Director of Worship Arts – Welcome Sarah Newberry!

I am excited to share the news that we have hired Sarah Newberry to be the Director of Worship Arts at Resurrection West. Next week, I am hoping to share a bit more of the process with you. Until then, I wanted to pass along the update that Pastor Molly shared the news via email to the congregation:

“We welcome Sarah Newberry to our team beginning March 1, and we will have the opportunity to introduce her in worship on February 26.

Sarah comes from within the Resurrection community, she has been leading in the Vibe worship service at the Leawood Campus for the past year and a half, and she takes on this position as part of answering her call to full-time ministry.  Trained as a Music Therapist, Sarah comes to us from The Good Samaritan Society-Olathe, a senior living and care organization, where she has been employed as their Activity Director, Volunteer Coordinator, and Music Therapist.  In her job, she has worn many hats: music therapy, staff supervisor to a department, led and planned worship services in their facility, started new initiatives and programs to care for the community she serves, and coordinated volunteer teams for the community.  Sarah is a pianist, vocalist, and percussionist primarily, but she can play and teach pretty much every other instrument.  In addition to her Bachelor of Music degree in music therapy, she also studied music education, choral conducting, and vocal performance at Florida State University.  Sarah is personable, she has a great sense of humor, a humble heart, and she has a deep passion for leading people in worship of our God.  Oh, and she started a 5th grade praise band in KiDS COR at Leawood!

And because I won’t have time to tell you everything when I introduce Sarah in worship, I have to share with you one little story. A few weeks ago, we had a day in which we had four highly-qualified candidates in for a final interview and audition.  When Sarah sat down at the piano and started playing “You Are My King” (amazing love, how can it be, that you my king would die for me…), I was immediately drawn into worship.  Honestly, I didn’t expect that.  I went into our auditions prepared to listen, to critique, to observe their performances.  I wasn’t at all thinking about putting myself in a place to engage in worship through singing.  In an instant, I knew what it was that several other staff members and ministry leaders had gone out of their way to tell me.  There was something in Sarah’s voice, in the way she delivered the words, that made space for me to meet God.  All of the details of the task at hand were gone for a few moments.  That doesn’t happen to me very often.  I usually have to fight to set my duties aside–to stop evaluating or making mental notes of how to do things differently or what is supposed to come next.  I don’t even know that I can describe it that well–other than to tell you that I found the Holy Spirit in the notes through her voice.

For those of you that have joined us in the last few months, we have been conducting this search process since November.  In the past three months, we had more than 65 applicants.  We conducted phone screens, a couple of rounds of in-person interviews, and a final interview/audition.  We were blessed to have a great response and to have interacted with some really gifted leaders.  In the meantime, our volunteer worship teams have been doing an amazing job in leading worship each weekend at our three services.  I am so thankful for their hard work, and I’m excited to see where the next months in our worship ministry will lead us!

Living Without Fear in an Age of Terror

Ressurection of Jairus' daughter

Image via Wikipedia

I am preaching this Sunday at Resurrection West. I am looking forward to the opportunity to share good news with the congregation. I am particularly looking forward to it as I did not have the opportunity to preach while serving as Pastor of Resurrection Online.

We are in the middle of a series in which we are reflecting on the events of September 11, 2011 through the lens of the Christian faith. I am preaching on Living Without Fear in an Age of Terror and will be using verses from Psalm 27 and Mark 5. If you are interested, you can follow my progress in the days ahead at the Google Doc – http://j.mp/pTdEht It is pretty rough right now and won’t be in a finished form until some time Saturday night. If you take a look at it, will you please share your thoughts feelings or opinions? I would love to hear from you.

Scripture Monday – Zechariah 4:6

Under the Branches

Image by dino_b via Flickr

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty (Zechariah 4:6, NIV).

I appreciate the reminder in this verse that it is by God’s Spirit that I am able to make an impact on the lives and world around me – not through my own strength or intellect.

The Scriptural Holiness League

Last week I sent out this message on social media networks in which I am involved:

I heard back from people who had ideas for what this might look like and I want to try to take the next step. Generally I am not very interested in groups that cohort, advocate or politic within The United Methodist Church. However, I am interested in connecting with people across the connection who are seeing evidence of God‘s work in their lives and in the lives of the communities where they serve. I want to be part of a group that:

  • shares stories of life change
  • offers encouragement and accountability
  • is committed to continually growing in faith
  • seeks to spread scriptural holiness across the land
I believe that this type of network happens within an annual conference. However I believe that there could be great value in connecting people from across the denomination for these purposes. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about the possibility of this type of coalition?

Fruitfulness: Every Day Living (3 of 4)

Examples of bowls from boards

How do we help people live fruitfully in their day to day life?

Ultimately, the church is not about keeping a variety of interesting programs running and giving people something that to do that is segmented from the rest of their lives. We are about equipping people to live fruitfully in their every day life – at work, with their family, when grocery shopping or even when they show up to worship.

What are some practices that you have found that equip people for living daily the fruit of the spirit?

Ministry Expenditures ≠ Outcomes

This week, I read The Importance of Outcomes by Gil Rendle and Susan Beaumont. I commend this article to you from The Alban Institute and want to share a key quote:

“The number of hours, visits, calls, reports, and so on is not a measure of what is produced in ministry but rather a measure of what is expended in ministry.”

I was confronted by the blunt reminder that doing things does not necessarily bear fruit in the kingdom of God. God calls us to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all the tasks, visits, calls and reports will follow or may not be necessary.

Resurrection Online Stewardship

This is the first year that we will intentionally collect annual giving commitments from those who worship with Resurrection Online. I am excited to offer this opportunity to grow in faith for those that worship online. This also will help us plan for ministry in the year ahead. If you would like to help support Resurrection Online, please visit http://www.rezonline.org/giving. I created a series of videos to share more about this possibility.