These last few months of ministry in Austin have been so refreshing and fruitful for my family and I! Specifically, the residency at the Austin Stone has been a season that I'm so thankful for. My supervisor Chris Collins has really helped develop me as not only a leader but as a father and husband. I've mentioned this before, but Chris has been so influential in my life. I wish when I was starting out in ministry 9 years ago that I would've had someone like him to really teach me what it means to be a pastor and shepherd God's people. It's given me a burning desire to faithfully pour into the younger generation of worship leaders who are entering a lifetime of ministry.
I've also had the opportunity to travel quite a bit to lead at different churches on Sundays, which I'll share more about later. It's given me the ability to not only continue leading worship, but also build ministry relationships with other pastors that I pray will last a lifetime.
What I've Learned
- One of the biggest things I've learned over the past few months is to be humble when receiving feedback. I think with everything you do in life it is healthy to receive feedback in order to grow and become better at what you do. Chris has been a huge catalyst for me in this area by giving me some things I can work on as a worship leader. Certain things like trying to engage the congregation with my eyes and countenance while leading have really helped me to connect with people. Many times while leading worship it can become easy to stare down at your instrument or at the back wall. Putting this into practice has reminded me that leading worship is very relational and is a way for us to invite our people into passionately singing the Gospel story. Sadly, they didn't teach me this stuff in seminary all those years ago! All of his feedback, including from other worship leaders on our team, have strengthened my leadership in tremendous ways, I'm so thankful for it!
- Another lesson the Lord has been teaching me is to really trust Him. This has been a huge lesson for me to learn because I don't tend to do well waiting on the Lord even though He has proven His faithfulness time and time again. By far the biggest way He's shown His faithfulness this past year is by providing financial support for me and my family to minister here. After seeing Him provide it's a wonder why I ever doubted Him... but sadly my sinful heart wants to continue to run back to what I can do in my flesh. The scripture the Lord has laid on my heart lately is from Psalm 115:1-3 which says, "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases."
Why should I ever have concern or anxiety about our future or the Lord's provision when HE is the one who is reigning in the heavens. He does all that He pleases and ultimately it is for my good and His glory. Regardless of any concern I have about finances, life after residency, raising kids, or day to day matters I know that my God is reigning in the heavens and He is faithful. So very faithful.
What I'm Doing
- One of my biggest tasks at the Austin Stone has been to develop a monthly Story Arc document that gives a huge scope for where we're going as a church in terms of preaching series and vision. Check out the March Story Arc document here.
- Recently I wrote a blog for Doxology and Theology giving effective rhythms for a worship leader to have in planning a worship service. You can check out my blog here.
- I was able to take part in launching the new Foundations online class for worship leaders, which outlines Austin Stone Worship's 5 core Foundations to be an effective worship leader. So far over 250 worship leaders from all over the world have signed up and are going through the course online!
- I've been blessed to be able to lead at various churches around Texas the past few months. These include churches in College Station, the Woodlands, Colleyville, Rockwall and Austin. It's been incredible to see the Lord at work in all of these church bodies. In addition, I've also had the opportunity the past few months to lead worship from keys for Marcus Dawes' and Logan Walter's band during Sunday services at the Stone.
- Last but not least I've kind of assumed the role of "dad" within the residency of Austin Stone Worship. This is humbling not only because it reminds me I'm getting older (!!!), but also because I have the unique opportunity to pour into the next generation of worship leaders. I love the opportunities I've had to offer feedback and advice about not only worship leading, but ways to prepare for marriage, how to do your taxes (yes, seriously), how to budget and how to avoid "dad back problems." This aspect of my residency wasn't something I expected coming in, but I love that I get to lead and help serve these guys every day!
Pics From the Past Few Months
We would be honored and humbled to have you join with us in prayer for these specific things happening in our family.
- Just these past few weeks Jarryd had to undergo an MRI and cortisone injection procedure to relieve pain in his lower back. This pain has been pretty steady since we moved to Austin, even amidst the numerous physical therapy and chiropractor visits. Unfortunately, it's also inhibited him in many ways, including how he interacts with the kids. Be praying for complete healing for his back and for the pain to completely go away.
- In May we will be launching into another year of support raising for our second year of the residency. Be praying for God to once again supply the finances needed to minister and live in Austin for 2016-2017. We would love for those of you who have already given and faithfully supported our ministry to spread the word. We know that we will need to cast the net of possible supporters a little larger for this next year and would greatly appreciate your help. Above all we know our God owns all, and is faithful in His provision when He calls His people to step out in faith and obedience. We trust He will continue his work within us for the glory of His name in Austin!
We love you guys!
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!