I want to try and organise something that will help the CHURCH, encourage and develop some of your people, and won't cost ANYONE (other than me) a penny!! If you are a church leader, please let your music people know about it as we want as many folks involved as possible. If you are outside Northern Ireland and have tripped over this, then sorry (for now) but who knows what God might have in mind for a few years down the line.........
I want to start a worship leader’s network in Northern Ireland. Lets start with a definition… for “worship leader” read “anyone who’s involved in the music in a church” from organist, contemporary band member, choir, kids work midweek musician, ANYONE who facilitates singing in your church. And why limit it to church? School assembly, hospital, sheltered accommodation….. ANYONE who “does the music” in a Christian setting…… Worship leading is by its nature a ministry that ties you to your church. You usually don't get the chance to get out and network with other leaders because you are at your own church leading there...... It can be a lonely path to travel…….
I have had been at both ends of the scale in my ministry.
I was the bass player. I had written songs but because I wasn't the LEADER who chose the songs, there was no way to get the songs played in church. I was frustrated and disillusioned because I felt that God had given me a musical gift, but no way to exercise it.
I've also been the only worship leader in the church, when due to folks moving on, or folks being on holiday, I've been leading solo with no-one to take over if I felt unwell or needed to be somewhere else...... I did three months as the only musician, leading morning and evening on a Sunday and at the midweek too. I know people who have done this for years at a time. It is EXHAUSTING!
so, my idea.......
firstly to provide a means of getting together. Maybe two or three times a year, not on a Sunday obviously, but on a night when most of us will be available. Meet in a church somewhere (initially here in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Monkstown) and have two worship groups, each leading a set..... Separated by some teaching...... and a LONG coffee & muffin break to network and get to know other folks involved in music ministries..... so that when we need some time off, there are a choice of 6 folks who I KNOW that are theologically, musically, and personality wise suited to be able to take over for a week...... or that if I really need a keyboard player or a drummer or a sax player......for a special service, I can call 4 who could maybe be up for it..... or if I have a traditional church but would love a band for a one off service…… or if I have a very modern church but I could really see a organ led hymn service, maybe for Christmas….. or what about a folky group for St Patrick’s day…… or a brass band for Advent…… Along side this I’d like to invite EVERYONE to take a look at www.developingworship.com. Its an internet forum based in the US. I’m on the moderation team and there is a LOT of input from this side of the Atlantic already. Its great to hear the ideas, discuss the problems, hear new songs, get tips for new ways of doing things, from all sorts of denominations, from tiny home churches to 5,000 seater mega churches. Its open to anyone to go in and have a look around, and if you like what you see, please do register and join in the chat. It’ll take a few hours for someone to manually accept your application, (this stops a lot of automated spam) but once that’s sorted, you’re in!! Please pass this on to as many folks involved in ministry as you can. If 20 people show up for our first get together, it’ll be great. If 200 show up, just think how the church as a whole can be built up and equipped!! Thanks for your time in reading this, please feel free to ask anything by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or just ask at www.developingworship.com. Finally, if you are interested in this worship network, please drop me an email with “Worship Network” as the subject line, and when I organise the meetings I’ll be able to let you know.
Thanks again Martin Edwards