On Sunday, April 15, Brandon Chism will be at ClearView to lead worship and get to know us. Brandon’s selection as candidate for this position has come from many months of prayerful consideration from the search team, the elders, and Brandon himself.
On April 22, we will have a congregational meeting and vote between services (around 10:00 a.m.). We encourage you to be in prayer for Brandon and this process. Voter cards will be available at the Info Center beginning April 8. If you already filled one out in the fall, you do not need to do so again. If you would like to vote and have never filled out a voter card, please be sure to do so before April 22.
Below is the job description for this position, followed by a biography of Brandon and some of his thoughts about worship ministry.
Job Description for ClearView Worship Pastor
Title: Worship Pastor
Responsible to: Lead Pastor and Elder team
Supervises: Volunteer musicians, Technology team
Position Purpose: Applying musicianship, creativity, and shepherding, the Worship Pastor provides pastoral leadership to all worship ministries of ClearView Community Church, recognizing worship as an opportunity to lead the body in authentic, Christ-centered worship and engagement with God. ClearView believes that music is one of the powerful ways we express worship to God and pronounce our faith in Him. Our goal is for the people of God, in all their diversity, to join together to glorify God through the offering up of corporate praise. The heart of the worship teams is to artfully weave together varying musical styles and other elements into a seamless tapestry that honors the Lord without alienating any particular person or group.
Qualifications: ClearView leadership has an express desire for all staff to exhibit the “Seven C’s” in carrying out one’s daily life personally and professionally.
1 – Character: Staff leaders are devoted lovers of Jesus, seeking to be conformed to His image, understanding, above all else, they are loved, chosen, and empowered by God. Out of that core identity, they are committed to prayer, worship, the study of Scripture, and living and working with spiritual integrity. They are willing to let others hold them accountable and speak into their personal life for growth in the journey toward maturity. They are aware of and honest about their strengths and weaknesses, feeling safe to be authentic in their “createdness” without pretense, and discuss failure and success with other team members. A commitment to growing in self-awareness and understanding as one grows to know God is critical. A leader continually seeks stability in the faith, obedience to the Word, and reliance on the Holy Spirit.
2 – Competence: The Holy Spirit has given gifts and abilities, combined with skills acquired through training and life experience. Staff leaders possess gifts of team building, teaching, delegation, empathy, listening, and conflict resolution.
3- Chemistry: Staff leaders are willing and able to fit within the existing team, enrich the circle of community, and exhibit relational harmony within the staff and volunteer teams. As a growing church body, the wearing of many hats and sharing the load of ministry is vital to its function. Embracing ClearView’s culture means being part of its family, having an open, joyful, servant heart toward the ministry, avoiding building ministry “silos”, gossip, and taking oneself too seriously.
4 – Courage: It may become necessary to enter into difficult exchanges and defend the faith, the church, and individuals in ways that preserve and maintain the community of faith. The ClearView staff highly values the ability to speak the Truth in love without destructive results and a willingness to work through misunderstandings to find resolution.
5 – Calling: Staff leaders have an ability to discern and articulate God’s calling to serve in the body. It is important to develop an understanding of the vision, values, and beliefs of ClearView Community Church, articulate why one believes s/he was called to this particular body, and express a desire to work toward and help maintain the unique vision and values of its congregation.
6 – Couple: Though this ministry will employ one person, if that person is married, there is a unity of desire and commitment as a couple to stand together to edify the church. This includes living out Biblical values, and a commitment to involvement in authentic community within the body. A mutual sense of God’s calling to full time ministry, a commitment to prioritize marriage and family, and an ability together to identify and embrace the benefits and challenges in ministry are vital to success in ministry.
7 – Community: One of the primary callings of ClearView Community Church is to glorify God by serving the local community of Buena Vista. We desire to love the town well and see it flourish, as it is an extension of God’s Kingdom. A high value is placed on ClearView staff being a part of the town to which one is called.
Description: The Worship Pastor . . .
- works in close collaboration with and full support of the Lead Pastor to develop a vision and plan for the implementation of worship in different settings, including but not limited to, Sunday morning services, memorial services and funerals, special functions and programs with a worship component
- oversees order of worship, song selection, sound/media, video streaming, recording and lighting preparation, coordination of instrumentalists and vocalists
- manages media distribution of sermons and special services
- directs all weekly rehearsals, activities, and communications necessary to facilitate each worship experience
- oversees Worship Department budget, organization, and volunteers
- assists families as needed in the choosing and provision of music for special services
- is a visionary who is creative in the responsibility of leading people into the presence of God in worship, understanding the high privilege of such leadership
- is a leader who is able to communicate the vision and direction of the worship experience with humility
- inspires the body to join in the pursuit of that vision
- recognizes the barriers that exist to sharing that experience
- will develop a worship team that expresses worship literature with excellence and passion
- shepherds that team as they serve in the worship facets of ministry
- works alongside Children and Youth Directors to develop meaningful worship environments, mentor young musicians, and bring a congruent value of worship for all ages and help develop worship teams for LINK and Varsity
- seeks opportunities for enhancing and supporting other ClearView ministries with the worship arts
- is committed to becoming intimately involved in the life and ministries of ClearView and its outreach to the community at large
Required Knowledge and Skills: The Worship Pastor . . .
- is able to help people see and experience Christ in all aspects of worship
- has excellent knowledge of the Bible and is able to proclaim the gospel
- is able to form the worship team into a community that exemplifies and models Christ-centered living
- has an ability to initiate and develop relationships across multiple generations and backgrounds
- has a wide knowledge of musical expression and literature and an ability to incorporate it appropriately in the planned worship service
- is able to create worship as a whole experience including understanding the roles of worship arts, music, the spoken Word, environment, and technical support
- has experience leading worship as a lead instrumentalist/vocalist
- has proficiency in a lead instrument such as acoustic guitar or keyboard
- has a knowledge of how to incorporate multiple instruments into the worship experience
- regularly attends all staff meetings and other assigned events
- works collaboratively with other staff to support staff values
- works alongside other pastors and staff in caring for and shepherding families of ClearView
- represents Christ and ClearView with grace and hospitality
- engages in opportunities for professional growth
We desire to fill this position with a person who expresses an enthusiasm and energy in leading worship, has an ability to connect with people, has a genuine and sincere empathy for all people in all life situations, and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit which allows for in-the-moment reaction and connection while leading worship.
This is a full time, salaried position.
Worship Pastor Candidate Responses: Brandon Chism
Give us a brief testimony.
I grew up in a simple but very loving family and household. My entire family (parents, siblings, brothers-in-law, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins) is serving in ministry in various capacities, setting many examples of faithful service to the Lord. My personal walk with the Lord began when I was four years old. My parents placed us in Christian education, and I recall asking my mother several questions about salvation on the way home from kindergarten one afternoon. When we pulled into our driveway, she asked if I wanted to pray; we did, and I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. Throughout my childhood, adolescent, and teen years, I see much of God’s protection and preservation of me, as my walk with Him never strayed significantly in one direction or another. The past two years have also seen much growth as I’ve experienced seminary and have grown in spiritual responsibility at The Moody Church. The interaction between God’s sovereign hand and my initiative and decisions is a mystery, and yet I can see how God has been moving my life to greater growth and depth in these years of ministry preparation and personal maturity.
Tell us about your current life circumstances.
I am currently single, however am building a serious relationship with a wonderful woman, Lindsay. We met one year ago as we served together with the Artist Circle and disability ministries at The Moody Church and as we spent time together with a group of friends. Lindsay and I look forward to serving in ministry together as our relationship continues to grow.
What is your view of music ministry?
Music Ministry is a hot topic for the church in the west. Music and creativity are closely tied to our identity as it has a unique way of speaking to and being borne out
of the soul, and affecting us in deeply emotional and personal ways. As personal music listening, and the technology and accessibility to do so, has increased over the past several decades, it becomes more difficult for the church to find a musical-worship identity which is cross-generational, cross-cultural, and yet appropriate for each congregation’s unique community.
The worship pastor has a difficult job in our “iPod” culture which demands music that speaks to the individual rather than the corporate body. The terms “traditional” and “contemporary” will be absent from my writing here, as these words tend to be insufficient today when considering all the diverse musical and artistic directions in which a church could grow. Most tend to lump church music into hymns and choruses, and subsequently the “traditional” and “contemporary” categories, and there is often a negative stigma associated with each from the opposing side. However, most often it is instrumentation and presentation which ultimately affect a person’s perception of various songs, and an experienced worship leader can help a church grow in appreciation of new or different styles while maintaining a core of musical content which edifies/unites the church and points them toward Christ.1
As an alternative, using terms developed by our worship pastor (with which I fully agree!) at The Moody Church, Tim Stafford, a music ministry should grow toward musical expressions which are both ancient and modern, eloquent and simple, and familiar and new. An ancient hymn may be simple in text and musical composition, and yet new to many who have not heard it and modern in its musical presentation. A worship chorus may be modern in its presentation, and yet eloquent in its textual and musical composition. Ultimately, I believe a gifted worship leader can help a congregation look past the categories and labels and begin to appreciate the styles each week with which they may not automatically resonate. For a more thorough outline of my music ministry philosophy, please see Appendix A. For a sample blog post where I discuss an understanding of worship as found in Isaiah 6, please see Appendix B.
2. After reading the job description, what excites you about this position?
The aspect of pastoral leadership in music ministry with which I have had a growing desire and anticipation, and consequently which excites me about this position, is the shepherding aspect, both participating in the shepherding of the whole congregation in worship and specifically with those serving in the music ministry. While my position at Moody has been as a director rather than pastor, I have had increasing opportunities to counsel, pray for, and exhort folks in the church. It’s been encouraging and rewarding to see people grow in their understanding of Scripture and how to live a Christ-honoring life, and also grow in using their gifts in the church.
3. Describe your musicianship.
While I was singing from a very early age, the first instrument with which I received formal training was piano. In high school, I picked up bassoon while continuing voice and piano lessons. I quickly began to love bassoon and chose to focus my musical training on it. In college, I studied bassoon performance while also maintaining voice instruction along the way. In my adult years, I’ve circled back and piano and keys have been my primary instrument in ministry contexts. I lead worship from both, depending on the context and other musicians in the band. When leading from keys (synths, pads, organs, etc.), I typically aim to create a wide, rich, and warm sound to fill the room and help give both a context for the other instruments and provide just enough of a presence in the space to facilitate singing from the congregation. Often with a sound that is too thin, the congregation will be less inclined to sing fully, and with a sound that is too loud, the congregation cannot hear themselves singing and the corporate collective voice of worship is lost.
4. What would other authority figures in your life say are your strengths/challenges?
Challenges: One area in which I’ve had to grow quite a bit in the past six years is patience with process, both organizationally and personally. Early on in my time at Moody Church, I would get very frustrated with “red tape” or perceived leadership politics which to me seemed completely unnecessary. Moody does not have much politics, fortunately; however it has been described as a “large ship” that does not turn quickly. I’ve grown to appreciate that quality and the intentionality with which our elders and trustees make decisions. However, I still tend to prefer a bit less process as it can often constrict creativity and innovation. Personally, I have also had to grow in patience with others’ spiritual growth. As an example, there was a friend of mine who was struggling with various decisions in his life, and he did not always respond well to counsel or advice from me or other mutual friends. I struggled to remain engaged with him in friendship and “wrote him off” in many ways when I should have realized that I don’t always have to have all the answers, and just continue to be there for him when he came back for interaction and help. One of our mutual and older friends was very wise when she said she was glad I decided to remain at The Moody Church many years ago when I considered leaving for another ministry position. “You need to grow in patience with people and how they process, and I’m glad you’ll be at Moody Church to learn from all these pastors here.” That comment has stuck with me to this day, and I can see how God has given me plenty of opportunities to learn patience with others.
Strengths: I tend to thrive in situations where I need to be a peacemaker or “ambassador” of sorts. Perhaps it is related to my ability to empathize and listen to others, but I enjoy problem-solving with multiple interests involved. I recall an example from my previous position at Moody Bible Institute with conferences: we had dozens of exhibitors come to Pastors’ Conference each year, and most of them wanted opportunities to promote their products and services to the pastors, understandably. One of the most difficult exhibitors with whom I had worked for a few years at this conference pulled me aside once and said he enjoyed working with me and appreciated my patience with him (ironic, given my challenges on that subject). Even though he was a bit difficult to work with as we could not accommodate all his requests, I still was apparently able to listen and make him feel that his needs were important, and that he was heard. Related to this, a second strength an authority figure might mention is that I’m typically cool and collected on my feet in high-stress situations. A good example would be Chicago’s blizzard in February 2011 which arrived on the second day of our week-long annual Founder’s Week Bible Conference. Since the conference is aired live on the radio and internet to about one million listeners, we did not want to cancel the conference. Our team had to deal with replacing several keynote speakers who were unable to get to Chicago and figure out logistics for those in the city who still planned to navigate the city and attend the conference. I have very often received comments during frantic events and situations such as this that I seemed completely calm the entire time as if nothing was wrong. It’s a good thing they can’t read my thoughts!
There are certain principles a worship pastor can follow to navigate preferential pressures and develop a culture of worship centered on the Word, and which consequently builds up the body in faith and spiritual maturity. I have adapted the following principles from Gregg Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers, The Doctrine of the Church to demonstrate how a worship leader can approach building a music ministry which is focused on the Word and edifies the body of Christ.
1) Worship is God-Oriented. “Doxological” Worship: everything we do as the church, in any gathering or setting, is first and foremost oriented toward the glory of God. Isaiah 6 begins with a magnificent vision of God in His holiness in verses 1-4; worship, confession, service, and mission all flow out from this central theme of God’s glory and holiness in subsequent verses. Practically speaking, the worship leader ought to have a response pattern in his personal life which emulates Isaiah’s response, laying a foundation to shepherd the church body in learning to do the same.
2) Worship is Word-Centered. “Logocentric” Worship: everything we do as the church is focused on the Word of God, referring both to Jesus Christ as the incarnate Word and Scripture as God’s inspired word. In the post-modern culture, general spirituality has often been exalted over external standards and claims to objective truth. In many churches today, the spiritual, often more emotional experience has taken precedence over the priority of instruction in the Word. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says that He will build His church, and Paul agrees in Ephesians 2:20 as he refers to Christ as the cornerstone of the church. Practically speaking, the worship leader should always work to create music sets which guide the worshipper through a biblical concept and point them toward objective truth about God and themselves. For many churches, music is viewed as the emotional warm-up for the sermon. While Biblical teaching is presented primarily in spoken word, the church’s artistic expressions ought to always accompany the spoken word in also communicating truth objectively and clearly. This allows the congregation’s worship to not just be responsive, but truly confessional.
3) Worship is Spirit-Empowered. “Pneumadynamic” Worship: the Holy Spirit not only illuminates our hearts and seals our salvation, but compels us in worship and empowers us for the Lord’s work. From the very beginning, the equal person of the Holy Spirit was active in creation and is just as active today in revealing the truth of the gospel to us. In worship, the Spirit does not reveal new truth to us outside of Scripture, but is active in drawing our hearts and praises to God, turning information into transformation. Practically speaking, the worship leader ought to submit himself to the Spirit in his own practice and worship on the platform, being mindful of his persona by not drawing excessive attention to himself with his actions, yet also not squelching the Spirit in any way and allowing the Spirit to do His work in the hearts and minds of the congregation.
4) Worship is Confessional. Worship is, in one sense, the résumé of the Christian faith in that it is the church’s doctrine and set of values and beliefs set to a form which the congregation can more easily memorize and, with one voice, confess to God. With an increasing illiteracy of Scripture in the church today, it becomes all the more imperative that congregations hide truth in their hearts; music and creeds take large strides to that end. Practically speaking, the worship leader ought to incorporate songs and creedal readings in the repertoire which assist in teaching sound doctrine and enable the congregation to not just be receivers of the Word, but confessors and doers of that Word.
Ultimately, worship leading is a pastoral act. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (ESV). The worship leader enters into a shepherding role as he helps teach, train, and guide a congregation in looking more like this spiritual community in Colossians. If he is faithful in facilitating corporate worship which is God-oriented, Word-centered, Spirit-empowered, and confessional, the church will be much better prepared to fulfill these exhortations in Colossians.
“How Was Worship Today?” – Blog post
“How was worship today?” Perhaps you’ve asked this question before. I know I have. It’s an innocent question, and our response is often primarily (…even largely) informed by the experience we had in the worship service. However, it’s a question that can expose certain perceptions of what worship is, and my fear is that these perceptions can be too narrow. A critical hermeneutical step in approaching any biblical text is to recognize that the reader will invariably do so with a filter of preunderstanding. It may be a long-held belief, significant bias, or it could just be a cultural lens which slightly colors one’s reading and interpretation of a text. But it’s there. Similarly, every worshipper approaches weekly corporate gatherings with some layer of preunderstanding – their theological or orthopraxical tradition which colors perceptions of “church” – both the conclusions drawn from observation, and also what they believe it ought to be like. In light of this, being asked “how was worship” becomes an opportunity to stop and think for a second. “Is it enough to walk away from a worship gathering with merely an impression of how I experienced what happened? Am I treating it like a social gathering which did or did not meet my expectations, or should I be expecting more?”
So, let’s face it. We all walk into our corporate worship spaces each week wearing our lens of preunderstanding which influences our perception of the worship service, and also informs our opinions of what the worship service ought to be. This isn’t inherently bad! One of the wonderful blessings we have as the New Testament church is that our worship practices have not been explicitly prescribed in Scripture as it was in Old Testament times. The beautifully diverse array of worship traditions found across the globe is the result. And yet, with this freedom of practice and expression comes great responsibility to maintain certain imperative values in our worship gatherings—the implicit truths of what worship is which must in turn inform our elements of worship practice. Donald P. Hustad in his book Jubilate II: Church Music in Worship and Renewal defines worship as “the affirmative, transforming response of human beings to God’s self-revealing.”1 Hustad then draws several qualities of worship out of Isaiah’s vision. I encourage you to open your Bible or app and read Isaiah 6:1-11 before continuing. (This is the passage from which the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty” was written.)
From Isaiah’s vision:
1) We see overwhelmingly that God is being revealed as a transcendent Being. There are qualities of God which are so wonderful, so pure, so beyond our comprehension that we cannot begin to grasp all of who God is.
2) We see, in the light of God’s holiness, our own sinfulness. His purity does not drive us to shame but to repentance and humble worship.
3) We see reconciliation with God. Even in His transcendent holiness and our obvious sinfulness, His grace and forgiveness through Christ grants us access to Him and forgiveness of sin.
4) We see a call to respond and an action to take. The miracle of salvation should never create apathetic Christ-followers. Indeed, if it did, one must question whether a salvific moment truly took place! How much power shall we attribute to the blood of Christ to not just save but also preserve souls? Rather, this forgiveness leads to a call of obedience, resulting in sacrificial giving, service to the Lord, and a desire to tell others.2
“How was worship today?” Rather than immediately think of the songs, the worship team’s choice of clothing, or the “energy,” my hope is that all those who return home from a church each week will have participated in an exercise that revealed the God of the Bible in a way that leaves them in awe, sheds light on their sin to lead to repentance, reminds them joyfully of the grace and reconciliation they’ve received through Christ, and compels them to not only give something of themselves as an offering in worship, but also to go and make more disciples. I see no less from any act or gathering of worship in either Testament of the Bible. Worship changes us, for an encounter with God should never leave us as we were before. From here, the practical elements of a worship service will look very different from culture to culture, from tradition to tradition. Some will have more modern or casual approaches; others will have simpler or more formal approaches. Yet any perception of what worship is which doesn’t include these basic elements is missing the point. Have you met with God this week? Was He given room in your heart and mind to cut through all the distractions (internal and external) and conveniences to reveal who He really is?
“How was worship today?” May our response always be, “I saw the living God, and it changed me,” again and again.