Worship Leaders :: A Spiritual Check-Up with Dr. Fred Meadows

Pastors can get stressed, overwhelmed and burned out. It happens every single day, unfortunately. What helps? What are the signs? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had flashing red lights on our desk that alert us when we are getting close to the edge?

FredMeadows_HeadshotMy friend and one of my mentors, Dr. Fred Meadows has devoted a great deal of time and study to this very subject. Fred is a dear brother and will be leading a breakout session at Engage: The Worship Experience on the Spiritual Health of the Worship Leader. This will be an important session for every person who leads worship either as a staff member or volunteer on your team. Fred’s new book, “Reforming The Broken Heart Of Leadership” will be releasing in July, 2013.

I had the chance to talk with Fred recently about life, ministry and his session at Engage, and wanted to pass on some of that content. Fred is the Pastor of Worship Arts and Spiritual Formation at College Church of the Nazarene and Adjunct Religion Professor at Olivet Nazarene University. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, earning the Doctor of Ministry degree, and specializing in the area of spiritual formation and spiritual direction as it pertains to Christian leaders. He previously completed his graduate work at Regent University with a master’s degree in Practical Theology and Worship Renewal. He has previously been an instructor for Integrity Worship Institute and Marantha! Music. Fred is certified in the field of Formative Spirituality with the Epiphany Association of Pittsburgh. He has served the Lord in ministry to the church for 30 years. He has recently authored the book, “Restoring the Heart of Broken Leadership” which tells his own personal story and offers sound wisdom on the spiritual formation practices of those in leadership. He is married to his high-school sweetheart, Pamali, and together they are parents of two grown children, Chad and Chelsea. For fun, Fred enjoys a good golf course, a good filet mignon, soaking up the sun at the beach, watching auto racing, and cheering on his Indianapolis Colts.

Q: When did you start in ministry?

A: I started ministry in the church in 1983 as an assistant to the Rev. Phil M. Fair as a student intern (did more than your average intern) leading Sunday night worship services, the college chorale of 50 students, and serving on staff as “staff accompanist” for worship, etc at North Anderson Church of God. My full-time ministry began a few months later in 1984. I’ve pastored, to this point in four congregations.

Q: What are your greatest ministry passions?

A: Helping people connect to the very real presence of Christ in their lives. People’s lives seem to be so fragmented; my passion is to help people find wholeness in Christ. I love it when “the lights come on” in a person’s life that lets others know that there is Someone living inside. I have been able to see this happen through corporate worship; now I am focusing more on the dynamic of small groups and individuals.

Q: You will be leading a session at Engage this year on Spiritual Health Of The Worship Leader. What do you hope to impart to the leaders that attend your session?

A: I hope to impart that the greatest evidence of worship taking place in our congregations is a transformed life, and that begins with us, nurturing our inner world so that what overflows our hearts are things that are pure, noble, humble, holy, praiseworthy, and excellent. We as worship leaders need to create the Big Flip in our lives to where our inner life and soul informs what we do, rather than hoping what we do will invigorate or somehow inspiring our inner lives. It’s amazing to me how many leaders in the church depend on their jobs to sustain their spiritual lives and relationships with God.  I’ll be using some biblical examples of people who succeeded and failed at leading from this inner perspective.

Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing worship leaders in the church today?

A: I think one of the biggest challenges is helping people through the subjectivity of worship. . .that it is not about them, but all about God. The consumer mentality in the church is still alarming to me. The “what’s-in-it-for-me” attitude is still very prevalent where I live. As a result, I feel that we really have to be careful that our leadership does not become so secularized that we miss the presence, power, and purpose of a living, “at-with-us” God. What we do is a high and holy calling. Our jobs entail helping people both on and off the stage to realize that worship is not about the music, but it is about the heart. Who else gets to do that?

Q: If you could say 1 thing to every worship leader, what would it be?

A: Seek God, become acquainted with your soul (which, by the way, really likes to go into hiding) and guard your heart. (OK. . .that was three.)


For a detailed list of Engage sessions, or for registration info, visit us on the web: www.EngageConf.com 

Let’s connect on Twitter: @BrianLTabor   @EngageConf   @MpccWorship

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