Sunday, September 18, 2011

Training up the worshipers

Hello my wonderful community of family and friends!  The reason I’m writing is because I wanted to talk to everyone about a new project that I have been working on.  I am really excited about this and wanted to share it with you all for a few reasons.  The first reason is just because I want to share the things in my life with my friends and family.  Second, this project will cost money to do it right and so I am asking for help in the area of finances.  Thirdly, I would love your inputs if you have any, your encouragements, and your comments on how this project might affect you (more on that later).  Please forgive the length of this but I felt it important to invite you in to my heart and passion for this project as well as give you broad details. 

So to dive right in, let me first share with you that I have an absolute passion to worship God, whether in my house alone or in church, it is one of my first loves. 
I am creating training material targeted for people who lead or want to lead worship in small group environments (groups between 5-40 that doesn’t involve a stage and large band).  I first realized a need when God originally gave me the idea about five months ago.  I began to realize that there aren’t many ways for someone leading small group worship to get lessons or instruction.  There are, however, plenty of resources for just about every other aspect of the Christian life.  I realized so much of the growth is dependant on trial and error on their own in the groups they lead.  While this can be very effective, it can also be a very slow way to learn depending on how often someone actually gets to practice his or her skill.             

I’ve always held small group worship settings in such high value.  It is a place where people can really connect with God on a more intimate and personal level.  Because of that level of connection, inner healing and spiritual growth seem to come more naturally than they do in larger corporate settings.  It’s for this reason that I think it is so important for us to invest in and train-up our worship leaders in this small group setting. 
I have found that I learn the most when I’m sitting in a worship meeting with someone more skilled or maybe just leads differently than I do.  The problem is that in many communities the worship leader is always leading and rarely gets to sit in and just receive and learn from someone else.  Even more rare is getting to talk to the worship leader after the night and discuss how the leader thought the night went and unpack what God was doing.  This idea almost seems too unspiritual but that is exactly what we do in learning about big stage worship, preaching, and in learning to do miracles among others. 
            The training material that I am creating is designed to equip these worship leaders with experiential knowledge, taken directly from small group worship leaders that already have a lot of experience and skill in this setting.  The first part consists of creating a number of short (around twenty minutes) online topical video in the form of an interview or “fireside chat” where we talk about the practical things as well as the spiritual aspects of leading in a small group environment.  As we get into the more spiritual topics we will do our best to stay away from methods and formulas and stick to the truths and paradigms that God gives us for worship in the context of relationship. 
The second part to the training material is something I’m really excited about.  We will be recording a worship night with high quality audio and video.  The idea is to make it as much like a normal night of worship as possible.  My heart for this project is to show that you don’t need to be a “superstar” worship leader to see God move in greater levels in your meetings.  After the worship night is over, we will interview the worship leader and even some of the worshipers that are there.  My goal is to unpack the night and have the worship leader share what she saw God doing and how she partnered with Him in it.  We will cover everything from why she started out with a certain song to maybe how she fostered spontaneous singing that broke open a new level of the worship that night.  In talking to the worshipers themselves we will ask things like what they felt God was doing that night, what about the night created more freedom, and maybe, if anything, what seemed to disconnect or distract them from the worship. 
So that is the vision for the project.  This set of recordings will be like a pilot episode to see how people take in the lessons.  If it looks like the project is a success and people are learning and growing because of the videos then the door will be open for more panel discussions and more recorded worship nights in different cities.  This first pilot will be available to people online for free, though I will be praying about a possible access charge in the future. 
            As it stands now, we are going to film most of the project in the beginning of November.  Ihave three cameramen, an editor, a sound engineer with a studio, and bunch people that will be taking part in the panel and worship.  Because the project will be free to world I am raising money to pay for it.  The estimated cost is about $3500.  If a large organization were to do this it would cost at least five times that amount, but because of the smaller scale and the relationships I am in we can do it for less without sacrificing quality.  This resource is meant to be a blessing to literally the world.  If you see the value in what I’m doing and you want to help make it a reality you can give to it in a couple of ways:

1.     Send money to me directly (check, money order, etc.)
“Jesse Skinner” (make payable to me)
1023 Burton Dr. Apt. A
Redding CA, 96003
(Please note somewhere that the money is for the Worship Project)
2.     You can give it to me in person (cash or check)
3.     You can give via Pay Pal HERE.  Credit cards and debit cards are accepted through Pay Pal.

*I don’t have a non-profit ministry set up so donations will not be tax deductable. 
**If you would like to see a cost breakdown or want to know more about the project feel free to send me a request via email.