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Dwayne Moore: Hello everyone. Welcome to the Worship Q & A podcast. I’m Dwayne Moore. Each week we try to answer questions that worship leaders are asking.
Today our topic is, How Do We Shepherd Our Team? We have a wonderful guest here today to tell us how to do that, and he is certainly one that’s doing that extremely well at his church. His name is Herb Armentrout. Herb is the worship pastor at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. Herb was our guest for a coaching session a few weeks ago where he taught our students about shepherding their group, mentoring, as well as how to do missional worship outside the walls. We’re gonna bring you an excerpt from that coaching session today, specifically with Herb answering the question, How Can I Shepherd My Group?
Before Herb joins us, let me encourage you to join our next phase of coaching. It begins in September, and we will continue to have special guests in, like Herb and others and we will learn how to make an impact within our church and within our community to grow, not only our team, but more importantly, to grow disciples and the Kingdom of God. Please, go to our website, NextLevelWorship.com, click on the training tab to sign up to be a part of our coaching.
Another thing that you need to check out and we’d love for you to be a part of is our worship leader intensive. We call it the Reimagine Intensive, which will be held in Louisville in October of this year. It is a five-day event that, I promise you … in fact, I guarantee you, that it will impact your ministry for years to come. Please consider joining us for that. Go to our website, NextLevelWorship.com, and click on the training tab and there you will also see information about, The Intensive. Here is Herb, talking to us today about shepherding our group.
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Herb Armentrout: We need to start foundationally, in terms of being a good shepherd. We’ve got to spend time with the Good Shepherd. It’s always what we say foundationally just to be a spiritual encourager for the folks that are entrusted to us. We first have to be connected to Christ vitally, because we know we can’t produce living water out of a spiritually speaking, out of a dry well. I think for me it comes back to just some foundational things. Number first … number one, just praying daily and reading God’s word, utilizing a devotion book. One of the things that really helps me a whole lot in terms of just connecting with folks in our ministry has to do with praying for them, by name. We use prayer request cards in some of the rehearsals that I do where folks submit a prayer request card with their name and their specific prayer request.
Then I take that and I pray for it, and send out an email to the rest of our musical family, whatever it is. A choir or an orchestra, and then taking time to ask them when I see them how God has provided, or what kind of answer he has brought in regard to their specific request? Lets them know that I care deeply about them, and spiritually connected to them. Another thing that’s been a tremendous help in terms of shepherding is memorizing scripture. Changes my heart and then it’s really speaking from a worship pastors perspective, constant memorization of scripture, really negates, almost the idea of being creative in verbal segues and worship leadership because it’s at the ready. I mean you don’t have to be creative and come up with something clever to say you just use scripture.
I’m then I would say, foundationally, for me, too, in terms of being a good shepherd is just to work to be in a bible study or a small group and not one that I’m not leading, because I’m constantly being dead, so and then I have an accountability partner who will ask all the hard questions. I’m just talking about foundational things here in terms of being spiritually responsible as a leader.
One thing I think that really helps, and I’m gonna connect back to this later, is to have a personal mission field, outside the scope of your music ministry. For me, that, and you know, I think when we ate together, literally we will ask waiters or waitresses in restaurants where we frequent how we can pray for them? And so we’ve begun to build a mission field, really in a simple way, in restaurants. And then running and swimming groups. In point of fact it’s hard to be, really encouraging our people to be on mission with integrity if we’re not on mission. These are just some foundational things that I jotted down in regard to discipleship and ministry is that kind of … We’re headed in the right direction?
It’s a constant deal for all of us. In terms of shepherding or discipling or mentoring or team encouragement, however, maybe we would title this, I would say a big key, first of all is to understand that music is a means of ministry and it’s not the end game. And for musicians it’s important to remember that musical perfection does not equal successful ministry. It just, it doesn’t equate. The useful, first of all, in terms of mentoring to start closest to home, because if you blow it with your family you’ve failed in ministry at the most fundamental level. So set up boundaries.
And then the discipleship at a basic level, to me, is a kind of a two-way deal. In terms of mentoring that we have somebody who mentors us. And God provides these people for us, certainly. Someone to pour into our life with wisdom and counsel and for me that’s Larry Heslip, who’s education minister at Tallowood Baptist in Houston. A friend for 35 years, and I can call him and he’ll tell me the truth, and he’ll guide and whether it’s in the same way, turn that around and constantly be asking God for folks that you can mentor.
That can be individuals in your ministry or small group. For me, occasionally I work with a small group of young men doing just mentoring them. Just in basic preacher principles and then occasionally doing mentoring with a group of young worship leaders. In fact, I used Pure Grace the last time we went through a mentoring group and that was a great, great study for these young worship pastors here in Shreveport. And then other groups would include maybe a worship team? Or praise band, or music staff or choir or orchestra. These are folks that we have an opportunity to encourage and mentor and guide spiritually. I think it’s important, maybe to be intentional in our discipleship, because the way that we disciple? The way that we mentor and encourage? Trickles down.
And it’s an enormous responsibility when you consider the fact that in these rehearsals, this time that we share with our team a lot of the principles that we’re utilizing or the things that we’re sharing, many times make their way into homes. Or into other ministry groups. Or, so putting forth that we’re intentional in this … In our rehearsals we begin with a prayer time, but it’s usually pretty brief. We really utilize, because our folks are so busy that if we allow folks, a lot of people to share individual prayer requests in our rehearsal settings? That can take most of the time-
For rehearsal so we ask folks to write those down and then at the end we lift those up and we also post them so everybody can pray through those in emails through the week. Because most of the time we’ll have some type of devotional thought. In choir we utilize our choir officers. Sometimes I’ll do it. And I’ll … most of the time if I’m doing it I’m connecting it to worship music. Either that will be in the rehearsal or in the upcoming Sunday’s worship set. Often we use worship songs as a part of our warmup and we’re not doing those songs to rehearse. We’re doing those songs to begin to worship.
Our preparation for worship, not just technical, because if we begin to kind of open up our hearts and we do that in a variety of ways. Sometimes we pray in pairs. Sometimes it just depends on what’s going on in people’s lives. A lot of time you can sense it. I think if there’s a spiritual sensitivity to what’s going on in the room? A lot of times God, I think, will give you an awareness as to how begin a rehearsal in a way that will help folks connect to the Lord. So, if … we do it in different ways, different Wednesdays and different Sundays when we have these rehearsals, because every week’s different.
You can look in people’s eyes and sometimes people are just hanging on? You know? They come straight from work to these rehearsals and straight from work they haven’t eaten dinner or sometimes there’s … there’s a lot of heaviness.
It just depends. We spend a lot of time talking about heart preparation for our weekend worship services.
I’ll write our Grace Notes. Our newsletter is called, Grace Notes. I’ll often choose one song from the worship set to zero in on that and I’ll do some studying too … Maybe the background of the composer or the story of the hymn or worship song. That kind of helps people begin to think about that.
And then I encourage everybody in the worship teams to choose one song during our midweek rehearsal to focus in on for the balance of the week. Sometimes during the rehearsal I’ll invite folks to just share what this song has done for them, because most of these songs the-choir and praise team works so they rehearse. They’ve been working on it for weeks, so God’s begun to do many times a work for them and then they’ll connect, maybe with one song, come to the altar. Whatever the song is. They’ll grab hold of that and God’s spirit’s doing a work in them so they’re kind of eager sometimes to say, “Hey, I gotta tell you. This week we experienced some loss in our family and this song that we’ve been singing for four weeks now just, I’ve just camped there.” Then we remind folks, regularly, that Sunday worship is to be a celebration of God’s mighty works during the entire week. It’s not a once a week fix.
Dwayne Moore: So thankful for what Herb has shared with us today. I know that it has encouraged you, and perhaps convicted you in the same way it did me and our students with our coaching session when he joined us a few weeks ago. Please, let us know how we can pray for you. Send us an email at, Office@nextlevelworship.com. And, also, let us know if there’s a topic you would like us to address here on The Worship Q & A Podcast. Thank you, again, so much for joining us today. Have a wonderful week.