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Friday, June 17, 2005

Ask the ChurchStaffing/MMI Guy: My Testimony

Question_1 Welcome to the first official entry in the "Ask the ChurchStaffing/MMI Guy series.  Last week, I said we'd see if anyone had any questions about me, and if so, I'd take a little time on Friday's to answer a question.  We had a number of great questions that came in last week.  For example, Bernie wrote:

Todd, what's your testimony, even up to what God's been doing in your life recently. Is it on the web somewhere?

Great question, Bernie; and I think that might be a great place to start.  Here's a short history of my life (you might want to take a swig of your coffee now!).  I'll tell you a little of my history and background; and a little of how God has worked in my life.

I'm the youngest of four kids (actually, I was an 'oops' baby... my nearest brother is about 13 years older than I!)  I was saved at the young age of 8.  When I was seven, my aunt invited my mom to a new baptist church plant that my aunt and uncle were helping start.  My mom hadn't been in church for years, but began attending, toting me along.  It was there that my mother again became serious in her relationship with Christ and where I accepted Christ.  Later, my father also accepted Christ.

Around the same time, I started taking piano lessons.  I always loved music and the singing in the church; and I started playing the hymns early on (that's all we sang back then, you know!).  By the age of 10 or so, I was playing regularly for church.  I even remember the time I thought it would be cool to play the Star Spangled Banner for the offertory.  (No one knew whether to stand or sit!)  My church was great at using me to serve at an early age.  They allowed me to play for the Children's Church program when I was 12 or so; and when I was a teenager I played for many services.  I loved it.  And was excited enough about it that I wanted to become a 'minister of music' someday (you don't hear that term used as much these days either!).

I attended Cedarville College (now Cedarville University) in the mid-80s and started as a major in music.  I soon became disillusioned with the music program though (it was 95% classical and 'sacred' music rather than the kind of music I was brought up with and wanted to do in the church) so I chose a different major of broadcasting and communication arts.  Upon graduating, my first job was at a radio station as a marketing manager and sales rep.  I also took a part-time job at a church directing music (my minister-of-music job!).

All through college, I dated my soon-to-be wife, Dawn (we had gone to high school together, but never dated until after I graduated high school).  After graduating college, we married and are now the proud parents of four children, three boys and a girl (ages 13, 11, 9, and 7).

Vocationally, I soon quit my job at the radio station to try to work on my own.  The next ten or so years were tough ones, trying to find my niche, trying a bunch of ideas that almost always failed.  :)  I've worked as worship leader at three different churches over the years, and retain great relationships with each (as a matter of fact, I now attend a church that I was on staff at!)  In the mid-90's I was awestruck by the internet and it's potential and started a website called 'minister-of-music.com'.  That was the early predecesor of ChurchStaffing.com.  And since 1999, ChurchStaffing.com and helping pastors and churches has been my passion.

Spiritually speaking, there have been probably three or four different turning points in my life that I feel Christ has lead me through to bring me where I am today.  There's really not enough space here today to discuss them, but maybe I will break those down at some point in the future.  As in your life, I'm sure that there are points where you are faced with life-changing decisions that bring you to your knees before God.  How you handle those decisions in large part determines the future course of your life and ministry.  Dawn and I have experienced them as well; and God has been faithful.  Every thing (both good and bad) that has happened to us in the past has been a puzzle that fits together perfectly (in retrospect) in allowing us to serve the kingdom in the way we are doing today.  And I know that God's not done yet.  I'm excited for whatever He has for our futures.

Well, this is already too long.  Maybe for a future installment in this series, I'll go through those 3 or 4 life's decisions that have really changed my life and ministry, (if you're already not snoozing!)

Let's do it this way... if you have any specific questions about this week's answer, post them in the comments section and I'll try to reply asap (also in the comments section).  Also, if you have a new question you're dying to ask me, please do that in the comments section as well.  I think this will be fun (at least for me!)

Have a great weekend!


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I don't think your post is too long. When we talk about ourselves, we often get self-conscious and think we have bored the person listening or reading. Personally, I am left wanting more information on you. I find the work you do fascinating, and it has inspired me to pursue an internet ministry as well. Knowing what you have been through, learning from your experiences, and getting ideas not only inspires me, but many pastors and ministers as well. You are doing something revolutionary in the ministry, and I applaud that and wonder where you got the idea, how it came to terms, and am interested in how God has carried you, or humbled you, through this experience.

Thanks for doing what you do.

Posted by: Grant | Jun 20, 2005 1:22:52 PM

Hi Todd-

I admire anyone with music ability. I love music, and my talent seems to be inversely proportional to my music skills.

As for looking back and seeing your life come together as a puzzle, Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) has an interesting/inspirational (secular) lifestory he shared at a recent college commencment. Click here to see it:



Posted by: bernie dehler | Jun 20, 2005 3:46:54 PM

Wow, a Music Minister! I heard of one of those! It was in a museum with these book things called "hymnals."
Though I hadn't pegged as a Pastor, your being a former Music Guy is wonderfully interesting. I think being a Worship Leader gives you a very different perspective of a Pastor than most positions, layperson or staff. You're the one who shares the platform with the Pastor on a consistant basis and next to the Pastors wife, the most familiar with both the public & private "personas" of the Pastor.
Three Questions:
Has haven been a Worship Leader effected or influence your view of the role or position of Pastor?
From your personal resources and from the input you receive from the blog, do you see any new trends in church staffing?
Music Ministers became Worship Leaders, Ministers of Education becoming Pastor for Member Assimilation, (the church Borg!)
the growth of Pastors who specialize in Small Group development?
And...what's your Top 10 Favorite Worship Songs or CD's? They don't have to be current or contemporary but influential to you or, in your view, influential in worship.
Thanks for what you do and just to let you know, I often use the information you post including the Newberger articals in our leadership meets. Keep'em coming!
In Christ
Ben E

Posted by: Ben E. | Jun 20, 2005 6:47:19 PM

When the church board,wants to challenge the Pastor's, spiritual decernment for elevating members to Leadership positions. What do you do?

Posted by: Deborah | Jun 21, 2005 8:45:06 AM

The Truth about being a qualified leader in the body. Paul is just a man like you and I. We must first come face to face with the light that brings change.You are not a leader unless you are under a real covering. The only covering we can have is the truth that the spirit and the word gives. Not just word alone.If you are not annointed like paul or moses you must stand and serve some one who is as covered as they are. This is not a game the devil will not move because you have a degree or some training from a bible school. The devil only move when the oil of the covenant is being poured out of heaven and the spirit catches it on fire. So dont use any one of my brothers in the bible as an example unless you use all their belief. I will not just agree with what they say in one place and disagree in another place. Paul never worshiped on sunday. and he always kept the sabbath. When paul prayed the heaven opened and he received an answer. When I pray I dont hope god will move he always stand by his word. If you need to see what I'm talking about I'll be glad to set up an appointment with you and bring the word of god with power and signs so the body can rejoice and be glad again. br bless and may yhwh witness between me and amen.

Posted by: Apostle yhwhde | Sep 26, 2005 10:16:28 PM

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