How our mistakes can lead to worship

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We’ve all been there at some time—You’ve finished the opening couple worship songs that were filled with energy and celebration.  The mood changes a bit and now there’s a quietness that starts to settle on the band and crowd.  You make a few comments to help direct peoples attention toward approaching the holy of holies in reverence.  At that point you take your capo and move it up the neck to accommodate a key change and then begin strumming as you head into a somber tune.  As you approach the first chorus, the band starts joining you but you quickly sense uneasiness amongst the team. The further you go into the chorus the cacophony of tones is jarring and unsettling.  As your mind scurries trying to detect where the problem may be, it suddenly hits you…..you put the capo on the wrong fret and you are in the wrong key.  And now it’s happened….a colossal TRAIN WRECK!

Inevitably moments like these happen for reasons that are even out of your control.  Sometimes the crowd can’t detect them.  Sometimes they can’t be hidden. Last month the Internet was buzzing with an electric guitar solo Nick Jonas performed while doing a duet with Kelsea Ballerini at the ACM awards. He looked cool walking around while he played and then all of a sudden, on national TV, he played a big ole fat clunker.  It couldn’t even be seen as some hip, jazz scale tone…it was a completely wrong note.  He didn’t wince or roll his eyes, but just kept soldiering on with the song.

In moments of worship, it’s easy to think this is the worst thing that can happen. In a concert performance with well-rehearsed performers, it can happen.  I remember even Chris Martin from Coldplay forgetting words and playing wrong notes.  We’d like to think this is to be avoided at all costs.  However, I’ve found a different way to view it.  While I feel my role is to help our team be as prepared as possible, I’ve found that a moment that is obviously a mistake can be a good teaching opportunity.  I now see it as a way to point people to who we are and what our purpose for playing is.  I share with our crowd that our mistake is a reminder that they haven’t come to see a flawless performance and to now see the beauty of this moment: God is please with our broken, flawed expressions of worship. While we worship a holy, transcendent Creator, we also worship God our loving Father. The presentation of our imperfect worship doesn’t bother God one bit. He looks more at the heart and sincerity of our worship and not at the frailty of it.

I really like to avoid train wrecks!  But, now when they happen they actually help me keep our attention on God and not on the musicians.  They are great redirecting moments.  They actually lead us in worship as they diminish any ‘rock concert’ vibe and help remind us what it is we are actually doing at that point in time.

But….hopefully they only happen on rare occasions.

The Power of Mentorship

So, I had just finished my first year of Bible college in Portland Oregon and was all 

set to come back home to San Jose for the summer.  I had secured a lucrative, 

prestigious job cleaning carpets during the hottest 3 months the Bay Area serves up.  

Oh, it wasn’t your high-end carpet cleaning business…oh, no.  It was that “2 rooms 

and a hallway for $19.95” that sends you to the darkest regions of the Silicon Valley 

cleaning carpets upon which greasy motorcycle engines sit.   I saw some of the most 

disgusting things get sucked up the hose one could ever hope to imagine.

Wait, that wasn’t the best part of my summer.  I had also been offered a summer 

internship at my home church, Calvary Church of Los Gatos.  Bill and Diane Allison, 

were the worship and music pastors who were willing to give a young music student 

with virtually no church experience the chance to learn and grow.  I had the 

responsibilities to work with the various church musicians, arrange music, lead 

rehearsals, lead weekend worship and even take over the direction of one of the 

bands for the summer.  

I learned a ton those few months.  I also made a bunch of blunders.  But more than 

anything I was mentored.  We had no formal program or curriculum we followed.  

But I got to just do life with Bill and Diane. I got to see how they handled conflict.  I 

got to see how they interacted with others on the church staff.  I was brought into 

the inner workings of how the worship department interfaces with the lead pastor.  

These two modeled for me a real heart for worship and pastoring others.  They were 

musically brilliant and of high spiritual integrity.  I didn’t have their same musical 

skill set, but I wanted to be like them.  That summer I was mentored in a way that 

put me on a trajectory to follow in their footsteps.

Their investment in me is one of the reasons I want to be a part of ANTHEM School of 

Worship. I want to help pass on some of the same experiences I had under their 

tutelage.  I love next generation worship leaders.  I feel like there’s a bunch I can 

learn from them.  I also feel that if there’s anything God has given me that’ll 

strengthen a future worship leader, I want to give it to them.

If you don’t just want to learn a bunch of cool things about worship and music, but 

also want to be mentored, I hope you’ll consider ANTHEM. 

Disclaimer: You won’t be expected to clean any carpets.  

- Mark Averill and the ANTHEM Team

3...2...1...LAUNCH!

My 5 year old often yells this sequence of numbers to me and shouts “LAUNCH!” with tremendous enthusiasm while throwing his paper airplane, stuffed monkey, or any number of projectiles through the air.  The accuracy and speed generated from his tiny hands are impressive.  The pleasure he gets from seeing his precious object take flight and hit a target is so fun to watch.  I’ve also learned to duck when necessary!

 

As the team and I launch ANTHEM school of worship, I feel a bit like my boy.  The excitement is palpable.  Our target is clear: we long to raise up the next generation of worship leaders, musicians, and production teams to develop their gifts and talents for the Kingdom of God.  We want so badly to help those with a passion for worship ministry get better at doing it.  But even more importantly, we long for them to get better at loving Jesus and living out the life of Jesus in their world.  When that happens, worship moves from singing a great song to living an even greater one – a living melody for the glory of God.  This is the song that changes the world, and is what makes the launch of ANTHEM worth all the prayer, effort, and risk.

 

We want to thank Doug Farrar and Brian Alphenaar at Ocean’s Edge School of Worship for being an amazing source of wisdom and encouragement.  Lincoln Brewster and Brandon Yip at Thrive School of Worship have also been a tremendous support to us.  We are beyond grateful for our friends and their humility and willingness to do whatever possible to help Anthem succeed for the Kingdom.  We also want to especially thank WestGate Church, our home church and home of Anthem.  It is a dream come true to have leadership who believe in Kingdom dreams much bigger than any one of us could imagine. 

 

If you or somebody you know could benefit from ANTHEM School of Worship, please point them our way. 

 

THANK YOU! 

Josh Fox & the ANTHEM Team