We've been doing this song for a few years, and it's definitely one of our favorites, but it's time to shake it up a bit. The version we've done was based on a recording from Liberty University...we're now going to learn the version below...I'm very excited!
Our Easter gatherings were awesome! We added a 7am gathering to try and avoid having to use our overflow during the 9 and 11am gatherings...it worked! around 100 people came out to worship with us at 7, and, oddly enough, of all three gatherings that morning, they had more energy and seemed more engaged than the 9 or 11 gathering.
The Worship Choir joined us at 9am and 11am, singing "Today Is The Day" "Praise The King" and "Overcome". It's so great to have them on stage, adding their voices and energy to our musical worship!
Around 600 people total in attendance, which is our biggest single day crowd ever at NHC. Add in the 100 people from Good Friday, and it was a huge weekend. I don't know exact numbers yet, but I do know that a few began their relationship with Christ for the first time! Here's hoping some of our guests will be back next week!
Our "volunteers", especially those who were willing and able to give extra time and energy this week/weekend deserve all of the human credit...we have the best people in the world at NHC!
One of the things that drives me crazy is to hear church ministry leaders say something like, "I can't ask my team to..." when it comes to raising their commitment level. Don't get me wrong, I've been guilty of having thought and said that in the past as well, but, if I've learned anything over the past few years, leading ministry and working full-time in a church with a bunch of "volunteer" servants, it's that I should never assume anything about people's limitations when it comes to serving in the church.
I've also learned that, as a leader, I have a great amount of influence on the people I lead...my ability to communicate a high level of expectation and follow through with those expectations can empower those I serve with to give their best. When I expect a small commitment, that's usually what I get. But, I'm continually in awe of the attitude and commitment of those whom I expect great things from...
The single mother of three who not only puts in more than 15 hours/month playing with the band, but also gives 2 hours ever Sunday night to serve on our youth ministry team. Although she will tell you that her life is crazy right now (did I mention she also teaches elementary school?), she will also tell you how much she loves spending her time and energy serving God through the church. When I first arrived at NHC a few years ago, I was afraid she was going to get burnt out because I was about to ask her for a bigger commitment...
The middle-aged drummer who spends over 30 hours/month playing and practicing with our band, and then, every Sunday, stays late to vacuum the Kid's Church floor. Despite not having a steady paycheck (thanks to the economy) and having to drive about 30 miles round-trip between the church and his house at least twice a week, he never misses a single practice/service and always comes with a smile on. He loves playing and leading worship so much that he's one of the few in our band who volunteers for nearly every single opportunity...
The young married mother of four young children who, along with singing with the band every other week, rarely misses a Worship Choir practice, even if it means bringing along her kids to entertain themselves. Even though she and her husband both work multiple jobs, they always schedules her life around her commitment to God and the church, including cleaning the church as a family every few weeks. I'll drop hints every now and then that she's free to miss a practice or take a break if she needs to, but she usually just looks at me like I'm crazy...
And, don't even get me started on our Video and Audio Techs, or our First Impressions Team, or our Nursery and Kid's Church Teams, on and on and on. I can't tell you how many people in our church are serving in ways that amaze me.
Last year, we had our biggest Easter attendance ever...even with our new, bigger building, we still had over 30 people sitting in our "overflow" lobby during one of our worship gatherings. To be honest, our "overflow" option is one we try to avoid because most people just do not get the same high quality experience sitting in the lobby as they would if they were in the auditorium. This year, we're adding a third gathering at 7am to avoid having to use our overflow at 9am or 11am, which means that many of our ministry teams are being asked to step it up and give a little more time and energy to help people discover life in Christ. It's been amazing, both for me and our other team leaders, to see so many who have not only been willing but excited to serve those extra few hours.
I don't share all of that to say that it's about giving a certain amount of time or energy to serving God through the church. My point is, I think many church leaders who have a low level of expectation for their "volunteer" staff would also be amazed at the desire and willingness of people to give more, if only they were asked and empowered. Whether it's a person stepping up from serving once a month to every week, or a person stepping up from serving once a week to three times a week...it's not about tapping people for everything they've got...it's about giving people the opportunity to serve as God has created them.
Unfortunately, some people just aren't mature or "real" enough in their faith and relationship with Christ to step up when offered an opportunity for a deeper commitment. Some people will even freak out and want to quit altogether if you require something bigger from them. But, don't use the people who choose a safer spiritual existence for themselves as an excuse to neglect and abuse those who desire something more...too many people (in your church) are only serving "the minimum" because nobody has ever cast a clear and compelling vision and invited them to step up. God requires our best for His service...too often, people simply aren't giving their best to God because their "leaders" are getting in the way.
Are you asking the best of people? Are you equipping people to be their best? Share a vision that invites people to look beyond themselves, offer ministries that are fun and full of purpose, and give people the chance to surprise you...I promise, most people will not disappoint.