22 Aug Life at Grace – Director of Worship
Over the last few months, Grace Community Church, through its elders, has engaged in a search for an individual to fill the position of Director of Worship. This letter explains the steps taken to find this new Director as well as the scope of the Director’s work. It also conveys a recommendation that the elders will present to the congregation.
History of Worship
Worship at Grace may be our most important cultural distinctive.
The way we worshipthe preaching, the prayers, the content of our songs, the emphasis on congregational participation over performance, our responsive readings, the style of instrumentation, and every other aspect of our worshiphas been intentional, not accidental. Our worship was not a tradition that we carried from prior years. It was not copied or mimicked by observing the habits and practices of other popular churches.
Because worship is core to Grace as a congregation, we approached this process deliberately. We felt this decision was worthy of our time, and the process did indeed take time. We hope that as you read this, you will understand why. Please know we are grateful for your patience.
When this position came open, we decided the best course of action was to conduct a wide search. We made the opening public, and we received several resumes. Some were from within our congregation, but many were from outside our congregation. We reviewed the resumes carefully. We watched videos of applicants from outside our congregation to see how they led worship.
We then interviewed the people whom we believed not only had the abilities necessary to fill the position, but who understood and fit the culture of worship at Grace.
Interim Worship Period
At the beginning of the interim, we set up a rotation of worship leaders. We have had several members of Grace lead us in worship over the past months. We are thankful for Bethany Neff, Barbara Haynes, Ben Shive, Josh Hussung and many others who led us during this season.
As the interim went on, our understanding of Grace’s need shifted. The worship leadership rotation was originally set up to keep from putting too much work on one person. But shortly after it began, we noticed that the congregation enjoyed the variety of faces and styles and was in fact blessed by the various gifts of the different leaders. We began to believe that Grace would be better served by having more members of our congregation lead in this way rather than going back to a one-leader format. We did not anticipate this development, but we welcomed this realization.
Director of Worship Distinctives
This new understanding caused us to re-examine the Director of Worship position.
The former position consisted primarily of duties related to leading worship on Sunday morning. But with the realization that we would be better served with several worship leaders, we now saw that a Director of Worship would have additional time to develop the culture of worship among our entire congregation. The Director will spend less time leading worship, and more time developing others in the skills and culture of worship. The Director will continue to implement the overall vision for worship at Grace. The Director will also serve an administrative role, coordinating those who lead on Sunday mornings, and working with those who lead worship with our youth and children.
We expect that this evolution in the job description of Director of Worship will allow for broader musical participation by members of our congregation, will cause more musicians at Grace to be discipled in the use of their gifts, and will help Grace’s vision for worship to spread more deeply into the congregation.
We had the privilege of meeting and interviewing several strong candidates for this position.
After concluding our search and the interviews, and giving due consideration, the Elders have decided to bring a unanimous recommendation to the congregation that Barbara Haynes serve as the Director of Worship for Grace Community Church.
Barbara is not new to our congregation. She is among the founders of Grace Community Church. She led worship for many years at Grace previously, and helped create the existing worship culture. She is a gifted musician and vocalist, has been employed in the music industry, is an experienced worship leader, an author of worship songs, and a pianist and piano teacher.
A dialogue session with Barbara and the congregation will be held this Sunday, August 28, at 4:30pm. We will meet in the Chapel.
The members of Grace will be asked to express their approval or disapproval of the elders’ recommendation by ballot on Sunday, September 4, in the Gathering Hall. If members are unable to attend church on September 4, email ballots can be sent to email@example.com by Friday, September 2, at 4:00pm.
Thank you for your love for Grace and your prayers for the leadership of our church.
– The Elders of Grace Community Church