Director of Worship Arts – Welcome Sarah Newberry!

I am excited to share the news that we have hired Sarah Newberry to be the Director of Worship Arts at Resurrection West. Next week, I am hoping to share a bit more of the process with you. Until then, I wanted to pass along the update that Pastor Molly shared the news via email to the congregation:

“We welcome Sarah Newberry to our team beginning March 1, and we will have the opportunity to introduce her in worship on February 26.

Sarah comes from within the Resurrection community, she has been leading in the Vibe worship service at the Leawood Campus for the past year and a half, and she takes on this position as part of answering her call to full-time ministry.  Trained as a Music Therapist, Sarah comes to us from The Good Samaritan Society-Olathe, a senior living and care organization, where she has been employed as their Activity Director, Volunteer Coordinator, and Music Therapist.  In her job, she has worn many hats: music therapy, staff supervisor to a department, led and planned worship services in their facility, started new initiatives and programs to care for the community she serves, and coordinated volunteer teams for the community.  Sarah is a pianist, vocalist, and percussionist primarily, but she can play and teach pretty much every other instrument.  In addition to her Bachelor of Music degree in music therapy, she also studied music education, choral conducting, and vocal performance at Florida State University.  Sarah is personable, she has a great sense of humor, a humble heart, and she has a deep passion for leading people in worship of our God.  Oh, and she started a 5th grade praise band in KiDS COR at Leawood!

And because I won’t have time to tell you everything when I introduce Sarah in worship, I have to share with you one little story. A few weeks ago, we had a day in which we had four highly-qualified candidates in for a final interview and audition.  When Sarah sat down at the piano and started playing “You Are My King” (amazing love, how can it be, that you my king would die for me…), I was immediately drawn into worship.  Honestly, I didn’t expect that.  I went into our auditions prepared to listen, to critique, to observe their performances.  I wasn’t at all thinking about putting myself in a place to engage in worship through singing.  In an instant, I knew what it was that several other staff members and ministry leaders had gone out of their way to tell me.  There was something in Sarah’s voice, in the way she delivered the words, that made space for me to meet God.  All of the details of the task at hand were gone for a few moments.  That doesn’t happen to me very often.  I usually have to fight to set my duties aside–to stop evaluating or making mental notes of how to do things differently or what is supposed to come next.  I don’t even know that I can describe it that well–other than to tell you that I found the Holy Spirit in the notes through her voice.

For those of you that have joined us in the last few months, we have been conducting this search process since November.  In the past three months, we had more than 65 applicants.  We conducted phone screens, a couple of rounds of in-person interviews, and a final interview/audition.  We were blessed to have a great response and to have interacted with some really gifted leaders.  In the meantime, our volunteer worship teams have been doing an amazing job in leading worship each weekend at our three services.  I am so thankful for their hard work, and I’m excited to see where the next months in our worship ministry will lead us!

Starting New Churches – An Interesting Story

Thanks to Tim Stevens for bringing this story to my attention via this post – One Church Becomes Two… Without Splitting.

Beach United Methodist Church, in Jacksonville, Florida will be launching one of their worship venues, Eleven 22, as a new non denominational church in 12 to 18 months. You can read more about it at http://ourchurchconversation.com

I believe that starting new churches is a critical component of The United Methodist Church finding renewal and new life. There are new churches started every year, but there are some things about this start that I find intriguing:

  • A mainline church is launching a non denominational church
  • It seems that the worship service was not originally started with a new church start in mind.
  • This is not the first nor the last new church that Beach UMC will launch.

I hope and pray for all the best for these congregations and the way that they will continue to live out the gospel in Jacksonville. What is your response to this story?