- September 13, 2014
- in Leadership
Celebrate Recovery & the TFH Worship Pipleline
In the following blog entry, you’ll hear from Loren LeVasseur, who volunteers every week by playing bass on the weekend teams, but also as our Music Director for Celebrate Recovery. Just to give you context, our Celebrate Recovery night at the Vacaville campus has around 100 people in attendance, and is an integral part of the worship “pipeline” at The Father’s House – where we train and work with musicians and singers with the end goal of helping them find their place in TFH Worship. Loren and Ron Elm (one of our main, weekend worship leaders) do an amazing job of meeting the specific worship needs of CR while helping to create this alternate training venue that has served our campuses so well.
So here’s Loren’s heart on how CR fits in the overall scheme of TFH Worship and equipping musicians and singers.
— Joseph Zwanziger (Worship Pastor)
In a church our size there are always a lot of musicians wanting to serve. The hard part in that is knowing how to find the right venue for them and getting them trained to the level we need to make a service go smoothly. As our church grows, we need the team to grow with us, so this training has to be a proactive process. In the past, we have had several venues in which people could serve, but never really a place set aside for training – Until we partnered with our Celebrate Recovery service.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered 12-step program for anyone with a past or present hurt, habit, or hang-up. Over the past few years we have been building a team of musicians that serve this great ministry. It started with just a few faithful volunteers, but with minimal growth.
Then, we had an idea — we needed a venue where musicians and singers could be trained up, and CR wanted to have a full team for their worship time. So, we found a great match. Every week I work with the team through rehearsal, the service, and debriefing afterwards all through the lens of what each individual needs to work on, specifically. Whether it’s someone new to working with a team, just starting to get the hang of their instrument or voice, or a more experienced player who needs to acclimate to how we do things, everyone has something to work on and improve. Now we have a training ground where people can learn things like band dynamics, microphone handling, monitor mixes, and general improvement on their instruments. It’s been great seeing people’s growth in all areas, and we also hear from the attendees at CR how much they appreciate having a band that can take them into the presence of God week after week.
Not everybody is going to be ready for the weekend team right away, and you may be asking at this point, “Why not?” Every church has its own ministry philosophies that dictate how worship ministry is run. Sometimes, due to necessity, anyone who can play/sing makes it on the weekend team. Other times, anyone who can play/sing makes it on the weekend team because the leadership feels like participation trumps excellence. We have gone in a different direction and here is why.
We have a lot of musicians and singers from different backgrounds and abilities. This large pool as well as our desired level of excellence has set the bar at a pretty high level for the weekend teams. At any church, that bar will land where most of your core musicians are but the team will be pulled down to the level of the weakest player. Because of that, we can chose to put people of similar levels together in appropriate venues and lean on the more experienced players to share their knowledge and experience with all our musicians at our worship team nights (we’ll do a blog about our team nights in a future post).
There are other factors about weekend services that make them a little different. On any given weekend we currently lead worship for roughly five thousand people. We have run into SO many issues trying to train musicians/singers on the weekend – excellence suffers, there are a lot of distractions, etc. – and we have a responsibility to steward our worship times well, especially because thousands of people are affected by our decisions. We love CR as a venue for training because there is much more grace for mistakes in a smaller more intimate setting.
In a relatively short time I have seen people go from tryouts to weekend services through our CR training program. Some of the things that make the process successful are musicians/singers who are humble, have a heart for seeking the presence of God, are teachable, have chemistry with the team, and have the understanding that this is a gift not to be taken lightly.
In each season, we constantly work on our system for training and the “worship pipeline”. That is probably the biggest thing we have learned (Pastor Andy Stanley from Northpoint Church said it well…) — “Always work on the system”.