Join Us on Our Journey to Transform Our Worship Team

Transform Our Worship Team, SOON PLEASE!

On a Journey to Transform Our Worship Team

I am about to undergo a journey. A significant journey. As a pastor of any size church that’s been in existence for any length of time, this journey is a potentially harrowing one. I feel as if I’m a living parable of the Led Zeppelin song “Ramble On,” as:

I’ve smelled the rain, and with it pain, and it’s headed my way” and “we’ve no time to spend en route, the time has come to be gone.”

What’s the journey?

We are about to dismantle our current worship team.

These are WONDERFUL people. They have been faithful for many years, some of them, but our church is experiencing a significant drop in attendance. Passion is waning. Our dear congregation is aging and passionately praying for new energy, growth and younger aged families with children to come be a part of our church. In our minds, we believe we are past the point of trying continue doing what we are doing, which has been to hold on to musical preferences that were antiquated even in the 1980’s.

Recent comments about our “quaint little church” have been to me like trying to run wind sprints with sharp pebbles in my running shoes. The comments? “This church is just like the church I grew up in.” To this person, that had double meaning. On one hand, it was comforting to them. On the other hand, it was dreadfully boring and insignificant. These words were… Painful. Hindering. A Setback.

Consensus: Change is Necessary!

In the midst of the past three week’s worth of prayer meetings on Sunday evenings, our little band of prayer warriors are crying out to the Lord for HIM to grow our church and reach people that would never normally darken the door of our church. Our church’s music has been one obstacle to that mission. Several voices have brought this to my attention this past week. The voice in my own head, my wife, members of the worship team, our church leadership, and even a couple who have been committed to this wonderful church for several decades have all agreed. We need to transform our worship team. Change is necessary.

Two styles of change I am aware of are:

1. Frog in the Kettle (if I put a frog in a kettle in room temperature water then slowly turn up the heat over time, it will die rather than if I dropped it in an already boiling pot.)

2. Rip that Band-aid off! (It has to be quick in order for pain to subside quickly and resume normal life.)

From my point of view, this change to transform our worship team has been long in the making. With the recent departure of our previous worship leader due to relocation for employment, we have been faithfully trying to hold the ship together while the leaks appear to be filling the bottom of the boat (read: yes, we’ve floundered). It’s time to stop the leak, bail out the water and resume the voyage. In order to transform our worship team, we need a quick change.

It’s been a year since I arrived as Senior Pastor, and I’ve been agonizing over this decision ever since. The music has never once really been inspiring to me or my family. Let’s admit the disaster: it’s been boring, at times cutesy, tame, feminine, and definitely malaise-inducing. Hardly something to motivate me to reach out for God, hardly inspiring me to want to know Him, serve Him or do His work. It’s more like a family gathering of the elderly for the holidays and EVERYBODY knows the insider-lingo (wink wink) and “Oh, that’s just Bob, he always sings like that but we love him anyway.” Yup, call me shallow, but it bothers me. I’m not elderly (yet). I can’t relate to Southern Gospel (although I DID grow up in Southern California). I love classic rock and the British Invasion. The acoustic piano and drums don’t work well together with a harmonica. I hate the harmonica unless it’s used for a U2 or Bob Dylan song (and NOT playing the melody along with the singers). I have a really hard time understanding why we have four elderly women on stage with microphones in their hand but they’re turned OFF! I later discovered from our sound man that it’s because they’re tone deaf and no one has the courage to tell them that.

Until now.

Enough is enough.

Come back tomorrow to discover what we’re going to do.

Living Under Threat

Living Under Threat

Living under threat is foreign to me. I ministered to a young Airman yesterday who barely started their elementary school years when this Global War on Terror began in September 2001. Now he’s a part of the nation’s military, serving the USA. He has grown up in an America that is so different than the one I’ve grown up in, in the mid-70’s through 90’s.

Worldview Differences

Their worldview has formed under the notion that living under threat and that America could be attacked at any time is always a possibility. They view their job is “to stand up and defend her still today.” I grew up with the idea that wars, attacks, etc. are always “over there” and that “someone else is going to take care of us.” Americans are always living under threat. This is the new normal. As a church leader, I am responsible to help people follow Jesus Christ in spite of this.

May God bless young men and women who want to keep this nation free and who will go anywhere they’re commanded to preserve our nation. I’m honored to be alongside them. Even I have learned to appreciate life even while living under threat.

Living Under Threat of Terrorism

Speaking of that, I encourage you to pick up a copy of this incredible book on the world’s new threat: The Rise of Isis, by Jay and Jordan Sekulow.

New Beginning

For months now, our blog has had much transformation. Have you noticed? No? That’s true, you wouldn’t!

There haven’t been any new posts for almost a year, but I assure you there have been prolific and epic changes in me, my marriage, my family and the resulting output we are about to unleash.

This has been a season of new beginnings. Last July, we relocated from the Chicago, IL area to live on a Southern California beach in our travel trailer for over a month while we waited for our renters to move out of our house back in Idaho. After a nice month or so long stay, we relocated again from the greater Los Angeles area back home to Boise, Idaho. It truly HAS been a new beginning for us all on so many fronts.

Church Leaders Campfire was put on hold as I endured rather intense military service, family illnesses (will tell you about them in subsequent posts), new job, new church, new ministry, new school for our kids, and a host of other changes. Now that it has been almost a year later, life hasn’t really slowed down much. However, my intent is to reach to newer heights and spell out for you all the new beginnings we’ve experienced, and how that will improve our ministry of Church Leaders Campfire.

We love our readers and are grateful for you all. We will be coming back online regularly soon! Thanks for the opportunity to live out a new beginning

For our Church Leaders Campfire team,

Neil Schultz

Seek Jesus Christ, and you too will walk on water

Jesus walks on water

Seek Jesus Christ, and you too will walk on water!

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus Christ. Living life is about our friendship with Jesus. He called us His friends, right?

Peter walked on water just like Jesus did. However, the only reason he remained on top of the waves was when he was fixated on Jesus. The moment he looked at his circumstances he instantly sank. That’s when Jesus lovingly said, “you of little faith… Why did you doubt?” Romans 8:1 is true. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The condemning voice you might be hearing in YOUR circumstances is not His.

Seek Jesus Christ, and you too will walk on water. Perhaps you’re in need of a miracle. Does a miracle look like significance? Family income? Safety? Security? Reconciliation with a spouse, a child, or a church board? Does it look like relocating to a new adventure? God pays for the work He orders, and if you are seeking Him, He will provide.

Who we need to seek is Jesus Christ. What we need to seek is our friendship with Him. Sad but true, after knowing Him for 20+ years and serving Him in ministry for 18+, you’d think I learned that a long time ago. But I feel like an infant in my relationship with Jesus and am learning to listen to His voice and guidance, instead of mammon.

I am defining mammon as self-help, self-preservation, self-seeking, self-reliance, self-dependence, self-worship. This selfish belief plays out in seeking after jobs, beauty, pleasure, money, and ultimately everything God is against. I believe that is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6:24 when He said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon” (NIV translates this as “money”).

Yes, living life as a Christian is really about a relationship with Jesus. Seek Jesus Christ and you too will walk on water.

Questions:
1. What are you seeking Jesus for right now?
2. May I pray for/with you about that?

Boise, Idaho Church Plant – Team Schultz Update

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http://db.tt/ND66wNOr

Lord willing, we intend to start another church in Boise, Idaho with the Evangelical Fellowship of Free Churches. Please click the link above to read what’s going on with the campfire.

Please pray for us!

Please support this Boise, Idaho church plant!

Please help military and civilian alike to turn to and follow our Lord Jesus Christ.

Please join our team to reach Boise, Idaho for Christ.

Much has transpired these last few weeks, which is reason for no new posts. Thank you for being our reader and please consider how you might join us in whatever capacity you believe Jesus might be encouraging you, as outlined in our letter.

God bless!

Neil, for Team Schultz and ChurchLeadersCampfire.com

Armor of God: Prayer to Put on the Whole Armor of God

Armor of God: How to Put on the Whole Armor of God

How to Put on the Whole Armor of God

How do I put on the whole armor of God? Pray. You can pray something similar to this prayer:

Lord of the universe and Source of all spiritual power: I come to You to prepare for spiritual battle.

Armor of God: Belt of Truth

Please give me the Belt of Truth that I might stand against the father of lies, the devil. Jesus is the Truth and I choose Him to give me eyes to see life through His sense of reality.

Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness

Please help me to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Jesus is my Righteousness. I have none of my own. I am ready at any time to deliver the message of the Messiah Who died so the world may live.

Armor of God: Shield of Faith

I trust You to shield me from doubts and deception, for it is by faith that You saved me.

Armor of God: Helmet of Salvation

Protect my mind through the Helmet of Salvation. Remind me that I belong to You.

Weapon (Melee) of God: Sword of the Spirit

Teach me how to use the Sword of the Spirit–the spoken Word of God–to defeat my Enemy, the devil. Help me to defeat him just like the Warrior of all warriors (Jesus Christ) did.

Weapon (Long-Range) of God: Prayer

I pray for all this in the strong Name of Jesus, the One Who is seated in the heavenly realms at the right Hand of the Father. The One Who has reserved a place for me at His table. He is the One Who deserves the credit and the glory always. Amen.

Whole Armor of GodQuestion: When should we pray this prayer?

Overcome Scatterbrain

PuttyTribe Manifesto

Want to know how to overcome scatterbrain?

I tell ya! Finally! SOMEONE who understands me! Yes! I just figured out how to overcome scatterbrain. I just spent an hour with Jonathan Milligan, my blogging coach who leads Blogging Your Passion University. In his webinar, he mentioned “scanner personality” and then “scatterbrain.” My ears perked up and he mentioned another link to a website of absolute monumental proportions for me.

Now, I’m not talking about stressful situations where you lose your car keys or forget an answer on a test. Nor days in the church office where you lose yourself in tasks of lesser importance, look up and realize it’s already 6 pm and you’ve got to run home, slam dinner down your throat before Bible Study or small group begins at 7 pm. No, I’m talking about real, live, getting through to how to overcome scatterbrain once and for all.

I was told by my beloved music teacher in high school that I was going to be a John Lennon within 10 years of graduation. Although I LOVE music and LOVE to create, I haven’t “made it” in that profession yet. I HAVE made an income through music. I served a church in the worship leader role. I’ve played in bands. I guess by that definition, I was a professional musician.

But, my interests also have led me to PEOPLE, so I became a pastor. I love people. Christians are some of the neatest people ever, and I want to help them become more like their Lord and Savior. As a pastor, I love other pastors. They are my friends. I understand pastors. I’ve been in full-time ministry since 1994.

However, I love the MILITARY too. So, I’m an officer helping military people with their spiritual and emotional needs.

But I also LOVE speaking, and writing, and Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, can I be a Jedi like Obi-Wan? Can I be a Dunedain Ranger like Aragorn?

I have spent time with many jobs: selling books online, event planning, office machine sales, online education consultant, corporate recruiter, trainer… I even spent a year and a half troubleshooting computers for the Navy and Marine Corps. If I spelled out every job I’ve had on my resume, your head would spin. ALL OF THAT WAS WHILE I HAD THREE TO FOUR KIDS AND WAS PLANTING A CHURCH!

Key to How to Overcome Scatterbrain

Overcome scatterbrain? No! I recommend you forget about overcoming it. Embrace your scatterbrain! Realize there’s even a word for it now: “multipotentialite.” Love it!

Thank you for unlocking the door to realize that although I haven’t “grown up” yet and “settled down,” I enjoy learning and helping people. I think self-actualization just cranked up a notch tonight! Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to be me. No, thank you for helping me overcome scatterbrain by embracing it. I believe You created me to have these many interests and experiences. Sure, I had a hand in it with some wild-eyed decisions (which my wife didn’t always appreciate by the way). I want to serve You with all that I am, with all of my varied interests.

Question: If you’re a church leader (or family member of one), how do YOU overcome scatterbrain?

Compelled to Create

Compelled to Create | Church Leaders Campfire

Compelled to Create?

Compelled to Create | Church Leaders CampfireYes, I said compelled to create. I am compelled to create. I agree with Jeff Goins in this very thought-exploding statement. I grew up very musical. I even attended San Diego State University for a year so I could study Vocal Performance in Opera. I loved every music class. That strenuous training prepared me to take the stage as a speaker as well as a singer. After a year, I left there and attended Christian Heritage College, now called San Diego Christian College. I put music in the backseat of my life and kept it as a tool for ministry. However, I just read Jeff Goins’ “The Writer’s Manifesto” and about fell over backward to realize that he actually gets me. I love his writings and here’s his new book: Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life.

There are times when I wake up and I am just compelled to create something. A song, a ditty, a blog post, a legos spaceship, boat, or building. I HAVE to make something. Scrambled eggs, a sermon, a drawing, a workbench. SOMETHING!!!

Yes! I am compelled to wonder. To dream. To express. I have something to say! “Even if the words have yet to come.” The hardest part of my adventure in helping church leaders make a secondary income from simply blogging is to simply… start… myself. I’ve got to begin somewhere. Doesn’t it seem like I start a whole LOT of things, but at times, fail to finish? Or, as I have been told, I am “selective on the follow through.” Perhaps. But I’m learning. As Dr. John Maxwell calls it, I am “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success.” Yahoo! I am compelled to create because I am a child of the Creator of the Universe!

Every day is a latter day, leading up to THAT Day when the Lord Jesus Christ will call us up to meet Him in the air where we will enjoy a gnarly party (and the Bema judgment seat) like we’ve never known before! That’s worth spreading the message out to all the ends of the earth! The Great Commission message of “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead” can be expressed in numerous forms! The function is the same: Get that message OUT!

Show Up to Get it Out

I’ve got to simply show up. I used to work for a friend who talked about others who were successful in life and business. He talked about how many simply just “show up” and grow beyond their excuse-making brethren who end up failures. Being compelled to create, I must show up too. Without applause, without fame, without expectation of greatness. Show up to get it out and leave the results of the Great Commission to God.

Questions: What are you compelled to create? Do you need help in showing up?

Men’s Breakfast

Men's Breakfast | Church Leaders Campfire

Men's Breakfast | Church Leaders Campfire

Men’s Breakfast!

How do we put on a men’s breakfast at church? WHY do we put on a men’s breakfast at church? What is it about breakfast and men on (typically) Saturday mornings in American churches? Should we do away with the paradigm that believes that men should get together once a month to eat eggs, bacon, pancakes, orange juice and coffee, act with caveman-like butt slaps, grunts and charmless witless banter about sports, weather or sexual struggles? Do we really need another sermon–while eating breakfast?

The men’s breakfast idea came about in American churches for what purpose? To bring men together to talk about men’s personal issues. Is that important? You bet! However, I find it hard to believe that most American men feel safe in a public setting to discuss problems with listening ears around. Isn’t in smaller more intimate and intentional settings where we share our pain, struggles, victories and conscience? Such as in the car or in a friends backyard or basement or at the dinner table?

Questions:
1. What is the goal of your men’s breakfast?
2. Does the men’s breakfast accomplish your church’s goals?
3. How would you know if it did?

Happy Birthday Neil

Happy Birthday Neil

Happy Birthday Neil

Happy Birthday NeilToday is my 38th birthday. When my wife and five children sang me “Happy Birthday Neil” (“Daddy”) over our happy birthday doughnuts, I had these reflections flash in my head like lightning.

But, you’ll have to wait until tonight when I can type them down for you church leaders. Today is important to me, and I want to share my happy birthday with you. My wife and kids are kidnapping me from my church office and taking me somewhere special. Funny, since I’m driving! See you tonight!

Ok, so here I am again. I’m watching and listening to the new Les Miserables (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) movie at home while I type this. So far… wow.

Here are my thoughts from earlier (it’s now 13 hours later!!):

Psalm 90:7-12 NET

“7 Yes, we are consumed by your anger; we are terrified by your wrath.

8 You are aware of our sins; you even know about our hidden sins.

9 Yes, throughout all our days we experience your raging fury; the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh.

10 The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty, if one is especially strong. But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression. Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away.

11 Who can really fathom the intensity of your anger? Your raging fury causes people to fear you.

12 So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely.”

Time is precious. And short. It’s the only commodity most of us still have. Happy birthday Neil! When I was 14 years old, I read that many famous 60’s and 70’s rock stars died at age 27 (Jim Morrison of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, etc.) as well as Kurt Cobain in the 90’s. Until I turned 28 years old, I had a fear I was going to die at that age too. Yeah. Happy Birthday Neil. I was a miserable sod every birthday since. This year though, I had these thoughts to guide me. To “number my days”–“consider my mortality”–“live wisely.” Here are some additional thoughts captured from a wise 90 year old man, adapted from a post here.

44 Life Lessons, written by a 90 year old

  1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
  4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
  5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
  6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
  7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
  9. Save for things that matter.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
  12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.
  16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
  18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
  23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  27. Always choose Life.
  28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  29. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
  30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  32. Believe in miracles.
  33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
  34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
  36. Your children get only one childhood.
  37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
  40. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
  41. The best is yet to come…
  42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  43. Yield.
  44. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Happy birthday Neil. Happy birthday to a faithful husband for 15+ years and never-tiring father of five small children who adore you. Thank you mom, for giving birth to me. Thank You, Lord Jesus for giving me another day to live know You better.