It seems like forever since I have posted a blog. To be honest, I go through stages of wanting nothing to do with blogs and wanting to write about everything! This past Sunday it was announced that I was resigning from the church that I had been leading worship at for a little over two years. I know that to some it came as a shock and to others it seemed like the right time.
Just to be sure I make it clear, there was not a falling out with the staff, any immorality issues, or lack of performance issues that led to this decision. My wife and I have been discussing me moving out of “full-time ministry” for sometime now. To be honest though, EVERY Christian is in full-time ministry…more on that later.
Over the past 6 months or so I had been getting a little burnt out on church work. I started asking myself and God if this is all that I am supposed to be doing. I just had this uneasiness that would not go away. At first I thought, ” maybe it’s time for me to get a regular 9 to 5 and just attend church for a while.” So I started looking for such an endeavor. For three or so months I had no luck. I honestly didn’t know where to start. I have worked in the church world since I was 17 and my resume sucked! (It didn’t help that I had been in college for 4 years and still haven’t finished!) but I kept pushing and praying about what God had for me.
As the 9 to 5 thing seemed like it wasn’t going to work out, I started looking for contracting gigs leading worship. I had come to a point where I was willing to just lead at some churches on Sunday and work at Starbucks or something during the week. Well, needless to say, this didn’t really seem like it was realistic. I honestly didn’t want to just leave the church I was on staff with out to dry, and I didn’t know if I could survive on a one-day-a-week worship leading paycheck. So I just kept praying and asking for patience and God’s leading.
Finally I had a lead on a 9 to 5 job that seemed pretty cool. When I started inquiring about it I heard that it was a good possibility. A few weeks later I heard that there was a hiring freeze and I was back to square one. This was extremely frustrating and I was feeling defeated. I talked to a few close friends and got some advice from people I trusted. The overarching theme of the advice I was getting was that maybe God didn’t want me to leave the church work realm. Maybe I was just in a funk and I just needed to press in. That timed perfectly with the Catalyst conference in Atlanta.
As I attended the conference I began hearing messages that got me fired up about ministry again. I was getting some great insights from leaders around the world about God’s ultimate story, not just my little frustrating bubble. I began leaning toward the contract worship leading again and the possibility of recording a new worship album. I knew that I needed to move out of the full-time role I was in, but had no clue what the time table would be and how this all was going to unfold. I talked with my pastor about what was going on and he was so supportive. He knew that me being so young I needed a change before I grew jaded toward the church.
As I started talking and meeting with producers and possible investors, the thought of stepping out in faith and just “seeing what happens” really frightened me. I really started to see how little i trusted that God would provide. A part of me wanted to just let the chips fall as they please and let God take care of the rest, and the other part of me said “don’t be such an idiot!”
Now, this may seem odd coming from a Christian: I know that there are some believers out there that believe if you just step out in faith it will all work out. Well, I can honestly say that I agree that God will provide for you, but I also believe that God gave you a conscience and the ability to use your head. I know God gave me the ability to play and sing and that I could possibly make a living doing that, but I struggle with only making a living off of that. That may not make a ton of sense. I struggle with wanting to be obedient to what God has called me to and wanting to work my way up in a company and bust my butt to earn a living. I feel like if I constantly want to be compensated for taking on more and doing a better job then I’m almost going to feel guilty for it if who I am working for is a church (non-profit).
So with all of that said, I came to the realization that I truly wanted to seek my main income outside the church walls. I prayed daily that God would provide me with such an opportunity so that I didn’t have to get paid to serve at a local church. I wanted to start playing for free and use the talents he has given me to bring Him glory, not bring me a paycheck. In order to do that I had to find another job.
Now, let me clarify before I piss any pastors off. There is nothing wrong with working full-time for a church. I had just come to the place where the “church” and the “work” started to blur. I felt that was a dangerous place to be and that is ultimately why I wanted to seek other means for my sole income. If the church you are employed at starts to become just a job or just a paycheck, you need to seek out help or another gig.
To musicians who get paid by churches: there is nothing wrong with that if your heart is in the right place. I believe that you should get compensated for your work and time, and if anyone knows how much work and time is involved it’s me. I also believe that churches who say they are going to compensate you should pay you well, so well that you don’t have to worry about how much it is. (and they should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS pay you the day you play!)
Ok, I kinda went on a tangent there. Back to how this all went down. Once I began to pray humbly that God would open a door, He did! The same place that said they were on a hiring freeze lifted it. I was able to snag an open position and I owe every bit of credit to Jesus. My resume was inadequate as well as my knowledge. But with only Jesus to thank, the company is taking me on. Obviously I have a little knowledge of what I’ll be doing, but for the most part I have to be trained and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.
So, to sum up- God is always faithful, even when it seems like nothing is happening, God is always at work!