GoingFullCircleBlog

Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ


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The One-Day Missional Life Retreat for Your Worship Team

GFC iconYour first step to introduce your worship team to missional thinking can be a One-Day Missional Life Retreat in the context of a special rehearsal retreat. We cannot expect them to grow into deeper discipleship and more active missions until they have developed the missional mindset.

During this retreat, you will rehearse and prepare music for upcoming corporate worship while you are introducing basic missional life concepts. The best time of year for this retreat to occur is in either early January or just after Labor Day. An alternative could be a few weeks after Easter, but our hectic spring schedules make this alternative the third choice. The retreat could be scheduled on a Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, or week night. It can be effective if held in your own rehearsal space, though you might want to consider an offsite retreat.

Here is the outline for a One-Day Missional Life retreat:

  • Enjoy fellowship time with light snacks, 30 minutes before official start time.
  • Warm up and rehearse worship songs for the upcoming Sunday.
  • Present videos, testimonies and statistics introducing the decline of Christian affiliation in our country (Search this site for updated stats: http://www.pewforum.org/data/.) Then present stories of needs in your own community: spiritual darkness, illiteracy, teen pregnancy, crime, illicit drug use, etc. Consider inviting someone from the police or sheriff ’s department, a school administrator, or a social worker to share local stories of need. Ask your worship team to share with each other the needs and challenges they see in your community with the person on their right.
  • Explain the concept of “Going Full Circle” and how our worship must move us to deeper discipleship and active missions. Lead a time of prayer and sing a song for God to open our eyes to see our world as he sees it.
  • Rehearse another song or two for future worship services. Choosing songs to learn and rehearse that reflect our call to missional living will strengthen the impact of the event.
  • Ask your team to discuss these questions with the person on their left:
    Where in the Bible does it say that we will win the world by getting people into church? What does it say?
  • Teach them the five-fingered-approach-to-handing-someone-the-gospel. (Go here to see my previous blog on this approach: http://wp.me/p4ybbl-7W.  Ask them to share ideas with the whole group about how this approach could be applied in your community by your worship team.
  • Have a time of prayer led by those previously recruited to pray on the team’s behalf.
  • Rehearse one or more upcoming songs for future worship services.
  • Present videos of missional concepts. Some sources for missional videos that can be bought and downloaded are: http://www.ignitermedia.com; http://www.worshiphousemedia.com; http://www.sermonspice.com. (Note: You may use videos from YouTube or Vimeo or other web-sharing sites only if you are live-streaming the video from the Internet, according to current U.S. copyright laws.) Ask for quick first-impression responses to these videos from your worship team.
  • The retreat should continue in this pattern, alternating rehearsal of upcoming worship songs, with teaching of basic missional concepts from this blog or my book “Going Full Circle” (https://wipfandstock.com/going-full-circle.html) and other resources, followed by guided discussion.
  • Be sure to invite your lead pastor to come in and say a closing word of support and encouragement to the team for their vision. Close the retreat with a celebrative ending and commitment to continue to the next step. Announce step two, Missional Moments in Weekly Rehearsals, to begin in the next rehearsal.  I will present this plan next week right here.

Celebrate this first step into full-circle living in your worship ministry!  Bravo for your leadership to take your team to the next level and grow “worshiping disciples on mission”.  — Mark Powers

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“Rabbi” or “Lord”… What is Jesus to you?

Businessman Balancing SomethingWhile they were eating, He said, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me.”

Deeply distressed, each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord.” . . .

Then Judas, His betrayer, replied, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” “You have said it,” He told him.

Matthew 26:20-22,25-26, HCSB

Disciple or betrayer, the difference is found in one small word. The disciples called Jesus “Lord,” but Judas called him “Rabbi,” which means “teacher.” Many in the world know information about Jesus. But knowledge alone does not make a disciple. When Jesus is our Lord, he is our master, our spiritual boss, our authority. “To Judas, Jesus was a rabbi he respected, spent time with, and learned from, but Jesus was not lord of his life. Judas never surrendered his will to Jesus. He was informed but never transformed.”1 A disciple’s life is the expression of deep love for our Lord and Savior who transforms us daily through his power.

In previous blog posts, we studied the transformation process Jesus outlined in the Beatitudes. There we discovered how God transforms believers into disciples. How can we partner with God to develop a plan which will lead worship teams through transformation? How can we provide experiences to grow worship teams into missionaries?

Across the next three weeks, I will present a three-step plan to transform your worship team into a missional worship team.

Step One: The Missional Life Retreat.

Step Two: Missional Moments in Rehearsals.

Step Three: Full Circle Groups

Don’t miss it!  I’ll see you here next week.  — Mark Powers

1. Geiger, Kelley, Nation, Transformational Discipleship, 19.


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Unlock a New Vision to Go to the Next Level

Resources Recommendations But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem,

for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done . . . I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought this calamity upon us and upon this city?

So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. Nehemiah 13:6–7,17–18,30, NIV

Nehemiah’s first vision was to re-build the city of Jerusalem. His next vision was to purify the people. While in captivity and immersed in another culture, they had compromised the purity of their Jewish faith. Nehemiah’s intent was to restore their allegiance to the one true God—the God of their forefathers who would use them to bring forth the Savior. In some ways, rebuilding the city must have seemed easy compared to changing the attitudes, habits, and daily practices of the people.

As you celebrate the victory of achieving your first vision, remember that the process of transformation is ongoing. The mission effort you have begun is very fragile. It must be nourished and protected in order to take root. Regression can happen before you know it. A single accomplishment will be an empty victory if we return to old patterns of hoarding our giftedness inside the “Church Club”. Being missional requires an ongoing intent, focus, and plan to get outside into our community. It will take years for missional thinking to be fully ingrained in an organization that has been self-centered.

Your ability to manage change is always dependent on the quality of your relationships. I am amused to read in Nehemiah how he resorted to strong-arm tactics of pulling hair out and beating up those who disobeyed the laws of Jewish purification (Nehemiah 13:25). A leader must certainly be willing to discipline those who disobey God’s laws. But a leader can never withdraw from the bank account more than he has invested in his people relationally. Nehemiah had said previously: “The earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people . . . Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that” (Neh. 5:15, NIV). We must constantly check our “relational balance statement” to ensure that we are depositing more care, attention, encouragement, and love in our follower’s lives than we ask for in return. That is servant-leadership by Christ’s example.

Once you have successfully accomplished your first ongoing mission project in your community, begin to envision your next work. Go to God and ask him to breathe another vision into your brokenness. Go back to your pastor and begin the circle all over again. Keep on dreaming and leading full circle. Never stop as long as God’s mission of redemption is yet to be fulfilled!  — Mark Powers

P.S. Enrollment in WorshipWise October Session OPENS OCTOBER 1 but CLOSES AT MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 14.  Check out our 4-week courses for $99 each at http://www.worshipwise.com.

 


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Are Choirs Still Relevant in Modern Worship?

modern-worship-choir (As of last Wednesday 9/7, this SC Baptist Convention website article I wrote had 8,487 page views including 6,802 visitors.  Wow. I’m amazed!  Here is the article…)

Yes, I admit that many of our worship leaders and pastors hold divided opinions on the issue of choirs in modern worship. Yet in our culture we have seen a real resurgence of TV shows like “The Voice”, “Glee,” “The Sing Off,” and others that feature singers and choirs. Choirs are popping up in secular concerts, award shows, variety acts, and more. Some of the most cutting edge schools of modern worship continue to weave the choir into the fabric of their worship training.

I want to challenge you to rethink how a modern worship choir can be a viable way to revitalize your worship and involve more potential disciples in the worship life of your church! Here’s why:

The Bible tells me so

You may not be aware of it, but 54 of the Psalms are addressed to the choir director. Also, when the temple in Jerusalem was first dedicated and then again dedicated when Nehemiah rebuilt the temple, choirs were prominent in the dedication service. In fact, 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 tells us that it was the choir and orchestra that delivered the worship so powerfully that the glory of God fell on all those assembled in the temple.

Continue reading this article by clicking here: http://www.scbaptist.org/are-choirs-are-still-relevant-in-modern-worship/

Thanks!  – Mark Powers

(And take the WorshipWise.com survey to help us design future classes for worship leaders at WorshipWise!  Go here: http://www.WorshipWise.com)


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Leading through Change: Step Seven – Celebrate the Victory

Signs of Change At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem,

the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres . . . I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks . . . And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy.

The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.

Nehemiah 12:27, 31, 43 (NIV)

You have envisioned the dream, shared it with others, and led them to join you in accomplishing it. It wasn’t easy, and bringing it to reality required leading in the face of criticism and challenges. But you led through change into action. Now understand, this is only one small step in a long journey. Leadership experts remind us that it takes five to seven years to truly change a culture. So dig in and lead for the long haul.

Now God stands ready to show you the next missional step he has for you in the journey. Before you move on to your next mission there are two things that are crucial:

  1. Worship, praise, and thanks to God;
  2. Reward and recognition of the people.

When we praise God for success, we are recognizing that God gave the vision and all the resources to accomplish it. Because everything in life flows from God and to God, diverting any of the glory for ourselves is foolish. Leave no room for anyone to think you brought the victory. Offer your sacrifice of praise with such totality that there is no mistaking that God is getting all the credit.  – Mark Powers

 

—> Enroll now for practical, affordable, interactive online classes at http://www.WorshipWise.com.  Only $99 for each 4-week class! September session enrollment closes this Wednesday, September 7 at midnight.  Enroll now before you miss this session. The clock is ticking. 

 


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Leading Through Change: Step Six – Respond to Opposition and Conflict

Signs of ChangeBut when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”

Nehemiah 2:19–20, NIV

Every vision will encounter opposition. God’s chosen nation spent time in the wilderness between slavery and the Promised Land, and you will, too. The DISC personality inventory mentioned earlier tells us that 40 percent of us are “S” personalities. “S” personalities value steadiness, staying the course, and maintaining the status quo. Charles Arn, in his book, How to Start a New Service, identifies five levels of receptivity to change:

  • Innovators—Dreamers/Visionaries who embrace the future and are eager to embrace change but may not be accepted as leaders.
  • Early Adopters—Those who embrace a good idea on its own merit and are influential in moving it forward.
  • Middle Adopters—The majority. They tend to want to maintain the status quo and are influenced most by those opposing change rather than those supporting it.
  • Late Adopters—The last to endorse a new idea. Often they will not support any change regardless of merit until after it is adopted by the majority.
  • Never Adopters—Tend to be anti-change and will sow discord before, during, and after change is adopted.

 

Nehemiah experienced confrontation with detractors also. Nehemiah’s enemies circulated a rumor that his ambition was to become king. They planted the rumor to discredit him and undermine the mission. His three critics lived in his homeland but were not kindred. Expect there to be some who are not kindred spirits to your mission. Resistance will come; plan for it. I call this “anticipating some failure to reach more success.”

Casey Stengel, New York Yankee baseball manager in the 1950s, once said the key to leadership is to keep the five people who hate you away from the four who are undecided. In most organizations facing change, the middle adopters tend to listen to late adopters and never adopters. Your task as a leader is to empower the early adopters to inspire and lead the middle adopters to new ground.

An unknown source, tongue-in-cheek, has delineated five stages of innovation:

  1. Step One—People deny the innovation is required;
  2. Step Two—People deny the innovation will justify the effort;
  3. Step Three—People deny the innovation is important;
  4. Step Four—People deny the innovation is effective;
  5. Step Five—People accept the innovation, enjoy its benefits, attribute it to someone other than the innovator, and deny the existence of steps one through four.

When experiencing persecution, follow the example of Jesus. Jesus laid down his life for us. Don’t allow yourself to be a doormat to your critics, but do lay yourself down as a bridge to grace. We are most like Jesus when we share grace with someone who doesn’t deserve it. A servant leader imitating Jesus will absorb pain in his body to the point of brokenness. But our Lord has been there for us. On the other hand, Jesus also reserved some of his most confrontational words for religious critics. The ability to balance both godly grace and careful confrontation grows from brokenness before God. Remain a servant-leader, just as Jesus served us and died for us.

— Mark Powers

Readers: Please check out my WorshipWise ministry at http://www.WorshipWise.com.  Four-week classes online available 24/7 for only $99 each will launch in mid-September.  Excellent training at a GREAT price!

10 Arn, How to Start a New Service, 66–67.


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Leading Through Change: Step Five – Create a Detailed Strategy

Signs of Change

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem
lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come,
let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be
in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my
God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied,
“Let us start rebuilding.” Nehemiah 2:17–18, NIV

Gather those who respond positively to the Leadership Team recruitment process presented in the last blogpost. People tend to support what they help create. In your first meeting, involve your leadership team in seeing the missional vision and creating a written plan. Here are three necessary steps in this leadership process:

1. Write a vision statement

A vision statement is a verbal snapshot of the dream God has given you. Leadership gurus will direct you to write a mission statement before you write a vision statement. But our mission has already been given to us in the Great Commission: to grow worshiping disciples on mission. How has God called you to fulfill that mission in your community? Answer with a compelling statement in dynamic language to give the best possible word picture of the vision.

2. Develop SMART goals.

Goal-setting is a must if you are going to achieve your vision. When it comes to setting goals, our normal pattern of life tends to be: I set unreachable goals; I procrastinate and then self-criticize; pressure builds inside and outside of me as I fail to work toward my vision; I abandon the vision and go back to living the same old way. New Year’s resolutions seldom work because they follow this pattern. We must be smarter when we set goals to achieve our vision. Developing SMART goals is the smart way to lead through change into action. SMART goals fulfill this acrostic: S = Specific; M = Measurable; A = Attainable; R = Relevant; T = Time Specific.8

3. Win with action plans.

An old cliché says: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Did you know that wasting 30 minutes a day will add up to 11 days wasted every year? You could use those extra 11 days to lead a mission project this year. As you pursue your smart goals, continually ask, “What’s important now?” and then, “What’s important next?” Your answers to those two questions will help form your action plans.

Here is a worksheet to help the team develop a detailed strategy:

Worksheet: Develop your Mission Vision Statement.

From (month/year)__________ to _____________, I will lead my worship ministry to “meet people at their point of need in our community on a regular basis to build relationships that lead to witnessing opportunities” by doing these things: _________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Develop a SMART Goal (Specific/Measurable/Attainable/ Relevant/Time Specific).

I will lead my worship team to present a mission project in my community at the location of _______ ___________________________, on these dates ____________________________________, using the artistic medium of_______________________________________. Our goal is to have a total of ______ people participate at least once from the community. We hope to have an average weekly attendance of ______ with whom we will build relationships. We will present the gospel to them in these ways_ ___________________________________________________________ _____________.

We pray that _____ people will accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

Develop an Action Plan to WIN (What’s Important Now? What’s Important Next?)

Resources Needed?

___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Candidates for Mission Team Members?

___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Permissions Needed?

___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Training Needed for Team?

___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

OKAY!  The planning resources you need are right here.  Help yourself!  Now go put them to good use. — Mark Powers

  • Credit: Doran, Miller, and Cunningham, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives,” Management Review. Volume 70, Issue 11, 35–36.