Be a Worship Leader

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By Nate Champneys

There are a lot of “Christianese” words that get thrown around within the Church. Some of these words are very frustrating because the true meanings and the normal definitions of these words are two different things or are, at minimum, incomplete. Take the word “worship” for example. We use this word a lot in the context of group singing during our services, and so the word “worship” has almost become synonymous with “corporate singing.” We know, however, that worship is a blanket term referring to “declaring worth” of something or someone, and we use it in the context of declaring worth to God. We also know that this is more than singing on a Sunday morning; it includes every aspect of our lives.

A word that has become commonplace in our church culture is the term, “Worship Leader.” We generally use this term to refer to the person on stage on Sunday morning who is in charge. The longer I have been a staff worship leader though, the more this term makes me uneasy. I lead week after week after week, but I have come to realize that I don’t have nearly as much power to lead people as someone sitting in the front row of the seats (or the back row for that matter). What I mean is that I think people are more influenced by other people in the congregation than they are by the people on the platform. This has led me to ask the question, “Who is actually leading?” Many Sundays I’ve watched from the platform as we as the “leaders” are very expressive in our praise while people in the seats are not. I have also watched a single person in the congregation who stands and raises their hands be the first of a wave moving through the congregation.

I have come to realize that everyone is a leader and a follower at the same time. As human beings it is our nature to look around at what everyone else is doing and follow suit, while at the same time everyone is looking at you as well. I once was leading morning worship (there’s that term again), and watched a woman who was new to the congregation sitting a few rows back with her eyes closed, and her hands raised. Throughout the whole song set, she was very expressive. This was in a church that was from the Dutch Reformed background and was typically not very “open” in expression of worship. This Sunday, however, was different. I watched as many people through the service seemed to become more expressive. I went up to her afterword and said, “Thank you for leading worship this morning.” I told her that I knew she hadn’t been doing it for a thank you, but for the praise and glory of God. Yet when people in the congregation express praise to God, it is contagious.

What you do affects others. Period. I want to give you a charge: be a worship leader. You don’t have to be up on the platform to lead people. Do you want to bring God glory? Do you want to point people to Him? It’s really simple. Recognize that people are following you. I’m not talking about putting on a show for others. I am talking about authentic worship with the understanding that people are going to follow you either way. Are you going to lead them closer to Jesus, or farther away?

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Family Time

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by Dan Amos

For 18 years now, Elim has been home to me and my family. It’s where we experience the community of believers, where we worship corporately, where we serve, where we live, and where we give. Sometimes at home we get busy or things are just changing and it is good to stop and have family time to talk about what’s going on. I am excited about our direction and am eager to share that with you.

In my house family time can mean asking what’s going on in the next week or last year’s recurring talks about family finances. We talk about what it means for the family and how we are going to respond.

At Elim we have been talking about change for awhile, but the Elder Board, staff, and Ministry Leaders want to process with our whole family where we’ve been and where we’re going. Therefore, we are planning several “Family Times” over the next month to talk about these things, answer questions, and hear from you.

The first of these will be on Saturday evening, July 28, at Family Camp. We often have a potluck dinner on Saturday and follow it with a worship service. All of Elim is invited to join us at Alder Lake Park for this family time. The next one will be a homemade ice cream social at the Schlomers’ house (13314 74th Ave. East, Puyallup) on August 4 at 6:00. If you’re able to attend, please sign up in the fellowship room. We look forward to spending time together as a church family!

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by Dan Amos

A coincidence is when seemingly random events are perceived to be connected.  Coincidences form the basic structure for many movie mysteries and thrillers but by the end, the coincidences seem less random or are even wholly exposed as by design. Leadership at Elim is experiencing the benefits of events too purposeful to be considered random. Therefore, design, and we know the Designer, must be the answer.

I could recount events from years and years leading to where we are at now, but I’ll start with last year. Our associate pastor, Brian Sharpe, asked the Elder Board for authorization to go through a profile assessment and coaching process. We dragged our feet and made him do some research but ultimately said “yes.” Early this year, his coach gave the board an outbrief on the results.

Leading up to the profile assessment report we were wrestling with the realization that Elim is growing numerically and it is fundamentally changing how we do things. This was addressed in our 2012 Annual Report and discussed at our annual congregational meeting in January.

Shortly after that, Pastor Brian’s coach, presented his report to the Elder Board. This happened on a Saturday. On the Tuesday before that, at our Elder meeting, Pastor Martin had talked about needing to change his role in the church within the context of how we are growing. He described the tasks he felt he needed to take on as being extremely demotivating for him.

So several short days later, we got a lesson in how people are wired differently and it just jumped out that the roles Martin was talking about taking on were contrary to how he is wired (and why they would be demotivating). The Elder Board quickly saw the value in having all of the staff go through the profile assessment and coaching process and two weeks ago we and the ministry leaders and staff heard the results.

It is so exciting to see how God has put all of the pieces together and how he is revealing them to us. We have a lot to work through and apply and make sure we don’t force people into roles for which they are not made. We’ll talk more and more about this, but right now we ask for you to be praying for the leadership as we seek his design. There’s no coincidence in this at all. Praise God!

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God’s instrument

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by Chris Pace

I never thought of myself as much of a leader. Give me instructions and I’ll carry them out to the best of my ability, but give me authority and I am at a loss as to what to do with it. I feel inadequate for the responsibility in every way. However, God has been teaching me how to be a good leader, at a pace that I can handle.

I felt the way I believe Moses felt when God told him to lead His people; I was a stuttering, nervous (maybe cowardly), and inadequate human being. God has been giving me small opportunities that He’s been using to teach me. One thing I learned right off the bat, is that I am the instrument in God’s hands. I can’t make music, He does through me. Apart from Him I can do nothing. He said so, so why try doing it my way, on my strength, on my own!

I shared with someone that I felt inadequate to be a leader and they told me “Great! You’re exactly what is needed. We don’t want someone who feels they’re perfect for the position. We want someone who is humble enough to depend on God and on other leader’s experience and wisdom.”

These lessons I’ve been going through are opening doors beyond the borders of my comfort zone, yet God said go, and so I do. Leaders I respect and try to glean from tell me that after you’ve crossed those borders long enough, you eventually get used to your surroundings and your comfort zone begins to grow.

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GROWING together in Christ – Part 2

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By Larry Short

At Elim, affinity groups and community groups are the primary place where we practice the “one anothers” of Scripture and walk together to hold each other accountable to become more like Jesus. Moving people into healthy groups and mentoring relationships is key to achieving the second part of our vision: “Grow Together in Christ.”

Last week we focused on what it means to grow “Together.” This week, we look more at the nature of growth itself, and especially what it means to grow IN CHRIST. And yes, once again we are offering a special treat to everyone who clicks the following link, reads this week’s Last Word in its entirety, and follows the specific instructions you find therein. Enjoy!

Growing together in Christ will occur, to some extent, on weekend worship services and in class-like child and adult education contexts. But at Elim we’ve discovered that Sunday morning is not enough! This growth will occur most effectively in the context of affinity groups or community groups … smaller groupings of like-minded individuals from within our Body who commit themselves to gathering together regularly to pursue a deeper and healthier Body Life commitment to growth in Christ. It is in a dozen such groups in this church (and I am including, in addition to community groups, affinity groups such as the M&Ms, YAMs, women’s Bible study, MOPS, etc.) where the real growth, the practical application, occurs. Where people know each other more intimately, submitting themselves to the leadership of their shepherd-teacher(s) as they seek to work out together what it really means to become more like Jesus, our Master Shepherd-Teacher.

We are blessed to have a majority, more than 60%, of our attending church members and friends involved in such groups. But we also recognize that the remaining 40% are missing out on a key component that will heighten your chances of “finishing well” in this Christian race. As we as a church embrace our vision statement of “Know God, Grow together in Christ, Go and serve South Hill and Beyond,” we will be thinking carefully not just about those three components, but the all-important transitions between them. If weekend worship services are where we come together to know God better, we will also be using them to encourage you to take the next step and transition into a community or affinity group where you can really begin “growing together in Christ.”

And we recognize that not everyone will find a group where they feel they completely “fit.” Perhaps you work evenings, and can’t find a group that doesn’t meet in the evenings. Or perhaps you have struggled all your life, due to the fact that you are left-handed or double-jointed or talk in a funny voice. What should you do?

Here’s an idea: Start one! We want to be very intentional about raising up and training new group leaders, and we would love to work with you on creating a group to help facilitate growth together in Christ for people who may be just like you (left-handed, double-jointed, funny voice talkers with evening jobs).

Without groups of people who are committed to walking the Christian life together, our strategy as a church will never be successful. We need each other! And most of all, we need Christ, which is the final and most important part of this second line in our vision statement: “Grow together IN CHRIST.” For Christ did not launch out on His earthly, heavenly-Kingdom-building ministry alone, but surrounded himself with a concentric team of God-seekers, in order to walk the journey together with them. Not only did He have a large following of disciples (estimated at about 500 during his earthly ministry), and a smaller team of 12 apostles, but even a smaller yet and more tightly-knit inner team of 3 disciples, to whom He entrusted His most intimate and amazing moments and experiences (such as the Transfiguration).

Which speaks to mentoring, another key part of “growing together in Christ,” wherein smaller groups of 2 or 3 individuals work to establish and hold each other accountable for spiritual growth, and learn from each other … but, alas and alack, we are out of time and space! (Of course, we have enough space to provide you with another email link for Martin … CLICK HERE to submit an email with “DOUBLE YUMM!” in the title, then be sure to claim your prize on Sunday!)

So, the last word of this Last Word is: If you are not yet in an affinity group or community group or mentoring relationship at Elim, we offer you two choices: 1) Get in one! 2) Start one! The status quo is unacceptable. We must be growing together in Christ before we can hope to do what He is calling us to do … GO and serve, South Hill and beyond! Tune in next week, for more on that.

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Introducing Stan Peterson and Jeff Foerster

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Submitted by the Elders

On January 30, Elim membership will vote on three elder nominees. Gordy McCoy has already served 2 years. However, Stan Peterson and Jeff Foerster are new to this process. Who are these men? The following is a biographical sketch that will provide helpful information as we prayerfully consider them as elders.

Stan Peterson

It is an honor and pleasure to be asked to serve in the capacity of Elder. I was saved in 1999 when I was convicted by God that I was incapable of any good and that my works were as filthy rags and that being a moral (good) person would not get me anywhere especially not into heaven. Up until I was saved I was living for myself and self was on the throne. I was introduced to Christ through a co-worker. I witnessed first-hand God’s love, peace, and joy and after about 3 months of his faithful prayers and witnessing I accepted the True claims of the Bible and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy”.

I want to share candidly about my past so as to make much of my God who saved, and redeemed me. I was divorced in 1997 and have two children from my first marriage Hailey(20) and Cole(17); I met my beautiful wife Jackie in Aug. 2002. Jackie was never married and in 2000 had a baby girl, Morgan(10). As a result of Morgan’s birth Jackie came to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Savior. We were married on Feb 15th 2003 and have had 3 children together Adalee(6), Amelia(4) and Esther Joy(2). We all currently live together, save for Hailey. Hailey is living on her own and attends Pierce College.

Almost immediately, from the moment I was saved, the Lord placed within me a hunger for His word. As a result, my passions are to know God (Philippians 3.10),Love my family, and see the body of Christ both equipped and built up. It is my intention to continue to learn and be shaped into God’s image. I long to see the Bride of Christ in her full splendor, filled with joy, obedient, bringing glory to God. My heart yearns to see God glorified in and through the lost. last but most important I believe that Prayer (Communion with God) must be put on a continuum of moving from theory to practice in my life and the life of the church.

Jeff Foerster

Let me take you back to 1972, in a small town 15 miles SW of Portland, Oregon called Sherwood. I grew up with a knowledge of the truth, as my mom has been a Christian for more years than I have been alive. Church was part of the picture early on, and then took a vacation while I attended college at Seattle University and pursued my interests. Church appeared again in Dallas, Texas in 1997, just as I had left it more than 7 years earlier –a good idea I was taught to partake in. Church for me was like a carwash without soap and water, easy to endure, but not very transforming. I have long agreed with what I was taught: the Bible is true, God is who He says He is, Jesus is my only way to Heaven, and He was crucified, buried and resurrected so that my sins could be forgiven.

I accepted these facts and believed them to be true. I had prayed to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins. I believed myself to be a Christian and called myself so for many years. I never considered the idea that Jesus was to be Lord over my life as well as my Savior. I sincerely believed I made the decision that was required. I was a Christian.

That is, until my life began to change around 2001. As everyone knows you don’t “mess with Texas”. But I did anyway. Because of relationship, employment and health difficulties I helped create while there, I found myself again in Oregon. This time I was preparing for a new career in teaching.

Back in Oregon, I realized that my ways had to change. I didn’t like the effects of how I’d been living and began a process of cleaning myself up, attempting to become “good for God”. As I did all that I could do, I found I simply couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the strength to be good. When the time was right Jesus brought me to my knees. It was then that I gave my life to God, not in exchange for anything, but without condition. I believe at that moment Jesus became Lord over my life and my Savior.

I developed a passion for reading the Scriptures and spent three years chewing on and digesting each book of the Bible. My words, my habits, and even my music began to change. I had power in my life I’d never before experienced.

I earned my Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University (Portland) in 2002 and, in 2003, took my first teaching job in Nampa, Idaho. There I spent two years teaching 5th and 6th graders, fishing for trout, and skiing at Bogus Basin.

I moved back to Washington in 2005 and have been teaching in the Puyallup School District since 2006. I currently teach 6th graders at Hunt Elementary.

In 2007 I began prison ministry with Prisoners For Christ. Every two weeks I head to the Kent Regional Justice Center and help lead a small group service of worship, teaching and prayer. Preparing for those visits has had great impact, taking me deeper in my knowledge of the Bible, and closer in my relationship with Jesus. I came to Elim in the summer of 2008 and felt welcomed immediately and called it home since.

I’m also involved in a weekly community group and meet biweekly with a group of men for a study of the book of Judges. I spend time regularly in contact with family members in Oregon, which include my mom, my dad, and two of my three sisters and their families (my middle sister and her family live in North Carolina). When time allows I can also be found reading books on economics, investing, and finances, and, once in a blue moon, chasing that elusive trout in a lake or stream nearby.

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