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Leadership

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Have We Missed the Mark on the Worship Leaders Calling?

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“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8


Anyone else think that Micah could have made this call so much easier by wording it a little differently?

I mean, why not “love justice, walk kindly, and do humility.” That I can do.

I mean I love justice, I want to see it everywhere, but do justice? My hands? My feet? Doing justice? Wow, that actually requires some movement. That kind of starts making things a little uncomfortable.

I can force myself to walk in kindness, bite my tongue, let the other person go first. But loving kindness? That means my heart actually has to change.

I can't just simply conform my actions, I need to transform my heart. The commission of Micah here is radical.

This last month our creative tribe here at Shoreline was smacked with the reality that God actually rejects worship when its not bent out in compassion. Passages like Amos 5 and Isaiah 58 aggressively convey to us that He actually despises our endless songs and skillful playing if the outpour is not justice rolling down like waters and ever-flowing rivers.

Here in Micah 6 we are commissioned to go even further. Justice is something that requires movement. It requires action.

Justice is not third person.
It's not something that freedom fighters and executive politicians exercise. It’s my job. It's your job.

Kindness isn’t simply something you do. It’s not something you bring out in a line at the grocery store. We need to train our hearts to love kindness. To actually default to kindness. To be kind people in the core of who we are.

Humility is intentional. As intentional as walking to get to your destination, we walk intentionally alongside our God, every step a gift we don’t deserve. 

Worship without compassion is self-medication.

When we worship on Sunday and walk out unchanged the rest of the week we degrade worship to moralistic therapeutic deism. Its a problem when Worship does more for our own therapy than bringing heaven to earth and when worship becomes about dulling the pain of our own hearts instead of realigning our hearts with the one we came to worship.

True worship, spirit and truth worship, actually calibrates our hearts to where God’s is and necessitates change. We start to do justice, love kindness, and walk in humility.

I believe the world is ready for justice to flow. And I think it’s going to start with the artists in the church. And if our demographics are correct, that's probably you.

I think with color, paint, melody, and song, justice is ready to flow. Freedom is ready to break forth.

So here's how we, at Shoreline Creative, are doing this:

All Worthy of Love is an organization that declares to the most seemingly worthless class of people in our society that they are of significant worth to their Father.

We literally take to the streets to feed, pray, and care for women caught in human trafficking and prostitution on the streets of Austin; just 7 minutes away from where we gather to worship.

With a lunch and hygiene kit we are creating opportunities for freedom and rescue. We are doing justice. We loving kindness. We are walking in humility serving the least of these. We are watching worship being forged into compassion, and watching freedom roll on to the streets of Austin.

And we need help.

We need people who are passionate about making the most beautiful sandwiches the world has seen; “Jesus loves you sandwiches.”

We need sponsors to help with gas and chips and drinks. We need people who are ready to answer Micah’s call and do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly.

Are you ready? Let's go! 


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Article Written by Tyson Morlet | Worship Pastor at Shoreline Church, Austin, TX. Father of two girls and husband of 9 years, Tyson's mission is to see the Church (global and local) worship God in spirit and truth.

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Why Community Isn't Optional for Your Worship Team

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Community isn't optional for the believer. 

It's highly critical. Without it, we're just lone wolves unable to experience nearly everything the Bible tells us to.

It's true that our salvation can be complete and secure in Jesus without interacting with another living person. But the fully, unleashed, fearless and abundant life of a Christian can never happen without our brothers and sisters. 

  • Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

  • I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

  • And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

We need each other to rub shoulders with.
We need each other to speak life and love and grace over our circumstances.
We need each other to experience apologies and forgiveness.
We need each other to experience grace and mercy. 
We need each other to accomplish anything worth something in the Kingdom of God. 

 

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." - Chuck Smith

 

So how can we foster a culture of community right where we are? 

Could it be taking someone out to coffee? Babysitting for a leader? Writing a note to that person in the band you've had on your heart for a week? Do it this week. Whatever you know the "it" is, do it and watch your culture begin to shift. 

 

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Dear Worship Leader, Remind Your Face You're Saved

As a worship leader, we GET to lead people in corporate singing and expression.

We are graciously called by Him to be instruments in bringing Him glory. However, we are flawed and our hearts are prone to wander and desire the things of the world.

If you have been leading worship for a while, you know sometimes you find yourself in a dry season.

Sunday mornings can easily become another weekly ritual and we can find ourselves going through the motions.

Sound familiar? 

It is crucial that we stay encouraged and are constantly reminded that what God has graced us to do, is a gift and has an eternal impact.

May Shoreline Music never become bored of leading worship.

May ______________ (fill in your worship department) never become bored of leading worship.

My hope and prayer is when we find ourselves in this position, that we might remember we are literally doing the Lord’s work.

We are playing a part in changing people’s lives.
We are tools used to save souls.
That is something that should never get boring.

Jesus' interaction with the woman at the well, give us insight into what we should all see as our calibrator of worship:

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
John 4


In our moments of complacency may we be reminded of the redeeming work that Christ has done in our lives; and that debt He has paid on our behalf.

Every word we sing, every chord we play, every beat we hit, every slide we cue, is an opportunity to speak this truth into someone else’s life. Let us cherish that and lead with joy.


 

Article Written by Andrew Markakis | Youth Worship Leader 

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Dear Worship Leader, It's Not About Us

Dear Worship leader, I too am a worship leader. Actually, scratch that. I’m a redeemed child of God who He has called to lead worship.

I’m also queen of the hot mess express. I’m also a broken person. I’m also a warrior who doesn’t give up. I’m like a human cocktail of feelings and traits and characteristics, a walking contradiction some days.

But today, I’m convicted.

A lot of my life, the Lord has stepped out of the way to let me break and become empty. Every time it has unfolded into a beautiful testimony of drawing nearer to Him. Of Him winning, yet again, my love for Him.

I’ve been thinking and meditating on how God uses sometimes the most broken people to lead worship. But one night, I came to see it’s not just that He calls the broken to lead worship, but He requires those He has calls to lead worship to be broken before Him.

For a while thought, “I’m a messy broken person, here I am broken before you”. I almost cringe now at how wrong I was.

Being a broken person and being broken before Him are two totally different things.

He uses the broken because of grace. But as a worship leader especially, we cannot successfully, I believe, do our assignment without being broken before Him.

As worship leaders, we are called to create atmospheres. To call forth His presence. To lead the congregation into His presence so that the Holy Spirit can do the work that only He can do. And as mere flesh, we cannot bring that forth in pride.

We cannot lead His people where we are not and have not been. Thus, we cannot lead the congregation into His presence if we have prevented our own selves from being there.

Reading through Isaiah 57 and 66, the Lord gives us the direction to enter for this as worship leaders. That He dwells in the high and holy place and also with the one of a contrite and lowly spirit. That the one who He looks to is humble and contrite and trembles at His word. In order to be in His presence, we must be humble taking a step back to hide ourselves behind the cross. We must be contrite, being remorseful and deeply effected by our transgression.

This whole time here I had been caught up basking in the comfort of His grace so flippantly that I’d forgotten the weight of what He called me to do for His kingdom. I confused repentance with a brush off and walked back onto those platforms assuming I was good to go and it was all enough. I didn’t even see the pride or that by ignoring the gravity of my errors when I walked back onto those platforms, I was creating a possible stumbling block between the congregation and His presence.

"The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts."
Isaiah 57:15

Contrite is the key word here for me.
Did God love me and forgiven me in those moments? Absolutely. That never ever changes. Ever.

But by refusing myself to feel the remorse and coming in humility genuinely understanding I’ve done nothing to deserve what He has asked me to do, I prevented myself from being fully in His presence. And while I was there in lala land instead, I was leading these people God trusted me with nowhere.

I was broken, but not broken before Him. I didn’t understand that a contrite spirit isn’t an encouragement, but a beautiful requirement. And I thought, “What have I done…”.

Today I think of the draw towards repentance as a cross to bear for the worship leader.

I don't nail this 100%. I think we're all still growing and learning. This is why grace grows more beautiful the longer you walk with Jesus. Because it never runs out, no matter how much you use. 

If I could encourage you to do anything as a worship leader, just for a second, it would be to discover the gravity of the assignment He's given us and the gravity of its requirements.

As worship leaders, we lead worship. Therefore, personally understanding worship as an offering, and deeply experiencing that an offering, is a sacrifice.

Sacrificing ourselves, our ambitions, our aspirations, because it’s not about us, in even the smallest ways. It’s becoming so broken before Him, encountering His presence, so that our brothers and sisters, whom He loves so deeply, can follow us there.


 

Article Written by Whitley Degollado | Worship Resident

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3 Tips When Singing on a Tired Voice

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1. Hydrate!

A dehydrated and tired voice is an environment conducive to vocal damage. Eliminate every potentially harmful factor that is in your control. 

2. Keep Talking to a Minimum.

Don't overwork your voice. Don't talk loud. Don't yell. If your vocal cords aren't swollen already, they are more susceptible to swelling when you're tired.  

3. Pray.

If you believe that singing is your calling, then have faith that God wants to help you succeed and carry you through your bad days. 

 

*Tips from our #1 choir for a singing instruction program, SingingSuccess360

 

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Dear Worship Leader, Look Around

Dear Worship Leader, look around. Who might your worship be fighting for this weekend?

Every Tuesday night, during rehearsal our team has a Huddle. We briefly talk through the setlist and make any notes and changes before we do a full run through of the service. Then, we spend the majority of the time in culture creation. 

Usually one of our worship leaders or pastors will do a quick word on what they're learning about the Lord and then we break off into groups to pray over each other. 

This particular week, we felt an urgency in the atmosphere to fight a battle in prayer. It was a very specific battle and we all walked into that night feeling it. 

A couple girls were so overwhelmed in vocal rehearsal that we just scratched the technicalities all together and worshipped. Acapella. 

Instead of praying over each other in circles, this night, we prayed over our church family. Every row. Every chair. We prayed and worshipped over their battles, whatever they may be.

We prayed for healing and wholeness.
For courage and fierceness.
We prayed for provision and strength.
We prayed for defense and dedication.
We asked the Holy Spirit to give us names and faces to see and hear as we sought His face on their behalf. 

So when Sunday finally comes, when we look up, look around, we trust that the faces we see and the people we hug might have won some battles this week. Not because of us, but because the war is won in community. It's won in prayer. It's won in surrender. 

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural)places. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]."

Ephesians 6:12-13

"They all joined together constantly in prayer..."

Acts 1:14 

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Unity is NOT Uniformity

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Unity is NOT Uniformity

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." - Mahatma Gandhi

Or as Jesus put it, "Father,...I pray...that they may be one, so that the world may believe that You have sent me." (John 17:11-23)

Unity in heart, mind, soul and mission is our goal. But we want to be super clear that "unity" is not the same as "uniformity." 

UNITY : the state of being united or joined as a whole

UNIFORMITY : the quality or state of being, remaining the same in all cases and at all times

Being the same person with the same talents, same characteristics, same ways of thinking, same passions and gifting accomplishes a very small piece of the mission Jesus gave us. 

The distinctive between unity and uniformity, according to the quote above is "unquenchable faith in their mission."

The distinctive according to Jesus is, "so that the world may believe that You have sent me." (John 17:21)

We have a mission. We have an ultimate leader we are all following: Jesus Christ. He did the hard work of determining the end goal we, as Christians, are aiming for: Love God and Love Others.  

In alignment with that mission (which is reassessed and adjusted all the time) are the methods; the HOW of what we do. But Jesus already gave us the WHY. That is unalterable. 

"I have personally come to believe that unity does not have to require uniformity, and I believe that there must be such a thing as healthy diversity in human society and in the Christian world church. I see the world church as the gathering together of a great symphony orchestra where we don't make every new person coming in play a violin in order to fit in with the rest. We invite the people to come in to play the same score—the Word of God—but to play their own instruments, and in this way there will issue forth a heavenly sound that will grow in the splendor and glory of God as each new instrument is added." - Ralph Winter

The other side of this coin is that we are fighting for diversity with the same tenacity we are fighting for unity. 

We are so thankful to have a team, a family, a clan, that brings such an excellent and wide variety of instruments (literally ;) to the orchestra of Shoreline Music. 

Shoreline Music exists to unveil God's love by creative atmosphere of worship for the local church. 

And we're so honored we get to do it with you. ~


MORE VERSES ON UNITY

Col. 3:13-14
1 Peter 3:8
John 13:35
Romans 15:5

Phil. 2:2
1 Cor. 1:10-11
Rom. 15:5
2 Cor. 13:11

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Dear Worship Leader, We All Have the Same Holy Spirit

"So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love.

Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].

There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation]— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is [sovereign] over all and [working] through all and [living] in all.

Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift."

Ephesians 4:1-7

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Leading Worship is More Than a Weekend Gig

It was a Saturday night and I was spackling on my "stage make up", readying for another weekend of worship leading. (Side note: I love my job.) I had just dusted my eyelids with a soft salmon color from Sephora, and when I opened them to make sure they were even, I felt like I was looking into someone else's eyes. 

They looked tired, weary even, as if they'd been fighting a battle and losing hope.

And they were. Fighting and losing. Or at least that's what it felt like. 

I dabbed on extra concealer, curled my hair, lathered on some Chapstick and called it. There's only so much you can do ya know.

That particular weekend I was sharing before the song Forever Reign. It was new(er) to our congregation at the time and as I reviewed my manuscript for my speaking portion, I couldn't hold back the tears.

It read:

"You are more You are more than my words will ever say, You are Lord, You are Lord, all creation will proclaim, You are here, You are here, in Your presence I'm made whole, You are God, You are God of all else I'm letting go." 

 These words have been true of me time after time and when I came to a place of surrendering control, I began to see God's hand at work in my life. I saw Him for who He was...

I subconsciously worded it from a past tense perspective. As if to say, here's what I learned, now try to learn it too. 

But I haven't learned it. It is not something I've mastered and I wept because I knew someone that weekend needed to know that.

I wanted so bad to separate myself from what I knew my God was telling me to communicate. I wanted to be the identifier, not the identified. 

But I did it anyway.

I changed "came" to "come", "began" to "begin", "saw" to "see" and "He was" to "He is". I told the congregation I was stuck in the midst of this very concept, too deep in to turn back, yet too far away from hope to swim faster.

I was right there with them, whoever them was. It could have been anybody that day, that didn't matter. 

What mattered was that they knew they weren't alone. And the girl who sings about freedom and hope and peace could relate with their bondage and despair and unrest. 

Two months later, at a women's retreat, that someone found me. 

She came to me, with timidity and tears, and said, "When you spoke, a couple months ago about surrendering to God because of who He is to you, you eluded to your miscarriage and I heard it. It was brief but I know you said those words for me. I needed to hear that someone else felt what I was feeling and that they still worshipped God. But mostly, that I was going to be okay. Thank you." 

As a worship leader, you may see a wide array facial expressions and hands in pockets, but you can't see the brokenness that is being mended inside the souls of those faces. 

As a worship leader, you may think you're choosing a song or a verse or a hymn because it fits the right key or it's the newest, coolest thing, but you can't see how it is giving words to the groans in someone's spirit. 

And this can ripple beyond the Sunday morning setting:

As a co-worker, you may be afraid of what your team mates might think of your encouragement, but you don't know how much they need it that day. 

As a neighbor, you never know what a plate of cookies can do for the soul and happiness of a lonely widow(er) or single parent. 

As a parent, you may feel like you are showing grace and love to a brick wall most of your adolescent's existence, but you can't predict what they'll remember when life thrashes them around. 

As a spouse, the negative may be highlighted in your marriage right now, but you can't yet see just how much your unconditional love and purposeful kindness can change even the hardest of hearts. 

Leading worship is more than a weekend gig when you let your church know you are real. 

Being a Christian is more than a weekend gig when you let the world know you are real. 

Ponder for the rest of the week: How can we be real this weekend? 

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"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3-7


By Jules Morlet | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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