Risk-reward in an encouraging community…

Church Sunday - that's Tim on lead guitar...

This is my servant Caleb, he thinks differently; he has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. – Numbers 14:24

Sometimes, it’s good to push your comfort zone. You know, the “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” principle. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that very little of what I have learned over the past few years has been in response to playing it safe.

Sunday morning at church was a good example. I enjoy playing guitar, and I enjoy singing as part of a chorus of voices. But standing up front and offering a solo is certainly not a comfort zone experience.

Thumbs up... regardless!

Our music directors – Mark Prater overall, and Don Zegel with the Praise Band – invited me to sing a contemporary piece in this year’s Christmas Cantata. I played James Taylor’s arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter”; Tim McRoberts laid out a wonderful lead-guitar line, and Tim Black filled in on the conga drums.

That’s what good leadership does, it encourages us to use our gifts; not only that, it encourages us to discover our gifts.

PRAISE ORCHESTRA: This was not a Praise-Band Sunday, but the experience prompted me to think about the amazing job our director, Don Zegel, is doing in bringing together so many unique elements to produce what I believe is a really great sound.

Don Zegel and Mark Prater

The Praise-Band history has been varied and interesting. Our first director, Tom, got us up and running in 1997. Robert then established what I’d call an “if Lawrence Welk did church music” sound. Later, Nathan grounded us in contemporary Christian rock. After Nathan moved to Jacksonville, Brad fine-tuned that direction and brought with him a sweet spiritual sensitivity. Then, almost two years ago, Don Zegel took all those elements, worked them together orchestrally, and has crafted what I believe is one of the best contemporary-worship orchestras in the Brandon area.

Encourager: Don, a gifted trombonist who plays with the Florida Orchestra, knows how to listen, direct, encourage and interpret. He also writes a lot of the arrangements we use. Consequently, the presentation is more nuanced and worshipful than the guitar-driven blast of sound that dominates many church sanctuaries Sunday mornings!

He also works with our singers. He teaches and directs them and they’ve improved 100% since he first took the baton.

Nothing ventured... nothing gained

BACK TO THE BEGINNING: Okay, I realize today’s post is going all over the place. But not really, because I believe I’m talking about one of the key elements in the life-charged life. What I’m talking about is CAPACITY.

We will not perform to capacity (and beyond capacity, but that’s another post…) unless we’re willing to take risks. We will never thoroughly engage our potential as God’s children unless we’re willing to allow ourselves to live and to risk in the context of a life-charged community.

This is where the Praise Orchestra, my faith-community, and my solo in worship yesterday relates to this discussion. It’s the leadership and the encouragement of people like Don Zegel and Mark Prater, in the context of loving Christian community, that makes it possible for me to live the life-charged life.

Food for thought for Monday – DEREK

The chancel choir this Sunday

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