Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

No one has had a greater impact on me than my father.

I have had great professors, teachers, pastors, mentors, and even friends, but none of them will ever come close to matching the impact my father has had on me.

Even though my father is a flawed human being, he still has made a lasting impression on me, and this gives me hope.  Some of the most impressive messages my dad preached had to do with his failings and how he dealt with them.

I want to be like that.  I want to make a lasting impression on my two boys.

I get the feeling that time is slipping through my fingers and soon my boys will be all grown up.  Am I really making the most of these young years?

Then I look at dad and remember that even though I have flaws and even though I have had failures, I can still make a difference.  I will make mistakes in the future, but I know I can still have a positive impact on my two precious boys.

Here are a few things my dad has modeled for me.

Integrity.  If dad says he will do something, he will do it.  Every time.  When we are doing masonry, dad will never cut corners.  If a customer is not happy, dad will work with them until they are, even if he has to eat the cost.

Work ethic.  Life has not been easy financially for mom and dad, so they have had to work long hard hours.  Dad never complains; he just chooses to enjoy his work.  He works holidays and Saturdays if necessary to get the bills covered.

Grace.  I remember slamming the door in front of my mom and hearing her talk later about how dad would tell her to give me space, that I was just in a stage.  I have had the door slammed in my face a time or two by my boys, and I now appreciate how hard it must have been for them to make that choice.

Humor.  When I was in junior high my dad and I were working on a house and the drywall workers had their radio cranked way up on some country station.  After hours of this dad walked over and lightly asked, “Could we listen to the birds chirp for a while?”  I don’t think it made a difference, but I give him serious credit for being willing to inject a little fun into a potentially stressful situation.

Passion for God.  Dad’s favorite topic of discussion is how God is working in his life or in the lives of others. Dad celebrates God every day.

If I grow up to be half the man my dad has been, I will be happy.  Very happy.

How about you?  How has your father impacted you?

Are You a Worship Leader?

This past September a band member asked how they could become a worship leader.  As a result I had to put into words what I think are the important signs that someone is ready to become a worship leader.  Of course, everyone up front is a worship leader in one sense, but here I am talking about the person who actually “leads” the time of worship, the emcee of the service, the contemporary cantor, if you will.

Telling someone whether they are or are not worship leader material can be difficult, and so I spent some time praying and thinking about the issue.  At first I wanted to list detailed skills, such as reading music or leading worship in a particular way, but after some interaction with my leadership team and a few drafts, I settled on five general areas: spiritual walk, leadership potential, team spirit, worship presence, and musicality.

Here is how I would define those areas:

  • In spiritual walk a worship leader will be someone who is pursuing God and his approval in their life, which will be evidenced by the way they live and worship.
  • In leadership potential a worship leader will be someone whom people naturally want to follow and someone who is always on time and prepared.  This person will also be teachable.
  • In team spirit a worship leader will be someone who adds to the energy of a team rather than detracting or remaining neutral.
  • In worship presence a worship leader will be someone who is welcoming, inviting and transparent on stage, and also who displays a heart of worship.  As mentioned above, this can be an indicator of your spiritual walk because you cannot lead someone where you have not already been yourself.
  • In musicality a worship leader will be someone who is able to sing parts and melodies with precision and expression.

How about you?  How would you decide if an aspiring worship leader was ready to take the plunge?