band of brothers :: my team of levites

September 10, 2009

The Levites_effects

It’s a mystery.  How do I get to do this?

I don’t deserve to love my work this deeply.  It’s a God-gift that keeps rewrapping itself.  I love leading Living Hope Church’s staff and arts teams.  I love designing the “look and feel” of a local church.  I eat up music-making, arranging, drumming, rehearsals…  But what I am most grateful for beyond my redemption in Jesus is my brothers.

My team of Levites.  Called to handle the Holy things, and assist the church family in coming before the throne room of the King.  Musicians, yes.  But mostly facilitators – in deep relationship with God and with each other.

Worship Leaders, Pastors, Executive Pastors hear this:  It takes TIME and ENERGY to build your teams DEEP (not just wide), but the payoff for your Team and for your Church is incalculable.

Last night’s rehearsal was electric.  Leading a rehearsal is always work, but often I leave them energized rather than drained.  Last night left me buzzing.  Jeremy’s Keyboard licks (and that TASTY organ patch for the intro on our opener) kept popping into the mix – making me smile big.  Jordan? The Edge.  Edge?  Jordan.  Zen picks up and owns bass licks like… as fast as I can THINK them, let alone sing them.  Andy somehow channels every mood shift, every chord change, every touch.  Just give him the key and he seems to intuitively know the music.  Nate and Lucus chatter patiently while the band works out the details, and then they soar when we run the music.

So – musically fulfilling.  Check.

What makes all the difference in the depth of the experience is our back story.  The relational bonds.

I’ve wept with Jeremy through his cancer diagnosis and treatment.  He knows he can call me @ 3AM asking for prayer (actually, that has happened…), and I can call him.  And we’ve been on mountaintops together.  Figuratively and literally.  A true brother, fellow thinker, artist, heart.

Jason (@churchrd) started playing bass with me early in my first church music job.  The drummer-bass brotherhood is no small thing.  He used to record every rehearsal on a cassette tape player, and go through his music with a pencil to write in the note names.  Committment and discipline leads to skill that leads to art.  And he’s gone through viral cardiomyopathy that severely weakened his heart.  So have I.  Miraculously, God healed him.  Miraculously, me too.

Jordan (@jordan_cd) has that rare mix of outstanding technical skill -and- the humble confidence that marks a mature Christ follower.  He and Andy working together are magic.  Humble, dependable, exceptional.  It’s a joy to play and lead with him every time.

Nate (@n8anderson) and Lucus (@luanders) both have been prayer partners, consistent encouragers, my sounding boards when I have had doubts and worries.  On multiple occasions, these two guys have been my “let’s have lunch and talk about it” friends when I needed my church to be my church.  They know stuff about me that no one else does.  I would take a bullet for these guys.

Andy (@andy_guitar_guy) thinks with my mind.  I have never met anyone with as parallel a ministry philosophy as Andy shares with me.  His heroes are my heroes.  The art that moves him moves me.  He is musical, visual, sensitive to moments and repelled (as I am) by pretense and the sacharine, mind-numbing “Christian art” that represents our faith poorly.  We have the same heart.

I have similar stories and bonds with several others who weren’t scheduled for this week – weren’t at last night’s epic rehearsal.  My team of Levites.  It takes TIME.  It takes contact beyond rehearsal.  It takes investment of energy, resources, intentionality.  But the effort leads to deeper relationships.  Deeper relationships lead to deeper shared experience.  And when we go before the throne of Heaven and invite our church family to come with us, we truly go TOGETHER.  Deeply together.  One heart and one mind, with one shared purpose. (ala Philippians 2:2)

Worship Leaders, Team builders… make the effort.  Invest the time.  View team building as a “long-haul” process.  Deep and wide.  With an emphasis on DEEP.  As Nancy Beach wrote in “An Hour on Sunday…”

“When it’s all said and done, I want to cross the finish line knowing that I was a part of a Team who loved one another outrageously and did ministry side by side until the end.”

Amen and amen.  Have YOU experienced “TEAM” ministry like this?

Band of Levites from Joshua Skogerboe on Vimeo.


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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.