With my worship residency at the Austin Stone drawing to a close, and my new position as Worship Director at Citylight Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska beginning soon, I want to take an opportunity to reflect on what God has taught me over the past year as I’ve been immersed in worship residency. If I were to name off everything I’ve learned, I could write a novel! For the sake of time and efficiency, I’ll name off 3 of the biggest things that God has taught me.
1. I am not self-sufficient. I am reliant upon God.
The support raising process early on in my residency made me quickly realize my inadequacy at supplying my own needs. Every time I asked others to partner with me in giving, I was leaning into God’s provision. Every phone call, every face-to-face meeting with a potential supporter, was a declaration – “I am not capable of doing this on my own.” I needed God to put it on people’s hearts to give, and to give generously. I was reliant upon God in those moments more than ever.
Early on in residency I also realized that my schedule was going to be packed, and that I was going to be pushed to the brim in my capacity. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle all that was expected of me in my own strength. I had to lean into God and ask for energy, courage, and perseverance. I had to daily rely on God to provide. I continue to need it every day and in every circumstance, but the residency brought home that realization in a profound way.
2. I can be confident in the gifts God has given me and the things He’s called me to.
When I came to the Austin Stone I wasn’t confident that I could memorize a worship song. I wasn’t confident that I could could lead a band well. I wasn’t confident that I could learn enough about music theory, or become a good enough guitar player to keep up with the amount of talent at the church. And to some extent, that may all still be true.
And that’s okay.
I can still walk in confidence, because I am fully able to do the things that God has called me to do, to the best of my ability. My confidence lies in God’s calling and in His provision. Failure is a friend if I’m able to learn from it. It’s a friend that stings, but a friend nonetheless. God is sovereign in the midst of my successes and in the midst of my failures. I can trust that He will work in every circumstance for His glory and for my good. The residency has helped to bring me to the realization that my confidence cannot lie in something as shaky and fickle and small as my own skills or abilities. God is my confidence. And that’s a solid, never-changing, big confidence to have.
3. I will never stop growing, improving, and learning.
I’m never going to “arrive” as a worship leader. I will always be on an upward trajectory in my knowledge and skills. Watching the seasoned worship leaders around me at the Austin Stone has taught me that the best people in their fields are the ones who have the humility to recognize that they have a lot of growing left to do. They pursue their growth relentlessly, not for their own sake, but so that Jesus will be more glorified and honored by their lives. This pursuit of growth is a life-long endeavor. It’s exciting. It’s a reminder that the best things in life are yet to come. By God’s grace, the best things are certainly yet to come for me.