Dear Worshiper

Dear Worshiper,

Thank you for coming to church. You don’t have to be there, and we sometimes forget that as leaders. The fact is this: You don’t have to be at church. You choose to be at church. My prayer is that you will be blessed because you came.

Please know that you have another choice. That choice is what or whom you worship. Worship is not an optional activity. Everyone is always worshipping something or someone. That’s why I’m calling you a worshiper and not an attender. As much as you may want to just attend a worship service, you’re actually in some sort of act of worship 24 hours a day, every day of your life. My hope for you is that you give all of that energy and attention to God every time you come to a service.

As you come to church, relieve yourself of the responsibility of inspecting our God presentation. You will always find flaws because we are flawed. Instead, come expecting the presence of God. God is not flawed. He is perfect. When you seek God in a fresh way every week, He will show you something new every time. His presence is way better than our presentations.

When I ask you to raise your hands, don’t assume it’s a stick-up. I’m actually encouraging you to be biblical with your expression. It’s a great thing to express your love for God and get excited. God has also asked us to sing, clap, shout, bow down and even dance. If you do those things at a concert or sporting event and not at church, you should probably do some introspection regarding your worship.

I truly appreciate your song requests. Keep those coming. Sometimes, you have some good ideas, but not all of the good songs are on Christian radio or even on your radar. There’s actually a whole bunch of incredible songs written for the church that just don’t get the airplay or exposure. I have a pulse on that, and I strive to prayerfully consider all the options. Give me some trust and don’t get mad if I don’t sing your favorites, but please keep requesting, because you enlighten me at times.

Speaking of songs, you may want more old songs, but they probably won’t be predominate. Maybe you want more new songs, but just know it’s not about staying up to date. Maybe you just want more of the same, but please realize it’s important to “sing a new song,” at least according to Scripture. As long as we are all focused on God, the songs should play second fiddle at best.

If you could be on time to church, that would be great. This may seem insignificant, but it can be an impact. We actually practice and rehearse the set list every week, including the FIRST SONG. When you habitually come in late, it tells me that what we do is not that important to you. More importantly, it says that worshiping God in song with the gathered church is low on your priority list. Not everyone has this punctuality problem, but some do. You know who you are.

Perspective is huge. Make sure you have the right perspective of your role. Look in the mirror and say this to yourself: “I am not a part of an audience.” An audience is a gathering that needs to be entertained. The gathering of God’s people should not be an audience that comes for a show. You are way more than an audience. You are part of a choir of children who call God their Father! We’re united in lifting up anthems of praise to an audience of One – the One true and worthy God. When you keep that perspective, you won’t settle for merely being entertained by our talents. You will intentionally strive to join the praise to our Almighty Audience of One!

It’s one thing for me to give constructive criticism, but I’m not perfect. So, let me take a moment to apologize. I’m sorry for bringing my ego to the stage at times. I’m sorry for judging you based on your expression or lack thereof. I don’t know your heart, so I’ll trust that it’s in the right place. I’m sorry for occasionally choosing songs and neglecting to pray about it. I have fallen short at times and will fail in the future, so I greatly appreciate your grace as you continue to come.

Finally, please know that I love you. When I play and sing songs every week, I am also praying that you will be inspired to not see me for very long. My hope and prayer is that the songs will inspire you to look to God and love Him more and more.

I really want you to be a part of what God is doing in our midst.

I LOVE GOD and I LOVE YOU!

Sincerely,
The Worship Leader

 

Gary is the director of worship and creative arts at Redemption Chapel in Stow, Ohio. He is also a blogger and a songwriter and is passionate about serving the local church. He has released two full length albums in the last several years and two EP’s in the last few years with songs that are completely geared for corporate worship – “Kingdom EP” (2010) & “Jesus EP” (2012). Gary has had his songs recognized by Myrrh Records, WorshipSource.com, the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CCLITV and SongDiscovery. 

Conditional Worship

“I just can’t worship with that kind of music.”

Have you ever said something like this?

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before. I’ve definitely thought it at times.

I was at a traditional church several years ago when God opened my eyes to this. I was sitting there during the music and thinking about how I would do the song differently. Then God basically slapped me in the face. I felt Him say to me, “Gary, worship me. If you can’t worship me with this kind of music, then your idea of worship is shallow.” I walked away from that a changed person and a changed worship leader. Over the years, I have seen and heard testimonies of people who have worshipped and connected with God for the first time, even though they didn’t prefer the music style that I was bringing. That is what it is all about. It’s not about the methods or styles in which we worship. It’s about bringing worship that the Father is seeking, which is in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:23)

That being said, I’m concerned that there is a danger we need to watch out for in our churches. The danger is CONDITIONAL WORSHIP. It’s when God’s people convince themselves of certain conditions that need to exist in order for corporate worship to happen. For some, it may call for a killer band and for others, it may call for a choir. For some, it may be lights and multimedia and for others, it may be stained glass and candles. These things are not bad ideas at all. When used properly, there are so many things that can enhance the experience and touch the senses, but we need BALANCE. We need to learn to worship God no matter what the circumstances. Paul said in Colossians 2:16 – “So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.” (The Message)

What is the substance of your worship? If it’s not Christ alone, then you are probably suffering from CONDITIONAL WORSHIP.

Here are a few signs you can watch out for:

1. INCONSISTENCY – Is your worship experience inconsistent? If it is, you need to realize that it’s not the church’s fault. It’s not the worship leader’s fault. It’s not the pastor’s fault. The issue is found when you look in the mirror. If Christ is the substance of our worship, then we will experience consistency in corporate worship. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” When Christ becomes the substance of our worship more and more, we will experience more and more consistency in heart-tugging, life-changing corporate worship.

2. BOREDOM – Jesus is not boring. Following Jesus with surrender is a true adventure. When Christ is not the substance of our worship, then we require lesser things to keep our attention in corporate worship. We require certain styles, certain songs and certain sermons. Eventually we tire of those things like a spoiled kid tires of unwrapped Christmas presents after a week of playing with them. If you are bored in corporate worship, maybe your attention is being kept by lesser things. When you fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3), you will never lose sight of true, exciting worship, no matter what the conditions.

3. HESITATION – Hesitation in corporate worship manifests itself in our inspection of everything, before we surrender everything. It’s when we look at who is on the stage or what is on the agenda, as we assess whether or not the order of worship will satisfy our wants and needs. Surrender and obedience are at the heart of worship. Delayed obedience is disobedience. When we delay or hesitate to bring an offering of praise to God, we’re not trusting that Christ is truly all we need. In Matthew 4, when Jesus called the disciples to follow Him, it says that they “immediately” left all they had and followed Him. May we not hesitate. May we follow and worship with trust and surrender.

Conditional worship is a sign that we have grown stale in our relationship with God or maybe we just have not grown at all. It reveals a heart that is not completely His.

When we completely, unconditionally surrender our heart to God, our worship will be complete.

God’s love for us is unconditional.

May our worship for Him have less and less conditions.

He loved us so much that He sent His only son to die for our sins. Christ is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). Christ is the substance of true worship and the only condition in worship we will ever need.

Gary is the worship arts director at Orchard Church in Denver, Colorado. He is also a blogger and a songwriter and is passionate about serving the local church. He has released two full length albums in the last several years and two EP’s in the last few years with songs that are completely geared for corporate worship – “Kingdom EP” (2010) & “Jesus EP” (2012). Gary has had his songs recognized by Myrrh Records, WorshipSource.com, the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CCLITV and SongDiscovery. 

Timeless Songs

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s constructing a sermon is to a pastor, so constructing a worship set is to a worship leader. You want to have solid content and memorable hooks that will stick with your church as they walk away.

For a worship leader, song selection is a very important and delicate, weekly task.

I don’t view myself as an entertainer, therefore I want my church to be able to easily engage, participate and sing the songs every week. That being said, I try to select SINGABLE songs! Novel idea, right? It doesn’t sound very profound, but it seems to be somewhat of a lost art.

What I’ve found is that the songs that seem to be the most accessible for the church are those songs that are timeless. They are those new or old songs that have that timeless, ageless quality. Timeless songs are songs that could have been written this week or 300 years ago. If we as worship leaders embrace them, I believe we can more effectively help our churches embrace God in corporate worship.

Here’s some qualities I look for in a timeless song:

1. SIMPLE MELODY
Think of the most popular songs that have been passed down from generation to generation. Most of them have a memorable, simple melody line. The melody is the key to a great song. The more complicated the melody, the harder it is to sing. I’m not saying that every great song has a simple melody, but if you want most of the people in your church to sing a song, a simple melody will enable that greatly. I was in a work shop at the National Worship Leader Conference one year, when I heard Nathan Nockels critiquing a song. He talked about keeping the melody simple, which means to limit the fluctuation in the notes of the melody line. I think the reason the Beatles’ songs have stood the test of time so well is because of their gift for writing memorable, yet simple melodies. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be great and when it’s simple, more people will be able to sing it. Keep it simple!

2. AGE ADAPTABILITY
A timeless song is an ageless song. It’s melody is simple enough to be adapted to any generation. A timeless song can be sung by my 7 year old daughter or my 81 year old grandpa. When you look at your setlist, is it geared for just one age group or can it be embraced by multiple generations? The church is a multi-generational organism and a healthy church accurately represents that. I am, in no way, suggesting a blended style worship set. That can sometimes be more confusing than constructive. I’m simply challenging that we use songs that are simple and accessible to the past generations all the way to the next generation. One of the timeless songs I use is “10,000 Reasons”. That’s a great example of a song that’s embraced by every generation in my church. I expect my generation and younger to like most of the songs I use, but there’s nothing sweeter to me than when I hear a compliment from someone who’s 30 to 50 years older than me. It tells me that most everyone was able to engage in worship in the same hour. That means I’m serving the whole church and not just one demographic of it.

3. STYLE VERSATILITY
A song that stands the test of time is largely preserved by it’s versatility. When you strip all of the instrumentation away, do you still have a great song? When a song is too dependent on the accompaniment, it’s versatility is extremely limited. The obvious examples of versatile songs are the revised hymns that we’ve all heard in the past decade. A timeless song can be played by a rock band, acoustic set or an old-school piano and organ. When you have style versatility in a song, it’s life-span is drastically increased. I think one of the greatest examples of this is “All Creatures of our God and King”. It was written in the 1600’s, yet it is easily translated to today’s popular style. Why? Because of it’s versatility. When you’re looking for a timeless song, test it with different styles.

The goal of this post is not to promote old hymns. God does not care about the date of a song, as long as the heart is right behind it. This post is about helping our people engage in corporate worship. Singing a song can be one of the most unifying elements for a group of people to do. A worship setlist that does not accomplish that is an oxymoron.

Psalm 100:2 says, “Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.”

This is not a suggestion. This is a command.

As worship leaders, let’s have a heart for God, His commands and His church, no matter what demographic they belong to. Let’s give them songs they can sing. Timeless songs can be a very effective tool in this mission.

Here’s some timeless songs (new and old) that I’ve used in corporate worship:
“How Great Thou Art”
“How Great Is Our God”
“All Creatures of Our God and King”
“10,000 Reasons”
“Amazing Grace”
“Lord, I Need You”
“I Surrender All”
“Here I Am to Worship”
“It Is Well”
“Because He Lives (Amen)”

…to name a few.

What are some other songs that you think are timeless?

Gary is the worship arts director at Orchard Church in Denver, Colorado. He is also a blogger and a songwriter and is passionate about serving the local church. He has released two full length albums in the last several years and two EP’s in the last few years with songs that are completely geared for corporate worship – “Kingdom EP” (2010) & “Jesus EP” (2012). Gary has had his songs recognized by Myrrh Records, WorshipSource.com, the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CCLITV and SongDiscovery. 

Love & Love God

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n my first couple of ministries, I worked with college students in our church. One of the highlights of the year was taking them to the annual Passion Conference led by Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and all the other cool kids of the modern worship movement. It was always an opportune few days to get fed and inspired about God, church and life. One year, I had the opportunity to meet Matt Redman, and being a fan, I asked him for an autograph. As a young worship leader, he had truly inspired and shaped my outlook on worship ministry and songwriting through his songs and books. He was kind enough to indulge my cheesiness with an autograph and above his name he wrote, “Love & love God.”

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 It was simple, yet profound. It stuck with me.

 In just a few words, he stated the essence of life itself.

 Matt was echoing Jesus. He was echoing scripture. He was stating the greatest  commandment.


Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”   
Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

Jesus made it simple. It’s about one thing: LOVE.

The thing is this: People matter to God, so they should matter to me. Love and love God. I cannot love God, if I do not love people. I cannot have passion for Jesus, if I do not have compassion for people.

For a worship leader that wants more than just music, loving people is going to start off the stage. It’s going to take getting into people’s messy lives and caring for them.

So, what does it look like for a worship leader to love people OFF STAGE? To answer that, we just need to look to Jesus. I mean, He is the ultimate worship leader. When you look to the gospels, everything He did was for the glory of the Father. He truly modeled how a worship leader can love people OFF STAGE.

1. REACH OUT TO THE UNREACHED
A worship leader has visibility and influence in the local church. More than likely, most people know you, even if you do not know them. The challenge for the worship leader is to get off the stage, out of the green room and into the lives of the attendees. Use your influence for good. Use it to love and spend time with the people. There are people in your church that no one talks to or knows. They are the nameless and faceless that need to be exposed and loved. Look for opportunities to lead the way in that. Jesus definitely did that. He broke down social walls in John 4 when he reached out to the Samaritan woman at the well and truly led her to worship. Who are the unreached that God has brought to your church? Who are the nameless and faceless that you have the influence to expose and love?

2. JOIN YOUR CHURCH
Just because you lead worship on a Sunday, it does not disqualify you from being in a small group or serving during the week. Remember that everyone that serves voluntarily has a job, a family and a life that does not revolve around your ministry. They serve because they want to and because they love God. Worship leaders should have the same heart and attitude. I’m vocationally full time in ministry. I work for the church and I get paid for it. My wife and I host a small group. I separate those responsibilities. I do not host a small group, because I get paid for it. I do not consider it part of my job or weekly work schedule. I do it to join my church in it’s mission. I do it because I want to get connected to the people of my church. It’s all about having the same heart that Jesus had for the church. In Ephesians 5:25, it says that Jesus loves the church and He gave His life for it. Worship leaders need to have the same heart. Love your church. Join your church. They need you and you need them.

3. MAKE DISCIPLES
Every worship leader and church leader needs to memorize Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus clearly tells us to GO and MAKE DISCIPLES. How amazing is that?! The Maker of it all has asked us to make disciples. Every church’s vision and mission statement should have the end goal of discipleship. God gave me a burden for intentional discipleship several years ago and I have found more fulfillment OFF STAGE discipling others than I have ON STAGE leading others in song. Don’t settle for just being in front of people. Be in the lives of people and have a heart for the great commission of Jesus. There’s nothing more loving you can do than to invest in someone and teach them how to grow closer to God and show them how to help others. That’s discipleship. Discipleship is equipping others to do the work of the Lord. I feel like worship leaders are often more focused on equipment than they are on equipping. Let’s change that! Let’s love people!

Loving people with the love of God will endure and go beyond any song we could ever sing.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  I Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)

Love & love God. There’s no purer motive a worship leader could have.

Gary is the worship arts director at Orchard Church in Denver, Colorado. He is also a blogger and a songwriter and is passionate about serving the local church. He has released two full length albums in the last several years and two EP’s in the last few years with songs that are completely geared for corporate worship – “Kingdom EP” (2010) & “Jesus EP” (2012). Gary has had his songs recognized by Myrrh Records, WorshipSource.com, the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CCLITV and SongDiscovery. 

Is Your Crowd Loud or Proud?

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s a worship leader, I can’t help but constantly see the comparison and contrast between sports and church. I love sports. I love leading worship. When I lead worship, I challenge and push my church to be as excited and loud about their passion for God, as they are about their favorite sports team. I push them to get even louder about their love for God!

When you think about college sports, it seems to be another level. If you’ve been around college football fans, they’re beyond loud. They’re loud and proud! They’re much like Texans. If you’ve ever spent any time with Texans, you know that they’re loud and proud about their home state. “It’s God’s country”, they say! I don’t necessarily think that it’s a bad thing. I admire their geographical enthusiasm. One of my favorite movie scenes about Texas is from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure:

Generally, when people are proud of something, they’re loud about it. Loud and proud isn’t horribly awful in our society. In church world, though, the proud part can really get in the way of worship. It can, in turn, affect the loud part.

It’s a good and biblical thing to be loud in our praise. Psalm 150 talks about “loud symbols”. Psalm 98:4 says, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music!”

That doesn’t seem to encourage a quiet atmosphere.

There’s no place for pride in worship. Pride is the main thing that will hold a person and some churches back from joyfully and freely proclaiming their love for God.

This brings the worship leader to the question, “Is my crowd loud or proud?”

What I’ve found is that if we can get our crowd past being proud, we can help them get loud in their worship of the Lord.

Here’s some tips I’ve learned about helping our crowd get more loud and less proud:

1. CHALLENGE THEIR MOTIVES
If the “WHAT” of church is the gathering together of God’s people, then the “WHY” is worship. The purpose of going to church as the Church is to glorify God together. That must be our motive. If that’s not our motive, then we have some serious problems and they’re all mainly rooted in pride. Remind your crowd about that. If we go to a game with the intent of cheering on our favorite sports team, then let’s go to church with the intent of expressing love and adoration for the Lord. It’s ok to do a heart check with our church on that. It’s one hour of the week and most people need to be reminded of that. When we do that, we challenge their motives in a healthy way.

2. NUDGE THEIR VOLUME
If you want something louder, you need to push the volume. The way we do that with our crowd is the same way you do that with a sound system…a nudge at a time. If you just push the volume slider all the way up, you’ll get some major feedback. If you push your crowd too much in their volume, you’ll also experience some major negative feedback from them. Take opportunities each week to nudge them along. Look for open doors to address it, but have fun with it in the process. It’s a baby step process. If their motives are in the right place then you can nudge their volume at the right pace.

3. SHOWCASE THEIR VOICES
There’s nothing more amazing to me than to hear a congregation of average voices lifting praises to our Lord. There’s so much beauty in that. A big factor I’ve experienced in getting a louder crowd, is stepping off the mic and letting the voices of my church fill the place. When a crowd can hear themselves singing, they start realizing that they’re participators instead of spectators. When the worship leader steps off the mic, the place not only hears that, but they also see it. It’s my signal to the crowd that it’s time for them to take the lead vocals on the worship team. When my vocalists on stage see me do this, they know to step back as well. This is the time to showcase the voices of our church. The beauty of it unifies us all into a choir singing praises to our God.

4. RECOGNIZE THEIR PROGRESS
As you challenge and push your crowd, don’t forget to encourage them. Recognize their progress each week. It’s amazing what a little encouragement does to people. Encouragement fuels momentum. I’ve seen worship leaders get up and ridicule their crowd for being too disengaged. Guess what happened….the place got quieter. Remember that they don’t have to be there. They are there because they want to do the right thing. Worship leaders have the power to really encourage that. It’s necessary to challenge your crowd, but don’t neglect encouraging and recognizing them and their progress. It will only motivate them in their pursuit of God.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that volume is the main validator of hearts. I don’t believe that a loud crowd is the end game here, but I do see a problem. The problem is that there’s a lot of excitement amongst Christians about other things in this world, and suddenly, that energy seems to dissipate as they walk into a church building.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 says,

This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom

or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

There’s no place for pride in worship. We will either boast about God or ourselves. It’s never simultaneous. If our churches are generally quiet about God, that usually means that pride is getting in the way. Let’s teach our churches to boast about how great God is! When it comes to the worship of the Lord, let’s teach our crowds to be more loud and less proud.

Gary is the worship arts director at Orchard Church in Denver, Colorado. He is also a blogger and a songwriter and is passionate about serving the local church. He has released two full length albums in the last several years and two EP’s in the last few years with songs that are completely geared for corporate worship – “Kingdom EP” (2010) & “Jesus EP” (2012). Gary has had his songs recognized by Myrrh Records, WorshipSource.com, the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CCLITV and SongDiscovery. 

Dealing With Criticism

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]recently went to the National Worship Leaders Conference. Naturally it was crawling with all kinds of creatives with different expressions and styles…and there was a lot of skinny jeans, of course.

Skinny jeans is definitely worn by many worship leaders, but there’s one thing that all worship leaders wear every time they get up in front of a congregation. It’s not something you request to wear, but it is something you’re required to wear. It’s simply part of the worship leader attire.

Every worship leader wears a TARGET.

When you get up in front of a group of people, you’re not going to please everyone. Not everyone is going to give you encouragement. You are going to get scrutinized and criticized. You’re an easy target.

I’ve pretty much heard it all. I’ve been criticized for my song selection, musical style, tempo, volume, lighting and even clothing.

When you surrender to the call of leading God’s people, you are also surrendering to the call of receiving God’s people’s criticisms.

So, how do we deal with criticism?

Here’s some tips I’ve learned about dealing with that oh-so-wonderful criticism:

1. HUMBLE YOURSELF
You have a very important choice in life. You can either humble yourself or God will humble you. The Bible is clear on which option to choose. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Pride is that nasty thing inside of you that will turn a criticism into a crisis. Humbling ourselves means laying down the defenses and trusting that God will lift you up, just as He has promised. In my experience, when I lay down my defenses, it will often disarm a situation and enable some resolution. Every worship leader will be criticized. It’s part of it. If we are to lead people to worship God, we must lead by example. Humbling yourself is an act of worship. It’s God-honoring. Criticism can hurt, but pride will destroy you. When a worship leader succumbs to the temptation of pride in the face of criticism, nobody wins, except the enemy (Ephesians 6:12). Humble yourself…you won’t regret obeying God’s instruction, especially when He’s lifting you up.

2. LISTEN
Al Pacino was once asked what the most important aspect of acting is. He immediately replied, “Listening. If you don’t listen, then you won’t know how to react.” Listening to criticism can sometimes be painful, but it is a very mature response and a healthy way to deal with it. Everyone has an opinion and what most everyone wants is just to be listened to. Hear them out! They may say something profound, even if they don’t intend to. Years ago, a man came up to me after a service, who I knew didn’t like anything I was doing. That particular morning, I introduced a song that I had written. I remember really getting lost in worship during that song. The man asked me if I had written it. I said yes, and he said he could tell. I then asked how he could tell, and he said something that has stuck with me since that day. He said, “I could tell, because you were really into it as you were singing it, but can I tell you something? Don’t forget about us.” At that moment, God spoke to me through that man’s words. God taught me, right then, that as a worship leader, I am never to forget the crowd. The worship service was not about me worshiping. I can do that on my own. It’s about leading all of us in worship. When you hear criticism, humble yourself and listen to it. You never know. God may be speaking to you through someone you never expected.

3. CONSIDER THE SOURCE
It’s healthy to listen to criticism, but it’s unhealthy to believe everything you hear. Criticism can be such a blow and a downer. The truth hurts, but there will be times that you will hear things that are not true. Some of the criticism you will receive may be completely ridiculous. That’s when it’s important to consider the source. Don’t let one church member cloud your view of all the good that God is doing through you. If your heart is right and you have a humble spirit, remember that you will not please everyone. Some church members are spending too much time inspecting your actions rather than expecting God’s actions. Humble yourself and listen, but don’t let anyone steal your joy. Consider the source. They may be in a rough spot in their own life or they may have an unresolved issue with you. Your response and reaction could potentially help them, and that can be an amazing and God-sized victory.

Criticism is not the enemy. It can be a tool of the enemy, but only if we allow it to be. The same power that conquered the grave lives inside of us, and there is no criticism too big that we can’t overcome.

Criticism will either make you bitter or better. It’s totally up to you. Make it a good thing!

 

Gary is the worship arts director at Orchard Church in Denver, Colorado. He is also a blogger and a songwriter and is passionate about serving the local church. He has released two full length albums in the last several years and two EP’s in the last few years with songs that are completely geared for corporate worship – “Kingdom EP” (2010) & “Jesus EP” (2012). Gary has had his songs recognized by Myrrh Records, WorshipSource.com, the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CCLITV and SongDiscovery. 

 

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