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Pat Dryburgh

In the last few months I have traveled to two places I had never been before: Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL. Both were for conferences that pertained to my new position as Associate Director of Music at Trinity, and both offered amazing content from different perspectives on topics such as family ministry, art, developing as a worship leader, copyright law, the church and the post-modern culture, and many more. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend both The Orange Conference and the Willow Creek Arts Conference.

I have been learning a lot over the last while, and am actually quite disappointed that I haven’t been keeping up to date on here. I really think that there are a lot of lessons that you learn as a young music director, and I really feel as though I need to be more diligent in sharing them.

So, be sure to check back over the next week as I begin to take on some of the things I’ve been learning both through experience, and the wise counsel of many other worship leaders from around the world.

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Over the last few weeks I’ve really had to think about just what my role is at Trinity. I am a person who will continually say “yes” to things until eventually I forget what it was I first said yes to.

My role here at Trinity is to design and lead a music ministry that creates an irresistible space where people can experience life change through Jesus Christ. Everything from leadership development with the music leaders, to working with the tech group to enhance our live sound, to sitting in with our lead pastor and our executive director of service programming to work out what our bottom lines are week to week.

One of the hardest things to do, I’ve found, is to say no to things. I feel as though we’re expected in ministry to just say yes to everything, because we’re doing “God’s work.” The problem is, I’m not responsible for video display, or ordering bibles, or setting up weddings. None of those things correspond to my role of creating a music ministry that creates and irresistible space.

I’m just venting. But I hope you can see my point.

Update 04/20/07: Just to clarify, I hope no one thinks I don’t enjoy what I do. I absolutely love it. I love the teams I’m working with, the leaders on staff and in our volunteers that just continually push me to be better at what I do. What scares me is that I’ll become distracted from what it is I’m supposed to do. In the same way that our church narrows our focus to our mission of leading a generation of people to life-change in Jesus, causing us to stay away from programs and ministries that don’t lead people to this mission, I want to make sure that whatever I fill up my day with is the things that will ultimately create the environments that will help further our mission. If I want to be the best leader I can be, I need to be careful not to major in the minors.

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I’m pretty certain that this is something that most in ministry have to wrestle with at some point. I am truly glad that I was able to wrestle this one down early on; otherwise I don’t know how much longer I would’ve been able to go on.

Moses wrote in Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Jesus said “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” What amazes me is that amidst our hurried lives that we live, we don’t notice that God has given us an amazing, holy gift in the form of a day. A day where, as Rob Bell puts it,

Sabbath is taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts. Sabbath is a day when my work is done, even if it isn’t. Sabbath is a day when my job is to enjoy. Period. Sabbath is a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most. Sabbath is a day when I remember when God made the world, he saw that it was good. Sabbath is a day when I produce nothing. Sabbath is a day when I remind myself that I am not a machine. Sabbath is a day when at the end I say, ‘I didn’t do anything today’ and I don’t add ‘And I feel so guilty.

What is truly remarkable to me is how productive I am in a week when I have taken my Sabbath. I am refueled, refilled, remade so that I can be everything God wants me to be through the rest of the week. My mind is more stable, my emotions less controlling. God does some of the most amazing stuff on my Sabbath, which honestly makes me wonder “how could I have missed this the past 22 years of my life?”

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I got into my office today, and immediately received a phone call to come down to the office. Immediately I’m thinking something bad has happened, or that something has gone wrong.

Turns out, I had received a package which contained my passport. 11 business days. They said it would be 15. I am amazed!

Praise God! I didn’t want to have to worry about it as we were quickly approaching the Orange conference in Atlanta!

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So, this past Easter marked the 2nd time for two significant occasions. One, it marks the second time I have not been home for Easter weekend (aside from the time my brother had a hockey tournament over Easter weekend, and our family did the egg hunt in our hotel room). Two, it marks the second time I have been to church on Easter Sunday.

Good Friday was a little rough, in my view. The bottom line was that God and humanity were at a stalemate, and that it was God who made the first move to reconciliation. It was also a communion Sunday, and Carey (our lead pastor) made an excellent analogy between Jesus taking the punishment for our sins, and a skiing helmet he had on stage that had been wrecked from an accident. In the accident, the skier had hit his head so hard, that the helmet cracked and the foam was compressed to where you couldn’t press your nail into it. The point was that Jesus absorbed the consequence for our sins. It was quite powerful.

The music we chose didn’t flow as well as I had hoped. We did:

  1. Draw me Close
  2. Once Again
  3. Here I am to Worship
  4. Forever

First, I would never, ever start a service with a song as slow and downbeat as Draw Me Close. Second, I would never include Forever in a Good Friday service (again). Once Again and Here I am to Worship were both for communion, and fit well.

Overall, the whole service didn’t flow very well. It seemed very disconnected.

On a side note, I wrote a song for this service that we didn’t use, but will most likely use later down the road as a communion song. It is called “You Paid It All” and the chorus is:

You paid it all
You took my place
Gave me your life
When you died on that day
And You paid it all
Your loving embrace
Became my life when you called me by name
You paid it all

Sunday was quite a bit better, from my perspective. The bottom line was that Jesus cares about us, even if we feel we’ve put ourselves out of the game. The overall idea is that no matter what we’ve done, Jesus is still loves us.

The songs were:

  1. Sing to the King
  2. O Praise Him
  3. The Beautiful Letdown (Special Piece)
  4. Happy Day

The only one I would have changed is O Praise Him, and that is only because it wasn’t as solidly connected to the Easter theme as the others. However, the video we played behind the song was incredible. You can check it out at highwayvideo.com under the name “All This For A King.”

This coming week should be much better, as I’m finally out from the cloud I have been under the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure what it was, but I feel a much greater sense of clarity now.

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Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

Somedays I forget that even though I can do things on my own, that isn’t how God intended for me to live. I read this passage from Matthew 8, where these disciples go to Jesus, and Jesus says they have “so little faith.” It makes me wonder why he said that, to be honest. I mean, they went to him thinking he must be able to do something. And yet he still announces they are of little faith. Why is that?

I think the answer is in Matthew 4. Read this:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.

Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. They had spent their entire lives in boats. They knew how to handle a storm. In fact, the sea that Simon and Andrew were found on, the sea of Galilee, is known for its storms.

Due to its low-lying position in the rift valley, surrounded by hills, the sea is prone to sudden violent storms.

So these disciples knew what to do when a storm hit suddenly. Throwing their belongings overboard, bringing down the sails, tying lines; they had the knowledge and ability it would take to get them through the storm. One can only assume then that they had gone ahead and done all of those things. They did everything in their capacity to take control of the situation. Then, once they had come to their end, they went to Jesus.

So when Jesus says “You have so little faith!” he isn’t saying it because they’re afraid of a storm. It’s because they waited until they physically could not do it on their own before they came to their Lord.

How many times do we do this today?

For myself, I know that I am a talented musician. I know it does not take me long to learn a new song, and it is not difficult for me to lead worship or play in front of people. I am gifted. Sometimes, though, I forget that before I use my abilities, I need to come to God and say “God, help me.” We have faith when we come to God before we come to our end.

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It has been 19 days since my last update, and while some may think I’ve simply been neglectful, it’s actual simply been a matter of balance. And so, with that in mind, I will delve into one of the pitfalls many in ministry find themselves in, especially when they first begin.

Whenever you start a new job, ministry or otherwise, you want to make sure you give it your all. You work extra hard (all the time, not just when the boss is near), you put in those extra hours, you make sure you’re connecting with your fellow staff so they know you’re a great employee willing to go that “extra mile.” For many people (and in the past this had included myself), this drive lasts a few weeks, at which time reality sets in and work simply becomes a means to an end. I say this has been me in the past, because not until now have I worked at a job where I’ve felt so passionately called. Over the last four weeks, these are the hours I’ve put in:

  • Week One: 62 Hours
  • Week Two: 59 Hours
  • Week Three: 41 Hours
  • Week Four: 55 Hours (plus one all-nighter)

So it’s become apparent to me that I need to really focus on tightening up my schedule. I think a lot of that goes back to the practice of “working on it, not in it.” I need to look at what I need done, and how I do it, and make sure I’m doing those things not only to the best of my ability but also to the greatest level of efficiency.

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ir·re·sis·ti·ble adj.

  1. Impossible to resist
  2. Having an overpowering appeal

We in today’s culture have a tendency, I think, to easily be distracted. While watching advertising on television, I often find myself forgetting one commercial as soon as the next comes on. As a generation we have found an venue where collectively we have spent almost 10,000 years watching stupid videos.

As the Church, we claim to have News that is so important, men and women have given their lives for it. Yet are we, as the Church, able to shout loud enough so that the world can hear this news?

At Trinity our aim is to create an “irresistible space” where people can come and hear the Good News. My job is to provide the musical aspect of this space. Through worship choruses and secular songs, the music’s role is to provide a window for those who are not familiar with the church, so they can catch a glimpse of God. I feel blessed to have the privilege of sharing with people who God is through music.

For those who are visiting my blog, this is my space where I can chronicle the times where we have seen our vision to create that “irresistible space,” how we accomplished it, and ways we can improve even further. I will also keep account of the times we haven’t reached our goal, and try to determine why that was.

For those of you joining me on this journey, thank you so much. And for those who actually get the chance to come to Trinity Community Church, I hope you find that God truly is an irresistible God…and that He cannot resist loving you too.

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Last night was a great practice. We were a little pressed for time, but overall we managed to create some very interesting arrangements of some of the songs, as well as learning a new song by Matt Redman called “Shine.”

I’ve been having some very interesting discussions with some people in leadership, as well as those who are on the music team. I could go on at length about them all, but I want to share one in particular that my lead pastor and I have just recently begun regarding the idea of having a “green room.” It stems from an article about the lead worshiper/pastor relationship, and the dynamics and importance of having a solid relationship in order to serve together on a Sunday morning.

It interest me because I’m not sure where I stand regarding “the green room.” We both agree that for the congregation, it is important for the pastor to be present for the worship aspect of the service. However, my lead pastor brought up a point that made me think: that in an ideal world the worship team would stay for the speaking. My first instinct is to agree, and to say “Of course! The worship team wants to soak up as much of the Word as possible, and we just want to hear the speaker speak God’s truth!” However another part of me is thinking “But wait…Do we really want to sit in for three 40 minute sermons rather than just the ‘required’ one?” But then I question my motives behind that statement…and then I ask “well, what do I honestly think?”

And so, I’m torn. What is the answer to the green room dilemma? Is there an easy answer? Is there an answer?

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Last night was my first practice with the FUSION music team. FUSION is our student ministry, from grades 6-12. I had actually practiced once with this team when I was going through the hiring process, but this was my first “official” practice with them.

I think my biggest struggle of the night was the sound. There isn’t a sound guy present at the practices, which I think is something I’m needing to address. I really want to build a sense of community between the musicians and our tech people, and I think that working together at practice will really help build that bridge. Also, it would allow the tech people the chance to participate in our devotionals we do as a team.

The only snag we hit last night was when we were attempting to play “One Way.” The team was doing a fairly mashed-up version of the song that reminded me of a mix between Steven Curtis Chapman and Metallica. Essentially, I knew I had to bring some unity to the song. Working out some of the parts with the musicians was something I knew I was going to need to do, but I think I can still use some work in how to approach it. I feel as though I’m too afraid to hurt someone’s feelings, when really it’s not a personal thing at all, but rather an attempt to really bring the best out of the team. I am wondering if I need to just say upfront that whatever I say regarding playing a song has nothing to do with the person, and only is being said for the betterment of the team.

(Note: I had to look and make sure “betterment” was a real world. Apparently it is!)

Anyways, I have practice with the adult church worship team tonight. I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes!

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