Hey Connection! 6 Things I Really want you to know

Hey Connection!

Here are 6 Things I really want you to know about:

1. This past Sunday we had 5 people cross from death to life by placing their faith in Christ! We won’t ever stop celebrating that. We also had 8 Connect Group Sign-ups, 4 First Serves/Connector Sign-ups, and 4 Heart and Soul commitments! Keep investing in people and inviting them to church. You are making a difference and the best is yet to come!

2. This Sunday we will continue the series “Tis The Season”. I cannot wait to share what God has put on my heart. If you know anyone that struggles with self-condemnation PLEASE bring them to church. Let’s be praying that God shows up in a big way!

3. Our Christmas Service Project. On December 23rd rather than having a service we will be doing service for people in our community. We will be feeding people who otherwise would not receive a Christmas dinner and delivering Christmas gifts to children who otherwise would not have a Christmas. This is going to be an amazing day! You’ll hear a lot more about this in the days to come.

4. Connection Christmas. We will be having a service on Christmas Eve at 5:00 P.M. I really want to encourage you to invite people who don’t usually go to church. We are going to celebrate the life of Jesus and the new life that He gives us! Let’s not waste this opportunity to bring others to hear the gospel and let’s expect God to do BIG things that evening!

5. Haiti Christmas. We have settled on our first project for One&One. We are providing Christmas gifts for 1200 kids that live in the tent village in Haiti. We are partnering with the ministry that we went to Haiti with over the summer and by doing so we are helping them not only receive a gift but also a meal that will be provided. I am pumped to see God already moving through your generosity!

6. One&One Challenge. What are you setting aside for the Christmas season as a part of the One&One giving challenge? So far my bike riding is not going so well. The chain is rusted and it keeps slipping off the gears! We have managed to carpool however and I am excited to be able to give the money we’ve saved on gas on the 24th at our Christmas Eve Service. We are also praying about what else God would have us give as a part of One&One. If you are unfamiliar with One&One here’s the link to our One&One info page.

I am truly excited about all that God is doing and remember; The Best Is Yet To Come!!

Heart and Soul

The Best $300 I’ve Ever Spent

Hey Connection!

I am excited to post this blog written by Don Baldwin. You are going to be blessed and blown away his testimony. I can’t say enough about his heart for Jesus and for people. He is truly walking proof that you can’t love Jesus more and love people less! Enjoy!

When Brandon asked me to contribute to his blog, I felt and feel honored to share my passion at Connection Church with you. I am coordinator of benevolence and outreach services and am truly blessed to have this position. I have been asked to share with you why I do what I do. There is a very simple answer-God has asked me to do it! Many of you may know me as a staff member and loyal member of the church, you have met the “good” Don. You all do not know the arrogant, selfish, type A jerk that I used to be. Thank God He stepped in!

When I first came to Connection in 2009, it was not for church. I was destitute from losing my job in 2008 and after looking every day for three months and having no luck, I started my own “business” painting parking lot lines. Brandon’s benevolence to me allowed me to paint the lines, earn $300.00 and regain some dignity. That act of kindness brought me to church that Sunday and I’ve been here ever since. His continued kindness as well as that of the board of directors allowed me to come on staff to handle the maintenance and janitorial work. I have been blessed ever since. I’m not sure what Brandon saw in me but he began letting me talk to people coming in needing help. Shocker to me, I had a knack for it and it has been my passion to this day.

5 years ago I read a scripture that has stuck with me ever since. It tells me that I should comfort others in the way I have been comforted, and boy has God comforted me in many bad situations, some self-induced and others not so much. He gave me a unique perspective to see the hurt around me as well as the lies people tell, and has blessed me amazingly by letting me be used in changing lives for Him. My prayer everyday is that He would use me as His tool to impact the lives of others.

The irony of this is that I simply followed the model I saw from Brandon. I have found the best way to witness to people is to find ways to help where I can. Sometimes this is financial, but more often is listening and caring. This is the proof of the power of Jesus to change hearts because six years ago I would have not cared at all. Jesus answered my prayer to teach me how to love my neighbor, and it set a fire in my spirit.

There is no greater accomplishment than to KNOW God has used me and allows me to see the change and become part of someone’s life going forward. Many things I did not understand in my past, I now see how God was putting a tapestry together. I experienced things that prepared me to be effective in lives that others may not understand. I understand jail, divorce, addiction, unwillingness to forgive, not trusting God, going from abundance to nothing and, the biggest of all, that Jesus can turn a life around and give peace and joy that is incomprehensible.

Thank you Brandon, you showed me that you really do believe the words “feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless”. Many have come through Connection’s doors because of how you treated a man in need. Thank-you Connection Church for creating a staff position 3 years ago for a broken man and restoring his dignity. Thank all of you who I have met on this journey for loving me as a child of God. I can only be excited as to where we are headed. Please remember and believe, YOU can make a difference when God makes a difference in you.

All this being said, I do what I do because of the love Jesus has put in my heart. I do what I do so others can get a hand up from a mess they are in, regain value and move forward. I do what I do because it was first done for me and God wants me to pass it on..

Don Baldwin

I can’t wait for this Sunday and am excited to spend time with all of you at our land Sunday afternoon praying for things to come. If you want more info about our prayer time go to our website www.connection-church.com.

Heart and Soul!

One&One

Hey Connection!

I really want to share some details about the project we announced on Sunday, “One&One”. I am so excited, and a little overwhelmed, about all that God has put in our hearts. As I was praying last Tuesday about Joshua 3 and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River, this is what I felt God was speaking to my heart (Taken from my journal):

At the time I thought the river we were about to step into was pretty “broad, and deep, and violent”. But God had a greater vision and looking back I’m so glad He did. His plan is always so much better than what I could imagine!

On Thursday morning of last week I felt like God put it in my heart that for every dollar we raised for the building we should put a dollar toward missions and outreach. Honestly, I tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away. After talking to a few other people and asking them to tell me it was too much caffeine speaking we all came to the conclusion that it must be God. At that point I knew we had to step into this raging river that was between us and what God had for us.

So…here’s the nuts and bolts of it. We need 1.5 million dollars to break ground on the building we feel that God is leading us to build. But we are not going to sell our soul to a building and lose sight of the vision God gave us in the beginning to Connect Unbelievers to God and Believers to Each Other. We have always been about changing this community and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So we are also going to put 1.5 million (dollar for dollar up to 1.5 million or 3 million total) dollars toward missions and outreach. (Every time I look at those numbers I get queasy!)

Here’s the breakdown of how we would propose to spend the additional 1.5 million:

25% – In Statesboro meeting needs and sharing the gospel
25% – Foreign Missions (Supporting missionaries and getting on the ground ourselves)
50% – Planting churches and starting other campuses in other communities to reach those who aren’t being reached

We, of course, will follow God’s leading as to where our resources go. I can promise you that decisions will be made with much prayer and oversight from our Board of Elders. While I am excited about one day being in our own building, I am even more excited about seeing all the lives that will be touched as Jesus empowers our giving to advance His Kingdom!

I know we have truly stepped into a river that is beyond anything we can do on our own. But I also know we have a God who does exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask or even imagine! I can’t wait to see all that God has in store!

Heart and Soul! One&One!

We Love Our Kids! (Guest Post)

Hey Connection!!

I wanted to give you an opportunity to hear from one of our Konnection Kids Coordinators, Olivia Sandhagen. You are going to love her heart for Jesus and her heart for the children she has the opportunity to minister to. Enjoy!

My name is Olivia and I am the Family & Birth – K Coordinator at Connection Church. I have the wonderful privilege of ministering and shepherding children from birth through kindergarten in Konnection Kids. As long as I can remember I have loved working with children. I started caring for children when I was 13 years old. I babysat and helped with children’s church, Sunday school, VBS and church camps. I always knew I wanted more and I finally found it in ministering to children through Konnection Kids. I do not consider my job a job because I love what I do. I love seeing the children’s faces light up when they come into church. Two of my greatest rewards are watching them as they begin to understand something and seeing them get so excited about repeating what they learned to their parents. It warms my heart hearing the kids walking down the hall after church sharing what they learned that day.

Part of my passion for ministry comes from knowing that a baby often first experiences “church” in the nursery. This means that even as infants and toddlers their worship experience is incredibly important. Because of this we are committed to providing a loving and nurturing atmosphere. We pray over children when changing diapers, we sing, “Jesus Loves Me” and tell each one just how much Jesus truly does love them. I am convinced that we can teach them from an early age the love of Jesus. There is nothing sweeter than holding a little one and telling them over and over that Jesus loves them.

The bible tells us “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. “ 1 Timothy 4:12. Many people might see this as “just babysitting”. However, we know this is not true! We know that the Holy Spirit works in the lives of these children just as He does in adults. So even the one year olds are taught the bible stories and then given the opportunity to express what they’ve learned through something creative like arts and crafts. It is so rewarding to know that we have planted the seed of God’s Word in them. We want all the children who enter into Konnection Kids to not just know about Jesus, but to know Jesus and experience the love of God. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14.) This is the heart behind the ministry that I do!

I am also thankful to be able to minister to families as part of my ministry here at Connection. I enjoy being able to share what I have learned with others. I feel it is so important for families to come together not only for fellowship and child rearing issues, but also in their daily walk with God. Families can lean on each other for support and encourage one another. My heart is for them to have time to fellowship with each other through events, activities and small groups focused around families. I feel this is even more important when there is divorce, death, and sickness that surround so many families. They need to know they are not alone in their walk with God and that there are other families walking the same paths.

We are not here to serve ourselves but to serve others. We are here to serve people. This is what we do each Sunday in Konnection Kids. We serve the children so that by our words and actions they may come to a relationship with Jesus.

Heart and Soul!

10 Ways To Lose Your Passion

Hey Connection!!

First check out Luke 15:25-32. The parable Jesus tells in Luke 15:11-32 is often referred to as the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”. This parable is really about a compassionate Father who has 2 ungrateful sons. The younger son ran from the father. The older son lost his appreciation for his father. The son I want us to look at today is the older son. While we may not see ourselves in the older son as quickly we will find ourselves struggling with the same issues he struggled with quite often.

Here are 10 ways we lose our passion and appreciation for Jesus from the perspective of the older son:

1. We focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. (Luke 15: 28-30) When is the last time you stopped and simply thought about all the blessings God has placed in your life? Especially your relationship with God through Christ? Don’t let your eyes wander from all Jesus has done for you to what you think you don’t have.

2. We believe others have to lose if we are to win. (Luke 15:25-28) If we refuse to celebrate other people’s victories we will forever be envious and miserable. We should look for where God is working in the lives of others, help point it out, and then celebrate it with them.

3. We forget a relationship with Jesus is a celebration not a funeral. (Luke 15:29) We can’t lose sight of the fact that Jesus wants us to LIVE not just exist! Jesus is not some dull, boring and tyrannical dictator. He is full of life and wants to give us life! The reason our lives and our worship services often resemble funerals and not celebrations is because we lose sight of all that Jesus has done for us.

4. We operate from guilt ridden rules rather than a life giving relationship. (Luke 15:29) The quickest way to lose your passion and joy in Christ is to start pursuing rules rather than a relationship with Jesus. There is only ONE thing that is needed…JESUS! Everything else will take care of itself.

5. We forget what we’ve really earned. (Luke 15: 28-30) The Bible is clear that even the best things we’ve done are like filthy rags before our Holy God. What we’ve earned is death and judgment. What God offers is life and forgiveness through Christ. That should be enough to keep us passionate!

6. We compare ourselves to other people rather than to Jesus. (Luke 15:28-30) Comparing ourselves to others does one of two things. It either makes us prideful (because we feel superior to the other person) or it makes us insecure (because we feel they are superior to us). The one we should compare ourselves to is Jesus. On one hand it shows us how far short we ALL fall in comparison to God’s standard. But on the other hand, for those who have faith in Jesus, it shows us how much we have been forgiven and it leads us to worship!

7. We lose sight of the purpose of our existence. (Luke 15:32) The reason we exist is not so that we can elevate ourselves but so that we can exalt God. When we do this we help others see how amazing our God really is. Luke 15:32 literally says this young man was “dead and is alive again”. This is why we exist. To bring others from death to life through the power of Christ and for God to be glorified as people see the reality of who He is in us.

8. We quit taking advantage of our Heavenly Fathers invitation. (Luke 15:28) It seems undignified to think that God would “plead” with us to accept His invitation of relationship. It would have been extremely undignified for this father to “plead” with his son the way the parable states. But what do we think the cross that Jesus hung on and the tomb that He walked away from are? For one…they are God’s pleading invitation for us to come to a relationship with Him. That’s LOVE!

9. We underestimate our sin debt that has been paid. (Luke 15:30) Many people may not have the wild testimony of how Jesus changed your life because you have never really been a “bad” person. But don’t underestimate the fact that all of your “goodness” would bust the gates of Hell wide open if not for Jesus! That ought to keep you passionately pursuing Him!

10. We “clean up” rather than “grow up”. (Luke 15:31) The older brother conformed outwardly to the rules but he never lived out of a heart of gratitude for all His father had provided. Don’t waste the opportunity God has given you to be in a relationship with Him because of following rules that are hollow and empty. Spend your life pursuing the ONE who gave it ALL!

 

Heart and Soul!

The Power of Serving

Hey Connection!!

I wanted to give you an opportunity to hear the heart of one of our staff members, Tonya Zetterower. I know you’ll be encouraged by her heart for serving and the power of God that works through us as we follow the example of Jesus. Enjoy!

My name is Tonya. I have the amazing privilege of coordinating all of our volunteers that serve each Sunday. I’m excited to be able to share on our pastor’s blog why I’m passionate about serving and the huge impact we have as a church as we serve together as Connectors!

I have to say first that Jesus was the ultimate Connector! His purpose was to connect people to the Father. How did Jesus do that? The simple answer is – He met people’s needs.

Acts 10:38 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

Here’s the cool part – we can do this too! As followers of Christ, we get to imitate Him and connect people to God. That’s why our first “win” as a Connector is: see a need – meet a need. Every Sunday people attend our church that are in need of connecting with God. I don’t know if they are like me or not, but Sunday morning seems to be that one morning when on the way to church every child in the car is crying, complaining or has spilled their juice on their clothes (Well for me having a teenager, it’s they’ve spilled their Starbucks on their clothes.) Mom is now fussing at everyone and dad is trying to tune it all out. You drive into the parking lot only to be greeted by a smiling face directing you where to park. It’s our goal that in the parking lot you begin sensing the love of God from our Connectors.

Everywhere Jesus went he went about doing good. By meeting people’s needs, He removed the barriers that would keep them from connecting with God. We get to do that every Sunday! What an awesome thing to know that by simply greeting someone, we may cause them to feel welcomed, loved, and ready to connect with the amazing God we serve!

Another “win” we have as Connectors is to always be the first.

I John 4:19 says, “We love him, because He first loved us.”

We take every opportunity to introduce ourselves first. We want to be the first to say, “Hello” or the first to invite people to join our connect group. When we reach out to people first, it lets them know we value them and care about them just like Jesus values us and cares for us. It lets people know it’s not about who they are or what they’ve done that causes us to care for them – we care for them because of Who God is! Every barrier we can remove by serving people causes them to move one step closer to connecting with Him!

Brandon often says, “From the parking lot to the pulpit, we are all preaching the same message – the message of Jesus!” As a church, everything we get to do for others is an opportunity to help remove barriers that would keep people from connecting with God. Because you served this year: 100 people received salvation, 76 people were baptized, 415 people signed up to join a connect group and 197 people signed up to be Connectors. Thank you for removing barriers and for connecting unbelievers to God and believers to each other! 

3 Impossibilities For A Pastor (Or really any other follower of Christ)

Here are some quick thoughts the Lord spoke to my heart this morning. I just thought I’d share them in hopes it will help you in your leadership and ministry to others.

Three impossibilities for a pastor (Or really any other follower of Christ):

1. To lead people if Christ is not leading me.
I’ve always said, “Everyone leads someone and the quality of your leadership is dependent upon who or what you are following.” This is true for everyone but especially true for Christian leaders. Is Christ leading you? Are you pursuing Him? If not you can’t lead others where you aren’t going yourself.

2. To pour into people if I’m not being poured into.
Here’s a fact…an empty pitcher can’t fill a glass with water. Another fact…an empty Christian can’t pour into someone else’s life. Are you allowing Jesus to pour into your life? Is He pouring into your life through His Word, prayer, fellowship, worship, discipleship (Letting others pour into your life is HUGE!)?

3. To reveal God’s heart to people if it’s not being revealed to me.
Is God revealing more of himself to you? Are you seeing more clearly the heart of God for others? Are you seeing more clearly His heart for you? Is His heart being shaped in you as He reveals himself to you? We can’t reveal His heart to others if it isn’t being revealed to us first. Go to His Word and as you do ask God to reveal himself to you. The point of prayer and studying scripture is not information or even transformation! The point of prayer and scripture is to connect to the heart of God. Jesus promises to produce good fruit in our lives if we will simply abide (stay connected) to Him.

These are all questions I wrestled with this morning. Thought I would pass them on to challenge and encourage you as well.

Heart and Soul!

For Those Who’ve Wandered

Hey Connection!!

Check out this scripture that was on my heart today. As you read it realize that the father represents our Heavenly Father and the son represents those who are rebellious and turn their back on God.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

– Luke 15:11-24


Here’s a few observations from this text that probably have applied to you in the past, apply to you now, or will apply to you in the future:

1.  The young man thought he could do better on his own than his father could do for him. 
How many times have we been this way with God? How many times have we turned from His way because we thought our way was the best way?

2.  He learned that his way didn’t work nearly as well as he thought it would. 
I bet most of us have lived long enough to figure this one out. For some reason we just choose to keep taking this test over and over again not learning the lesson God’s is teaching us.

3.  He was in an incredibly low place. 
Think about this…he was a jewish boy who was not only feeding pigs but wanted to eat the pig food. The Jews wouldn’t touch a pig because they were thought to be “unclean” animals. (Personally…I like a pork chop!) But this young man is wanting to eat the pig food! That’s a pretty low place!

4.  He was defiled. 
Not only did they see the pig as unclean but if they touched the pig it would make them unclean. If this guy was willing to sink this low there’s no telling what else he had done with the money from his inheritance.

Here’s the cool part. In verse 17 we see a major transition in this young man’s life. The text says he “came to his senses”. This is a place we all have to get to. A place that we finally “come to our senses” about who we are and who our Father is.

Here’s what happens when he finally has a revelation about the goodness of his father.

1.  He turned from his own way and recognized the value of his father.

2.  He admitted he was wrong. 
Let’s all admit…admitting that you’re wrong isn’t easy. However, it is necessary. Recognizing the value of our Heavenly Father and admitting we are wrong are the first steps in repentance.

3.  He humbly turned to his father. 
Repentance doesn’t just consist of turning from something but also includes turning to Someone. As we turn from our way of living we turn to Jesus in faith.

4.  His father accepted him, reinstated him into the family, and celebrated his homecoming!
This is the power of God’s grace. Grace is God’s undeserved favor and love. At the moment we “come to our senses” and turn to Him he accepts us, reinstates us, and celebrates our homecoming.

It’s interesting to note that the father didn’t ask 100’s of questions or beat his son over the head with rules and things he had to do. He just loved him where he was and offered him a better way. It’s hard to fathom. It doesn’t seem fair because it isn’t! That the One who knew no sin (Jesus) became sin for us that we could become God’s righteousness! That is God’s grace and it is this grace that beckons each of us to simply come home to our Father. Why would we eat the pods of pigs when we can feast at the table of the King?

If you are far from Him today I pray that you would simply turn to Him and express your desire to come home. Share your heart with Him. If you mess up the words it’s OK. Do you really think anything we can say impresses God anyway? When you turn to Him you’ll be surprised how close He has been the whole time.

Heart and Soul!

A Letter Specifically To Single Women

Dear Single Women,

Yesterday I posted A Letter To Women and encouraged you to hold on to the truths in 1 Peter 3:1-6. Today I want to focus on single women and point number two “Don’t Settle For The Frog”. Specifically, I want to give you some tips on how to find a prince in a sea of frogs. Here’s a warning. Most of the time fairy tales don’t come true. If you marry a frog most likely that’s what you’re going to get. Wait on God to send you a prince. Someone who is the son of the King. Here are some questions you can ask to identify a prince.

  1. What is the fruit of his life? In Luke 6:43 Jesus tells us, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” He goes on to say, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” In other words if the fruit of a guys life isn’t good then neither is his heart. Save yourself a lot of pain and get out NOW! Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Are these evident and growing in his life?
  2. How does he treat girls now? How does he treat you now? Does he treat you like a princess? Understand that if he doesn’t treat you with honor and respect now, while he’s supposedly “pursuing” you, he certainly won’t do it once he has you. If he’s a frog (aka jerk) now he isn’t going to magically change when he says, “I do”. Lose the jerk and wait on God to send your prince.
  3. Will he wait sexually? Let’s be honest. Waiting sexually isn’t easy for anyone. But it is worth it. It is safe to say that the guy is more likely to be the one who pushes for sex. I commonly hear comments like, “If I don’t get it I’ll die.” Really? I can guarantee you this has never been on a death certificate: “Cause of death…didn’t have sex!” Is this easy? No. Is it possible? Yes. I spent a lot of loooooooooong years waiting on my wife! Here’s the crazy part…I wasn’t even a Christian. But I knew the treasure I had and I knew she was worth waiting for. (One day I may elaborate on this part of my story. It would have to be with my wife’s permission!) Here’s the bottom line, if he’s not willing to wait, dump the frog and wait on a prince. If he sees you as the treasure you are he will wait. If not, you’re just a hook up and you’re too precious to God to settle for that. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with a guy that sees you as a “hook up”? God has much better for you!
  4. What are his priorities? If Jesus isn’t the One that his life revolves around now He won’t be after cake and champagne. Don’t waste your life. Where does he spend his time? Where does he spend his money? Can he manage money? Does he have a job? All of these things are indicators of maturity and responsibility. You don’t need to end up with an immature mama’s boy who plays playstation all day and won’t take responsibility for his life. Find someone heading in the right direction…which leads me to the last point.
  5. Who or what is he following? Who or what he is following will determine how he leads and where you’re going to go. The quality of his leadership will be determined by who or what is leading him. Where do you want to go and how do you want to be led? If Jesus isn’t leading him then he can’t possibly lead you.

Reality check…He’s not going to be perfect. None of us are. Susan (my wife) will tell you I am far from perfection! However, he should be pursuing. He should be pursuing Jesus first and you second. If he’s not? The best thing you can do is move on trusting that God has a prince He is grooming for you. Remember, you are a daughter of the King and a princess deserves a prince. Don’t settle for a frog! God’s timing is not always on our schedule but it is perfect. Wait on Him. You’ll be glad you did!

Heart and Soul!

What Is A Worship Leader?

Hey Connection!! I wanted you to hear the heart of Greg Manz who is our worship leader on staff and one of our worship leaders on stage almost every week. When you read this blog you will understand why we have put him in this position and more importantly why God has called him to this position. Enjoy!!

What is a worship leader?

My name is Greg.  For those who have no idea who I am, I’m the guy that gets the privilege to lead our church when we sing in worship on Sundays. I’m pumped to be able to share a little with y’all on our pastor’s blog today about what I think a “worship leader” really is.  And I’ll go ahead and tell you, it’s not about wearing skinny jeans and v-necks (and contrary to popular belief, that’s not even a prerequisite for the job).

There isn’t much in life that I enjoy as much as the opportunity to lead Connection Church in songs of worship every Sunday. I love getting to use music as a way of expressing my praise and adoration to God.  Almost as much, I love seeing the body of Christ joining their voices together as one, in praise of the God who created the entire universe and everything in it.

As I’ve lead worship over the past 10 years, I’ve spent some time studying and praying through what it means to worship and be a “worship leader”.  Probably one of the most important things I’ve learned is that if I only view myself as a worship leader based on my role on stage, then I’ve missed the point.  Missed it by a long shot.

As much as I love singing songs of praise and worship to God, that is only one small expression of how I am called to exalt him.  Romans 12:1 is probably one of the most talked about scriptures in this area, and for good reason.  It says “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”  That’s talking about a whole lot more than music!  If sacrificing everything I am is supposed to be my act of worship, then obviously just singing a few songs isn’t all there is to it.  And if singing a few songs isn’t all there is to worship, then leading some songs from a stage isn’t all there is to “leading worship”.

That’s where I think every one of us who claims the name of Jesus shares a common calling on our lives; a calling to be a worship leader.  It’s not about playing an instrument or singing a song.  It’s about a life style that demonstrates worship; a lifestyle that is about pleasing God, not ourselves.  As Brandon said last Sunday, worship is simply giving our devotion to something.  Worshiping God is about giving Him our full devotion, not just some songs.

So, how do we lead worship?  I’ve always been a firm believer that the best way to lead is by example, and I think it is a biblical way to lead.  In John 13:15, after Jesus lowers himself to the place of a servant and washes his disciples feet, he says, “I have set for you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”  Jesus didn’t just tell them what to do, he led the way by doing it himself first.  Again in Titus 2:7 its says to the older generation, “In everything set an example by doing what is good.”  In 1 Timothy 4:12 it says to the younger generation, “Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”  No matter how old or young we are, we are all instructed to set the example.  We’re supposed to lead the way by what we do.

That’s what being a worship leader is all about: setting the example and leading the way in a life devoted to God.

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