Water Cooler Wednesday-30 Years of Worship Leadership (Repost)

This post is a "repost" by request of some of my Ministry buddies who got a chuckle out of it.

This post is part of Water Cooler Wednesdays over on Randy Elrod's blog, Ethos. Check out what other creatives are talking about each Wednesday.

I've been thinking about this post a long time. It has been rolling around in my head over and over again. I would start to write it, and then think about it some more; only to let it sit a little bit longer.

All of it was inspired by the news that a friend of mine, Ty Morris Jr., is retiring from Music Ministry at the end of June after 34 years at the same church. That is amazing! If you'd like to send Ty a congratulation note, you can do that here.

That means that Ty came to this church in his 30's and in the mid '70's. Boy, has he seen a change in the landscape of worship and music ministry in those 34 years. It got me to thinking about this.
The 1970's Worship Leadership:
Title: Minister of Music, Music Director, Song Leader (that's it-nothing else)
Job Description: Handle the music (that's it)
Resources: The Hymnal (that's it!) and Sing and Celebrate (remember that?)
Instrumentation: Piano/Organ (is there anything else?)
Guitar--only played by the youth minister and only at retreats
Groups: Sanctuary Choir--The jewel of the ministry; with robes
Youth Choir--where 75% of the youth group was participants
Handbells- Youth and Adults
Children's Choirs (with Auto harps) and him directing
Performances: Christmas "Cantata" (by John W. Peterson)
Easter "Cantata" (by John W. Peterson)
Choir Festivals/Piano Festivals-yeah, people played piano back then
Services: Sunday AM & PM/ Wed.Prayer meeting to lead a song
Nursing Home service once a month-Sun. afternoon (nap time)
Sound: Depending on size of church--he ran the sound under the pulpit(don't laugh--I was doing this in the early 90's)
Media: Slides-only slides; reel to reel tapes; no performace trax
Drama: Youth Only--then they were called skits and only for missions
Training: Seminary trained--had to be! (unless you were an evangelist coming off the road--then that counted as experience)
Clothing: Coat and Tie--of course!

Compare that with the Music leadership of 2008
I'm wearing this on Sunday--you like?
Worship Leadership in 2008
Title: Creative Arts Pastor, Pastor of Worship, Imagineer
Job Description: Handle it (everything!)
Resources: The Internet, Hillsong, Willowcreek, NorthPoint, Crowder, Tomlin, Praisecharts, etc, etc (what's a hymnal?)-or make your own charts with FINALE
Instrumentation: Anything but Piano/Organ (full blown band) and anything that a computer can recreate (Ableton Live!); Guitar is welcome here not only on retreats; leader needs to lead from an instrument
Groups: Praise Team/Praise Band
Seasonal Choirs
Special groups-Jazz, Blues,
Performances: What? (every Sunday is an Experience!) Christmas/Easter worship experiences.
Services: Sunday AM (that's all folks)
Sound: Run by a team (but Minister must be able to speak their language--levels, db's, inputs/outputs, gain, amplifiers)
Media: Video, Computer Generated (must be fluent in AVI, MPEG 1-4) able to download from the net; also able to edit video too (AVID, FINAL CUT); Photoshop....; mp3s, DVD's, Ipods; TV broadcast lingo and Radio too; Streaming web services; webcams; Media Shout or Pro-Presenter; know what a BNC cable is; understand compression of audio files
Technology: Must know computers--RAM, GIGS, CPUS, Monitor resolutions; be able to fix the projectors and any other broken technology in any other areas of the church.
Drama: Not just for yutes anymore---he/she must be equal to a Broadway producer; forget Cecile B DeMille--we want Steven Spielberg!
Stage Design: know how to create environments; lighting-knowing the difference be tween a par and an elipsoidal and moving lights!;calculate DMX capacity; fabrics, scrims, props, trusses, cycs
Designer: know trends in culture, colors and all things APPLE!
Publications: differences in CMYK and RGB; print scales and modes, paper finishes; large scale printing for advertisment/promotion; type setting, fonts, Adobe C3
Public Relations/Communication: Web presence and e-communications
Training: Seminary not required--on the job more valued (farm leagues)
Clothing: Casual ( that is usally user defined)

Any one of these could be a single job by themselves!

I wonder what the next 30 plus years will look like? What will the next generation of worship leadership have to know and master? Any ideas?

That's all I can think of now. I'd like to hear from some of my pastor friends who read this blog (you know who you are) how communication (preaching) has changed in the last 30 years and the role of the Sr. Pastor has emerged. I'm sure this will cause some stir as you read through these, but I think I'm pretty close to target range on these. It's the reality I'm living in today.

Special thanks to my friend, Randall Hall for the brainstorming on this post.
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Jonathan Paul said...

Great post, Jim! I can tell you put a lot of thought into this one, and I really enjoyed reading it!

Of course, the most important thing for any of us worship leaders is the ability and desire to lead others in an authentic expression worship of our Creator. :o) The danger, if we're not very careful, is to be distracted by all of these other great things to the point where we almost forget what our purpose was in the first place! I hope that with whatever changes we see in the next thirty years that we'll be able to keep this focus. :o)

kim said...

What a great post! I'm worn out just from reading the description of the world I now move within. It's really hard to imagine that degree of change occurring in the next 30 years.

marina said...

I've been around church since I was born - I've watched, felt, experienced the evolution of church music leadership all along. At some crazy point in life, I joined in the fun of worship leadership. I'm right there with Jonathan - hoping and praying that whatever new technology, clothing trend, musical style, comes our way over the next 30 years, that it all would be used to glorify God and not man. I pray that pastors and leaders would clearly see the value in simplicity, and that we wouldn't become distracted or discouraged because we don't have the right technology or the right look. We've got to do a more intentional job of mentoring and raising up leaders who care deeply about God and who work hard at their relationship with Him and with others. The technology and clothing and everything else will continue to evolve as society does, but our hearts have to remain devoted to God and let nothing external get in the way of that.

Jan said...

I'm with kim. this makes me tired. Ironically I did my first Job Description this week. This was all on mine!!!!
OF course I'm not GOOD at all those things. There are some I'd love to hand off to someone else!