Downturn Seasons...Written by Terry Dashner
Terry Dashner………….Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:” says Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV). God gives us natural laws to convey spiritual principles. For example, there is a natural law of seed sowing and harvest. If I plant a seed in ground during right season, I will reap a harvest in due season. This natural principle illustrates a greater spiritual truth: If good is sown, in due season it will produce a good return.
The properties that apply to natural laws may foreshadow spiritual truths also. Again I illustrate. The properties of farming are known by every good farmer. For example, an experienced farmer knows that there are only four seasons in year. Only certain things can be done during a particular season. In winter season, farmer can’t plant seed. The land is fallow. During spring farmer doesn’t go to field, expecting harvest. During spring season ground is turned over and made ready for planting. The farmer has seasons to work in, and they continue throughout his life.
This brings me to crux of this writing. The people of God go through seasons throughout their lives. This is normal, and it is God ordained; however, many become discouraged in their walk with God because they do not understand this truth. If one does not understand seasons of faith, discouragement, even shipwreck, is a real possibility. Let me explain.
If you read life of a Biblical Patriarch, you are inclined to think that his life is marked by a thrill a minute. This is not true. For every Patriarch of Old Testament, as well as every Apostle of New Testament, there are many seasons marked by downturns. For example, Genesis account of Abraham. The Bible says that he was 75 years old when he traveled to land of Palestine. Between his 75th and centennial year, there is a lot of downtime. There are only five to six significant events, worthy of Biblical record in these 25 years; however, when one reads accounts of Abraham’s life and because they follow in tandem, it appears that Abraham is experiencing spiritual apparitions daily. That’s not case. Again, Abraham had seasons of boredom, frustration, carnality, disbelief, and etc.
Better Worship - 12 marks of an effective music ministryWritten by Ken Davis
My first experience in music ministry happened fairly soon after I first picked up a guitar at 15 years of age. I knew about 20 chords and could play a few songs from a new songbook titled Scripture in Song. Fortunately most of songs were in guitar-friendly keys.
There were four of us who played guitar in a small country Baptist church. I know one song we dreaded was "Rise and Shine"
('God said to Noah there's gonna be a floody floody...'). The chords were simple, but strumming rhythm was a real wrist breaker.
After church we would retire to one of our homes and listen to latest Larry Norman or Randy Stonehill album, and try to work out chords and guitar licks. As Bryan Adams sang, 'I played it till my fingers bled...those were best days of my life'. The songs were simple and we'd try and embellish them with influences from progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd and Yes. However there's a limit to what you can do with a $20 nylon string guitar. Sometimes this went down well. At other times some of elders would warn us of dangers of getting so caught up in music that we forgot main game. In their quirky country ways, they had a point.
In years since then I have enjoyed being part of many different music teams. My studies meant I moved around a fair bit, so I was part of a number of churches. Some were well resourced and it was a struggle to get to do what I loved, whereas others were small and welcomed whatever help they got.
When Willow Creek team first came to Australia I witnessed what was possible with a dynamic, creative and well-resourced team. However, my frustration was that models of music ministry I was seeing presented by big, well-resourced, upper middle class churches was simply not achievable in majority of churches.
This sparked my interest in training and developing churches without these kinds of resources. The problem was to distil from 20 years of experience 'what things really mattered'. What were issues that could make or break a music ministry, whether in a mega church or a church struggling to survive as demographic change followed its course?
Since then I've had privilege of speaking with hundreds of music ministers and team members here in Australia and from overseas. From those conversations, these are what I believe are 12 "biggies" for creating an effective music ministry.
Notice that I said effective, not "successful". Many people equate success with big budgets and large teams. An effective