It's been exactly one month since I started my residency at the Austin Stone and it's been an amazing and wild ride to say the least! I've enjoyed every minute of serving on staff within Austin Stone Worship and am amazed at how much it already feels like home. From production, to teaching, to leading and discipleship this team is so amazing to be a part of. Not only for the friendships I've made, but also for the way I've been able to grow already as a pastor and leader. I came here to be poured into and learn from worship leaders I look up to, and that's exactly what's happened these past 4 weeks. I can't wait to see what the Lord does in my heart and leadership over the next year!
What the Lord is Teaching Me
Part of this blog will be sharing what the Lord has been teaching me over the past month as well as specific things I've been doing. Here are ways the Lord has shaped me:
- The biggest thing the Lord has taught me is humility. On day 1 of my residency Tyler David, who serves as the Downtown Campus Pastor, reminded all of us that God wants to use this residency to remove whatever idols are in our life to show us Jesus is all we need. This basic truth is so important for believers, but to be humbly reminded of it on my first day was very sobering. It made me realize that there have been times over the last 8 years of ministry that He was not all I needed, and that I didn't look to Him. More than anything, I want this residency to expose the idolatry in my life, see it for what it is, then run to the cross of Christ as my only source of joy and salvation.
- Another thing the Lord has taught me is the importance of relying on a team. Call it a curse, but my personality doesn't always allow me to relinquish control. My wife can attest to that! I've never been a part of a ministry on this big of a scale where there were so many moving parts at one time. The Lord teaching me to rely on others has not only allowed me to make solid friendships but to remind me that ministry is absolutely impossible to do by yourself.
- SABBATH. SABBATH. SABBATH. Growing up I always heard this word in church but until recently didn't understand its true meaning or implications. Genesis 1 says the Lord created the heavens and the earth and on the 7th day He rested and admired the work He had done. He Sabbathed. Sabbath is also mentioned in the Ten Commandments where it says "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God" (Exodus 20:8-10a). What the Scripture teaches about the Sabbath is that there should be a day where we do as the Lord did and rest from our work. This team at the Austin Stone works hard. Our motto is "we work hard and we play hard." There have actually been weeks where I couldn't wait until my Sabbath! And when that day of the week comes I'm able to rest from my work and be filled again. This day of rest is absolutely crucial for me in the work of ministry and will forever be a critical piece of my walk with the Lord.
What I'm Doing
Here are the things I'm been able to do and be a part of this past month:
- Prepare the Story Arc for Sunday services. One of my jobs each week is to compile and create a liturgy based on the passage being preached and the overall theme. Basically this boils down to what is the "story" for each week, and how does it relate to the overarching "story" of the Gospel. It includes a call to worship, song ideas and other service elements that really drive home the story for our people. I pass this info along to campus worship leaders and pastors who can then take this information and plan accordingly for services. This has been a really fun task for me each week because I'm still able to plan services and be intentional about song choices and Scripture being used. Here's a recent example of one of the Story Arc's I was able to put together.
- Lead Worship. From Worship Huddles to Resident Chapel, to Prayer Nights and traveling to other churches in need I'm able to continue to do what I love and that is pastor people through worship.
- Worship Leader Devotional Book. Last week my supervisor, Chris Collins came up to me and asked me to write a 3-day devotional book for our Worship Leader Retreat. The best part was that I had 2 days to get it done! Writing this book was amazing for me because of the opportunity to pour into the other worship leaders in our church. It was also a tremendous time of devotion and worship for me during the process of putting it all together.
- Austin Stone Worship Conference. I'm so excited about this! The Conference will be held November 10-12 at our St. John's Campus. This conference will draw around 500 worship leaders and pastors from all over the country, and some from Canada! It's an opportunity to be refreshed and pour into those leaders who pour out each week. I've been able to be a part of the planning meetings for the last 4 weeks and I can't wait to see it all unfold.
- New Worship Album "This Glorious Grace." Many of you have seen me post about this already but I can't wait for the release of this album on October 16! These songs are so rich in truth and are some of the best crafted worship songs I've ever heard. I'll be sharing more about the album as the release gets closer. Can't wait for you all to hear it!
Here are a few pics from this past month:
It goes without saying that I absolutely could not do this residency without the support of my family. My wife Jessica goes above and beyond every single week to take care of our two incredible kids, Liv and Landry, as well as nurture our family. She is such an amazing woman, I am beyond blessed to have her as my wife! Her photography business is continuing to grow as she gains new clients every week. She was even asked recently to contribute to a photography blog that reaches over 400,000 people! I'm so proud of her, her creativity absolutely blows my mind.
Thank you so much for your prayers for our family this past month. To our supporters we can't thank you enough for sacrificing to be on this journey with us. We love you all!
We would be honored and blessed to have you not only pray for us, but consider partnering with us in our ministry at the Austin Stone. For more information about my residency and ways you can support us please check out this video we put together as well as our Partner Page!