unresponsive. Gibson SG and Marshall JTM with the gain cranked - "The whole team sounded better." Go figure. I've done what much consensus says about guitars in modern worship and they are ambivalent or just don't like it. I got obstinate and did what consensus says just won't work in modern worship and suddenly, brilliant.