Happy August, guys & gals! (How is it already August?)
For a guest blog this month, I am excited to present a post by my new friend Cameron Meizer. Cameron lives in Brisbane, Queensland in Australia, and he stumbled onto my blog a while back and got in touch with me. And I’m so glad he did! We have been keeping up ever since.
Honestly, this is one thing that floors me about blogging. I have found that I’m making so many fun connections with people from all around the world, and it is seriously the coolest thing to connect with people who read these thoughts of mine. If you are one of those folks, I would be so honored to connect with you, too! Shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Cameron spearheads the worship and creative arts at his church in the land down unda, and has either played with or led worship teams for several years now. He and his wife Kristy have 3 young sons, and clearly, from reading Cameron’s emails and hearing his heart a bit, they truly love Jesus and His church – plus Cameron’s a super funny guy, so there’s that. I know you will be blessed by his words, so grab your morning cup of Joe and get ready to read some inspiring truths about embracing your niche as a leader of worshipers and teams.
Cameron – thank you for taking the time to write something up. I would love to meet in person one day if I’m ever in Australia, or if you ever hit up the States!
It really is my pleasure to be asked to write a guest piece for Josh’s blog. Since stumbling across the blog one night in a hotel when I was away for work and doing some research for my own music team, I have been very blessed, so the thought that I could contribute to that is an honour.
The best way to describe the writing process I have gone through would be… painful. That was more about me wanting to write a piece that was showing off how cool and wise I was on song selection, interpretation of everything – from the meaning of Scripture to whether a song should ever be written in F# – but alas, I was diverted back to something that springs from my heart, and that is leadership. The following is written in one take (remember in high school you were taught to write the introduction last? I finally listened, Mrs. O’Donoghue!). So this is not written to impress you. Let’s face it, I am not expecting something that is too impressive, but more, I did not want to polish this up to be something that it is not.
So you are in a music team. You might be a singer, a musician, a sound and lighting person, front of house management – whatever, if you are on a roster each week or month or less frequently, it does not matter, you are a leader. Like it or not, you are a leader. The world is crying out for leaders. Strong leaders with integrity, vision, strength of character, and honesty. Leadership is one of the most interesting concepts, a term that is overused, misunderstood, and desired by many, especially given the esteem that we hold our leaders in. I work in the marketplace and what I see more than anything is leaders who do not really understand their responsibilities. As a leader, daily my faith is challenged, tested, and a lot of the time is not evident as perhaps it should be. I am not expert; in fact I would say that my leadership journey of 15 or so years is only really just beginning. Not because I have not been doing my job, but more because I have been doing it badly and am only just really coming to terms with what leadership really means, how it is needed, and what I need to change to be the leader that I was created to be. There it is, I said it, I really do believe that God created me to be a leader – not an awesome rock guitar-playing worship leader who has wicked good vocals, great hair, seamless song transitions, and perfect pitch (and let’s not forget looking good in skinny-legged jeans), but to be a leader. And if you are reading this (provided you made it this far), I believe that for you also.
In my journey, I have had the privilege of having as mentors some of the greatest leaders I have met. I have also worked for and known a bunch of bad leaders, did a Masters in Leadership and read continually about leadership. What I have learned along the way is that there is no leadership formula, no “6 Steps to Success,” no amount of Dr. Pepper that you can drink standing on your head whilst reciting the Psalms that will make you a better leader. Leadership is about behaviours, things that you need to do, not just do once, or do when people are watching, but things that you do regularly. If you imagine that your leadership capability is a muscle, the leadership behaviours need to be worked out, or you get floppy when pushed. Now, my wife wishes that I did more sit-ups or at least a proportionate amount that I do in the study of leadership, but I have assured her that my body in Heaven is awesome! But the fact remains, I need to work out before summer!
So here are some of my leadership observations:
1. Be Authentic.
Who are you? Do you know? As a leader in a team, you need to know. I would implore you to discover who you are. What do you believe? Authenticity is the number 1 trait people look for in leaders. Of all the leaders I have known that fail, they usually have done so in trying to be something they are not, and the opposite is true for those that succeed. This applies in all settings, especially a church setting. Lead as you, not someone else. There is so much that can be said about this behaviour, but I will keep this short. When you are on stage jumping around like the hyper-active kid who was slipped chocolate by the well-meaning welcomers at the front door at church (can you tell I have three boys?), and then the days you are not on stage, you are reserved, in your shell, and “worshiping on the inside,” you are performing. Now there is nothing wrong with jumping around, nor is there anything wrong with jumping around like my 4-year-old on a sugar high, but please hear my heart. I believe that God and our teams, churches, and communities are looking for authenticity. Jesus knew who He was. He never questioned it because He knew it. One of my great friends and mentors used to say to me all the time, “Who are you being when you are doing what you are doing?”
2. Be Yourself.
It may seem like a repeat of the above, but this is more of a continuation and, in some ways, is the way to grow. It is okay to be you. Having kids has made me realise that we are created by God to be ourselves. Watching my kids grow, I see things in them that are their nature, the way they are created. Some of those things needs guidance, growth, and shaping; others need encouragement and space to develop. But being who you are is okay. You are okay! But that does not mean that you should not continually look for areas to improve. It is not because who you are is wrong, but you know what it is that you do that you want to change. Sometimes that’s behind closed doors, and that is okay also. But you need to do it, and in some cases, you might need some help to do it. This helps you with the first behaviour, authenticity. If you are yourself, then being authentic is natural.
3. Develop Yourself and Those Around You.
I am fortune to have had some great thinkers and examples in my life, but this is not something that was necessarily modeled for me. My family background is at times messy, and apart from my mother who was a great example of integrity to me, I had nothing but bad examples to follow. That was until I had someone see some potential in me and take the time to develop that. My interest is no longer in how good a leader I can be, how successful I can be in business, or how much our church grows (while all very important, please again see my heart), but my primary interest is for the people that I touch, serve, and influence, seeing them reach their full potential in life. Now this has many applications. You will know how to apply this behaviour, but if it is your team, develop them. If you don’t know how to, find someone who does and ask them. Most people when asked to help, will say yes. It’s good for the ego to be asked. But again, don’t be afraid to exercise your muscles; they need it and nothing provides more leadership resistance training than the force of having to be one step ahead in the way of development than those around you. That said, never be afraid of being behind them in any area. You are a leader. Lead.
So I could go on with my rambling for hours, but will leave it here. I am convinced that the examples of leaders and leadership that is displayed throughout the Bible shows that God is looking for people who have integrity, know themselves, are honest about where they are at, and are interested in others. The world needs you to be you. God wants to use you how He created you, and your music team, pastor, church, community, etc. needs you to be a good, strong leader, one with integrity and purpose. Keep going, keep doing what you are doing. You are great!