When It All Falls Into Place

Yesterday was hard.

After getting many positive replies to Sunday’s worship from members of my church community and online commmunity, I received one negative response. It was from a leader in my community who I respect. She didn’t dislike the idea of solo worship, but she thought it was poor timing.

The most important reason to do scaled down worship is to teach people that you don’t need all the glitter and sizzle to worship God. Glitter and sizzle isn’t bad. We intentionally make worship exciting every week and don’t apologize for it. But the flash and hype is just not necessary, and believing it is necessary is bad. My friend notes that it is a good and lofty goal to teach this type of worship theology, but now was probably not the time to do that.

The argument makes sense to me. People have a hierarchy of needs – they don’t really care how to increase the battery life of their iPod if they don’t have food to eat or basic shelter. Right now our church is in several layers of crisis. Is it the time to focus on deeper lessons of faith or stick to the basis? Despite my feeling that it was a smashing success, I’ve still been in thought over whether this was a wise call or not.

Today on the other hand was an awesome day.

Everything just fell into place. I seriously feel at ease and happy – two emotions that have been elusive recently. Today, plans that I didn’t think were going to work out, ended up working out. It happened all day long. One example was that I found out 2 band members could not play this week. When I called them up they had already taken the initiative to find their own replacements. Score!

I had five or six difficult conversations today. They were all difficult for different reasons, but in each case those who I spoke with surprised me with thier empathy, dedication and faith. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. God has surrounded me with some amazing friends.

I’m pretty thankful for today.


12 Responses to “When It All Falls Into Place”

  1. 1 janowen September 9, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    I’m praying tomorrow will be a day like that for me – I too have a difficult conversation to have….

    Last week was FULL of difficult moments, but everything seemed to be working out well. Sometimes I just have to remind myself to be patient and give God time to work!

  2. 2 Eric M. September 9, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    In times of “crisis” getting back to the basics and stripping away all the fluff and flair is sometimes needed. I see it as a place of repentance and a place for Jesus to be exalted with limited distraction. The bottom line is God has you at Chase as a shepherd to love and protect HIS flock. He leads you in a specific way to accomplish his desire in the flock.

    Embrace the tension.

  3. 3 Mike Mahoney September 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    If anything, this is the PERFECT time to teach it. I can think of no more of a poingent moment in these times than singing “Blessed Be Your Name” with one voice and an acoustic guitar.

    God is not smaller than our problems. And by showing those we disciple that these are the times when we have to rely on the Lord, and He will come through. “Is there anything that is too difficult for the Lord?” God asked Abraham this as a rhetorical question, but our actions show we are still asking the question. And of course the answer is no.

    When we change the way we would worship God in reaction to troubled times, we are shortchanging Him. This would not be true of all ministries, BTW. A church planting seminar or a leadership class may indeed be superfluous in these times, but never worship. And if anything, churches should be setting the example and doing without the glitzy media shows on Sunday morning when people can’t pay their mortgages.

  4. 4 Randy Miller September 10, 2008 at 7:14 am

    I hear ya Billy. I’ve found that I can’t make everyone happy (go figure). But it is a shock when someone you respect approaches you and tells you it’s bad timing. I’ve had that experience too. Some I deeply respect shared with me that they don’t like the same thing every Sunday and that creativity would be a good thing. When I started to change things up in worship, I found out that they didn’t like it. It was too “post-modern”.

    I’m learning that even though people say they want “this” or they want “that”, when they are actually given “this” or “that” it’s not what they’re really looking for. The trick is to listen behind their comments to hear what they’re really saying. I certainly don’t have it figured out, but I have learned that what’s coming out of their mouths isn’t necessarily accurate to what’s going on in their heads or heart. And the bugaboo is that most of the time, people don’t even realize the discrepancy between their words and their heart!

    At the end of the day, Billy, I would encourage you to follow God’s leading. Yes he does speak through people and you need to listen to them, but God also speaks to you as your crafting and planning out worship.

  5. 5 Billy Chia September 10, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Everyday for a while now has held at least one difficult conversation for me. I’m actually starting to get better at having difficult conversations – which isn’t a bad thing. I hope you get a little Tetris action your way 🙂

    “Embrace the tension” I love that. A mentor of mine says, “The gospel is messy.” No tension at all probably means we’re not living the Gospel.

    “our actions show we are still asking the question.” I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the statements we make with our actions.

    “listen behind their comments to hear what they’re really saying.” – I’m aim to be a “Say what I mean, mean what I say/ let my yes be yes” kinda guy. But I’m learning that if I want to love people in Christ in need to hear what they are not saying.

  6. 6 russhutto September 10, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    So what ARE they saying? WHY is the timing bad?

    I’m under the impression that it’s never a bad time to worship sincerely. And if that’s what happened, then what’s the big deal.

    However, I’m curious if you had given them the heads up before hand?

    If so, would they have struck it down?

    Prayers for you and Chase today.

  7. 7 Sarah Chia September 10, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I like the thing about embracing the tension. What a tough concept to live out.

    Sixpence NTR has a song with this line: “But tension is to be loved when it is like a passing note to a beautiful, beautiful chord.”

    Hopefully all your worship leader readers can appreciate that analogy.

  8. 8 lesliesarah September 12, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Does God not reserve the right to have us one-on-one? In Jesus’s time of most desperation He prayed ALONE. And, throughout the day, don’t we need to pray without ceasing. Communication through prayer in groups has definite purposes, but prayer with only you and your Lord is our life bread.

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t think there is an innappropriate time to share the truth of the Word.

  9. 9 Frederick Uhl September 14, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    It was a success. Variety in worship is a good thing. Timing? I am not sure there is such a thing in regards to worship…just do what the Spirit moves you to do.

  10. 10 BethIvy September 15, 2008 at 10:11 am

    i like that even with so much positive response, you’re taking time to learn something from the one negative response you got.

    i can’t say a lot on whether or not this was the right choice or not, but i can say God leads your worship, so regardless of timing, He will work things out to His glory, even if from our viewpoint things weren’t perfect.

    just thought i’d let you know that since i’m starting my internship in..well about 50 minutes at St. Paul Ann Arbor, i’ve been looking at your blog as an encouragement. it’ll be my first time on the adult-side of church leadership, and i’m a little nervous. i’ll be posting about it soon i think, but for now i just wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration by sharing your struggle.

  11. 11 Peter Park September 15, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Let me just say that I really enjoy your blog. Remember, that the heart is the most important thing. Leading worship isn’t a science in any respect. We just seek God, pray, and play.

  12. 12 A. September 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Billy, and thank you to everyone who has shared their own comments and input.

    @Peter: Especially encouraged by your last sentence in your comment!

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