Coming into college, I knew that I needed group of believers to be around to foster my faith. Over the summer prior to college I reached out to a Cru staff member and got plugged in immediately when I arrived on campus.
I decided I wanted to join the worship team after I attended out Cru Fall Retreat during my freshman year. More specifically, my discipler heard me sing and told me I absolutely had to audition! So I auditioned.
I realized quickly after joining the Cru worship team that this group of students was like a little family, a community within the community. The team I was a part of had their hearts set on making Jesus’s name known through worship and it was incredible. Beyond that, they were people that valued encouraging one another to grow in their skills. But most importantly, I found a group of people that pushed each other in furthering their relationship with Jesus. Our team grew into a group of people that prayed, worshiped, laughed and ate together. It was like having a family in Oshkosh.
In the four years I was a part of the worship team I grew from being a freshmen vocalist that only knew how to sing the melody, to our movement’s worship leader. Along the way I learned a lot about myself, leadership, and how to serve the Lord with excellence and humility.
“God taught me that ministry is a team endeavor, and sharing the work allows others to take steps of faith and grow.”
Not only did my team challenge me, but I was challenged by the Performing Artists staff of Cru. For three years I attended a Worship Arts Weekend in Minneapolis. This was a time of hands on clinics for worship leaders, practical input for music directors, program team planners, sound techs and most importantly a time to connect with other worship teams from the area. It was here that I discovered my passion for the behind-the-scenes work of running a music ministry and teaching people how to invest in their skills. I found a love of the details of planning a weekly meeting and seeing the gathering come to life. During these weekends I was greatly challenged to pursue this passion, met the staff Performing Artist and Communication Teams of Cru, and formed a greater desire to help people foster their gifts to see Christ exalted.
Train Up Others
One of the most significant opportunities I had while involved in Cru was the privilege of training other vocalists and pouring into their hearts. About my sophomore year of college I asked our leader at the time how I could help out more, and he encouraged me to “help out the newbies” so they had someone to mentor them as they served in worship. I began meeting up with each new vocalist individually to get a pulse on their strengths are and weaknesses. One specific new singer we had wanted to learn how to sing harmonies, and boy was it a lofty goal, but we began meeting up every time she was scheduled to sing to learn harmonies. She grew in her confidence, and I grew my ability to coach others effectively. I still remember the first time she sang without asking for any help finding the harmony and the smile on her face was one I will never forget. Our team created at atmosphere that accepted where people came in with their skill set, but strived to push one another to grow in the gifts God gave them. And let me tell you, it was incredible being even the smallest part of their journeys.
Share The Load
Becoming a worship leader is a journey of humility. There were times to let others lead or not be ashamed to ask for help, which was always difficult for me. My senior year of college, my co-worship leader had to take a step down for a while and in that moment I realized that I was officially running things, solo. I was scared. But, being miss “No, I got this,” I told everyone I’d be okay and could go it alone. How hard can it be? I knew how to plan worship sets, create all of the graphics, schedule teams, set up and tear down, help facilitate team bonding, work two jobs and be a full time student. Sure. No problem… wrong.
I quickly became overwhelmed. I so desperately wanted to do everything to prove that I was a strong leader. About a month in, it hit me when one of the vocalists asked me if I could help out with something and I couldn’t because I simply had too much else to do. My pride had gotten in the way of the thing I loved most, building the team. In a way, it had become something I just “did.”
So I asked for help from our former worship leader, I admitted that I needed help and asked for people on the team to take some things off my plate. I felt weak, ashamed and truly like I sucked at being a worship leader. But God taught me that ministry is a team endeavor, and sharing the work allows others to take steps of faith and grow. If I don’t ask for help at times I am not allowing people to come alongside me, and in that I am not allowing myself to be truly a part of the community God had placed me in. It was a hard lesson to learn. After about a month this hardship turned into a time of sheer joy. I stopped singing every week, a new leader stepped up and the Lord’s provision became evident in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I’ll admit it’s a journey I’m still on, learning to accept the provision and assistance from others, but it has been one that I wouldn’t change for anything.
Invest Where God Takes You
Since graduating college about half a year ago I have not given up any of these passions. Through relationships with Cru staff, I have been able to help out with other Worship Arts Weekends. In addition to this, I use the skills that I developed in Cru to serve my church. Currently I co-lead our Young Adults Ministry and regularly serve on our tech team, which still amazes me. I never would have thought I would be regularly making graphic designs, let alone co-leading a ministry, but my time in Cru has given me the tools to do so! Being involved in this ministry has had such an impact on my life, perhaps the greatest way being that it furthered my desire to eventually be in full time ministry. And to tell you the truth, I never thought that full-time ministry would be where I would end up. Even typing this makes my heart beat faster. But I do believe that because I discovered my passions for ministry while in Cru, a future of ministry is where I see myself and I’ll continue to pursue those opportunities as he Lord leads.