A Case For Community
By James Damey, US Director of Ministries for NLWI
It was in the latter part of the summer of 2012 when I found myself needing a friend to talk too. Not just a friendly person, but rather someone that could relate to the pressure and exhaustion that was draping itself around me. Come to find out that my buddy was going through the exact same thing at the exact same time.
We were just sitting down to lunch after ordering our chow mien and orange chicken at Panda Express and we both asked at the same time “How are you doing man”? And respond also at the same time, “I’m so tired!”. We musicians can do this from time to time. While the conversation deepened I noticed a familiar feeling that was easy to recognize. Fatigue! He was feeling it, I was feeling it, and my friend Gio, that I met with the day before, was feeling it. As we trade stories of what the summer months required of each of our churches in our city of Cheyenne, we saw the similarities of struggles, needs, and weights that we were carrying independently.
Certainly more of us were experiencing the same things we were, and needed an outlet and support.
Jared said, “We need to start a group of worship leaders that can do this from time to time”. I agreed whole heartedly, and we started to shift our conversation from “what if” to actual brainstorming of when, where, and how to create this. Certainly more of us were experiencing the same things we were, and needed an outlet and support.
It is all too often that we find ourselves normalizing the situation we struggle through. Feeling alone and forgotten is just part of the game. I am so thankful that my friends Gio and Jared decided to connect the dots to our plight and jump into action to create something that could accomplish much more than ever could have hoped.
That was the beginning of a community of worship pastors/leaders that started to meet once a month over a lunch hour. We opened our church lobbies, event halls, youth rooms, or whatever room could hold a dozen likeminded cohorts in ministry and began to hear each other. Pray for each other. Do life together. If I were honest with you, I would say that I was scared of the looming weight of Christmas Eve services, weekend services, Church in the park, new team members, and catching up everyone that took the summer off of church. And adding one more thing to my schedule didn’t seem like a wise or even logical thing to do.
How can I ask you to take a chance, as risk, a bet on the idea that doing this together could be far more profitable than going it alone.
How can I stress enough that we ALL need community. How can I ask you to take a chance, as risk, a bet on the idea that doing this together could be far more profitable than going it alone. I can tell you that this blessed my heart with such a support to continue when I wanted to give up. It opened me up to know that I am not the God-send for the world in worship because I got outside my little bubble to see what so many other leaders are doing for our great God. It gave me people of God to confess and be authentic with because I knew they didn’t have any anterior motives. We worked together, played together, stand together, fall together, and just do life together.
So will you do it? I challenge you to connect with one worship pastor, leader, or director in your city. Just show up and be available to them. Start there and see what God can do in your life, and others that need you to just say yes today. God has been waiting for his people, his leaders to do this together. Let us know so we can support, pray, and help you in this. Next Level Worship International wants to do this with you.
James Damey has been a Worship Pastor for the last 27 years. While creating and leading worship teams in multiple churches he has learned the value of living a lifestyle of worship. He has joined NLWI to pass the things he has learned to others. He and his wife April have been married for over twenty years and have three kids Elijah, Noah, and Selah Damey. They live in Cheyenne, Wyoming and attend Cheyenne Hills Church where they have served the last 14 years. He serves as the US Director of Ministries for Next Level Worship International.