November Update: Embracing Development

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Fan into flame the gifts of God.

Dearest Family and Friends,
What a whirlwind the first quarter of the residency has been! I can’t believe we’re almost in November and the holiday season! I can't thank you enough for partnering with me. Please know that God is moving mightily in and through ASW’s ministry. I am so honored to work and learn from this team.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in the past month. This first quarter of my residency has been heavily focused on my personal growth and development.

There are 3 primary areas we've focused on during the first quarter of my residency:

1. Theological Development
Every Wednesday from 6-9pm, I attend a theology course offered by Austin Stone called the Men & Women’s Development Program. Since classes began in September, we have covered doctrines ranging from the inerrancy of Scripture to the theology of the Trinity. We have homework every week, including Scripture memory, and we have a quarterly oral assessment to test our ability to articulate the content we’ve learned.

I’ve loved diving deep into these topics. I’m finding that the more I learn about God, the more I love Him. I want to encourage you that it is worth investing time in knowing the Lord! Scripture promises that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (c.f. James 4:8).
2. Worship Leadership and Musical Development
Every Tuesday, ASW residents have dedicated time to develop our skills as musicians and worship leaders. This comes in two forms: Worship Leader Classes or Resident Assessment. Worship Leader Classes are taught by ASW staff and cover topics such as choosing songs for your congregation, crafting a set list, and forming a call to worship. During the Resident Assessments the staff provides feedback on our musicianship, our ability to articulate truth from Scripture in an understandable way, and our countenance/posture as we lead. I'm very thankful for the feedback I’ve received.
Currently, I’m focused on developing my own voice. This includes both discovering my personal vocal sound (as opposed to trying to sound like someone else) and being able to confidently speak God's truth out loud, in front of people. I'm reminded that God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and self-control. (c.f. Timothy 1:7)

3. Administrative Work & Event Planning
From calls to emails to catering orders to event rentals, I'm in the office during the week to help make ASW's ministry run smoothly! Once week I meet with Jaleesa to talk about how I'm doing personally and review the things that need to be accomplished. ASW put on 2 major events in the past 6 weeks: a church-wide Night of Worship and a large Worship Collective (see photos below).

I've thoroughly enjoyed applying all the skills I acquired while working at a law office to a creative ministry context! It's amazing to see how He is faithful to work all things together for my good. (c.f. Romans 8:28)

I believe there are more incredible things to come in the next few months! Thank you all for your prayers and generosity. 

In Christ y'all,

Prioritize Engagement: September 2018 Update

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Engaging with scripture, mission and people.

Dear Friends and Family,

This past month has been a blast! Each morning I am humbled that God has given me the opportunity to grow and serve with the ASW team. I have been asking that He would give me the capacity to be present in the moment so that I can learn all that He wants to teach me. Every day I have been praying this passage over my heart:
“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give [me] the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of [my heart] enlightened, that [I] may know what is the hope to which he has called [me], what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…” Ephesians 2:18 

I am learning that to be effective in ministry, not only do I need to rely on God's power but that I need to prioritize engagement. I need to daily engage with scripture, all of which is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching. I need to engage with God’s mission here on earth, keeping in step with the Spirit and presenting my entire life as a living sacrifice for His purposes. And finally, I need to engage with the people around me, looking not only to my own interests but to the interests of others, humbly counting them as more significant than myself.
I am learning that ministry is all about people. In the Great Commission, Jesus commands the apostles to “make disciples of all nations.” Disciples are people! The focus of my work is now relationships. This is a huge paradigm shift for me. I've transitioned from working at home alone to working almost exclusively with others. It has been quite an adjustment, but the shock is finally wearing off and I can confidently tell you that I love being involved in people’s live.
Luckily, the ASW staff is a great example of holistic engagement, so I’m not trying to tackle this paradigm shift alone! Austin Stone Worship deeply values cultivating a culture of engagement. We know that when we engage with others, we have more opportunities to share the love and truth of Jesus. Our team strives to actively teach our people why we worship corporately, we encourage artists to live missionally in the city of Austin beyond the walls of our church, and we practice hospitality by investing in relationships with the people in our church. It is incredible to see how God changes lives through human connection! In an increasingly disconnected world, I’m praying that God would use us, the Church, to bring healing and wholeness to lonely and hurting people by connecting them to Jesus.

In the past 7 weeks, I’ve helped organize two worship volunteer gatherings, re-launch ASW choir, lead a group of 500 women in worship, sort out multiple catering orders, and set-up for numerous meetings and events. There is so much more to come, and I cannot wait to see how God will continue to move in my life and the lives of those around me! Thank you all for your prayers and the sacrifices you have made to contribute to God's kingdom through this ministry. I'm so incredibly grateful for each one of you and I pray that God would continually reveal His beauty and perfect nature to your hearts!

In Christ y’all,

Power & Weakness: August 2018 Update

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His power is made perfect in my weakness.


Dear Friends,

First and foremost, I cannot thank you enough for partnering with me in ministry. I am blown away by how God has moved through each one of you and I count it my honor to serve both the Body of Christ and the world alongside you! 

When I began support-raising in March, I was terrified that I would fail. But what I've learned over the past 5 months is that none of this process relies on my own personal strength. Instead, support-raising has painfully highlighted my weaknesses: my anxiety, my desire to control everything, my fear of rejection. Time and time again, I have seen God use His people to encourage to my heart and provide the necessary finances for that month. In the moments where I feel like I cannot continue, He supplies me with supernatural stamina to carry on. This support-raising season has allowed me to truly experience firsthand the truth Jesus communicated to Paul:

"But [the Lord] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

So I'm following Paul's example and telling you that God's power is so much greater than we can ever know! I am so thankful for this season and I cannot imagine starting full-time ministry without this experiential understanding of God as the Provider. Sometimes He doesn't give me what I think I need and sometimes it seems like the situation is impossible, but I am learning to trust that His ways are better. 

And now finally, after 5 months of prayer and walking in obedience, I am 85% funded and have started the Worship Residency! This first week has been wonderful. I love the team that I will be working with and I am so excited to learn from the Austin Stone Worship leadership.

This past weekend, I served with the production team to set-up Austin Stone's Downtown Campus. Every Saturday afternoon, the production team transforms Austin High School's gymnasium into a space where church will meet the following day. This includes building the stage, setting up the extensive sound system and lights, putting out hundreds of chairs and so much more. I am amazed that this happens every single weekend! I love that Austin Stone is so intentional about being in the city! On Sunday, I stayed through all 4 church services, helped with logistics and tear-down, and observed how the church operates. It was great and exhausting and I'm just so excited to be here!

As August continues, I'm looking forward to settling in, getting to know the ASW team, and serving the church. I will be writing blog posts about what I'm learning and sending out monthly newsletters like this one. Please know that I am praying for you! I am so grateful we're in this together! As always, feel free to reach out if you have any specific prayer requests or questions about what I'm doing!

In Christ, y'all!