Doctoral Learnings

Doctoral Learnings

Last May I was truly blessed to complete my doctoral degree at Southeastern Seminary. Though I have had the best intentions of reducing my final project into a form that hopefully will serve other worship leaders and ministry team leaders, life has gotten in the way. But I wanted to at least take a few minutes to lay out a few bullet points from my final project, lessons learned along the way, and what I hope to continue pursuing if the Lord allows in the coming years. Finally, I’ve also added links to a few pdf attachments of elements that may be helpful for you ministry leaders out there seeking to adopt an intentional discipleship strategy to your ministry area.

Project Overview

  • My project was to develop a discipleship strategy best suited for a worship team and a community of artistic individuals. The goal of the strategy was to see an increase in the level of missional living and in all-of-life worship. Among the 30+ individuals on our worship team at Journey Church who participated in the project, we saw the Lord do some pretty awesome things. Missional living and evangelistic boldness increased, several our team members personally led someone to faith in Jesus, and many additional stories of life change came out of it.

Important Lessons Learned

  • I was hit in the face again with the reality that discipleship is slow and messy. Whether it’s in my own life, my kids’ lives, or our worship team, I too often want the instant gratification of microwave discipleship. But that’s just not reality and neither is it biblical.
  • I was challenged to move beyond the role of musical instructor with my team and embrace the role of spiritual mentor and disciple maker. It’s one thing to take someone by the hand and help bring them up in their musical or artistic skillset. But it’s another thing to help coach them in their spiritual life and in their walk with Jesus. Inadvertently I have compartmentalized the two over the years. Through this process, however, God has been teaching me to embrace both simultaneously. Now I am seeking to help develop both musical skills in my team as well as help to forge them into stronger followers of Jesus. It’s both/and.
  • If I could encourage one thing to all ministry leaders and worship pastors it would be this: Get your team out on the mission field both locally and internationally. This one is huge for our strategy. This is the way Jesus’ disciples learned…on the go. It was on the job training, and this is simply the best way. How do you learn to make disciples? By making disciples. Learn by doing. A classroom will only take you so far.

The Future

  • As a worship team, we will continue to challenge each other on a weekly basis through our times together at rehearsals, MCs (missional communities), and monthly huddles. Huddles are a strategic part of the discipleship process for us. Each month we meet outside Journey in each other’s homes for food, prayer, time in the Word, and time going through specific disciple-making and leadership development modules, or core competencies. These specific modules were written through a collaborative process with a small team of pastors, artists, and worship leaders. Feel free to print and distribute these documents with your teams if you would like. You’ll find the links below.
  • We will continue to maintain a “get out of the green room” mentality. This means we will be accessible on Sundays to pray with people and minister off the platform just as much as on the platform. And it also means that we will carry an all-of-life worship posture–a mentality that views every circle of influence as a mission field. We will continue making disciples in our neighborhoods, our networks, and overseas.


Maybe these documents will be helpful to you as a ministry leader or worship team leader. Feel free to touch base with me if you would like to see any additional resources or documents we’ve created at Journey Church for leadership development and disciple making. We certainly haven’t figured it all out, but we have been blessed to tread the ground of other leaders and experts who have helped us along the way. And we love to share what we have.

Final Thanks

My dad always says, “If you see a turtle on a fencepost, he didn’t get there by himself.” In other words, we rise to the positions we are in because of the investment of others. I would be remiss if I failed to include a special thanks to those who helped me make it through my doctoral project and who have supported me along the way. My wife, Tasha, and our five awesome children deserve the biggest thanks for their constant support and sacrifice to make it happen. Our pastoral team at Journey (Pastor Jimmy, Paul, Darby, and Tyler) were instrumental in supporting me and sharpening me through the process. They let me travel the trail they had already begun to blaze. Big thanks to our Journey worship team. They not only supported me and the project, but they also allowed God to work in their lives in such a way that their missional spark has challenged our entire church family. Finally, I want to thank Dr. Alvin Reid at Southeastern Seminary who breathed his evangelistic DNA into the project and helped to make it one hundred times better than it would have been. His friendship and partnership in the gospel over the years has been enormous. Thanks, Doc!

God bless you as you do the hard work of making worshiping disciples who make worshiping disciples.