The Zenith Of Worship Leading Is The Local Church

front-coram-deoGood friend and fellow ancient-future worship advocate Ryan Flanigan quotes good pal Matt Redman on the supreme importance of the local church for the worship leader. It has been my own quest for the past 20 years to emphasize this value in all we’ve done that has led up to and the Global Call To Worship Development.

Here is Ryan’s post inserted below, and a link to his blog. My comment is beneath his piece. Spread this one around – it is a call worth living for, and making decisions toward.

Ryan Flanigan

A little over two years ago my wife and I were faced with a pretty big decision. I had just finished seminary and was working full-time at a hospital and part-time as a local church worship leader. We were a couple months into being new parents, and I was antsy about getting my career rolling in full-time ministry. The problem was, I had conflicting aspirations, or so I thought. How much of my time and energy would I put into my songwriting career, and what percentage would I put into local church worship ministry? We sought the Lord and his will for our life, and we felt pretty certain he wanted us to pour 100% of ourselves into the life of a local church. So we began the search for a church. As it turned out, River Valley found us, and we have been serving here wholeheartedly for almost two years now.

A few weeks ago I had the joy of attending Vineyard Music’s Worship Leader Retreat in Asheville, NC. Absolutely incredible! So many old friends, so many new friends, the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the art of Asheville, late nights at Hannah Flanagan’s, sweet encounters with God, deep spiritual encouragement, and on and on. But one thing that has stuck with me the most is what Terry Butler said to us during one of our evening sessions. He quoted Matt Redman saying, “The zenith of worship leading is the local church.” It didn’t strike me as anything profound immediately, but as I mulled it over with my retreat small group, on the long ride home with Josh, and personally over the past few weeks, it has become monumental.

Since I probably can’t re-write it any better, here is what I wrote to my small group guys in an email reflecting upon our time at the retreat, particularly the Redman quote:

“The zenith (highest point) of worship leading is the local church.” It shakes me and comforts me to know I’ve reached the top. The local church is IT. We’ve made it, guys. It doesn’t get any higher than this. We don’t have to strive ambitiously to reach any other goal. It’s all about the people God has called us to in our communities. If anything is to come of our worship leading, songwriting, or anything else that might bring recognition or increased influence, it will come out of what the Spirit of God is doing through us in our local churches.

I am so thankful that God put it on my wife’s heart and mine to give all we have to the local church. I believe he has honored that decision tremendously, and I’m thankful that he has confirmed it once again.


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.