Jubal’s Worship Primer: Leading Worship & Leading Worship Leaders

On April 29, 2014, just a few posts ago, I uploaded a post titled, Providential Art. In this post I shared an experience earlier in April when I led a presentation called Missional Worship & the Arts. The response was so positive that I considered getting this presentation and more down on paper – well, maybe not paper, but in a word document. Over the summer I did just that and recently published Jubal’s Worship Primer: Leading Worship & Worship Leaders as an E-Book.

Having learned how to upload E-Books, I also have published a book titled, The Silent Church: 39 Reasons We Keep the Good News to Ourselves. If you’re interested in either or both, you can find them by going to amazon.com and entering Ken Priddy. They will both pop up and can be purchased either for Amazon Kindle or Kindle App. In the philosophy of E-Books, they’re very inexpensive, just under $5.00.  Take a look and I’d love to hear what you think.

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I’m Back!

After roughly a five-month hiatus, gcmatrix is back, linked from my new blog site that functions like a website – http://www.kenpriddy.wordpress.com. I’m going to start slow with this blog and not commit to a deadline of posting. I’ll just post when I find the time and have something I think is worth sharing.

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Break Time

Maybe you’ve guessed but I have decided to set this blog aside for a while. It’s not that there isn’t enough to say, but I’m a little burned out and need to trim a few things out of my ministry schedule. This blog will be one of them for now. Thanks for dropping in and, who knows, gcmatrix might be back somewhere down the line. Peace!

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Providential Art

On Friday afternoon I made a presentation unlike any I have ever made. The theme was Missional Worship & the Arts and the idea of the presentation was to give instruction  concerning artistic possibilities and then to demonstrate some of those options.

Music was among my first loves and became my first profession, and it was through music that I entered ministry as music director of a church plant back in 1985. I spent years as a worship leader, creative director, resident musician through seminary, training conference worship leader, and eventual pastor who doubled as worship leader, making sure that the pastor and the worship leader were on the same page!

In recent years my music opportunities have been few and far between, but I have continued to write songs and bang away on my piano with only God as an audience, assuming He was listening.

The presentation included original music, worship songs (older and newer), hymns, drama sketches, special readings, a reading chorus, lots of Scripture, a unison prayer of confession, plus a few short lectures about various considerations from the use of theatre to the nuts of bolts of a worship leader’s role during a worship service.

There were 200 or so in attendance who seemed genuinely moved by the presentation and who actively participated at the appropriate places. That’s really all that I was shooting for, but the response went much further than expected. Many came up to me afterwards with a myriad of follow up questions and with invitations to train worship leaders and their teams.

It seems that I have stumbled upon a need and an interest that I have never formally addressed before, but am seriously considering now.  As I have processed questions and considered what I might offer in the way of insight and training, the idea of publishing a worship leader guide of some sort has surfaced. God has been nudging me to get music back into my ministry but I never envisioned what popped up over the weekend.

I am at least going to test the waters by putting the outline of a guide together and by seeing who really comes through with invitations. Perhaps it was the heat of the moment, but maybe Providence is at work. We’ll see!

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Matthew Grand Finale – The Great Commission

Easter Sunday was two days ago and today marks the conclusion of a devotional series on Matthew that I have been posting for my devotion blog – ez710. This concluding post is centered on the Great Commission, the final scene in Matthew’s Gospel.  It’s such an obvious overlap with this blog, gcmatrix, that I thought I would double-dip, so here it is . . .

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:16-20

The resurrected Christ is about to ascend into heaven where He will sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  His presence will be known in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will come some weeks later on the Day of Pentecost.  What last message, what lasting message, does Jesus leave for His disciples? GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES!

I have spent years in ministry that is devoted to living out this Great Commission and to training and consulting with pastors and church leaders in positioning their churches to move the Great Commission forward effectively. What strikes me as I think about all that I have witnessed and learned over the years is that so many churches, perhaps most, provide a broad menu of services, events, activities and programs that have little to do with the Great Commission. I’m concerned about the casual way we tend to handle what seems to be most important to Jesus.

I don’t mean this as an accusation or a judgment – more of an observation. Somehow we’ve lost sight of the main thing. As Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9). Why are we so reluctant, so unprepared and ill-equipped to be effective as laborers in the harvest? Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19), but it seems that we invest most of ministry in the found.

I hear lots of language these days about the church’s returning to the first century – to be a first century church – to be an Acts 2 church.  I wonder, though, if we really know what that means.  I wonder if we’re really willing to pay the price that would be required for us to really do so.

There’s no need to go back to first century Palestine even if we could. Twenty-first century USA is a plentiful and ripe field of the lost that needs to be harvested. As we end this look at the the Gospel of Matthew, can we renew our commitment to be disciples that make disciples? I pray that we will.  I pray that I will.

 

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Simple Christian

Life in general has a tendency to become way too crowded, and so does ministry. There are so many things that need to be done in my ministry and I want to do all of those things, but I find that, sometimes, when I try to do all of these things I don’t do any of them very well. This is nothing new. I have heard this and known this for years – as, I’m sure, have you. But it’s so easy to let others pile more ministry on and it’s so easy for me to make commitments beyond my capacity because I want to do everything and I don’t want to miss anything.

Thom Rainer’s book, Simple Church, written with Eric Geiger, speaks of four strategic elements in a church: Clarity, Alignment, Movement, Focus. I highly recommend the book and, in fact, use it in virtually every ministry application in which I am engaged. In discussing Focus, the authors says that staying focused is in part a function of learning to say “No” to almost everything.

I hate to say “No.” I want to be helpful; to live up to others’ expectations.  I want to see this ministry God has given me have impact, change churches, transform lives. The truth, however, is that trying to be all things to all people causes you to end up being no things to most people, at lease no things that are of worthwhile value. Wisdom seems to say not to try to be all things to all people but to be something valuable to someone. Then the challenge is to discern which somethings of value we’re taking about and which someones.

Yesterday I said “no” to something.  I felt relieved the minute I did and gave myself an imaginary high five. Of course, today, I regret having done that because I really want to be there to offer my two cents worth. But I sense God telling me to keep that particular two cents in my pocket. I’m also sensing God pointing out my arrogance, as if this event couldn’t possibly be as effective without my being there.

I’m sure all that’s true – but at least I did say “No,” and I’ll have an opportunity to see what it feels like when that day arrives and I’m not there. Maybe I should take Simple Church’s Clarity, Alignment, Movement and Focus and apply it to my individual life – Simple Christian! I like the ring of that.

Say “No” to something today.  You’ll feel better!

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That’s Deep!

I have recently made a shift in my daily devotional life. I have decided to spend some time – days, weeks, months, maybe years – going page by page through noted books on spiritual disciplines, recording statements that grab my attention in a journal, looking up any Scripture references that are given, and noting my thoughts along the way. I’ve only been at this for a week or so, and I really didn’t think of it in terms of ministry multiplication or my gcmatrix blog, but I think I might have underestimated the relationship between spiritual disciplines and missional multiplication.

The first book I’m using is Celebration of Discipline: the Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster. The first statement I recorded, from page 1, is as follows:

Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant gratification is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.

I claim that my process for gaining vitality in churches is a combination of spiritual renewal and strategic initiative. I wonder if my approach to spiritual renewal is a “deep” approach, or “deep enough” approach, and I wonder if the current trend in church health and growth toward being missional isn’t guilty of superficiality, striving for instant gratification.

Most of us are too busy with far too much to do in far too little time, but depth requires time. There is no substitute. What’s the proper balance between pushing to make things happen and pausing to let things sink in, deeply? If Foster is correct, we need “deep” more than we need smart and we need “deep” more than we need gifted. I can’t think of any formal assessment of pastors and leaders that measures depth though all seem to measure smart and gifted. How could depth even be measured?

Where to begin? I think I’ll start with shifting the personal discipling that I’m doing to the development of spiritual disciplines over the accumulation of knowledge and the employment of gifts. Obviously, these are not mutually exclusive and I don’t want to over-swing the pendulum, but I’m seeing the need for a seismic shift toward the disciplines – in my life and in the lives I’m influencing. Time will tell!

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