“Just the Band Guy” by Paul Baloche

Just the Band Guy

by Paul Baloche

“I’m just a band guy”. That was my attitude when I volunteered to play on the worship team at my church almost twenty years ago. I wasn’t really interested in being up front, charged with the responsibility to talk to the congregation let alone “lead” them in some way. That all seemed pretty intimidating, and quite frankly- a hassle. Yeah, that’s right, dealing with people can be a hassle. And so I was content to show up with my guitar rig and dutifully play the appropriate parts behind our Pastor who artfully encouraged worship from the platform.

That all changed the Sunday morning that my Pastor turned to me and said over the microphone so that everyone could hear, “Paul, would you come and lead us in a few songs while I pray with folks at the foot of the stage.” Yikes!! Everything in me was like “Nooooo Waaaaay” but I pretended to be OK with it as I nodded yes nervously approached the mic. I wanted to declare out loud, “I’m just a band guy thank you very much” but it was too late. I was being pulled from the sidelines to front and center, where all eyes stared back at me with profound expectation.  I think I screamed a desperate prayer under my breath like, “O God, don’t let me stink and bore people to death.”

That all seems a little silly now but at the time it was fear incarnate.

Down the Road

As weeks turned into months and months into years I began to grow in my love and concern for the people that I served each Sunday. Instead of fearing their disapproval or rejection of me, I began to realize how important our corporate gatherings were to the spiritual health of our congregation. As I became more aware of the different challenges and trials that so many of our members were facing, I began praying and asking God to give me His heart for the people I served. I prayed for wisdom and insight as to how our team could help strengthen our folks not only on Sunday mornings but also throughout the week. I became less preoccupied with striving for a flawless set list and more focused on how we could build up and encourage others through music, prayers, and scripture.

The Progression

The perception of my role went from band guy to worship leader to “lead worshipper” to finally Worship Pastor.  I started to experience a shift, in thinking of myself as a Pastor who utilizes music as the primary vehicle in helping others worship and connect with God. Previously, I saw myself as a musician first, who  “should probably get more involved in the leadership of the church”.

The church needs leaders. It’s easy for us to sit back and let someone else do it. It’s easy to analyze and criticize the decisions that our Elders or Pastors make. But I learned very quickly how difficult it is to wrestle through the endless array of problems when I stepped up to be an Elder myself. Wow! What a revelation it was.

Since then I have gained such an appreciation for those who are willing to sacrifice hours and hours for the sake of the local church. Everything from the most difficult personal issues of church members to the mundane minutia of buildings and budgets. So many times we want to walk away and leave it for someone else to figure it out, while we sanctimoniously sip our Starbucks from the sidelines and cynically point out the flaws and inconsistencies

Stepping Up

Joni Mitchell sings, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now”. Too many times I played the blame game but I’ve also felt the sting of judgment from the professional complainers. No matter.  Jesus said to Peter, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”  There is the command for us to love, nurture, and feed the people of God- To lay down our lives for the sake of the call. Except thankfully for most of us, these days “laying down our lives” means putting up with the inconveniences of people and leadership, as opposed to being martyred or burned at the stake.  Jesus also revealed that too often “the laborers are few”.

Apply It

I urge you to consider if you have been resisting the tug of personal leadership and opting for an easier path. The path of showing up, punching the ministry clock, and then checking out with very little emotional investment or commitment to church relationships.

I am heartened by people like Glenn Packiam, Lincoln Brewster, Vicky Beeching, and Laura Story who not only write and perform skillfully but have also embraced the call to provide Pastoral leadership in their local church.

Worship and Performance

I’ve had past discussions with folks about quality in corporate worship settings. Some say it is important, some say it’s not. I do agree, we do have to be careful not to focus purely on performance…but allow our performance to be molded around worship.  Therefore, the reason for “good” is for God… He is “Good” right?

Worship: (Hebrews 13:15-17 sums it up best)

  • Worship is the continuous outpouring of all that you are, all that you do and all that you can ever become in light of God.

Performance:

  • The manner or quality of functioning.

Quality:  Leaders, musicians, song selection, Audio/Video teams, production teams,  all have very important roles that lead to the same focus – Eliminating as many distractions in worship experiences to help people fully engage with God – by, being prepared, knowing your part, and being intuitive to where the Spirit leads your worship leader. 

Professionalism attracts Professionalism:   Just like any job, study your trade, know it blindfolded, be good at it. This brings out the best in yourself and others. It’s contagious.

God Honors it:  God honors your hard work for the Church and the Kingdom. Challenge yourself to continually grow within your arena, whether it’s to be a better worship leader, or a better sound tech.

We serve a perfect God. He deserves the best.

 

Take heart and say thanks..

It’s ridiculous how much we think life sucks.  Funds are tight,  jobs are lost, friends come and go, loved ones die and somehow this equals the end of the world.  Well, it’s not the end.  You have to take heart, get back up and stay up. 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

So ultimately, life doesn’t really suck.  It’s where you seek understanding that makes sense of all the suckiness - which then you realize how thankful you really are for what life God has given you.  He has overcome, say thanks.

-christian

“Recalculating”

We seem to forget that our lives have already been mapped out… therefore anything outside of the “route” God has drawn for us,  is completely out of His will.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

The plans we have made for ourselves, don’t come close to measuring up to the plans God has already made for us.  Now all we need to do is simply get on that path and stay on it.  Then everything else around us falls perfectly in place.

-christian

5 Essentials for Next Generation Leaders:

     My worship pastor and I are currently reading through the book “Next Generation Leader”, by Andy Stanley.  So far, it’s an incredible tool and we’ve yet to dig deep into it.  I thought I’d break down the 5 essential concepts we must have to become Next Generation Leaders. So here they are…

  • Competence – Channels their energies through what they excel in.
  • Courage – Initiates, sets things in motion, moves forward.
  • Clarity – Must learn to be clear even when he is not certain.
  • Coaching – You may be good, but without a coach you’ll never be as good as you could be.
  • Character – You can lead without character, but you won’t be a leader worth following.

I’ll be posting more about the book as we continue to read. Or if you wanna grab it yourself just click the pic at the top.

-christian

If God has gifted you to lead, then lead you will. There’s no stopping you.

The Calling

We so easily get caught up in everything around us making it seem impossible to focus on the plans God has for us. I’ve realized how important it is to be still and just listen. Over the past few weeks the Lord has spoken to me very clearly about my calling and I’ve decided to act accordingly. I pray that through this journey I grow spiritually and mentally, that the Lord will use me to the fullest for His Church stretching me beyond the limits.

-christian