EPISODE 2 FREE TO LEAD
Welcome to the Free to Lead podcast with your host Troy Maxwell from Freedom House Church.
Troy Maxwell: Hey, I just want welcome everybody to Free to Lead. My name is Troy Maxwell. I am the pastor of the Freedom House Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and we are excited that you decided to join us today. I want to thank everybody for tuning in today; I want to thank you for telling people about our podcast, Free to Lead. I want to thank you for just commenting on it, sharing it with all your friends and today I am telling you, we have a special treat for you today. We have two of some very close people with me. They are the worship leaders, worship directors at our wonderful church here in Charlotte, Freedom House. What we going to do today is that we are going to talk about just that relationship between the senior leader, the pastor and the worship leaders. Kind of that dynamic of what is happening in churches these days and worship is a big deal. So I have got Clint Pew with us today. What is up Clint?
Clint: Hey everybody, what is up man?
Troy Maxwell: How you doing man?
Clint: Great to be here
Troy Maxwell: Yes
Troy Maxwell: What do you do? What is your title because titles matter to you right because you are a worshipper? I am just kidding.
Clint: Probably more so because I am a three on the in the Graham titles matter because not everyone gets a trophy. I am a three achiever. My title is Executive Director of Worship, Production and creative.
Troy Maxwell: How long have you been at Freedom House?
Clint: Been attending 11 years on staff 10.
Troy Maxwell: You just celebrated 10 years with us just this month.
Troy Maxwell: That is right man.
Clint: Yes, it has been an amazing journey and a privilege to be a part of it.
Troy Maxwell: Then we have one of my adopted daughters Leslie Lockwood and tell us a little about you.
Leslie: I am the worship director here, I have been at Freedom House for about almost 15 years, and so I am loving it.
Troy Maxwell: We have done a couple albums, you can find those on iTunes but that is not the point of this. I wanted to just spend a little time with them talking about this relationship. I want you guys really quickly and Leslie if you want to get started on this, talk about how important it is about the relationship between the pastor and the worship leader and what that looks like in our context.
Leslie: It is absolutely paramount actually and I think one of the most important things that you have to really put the work in for is the trust. Trust going both ways, trust going from the senior pastor to the worship leader and the worship leader to the senior pastor because. When the trust is there when the senior pastor makes a call that maybe you do not agree with or maybe—
Troy Maxwell: But that doesn’t happen right?
Clint: Never happens at freedom house.
Troy Maxwell: There is never a, like we everything we talk about we agree on every day.
Clint: It is harmonious all the time.
Leslie: When, it is not an if it is a when. When that happens yes we get the opportunity to submit and submit and not just submit but to support and if we can support as the worship leader, you our senior pastors that in turn just breeds trust, between goes both ways and then maybe the reins are loosened just a little or more opportunities are given. It is a really beautiful relationship but you’ve got to put the work into it, it takes time.
Clint: I think one of the things that has been really good with our culture is we have been really intentional about describing and talking about the when of what a weekend is. You know specifically the first few minutes of a worship service and what that looks like. You know the 18 to 20 minutes that requires getting people engaged in connected in the service. We have been really intentional about setting the stage for people to come in and a lot of people ask me what is the win? What does it look like to win in worship and I believe that when you have people on the platform whose hearts are for God number one to lift up Jesus, it is not about them, and the center of attention is not on them. The center of attention is not on whether the music is perfect, the production is just right, or the songs are in the right pitch, which are all important things—
Clint: Yes of course.
Troy Maxwell: But the win is about worshiping Jesus that has really meant it just makes such a big difference. When we rally around that, when we do have those moments of tension and issues where we don’t get along its easy to kind of go back and go, okay here’s what’s important in a situation and let’s make sure we remember what’s important. So Clint you know you’ve been here a long time, talk about just how you have framed worship in your own personal life, and then carry that over into your job so to speak or you’re calling on staff.
Clint: Yes! Well growing up in the home of worship leader, my dad was a worship leader. I saw it modeled on and off the platform thankfully. The older I get I realized that was a privilege and God’s gift to me was to have a dad who modeled and a Mom. Even though she was not musical, they were worshipers throughout life and so for me on a personal level it really is about the other 90 percent of my life off platform. If my job and my life is supposed to be worship if Paul said a living sacrifice is what we are supposed to be, my worship is not just refined or contained to a few songs on a weekend. So for me it’s all about my heart attitude, it’s about the way I love my wife, it’s the way I communicate with my staff and team that I oversee or friends that I hang out with. So on a personal level worship is more than a song to me. A song is just a vehicle to express that worship and that’s where on the weekend if I can bring my life good, bad or ugly and express it through that song in a genuine authentic way, I think that’s what God’s looking for; worshiping in spirit and in truth. I am just here honest with my life. He’s going to he’s going to breathe on that so to speak, or he’s going to move through that and people feel a sense of genuine authentic worship.
Troy Maxwell: That is good that is real good, so I know you guys want to know a little about the senior pastor and kind of the we things. You brought some questions too to talk about. Why don’t you throw one at me so we can talk about that?
Clint: We did, I am throwing out. What Pastor Troy, what do you hear other senior pastors expressed concern about regarding worship or whether it is a worship leader, a worship team, or just the worship culture, what do you hear and what do you hold as like a primary concern.
Troy Maxwell: Well I think that, I’m going to be a little bit blunt about this and you guys aren’t like this at all, but we see this all the time and maybe we even can go down this road a little bit, is we see a lot of worship leaders, the people so to speak that are involved in leading worship, bringing all the attention on themselves. They are looking on it more as a gig on the weekend. We have talked a lot about the whole pay to play situation and maybe we can talk about that in another podcast because that I think that would be something we can really dig into. Just the value of volunteering as opposed to looking on it as a job and if I don’t get paid to play then I’m not going to participate in worship So what I have found is there’s a lot of spotlight on the person, and I think for me as a senior pastor that’s a challenge because ego gets in the way. There’s a lot of I want this and I want that and I want to this way and then when you’re trying to lead a church and you’ve got all these different people that are involved in the context of it, it is real difficult to navigate that. So that’s what I see us see, I see a lot of younger guys they’re looking for a record deal, they’re looking for to write the song, you know the oceans of their generation you know what I mean total which are great songs and those are just phenomenal but that’s not what it’s about. It is about preparing an atmosphere for when people walk in to your church that they sense the presence of God. You know that there is a touch of heaven on the music, and the only way that we can do that is when we humble ourselves and realize it is not about me. It’s not about my song, it’s not about my record deal, it’s not about the way that I look, that’s not what it’s about it’s about. It is about seeing lives change and ministry happening during those. I believe that the songs that we sing are prophetic over the people that are there, I believe they are prophetic over the region that we are in, the city that we are in. A lot of songs are written about us as opposed to written about God, and so I just want to see those changes. Now let me throw a question at you because this is one of the tensions that I find, how do you deal with people like that. So if you have somebody come in I can say you know, and they can, I can play and they can and they’re very talented, and you’ve probably and I know we’ve talked about this; you’ve probably had situations where people ended up in front, singing, leading, and they weren’t necessarily the right person. Talent wise they were right, gifting wise, they were right, but just from their character, they ended up being a bit toxic to the environment or it was all about them and stuff like that. How do you guys handle that, how does you process that?
Leslie: One of the things that we, that Clint and I say often to each other is you promote what you tolerate and so when we find something like that happening on the team with somebody, we have to be quick to address it or else it can spread. So if it is somebody who is already on the team, we will sit down with them right away. Immediately, that cannot be put off at all, and we will talk with them about it, we will have some really direct conversation and also kind of help them process where that coming from is. Why is that, where did that entitlement come from and just kind of maybe—
Troy Maxwell: So you are looking for something that is underlying.
Leslie: Oh absolutely.
Troy Maxwell: Trying to help them right
Leslie: Absolutely yes because we love them.
Troy Maxwell: Ultimately, we are called to pastor our team. It is more; it is not just about the experience on the weekend. That is a byproduct of the health of our team and so Leslie what I hear you saying is that in that moment, you are looking to pastor the person to say I care about you enough to be honest to speak the truth. What is going on here?
Leslie: That is if somebody is already on our team and that comes up so, we definitely want to address that right away. Coming into the church though we try to take our time with people, time reveals a lot.
Troy Maxwell: What does it look like when you say take your time, so somebody comes in, and they go you know I was on American Idol. I am the greatest singer you have ever heard. I led worship at the last church, I can sing like an angel and they can. So what happens? Give us some practical things, I am just thinking about this and I know we do a really good; you guys do a phenomenal job at this, at processing this. So how do you take somebody from the door to the platform? What does it look like?
Leslie: Well if somebody comes in and says hey I want to be a part of the worship team, what we 1st and foremost do is we have them fill out just an application online that helps us get to know them a bit better. What is your actual experience like, what is your story and a little more like that. How long have you been at freedom house—?
Clint: Are you serving on another team.
Troy Maxwell: You do that, do you think somebody needs to be serving on the other team before they can actually be on the platform.
Leslie: We do not always require that simply because it is a case-by-case basis and so there is not a standard you have to. Relationship is really a big thing for us, so someone could have been serving somewhere else for a long time, and we still do not know whom they are. So we ask more about them, we have we go ahead and have them do some video auditions because it doesn’t hurt to get a video audition but—
Troy Maxwell: A YouTube video or just something on their phone.
Leslie: It is pretty simple and it just helps us get to know just kind of their skill set level. After that, we sit down and have a one on one with them and that’s where we talk to them about life talk to them about family talk to them about where they’ve been, if they’ve been at another church, what kind of church environment was it, what their family life is like?
Clint: What led them to leave that other church—-?
Leslie: Yes very direct questions, things like that. We also ask our team people who are getting ready to board on team to go to get on track, which is—
Clint: Our growth track.
Leslie: Our growth track yes, because we want to make sure before we ever put somebody on the platform, they understand the culture, Freedom House as a whole.
Clint: How to grow.
Leslie: You know all of that kind of stuff and so that is something that is really important to us too, so we do not just take it from I am interested to great now you are on the platform. We asked them to be a part of get on track and then once there, once kind of those main things have been hit, and we feel like OK we feel like there’s potential for this person both relationship wise and skillset wise, because it’s not just about a skill set we want to make sure they’re also good for our team relationship wise. We will go out, we will have coffee with them, and we will sit and have those direct conversations and then—
Troy Maxwell: How long is that usually take, is there a time frame?
Leslie: It is different per person.
Troy Maxwell: Okay so it could be fast based on—
Leslie: Yes, it could be faster; it could be if we do not know this person at all then it is going to take some time. But if we know them like we’ve had plenty of people come in that are referred by somebody we now, cool let us go to coffee, let’s get to know them a little bit better, and then we have after that we have our own culture classes as far as our team goes.
Troy Maxwell: And that has called the emerged.
Leslie: That has called emerged.
Troy Maxwell: We will link that to our podcast so you can check out what we do on our website so you can see kind of the process because I think what be good to help people.
Clint: It is very intentional, very systematic.
Troy Maxwell: And you guys have read all that put all that together, that is good.
Clint: Very systematic and back to your original question to put a bow on it with this, it’s a process designed to identify the right kind of people and weed out and hopefully coach and teach so that we are not just putting talent and ego on the platform. Because that is the position of leadership and so we work hard to guard that, and we have very specific things in place to help make sure we are leading people well and leading our church well.
Troy Maxwell: So now we’ve kind of shifted as a church from one campus to now within a very short period time with 4 campuses, 3 of which are locations in our city and then one is online where we’re doing a lot of stuff online. How has that changed any of this or has it changed any of it.
Clint: It has—
Troy Maxwell: The scalable part of it.
Clint: The scalable part if you are talking about emerge specifically, we had to learn three campuses physical campuses is a game changer. Many church planters will tell you that, people who understand church systems will tell you that, and we learned firsthand. We were anticipating it thankfully, but a learning point for us was emerged had been happening at our two physical campuses so the same processes and rhythms were happening at both campuses. When we went to 3 campuses we realized wait a second this isn’t going to scale, this isn’t going to work like we want it to and serve the people well, and serve us well so we actually centralized the process for a merge to our central campus to—
Troy Maxwell: So everybody has to come through at the central campus no matter what campus they are at.
Clint: Exactly and we took that, not only did we see that observation for ourselves within our campuses but that also came out of a couple conversations we had with other churches and worship leaders who were at our size or larger and determined this is a better way, it’s a better experience of onboarding for that person. It is more effective and it is going to serve them better and set us up to win. So we made that adjustment that is one scalable thing we had to change. Also it forces us on the relational because we’re big on that and the culture aspect of our team to be even more intentional because vision and culture can get deluded across multiple campuses so the way we pull teams together and develop community and cast vision, it’s just we’ve had to roll with the punches and right tweak and adjust so that we’re making sure it’s still a priority.
Troy Maxwell: So on the weekend you know one of the things that we talk about a lot is just this unity aspect, you know the flow between the senior leaders. And this is one of the things I think is a missing point, a missing part and I don’t know what’s changed over the last few years and why this happened; but I feel like that there are a lot of times when senior pastors don’t connect with their worship leaders on a regular basis. Or even a campus pastor you know if you are at a campus, you have that leader, and you have to facilitate the service, I think having that connection is extremely important, and so we do talk a lot. I have a bit of influence in the song selection sometimes you know, you guys pretty much pick all the different worship music that we are doing but every now and then I’ll feel something and you guys are really good to be able to allow me because I’m a worshiping pastor. Let me say this real quick too, I think this is important specifically in regard to senior leaders. Guys don’t sit in the back room during worship, even if you have multiple services get out there and participate, people are watching you during the worship time, watching you seeing, watching you lift your hands, watching you clap, participate excitingly. I think it energizes the people on the platform as well when they see their senior pastor on the front row going after God. I learned that a long time ago from other leaders that I was in contact with, in connection with and that has been a part. I’ve done for 4, 5, 6 services on a weekend but I’m in the worship set every single time because I think it’s important you know you’re right so it’s worth it to invest your authority, your energy in that atmosphere it influences you don’t guy feel that way.
Clint: Totally. As leaders, you and I mean you as the senior leader any pastor that is listening, and we, as worship leaders, unity means we are both going after the same thing. People watch whether a pastor is worshiping or not, are the in the service or not. People can sense if there’s unity between a good dynamic and relationship and so the worshiping culture of the church really is set by that dual dynamic 1st the senior pastor but then also the worship leader. So you have modeled that very well and that has directly impacted the culture of worship within our church.
Troy Maxwell: I think so too and it bothers me sometimes when I watch a lot of guys just kind of sit in the back and not doing a whole lot and just kind of waiting to do their deal, to preach their message and what not. I think it is important for us to give towards that environment and that connection. One more question I want to ask, when it comes to the future you know what it looks like culture in the future, what do you see, what are some of the things that you see as coming ahead. Where do you see things going? What are your thoughts?
Leslie: Culture, actually it is funny because Clint and I were speaking about this just this morning but recently we sat down as the leadership of the worship area, and we kind of redefined our vision for our team. It used to be we are going to go shake the nations and it used to be we are going to write songs that shake the world and all of that kind of stuff. We realized you know people really just want community; it is not just about changing the world but also about their world and changing their world. We realized to community is a really important aspect, and a lot of times we can focus on the talent aspect or we can focus on even just the Sunday morning aspect, and we forget about the relationship you know during the week. So we realized hey if we want a healthy team and healthy culture, the relationship is going to have to be the thing that we put the most of our time into.
Troy Maxwell: I agree I think we are moving back into you know kind of this idea of a small church with a lot people feel. Just this idea of community, we are seeing it in Charlotte and I am sure I am hearing it all over the country the same things happening.
Leslie: We are hearing you know churches that are even larger than us, they might have a name, they might have a brand but at the end of the day, oftentimes people are not just looking for that. That may be what brings them in initially, but what keeps people is community and relationship, and so we would rather put our efforts towards that than trying to build a brand or building.
Clint: Maybe the flip side of the coin, very well said Leslie, the relational community aspect is big and it even caused us to rewrite our vision statement. We are a community of people passionate about God’s presence and doing life together, because both have to matter. So really quickly, the flip side of that coin is I think we will see that reflected we are already seeing you reflected to be honest through churches like Hill song, Bethel etc. who place a value on the local church and the community of their team. You see the fruit of that in the music written, in the songs written, in the power thereof and honestly the spiritual aspect of God breathing on or really utilizing it in a powerful way. Putting them on a pedestal as influencers in the world, and so I think that’s where we’re headed is a more communal aspect and more family aspect and I think the more we do that as worship leaders and pastors, we will see the fruit want to see and the talent will follow, the songs will follow, and the music will follow; but that’s just all secondary byproduct. The primary thing, which is, love Jesus and love people.
Troy Maxwell: Come on that is what it is all about. I thank you guys so much for hanging out with us and thank you for listening to Free to Lead and hope that you will give us some feedback. Let us know. Make sure you share this with all your friends, your neighbors, your enemies, anybody that you think might like this, and we are just here to help you. We are here to help you be the leader that God has called you to be in the 21st century. Thank you so much for joining with us, and we hope to hear from you and we cannot wait to bring something next month. Every month we will be here for you. So thanks guys; thank you, Leslie thank you, Clint. I appreciate you guys.
Thanks for listening. You can always connect with us at Freedom House.cc or Free to Lead.org. Do not forget to like, subscribe and share.