I was raised by godly, loving parents who shared the gospel with me from a young age. I made a profession of faith in Christ as a small child, but sadly this profession didn’t seem to impact my life for many years. I had no desire to study Scripture or grow as a disciple. But, when I was 16 years old, God graciously moved our family from Cleveland, OH, to Charlotte, NC. It was during these years in Charlotte that God began to teach me what it meant to be a follower of Christ. There was no sudden life-change, but the Spirit began drawing my heart out to love what Christ loves and hate what He hates. After high school, I went to a one-year Bible school and then to Liberty University. My four years in undergrad was a time of significant spiritual growth, and my subsequent time at Southeastern Seminary proved formidable in my spiritual walk and in my theological understanding of God’s Word. I’m thankful to God for the mentors and pastors that impacted my life during that time as God placed a growing desire in me for full-time ministry.
I believe that Scripture is clear that the task of disciple-making is for all Christians. Healthy local churches will be filled with people who make disciples that encourage those disciples to go make more disciples. As I think about my own life there seems to be four ways that disciple-making happens. The first is by intentionally meeting with a Christian (or group of
Christians) with the goal that together we would be led towards greater maturity and fruitfulness in Christ. This is the predominate pattern of disciple-making in my life. The second is by reading the Bible with a seeker or a new (or immature) believer. The third pattern is through accountability relationships, and the final pattern is by developing evangelistic relationships.
But within each of these four patterns, I think it’s helpful to think about discipleship in two realms: the “book-type” discipleship and then the “life-type” discipleship. We need to be teaching what the Word says and helping others understand the tools for a life of godliness. But it’s also so important to invite people into our lives so that they can see a display of what this learning looks like in action. We want our lives to be full of discipleship-making, not only in structured settings, but also in living open lives with others.
The three things that comprise my vision for worship ministry are leading in Worship Gatherings, equipping the Church, and training leaders.
One of the primary things I want to give myself to each week is planning and preparing for our Worship Gatherings. I want the worship service to be musically excellent and engaging, and I want the things that are said and prayed to be thoughtful and to ignite our affections for God. While I know that the Lord works however He will, I believe that He rewards the time and work of planning services that have all these components.
One of my goals as a Worship Pastor is to disciple people towards spiritual health. I want the members to be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Usually, my part to play in their journey is by equipping them to think biblically about worship. So, I teach on aspects of biblical worship throughout the year on Sunday mornings, write on worship related topics, and also write music. A phrase that I think about a lot is: “we are what we sing.” So much of people’s theology comes through music, or at least it sticks to them through music. I think that working at this is a blessing to the local church and also to the global church.
In musical worship we want to corporately delight in the glory of God. The glory of God is the radiant display of His attributes. It’s the shining forth of His character. The way we see the attributes of God most clearly is through the Word of God. So this means that when we gather together, our times of worship should be filled up with His Word. We find in the Word that the most brilliant display of the attributes of God is in the gospel. So when we gather, we want to make sure that we see the gospel as clearly as possible. I think this means that the elements of our Worship Gatherings are shaped by the gospel.
To accurately delight in God, we need to know Him, but delight in God is so much more than just knowing facts about Him. Delight in God means that I cherish and enjoy Him. It means that as I consider the particulars of His glory, I am moved inwardly and outwardly to worship. It means that I erupt in singing and praise, or I bow my head in reverence, or I lift my hands in joy and praise.
As a shepherd who primarily gives leadership to gathered worship at a local church, it’s my responsibility to draw out these aspects by planning, exhorting, and leading in a way that is most helpful to the Body.
On Sunday, February 14, the Elder Council and Personnel Ministry Team unanimously recommended Daniel Renstrom to become the Worship Pastor for The Church at Brook Hills. Today, we are excited to have Daniel, his wife Danielle, and their daughters, Bennett (9), Eden (7), and Mercy (5), with us as Daniel leads us in each of our Worship Gatherings. Then, on February 28, we will take a vote of affirmation during our Worship Gatherings. You can view more information at brookhills.org/worshippastor.