Check it out…

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

My Pastor wrote a blog post in response to the people who share a concern about the sermon not being deep enough. Great response. Check it out HERE.

Why Health and Physical Education?

Posted: February 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Often I have people asking me what my major was in college. Then, when I tell them the answer they either laugh or ask “why”.

This past December I graduated from Kennesaw State University with a major in Health and Physical Education. If you’ve never heard why then you’re probably saying,” Dude, you work in a church, and you got a PE degree???”. I most certainly did. Most the time when people ask why I simply tell them that it was the easiest thing I could find to major in since History was too boring and because KSU didn’t have a religion degree available. Here is the long story.

I started my collegiate education in 2003 (now you’re saying,” Bro, you started in ’03 and you just finished with a bachelors degree in 2010?!? Most people who spend that much time in college become doctors.” Trust me, I know). At that time in my life I was intensely coaching a boy’s gymnastics team here in Cartersville (gymnastics was a part of my life for almost 20 years), and I had just started leading worship for the youth group I grew up in. My first year in school was about the only time I took the appropriate amount of hours to be considered “full time” in school. After that year I started semesters “full time” but dropped classes frequently which is why it took me FOREVER to get through school.

I thing around 2005 (maybe 2006??) I finally chose to major in HPE. Part of the reason for this was because I was still coaching gymnastics very passionately, and I was successful as a coach. Also, I figured I could major in PE, then go back and get a masters in business and eventually open my own gym. However, all the while I was still leading worship, loving it, and still knew I was called to ministry…so I would coach and play in my worship band I had in Cartersville (I thought we were the stuff, but my wife tells me otherwise now).

Okay, that’s why I majored in HPE, and I never understood how that matched with God calling me to be at Oak Leaf Church eventually to become the Worship Pastor (or worship guy as Pastor likes to refer to me 🙂 ).

In 2006 I started attending these meetings for a church starting in Cartersville called Oak Leaf Church. After attending my first meeting I was bought in. Never had I been a part of a church that had such a vision for reaching people far from God. I started with the thought of leading worship, but after a while I would have been fine holding doors because I was bought into the vision. Obviously, God had different plans.

I had this thought the other day,” Maybe I was led into education because God was preparing me for work in the church that involves the same skills”.

At KSU I learned how to study. It took me a while and many failed exams to figure this out, but I eventually got it. As a church leader studying is something that MUST REMAIN CONSTANT. God is an infinite being that we will never fully comprehend, but through study and prayer we can still gain knowledge on who He is, the Gospel, and how to lead His people.

In the education program they teach you to become a planner. I cannot tell you how many lesson plans I wrote during my time at KSU, but I wrote many and this has become super helpful to my role as a worship pastor. As the service programmer at Oak Leaf Church I try to be planned out at least 1 month before a series or weekend. Sometimes this happens, and sometimes I don’t have enough information to be as planned out as I want to be. The point is that by planning you create more opportunity for excellence. I have different systems in place that help me to be planned out.

As a teacher you have to be able to communicate clearly. At KSU we had to teach lessons to our peers, in front of our professors, and eventually student teach for 4 months. To prepare us to communicate to the best of our ability they required us to write down exactly what we planned to say in our lesson plans. Writing lesson plans took forever and EVERYONE hated doing it, BUT I can honestly tell you that I rarely had a problem communicating information to my students because of this practice. As a worship leader I have to be able to communicate clearly in front of people. During the week I will pray and listen to God for what he may want me to communicate to His people during out corporate worship through music time. At times I write down what I will say in order to clarify what exactly I should say. If you are a worship leader I would encourage you to try this practice.

Up to my graduation day I never fully understood why I was graduating with a degree in education. I don’t really want to teach PE. Yes, I do have a degree which I am thankful for. Plus, I have something to fall back on. But, now I am finally beginning to see how God was preparing me for His work in His Church. And for that I give Him the glory and praise!

The LEAD Worship Leader

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

For the next couple days I will be in Cumming, Georgia attending the Velocity Conference with Michael. This morning he led a “pre-conference” session leading some church planters and church leaders through “The Nuts and Bolts of a Healthy Church System“. I had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes toward the end of his session as he focused on series/sermon planning.

In my talk I made reference to the “lead” worship leader of the church. That worship leader is not me…it’s the Lead Pastor. While I lead the church in the corporate singing of songs and design the majority of the weekend services none of that is possible without the vision and planning from my Pastor, Michael. Michael is the main vision caster of Oak Leaf Church. He relies on God to speak to him on topics and scripture to teach on in our gatherings on Sunday. Michael will share ideas, creative elements, songs, etc…which then help me plan the services for a specific series.

It is important that Lead Pastors do not segregate themselves so much from the creation of the Sunday morning worship experiences. You don’t have to plan the whole service. That is the role of your creative team and/or worship team, but don’t separate the two so much so that there is a disconnect. Worship (speaking in terms of Sunday morning gatherings) consists of more than just music. Our worship services consist of certain elements that help to engage our people into a worship experience with our Creator. These elements can be music, prayer, giving, preaching, baptism, communion, and more, but they are not separate. They all are essential to our corporate worship. Therefore pastors, when planning don’t just write your message and expect your worship team to do the rest. Cast the whole vision of your message(s) to your team, share any ideas or thoughts you have for creative elements, share song ideas, and share what you feel God wants your people to hear.

Michael shared today, “Creativity should not drive content. Content should drive creativity.” Pastors, be sure to cast vision and direction in order to enable your worship/creative teams to create a worship experience that is capable of facilitating worship with excellence.

Where I’m Going…

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Nowhere.

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to New York City with Pastor Michael and Executive Brian 🙂 I was invited to go, and considering I had never seen the city I accepted the invitation. I walked 8 miles each day, got to see Time Square, and ate a lot of pizza. While in New York City I had the opportunity to sit in meetings with Pastor and Brian as they discussed church planting with some REALLY smart guys. I am glad I was able to sit through those meetings although none of what they discussed pertained to me.

You see, I’m not going anywhere. I read a few tweets about me moving to New York while visiting the city. While living in that city would pretty much be awesome, Sara and I are staying put for now. When Pastor mentioned he was moving Sara and I began praying where God was leading us, and both of us are called to the Oak Leaf Campus of West Ridge. God has big plans for our campus, as well as the other campuses of West Ridge Church. I am excited for the future of our church.

Lastly, I’m not saying we won’t ever move because more than likely we will move somewhere at some point in time, but not until both Sara and I feel God is telling us to go.

To blog or not to blog

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

I HATE to be that person who blogs every 6 months, and when they do blog it’s ” I’ve been gone for a while, but I’m going to start writing again” stuff. I mean, who reads this stuff anyway? Does it matter? Honestly, I haven’t been typing because I can’t justify using that time when there is other stuff I could be doing. But, maybe I should write. Maybe it’ll open up some creativity in my mind to write about stuff I normally wouldn’t write about. Like what? I have no clue. Apparently, not much goes on in my head…that’s a lie…or is it? I don’t know. Here is one thing I do know: I am tired of exams. I’m in my last semester of academic classes at KSU. If you’re in college and you’re reading this **finish school as soon as you can** or you end up a 25 year old still in school. (It’s ok…laugh) Seriously, I do wish I had made school a priority before now. Even now it’s not a priority, but I’m almost done. That’s what I know. I also know a God who sent His son to die for me in my place so that I could have a relationship with Him. (Now, of course I know a lot more than those two things, but the second is one of the most important things I know) Ok, I’m done. Maybe later I’ll write something that has meaning….we’ll see….in six months.

Easter Weekend

Posted: April 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

This past weekend was intense, long, exhausting, and phenomenal! Oak Leaf Church held 7 services over 4 days, and over 30 people decided to give their lives to Christ. It was great celebrating the news of our risen Savior!

Many folks have been asking about the songs we sang over the weekend. Will and I rewrote (Will mostly wrote with a couple word changes from me) some lyrics to the popular Jeff Buckley tune Hallelujah. We wanted to focus on the theme of Jesus and the resurrection, and we caught inspiration from Lincoln Brewster’s own Hallelujah. We also sang:

We Stand– Newspring Church
Hands of the Healer– Fee
Amazing Grace– Tree63

Will Goodwin, our very talented Pastor of Innovation and Worship, painted an amazing picture of Jesus while we covered Matt Maher’s song Christ is Risen. This song has become one of my new favorite songs and was perfect to follow Michael’s message.

Be sure to click on the names of each song to follow a link where you can purchase the song for yourself.

Go God!

Sunday Set- 1/10

Posted: January 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

God is Alive- Fee
Our God is Love- Lee McDerment
Great is the Lord- Elevation Worship