10 Things That I Am Thankful For as a Minister of Faith Baptist Church
As you may have heard, Jeanna and I will be moving to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the beginning of August. As such, that means that I will be stepping down as the Minister of Contemporary Worship. We’re excited for what God has for us there, but at the same time, we are deeply saddened that we must say goodbye to our Faith family. We have made such amazing friendships here in Wichita Falls, and we cannot express enough the love we have for our Faith family. It was here at Faith that I started for the first time full-time ministry. It was here at Faith that we endured the waiting for our wonderful, adopted daughter Hannah. We owned our first home while at Faith, and it was here that Jeanna gave birth to our adorable, second child Gracie. We’ve had so many experiences here in Wichita Falls, and our Faith family has been there through it all, mourning with us when we were dealing with struggles and celebrating with us when God saw fit to bless us. Galatians 6:2 calls for us to “carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” 1 John 4:7 says “…let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” Jeanna and I have been so blessed to be here and to experience this love. So, in order to express my love to you all, I want to convey 10 things that I am thankful for as a minister of Faith Baptist Church!
I am thankful to Faith Baptist Church for…
- MAKING ME A BETTER WORSHIP LEADER. Without a doubt, I have definitely grown musically during my time here at Faith. I’ve been given more insight into all the different instruments we use onstage and the technology needed to lead worship. However, while that is very important in leading worship, I believe that God has grown me spiritually and has developed my ability to connect with a congregation. Through leading worship each Sunday, my understanding of worship has matured and my desire to serve the body of Christ through leading music worship has deepened. And through trial and error, God has shown me the intricacies of planning a service that involves music but also scripture, prayer, repentance, rededication, surrender, celebration, etc. Thank you.
- TEACHING ME WHAT IT MEANS TO LEAD A CONGREGATION IN MUSIC WORSHIP. When I started at Faith, I thought I understood what that meant. I would stand onstage and lead all of you through music, scripture readings, maybe some prayer. But as time went on, I realized how limited I was in my mentality as a worship leader. It became more and more apparent that if I was going to lead my Faith family, I needed to focus more intently on dying to myself so that I could allow more room in my mind for what you desired and needed, not necessarily what I desired or “thought” you needed. As Philippians 2:3-4 puts it, I had to better learn how to consider others as more important than myself. For example, that meant introducing and planning songs that might not have been what I would have chosen but ones that our congregation would love and need to hear. Or it meant limiting the amount of time I speak after a song, because despite the truth of my words, my words might be pulling focus from God and centering them on myself. Because of all of you, I have been stretched and have been molded closer into what God wants me to be.
- ALL THE CARDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT, BLANKETS AND QUILTS TO MY CHILDREN, AND SUPPORT TO OUR FAMILY WHEN IN NEED. It might have seemed a little thing in your eyes when you sent me an encouraging card or gave a gift to my child, but Jeanna and I have been eternally grateful for all of the support you have given to us. In fact, Hannah has attached herself to one of the blankets you have given her and WILL NOT SLEEP WITHOUT IT! We accidentally left her blanket at home once while visiting family one weekend and it took twice as long to get her to sleep, all the while asking, “Where’s my blanket, dada?” Ultimately, all of the support you have given us has truly made a difference in our day to day lives. Phil. 4:10 shows us the care that had been given to Paul by the Philippian Church and the impact it had on him so that he could minister. I echo this as I write this to you, expressing my thanks and love for all the support!
- WONDERFUL WORSHIP EXPERIENCES ON SUNDAY MORNINGS AND NIGHTS OF WORSHIP. A constant thing that I have heard from guests visiting Faith as they were looking for a church home was, “the music is really worshipful.” While I appreciated those comments, the reality is that those comments were really about the hearts of the people in the congregation. They were talking about YOU. They were saying that you truly worship. When we all gather together on Sundays or Wednesday nights, Jesus Christ is lifted up and we all sing the praises of our God. Thank you for your hearts. Thank you for letting me be a part of that and worshipping It has truly been an honor to lead you for 4 years.
- LETTING ME LEAD YOU. It has been a blessing being able to lead you each Sunday. Throughout these 4 years, I have seen the beautiful relationship that exists between a worship leader and his/her congregation, and that relationship has helped me to grow spiritually. Ephesians 4:21 calls husbands and wives to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Yes, husbands are to lead and guide spiritually, but wives will not submit if not for the sacrificial love expressed by husbands. While this passage is referring to marriage, I believe that this can be applied to leading a congregation in worship. I cannot lead unless I love my church family, my congregation, the way Christ loves the church. You have been amazing in letting me lead you these past 4 years, faithfully following and trusting in my guidance. In turn, it has helped me to see the necessity of submitting to you in my service with Christ, helping me to love you more and more each Sunday, putting your needs above my own.
- LETTING ME STRETCH YOU AND CHALLENGE YOU MUSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY. I still remember the response to the song “Rise And Sing” when we sang it for the first time. While it wonderfully portrays the attitude we should have for the freedom we have in Christ, the style is a little different than what Faith was familiar with. It’s a song that rocks hard and makes you want to jump and dance and shout. There was definitely some hesitant praising and some confused faces, almost as to ask, “are we allowed to sing a song like this in church?” The beautiful thing was that you let me stretch you and challenge you to sing songs that were different, just like you challenged me to incorporate some good ‘ol bluegrass country worship in our repertoire, and I have loved every second of it! Thank you for trusting me and thank you for teaching me!
- THOSE TIMES YOU STOPPED AT THE SANCTUARY DOORS TO EXPRESS THE LOVE YOU HAD FOR THE MUSIC WORSHIP. You have no idea what your kind words have done to encourage me and strengthen me as a worship minister! Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” There have been times when I was discouraged after a worship service due to some mistake I made or some problem that occurred during the set or even some personal issue outside of anything that was currently going on, and then some encouraging word was given to me as you were leaving the sanctuary and everything changed! It “healed my bones” and robbed my flesh or the devil of the ability to cast doubt and worry over my circumstances! Thank you so much for those encouraging words that affirmed the ministry that God placed me in, helping to remind me why we worship on Sundays, and that whatever happens, God is still on His throne!
- ALL THE HOURS AND HARD WORK SPENT ON THE VICTORIOUS PRESENTATION. I love the passage 1 Peter 4:10 that says, “Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” I think of this verse and I immediately think of all those that sacrificed their time and energy and sometimes money to make the Victorious Program possible. Whether you were onstage or behind-the-scenes, each and every one of you helped Faith to share the gospel to Wichita Falls and beyond! Thank you for trusting in me to lead the drama portion of the program and putting in so many hours to make it possible.
- PRAYING FOR US.We often forget the importance of prayer in this fast-paced culture we live in. I know that I am guilty of this. I am a doer. If I am given a task, I want to act and get it done. But 1 Thess. 5:17 calls us to pray constantly, and 1 Timothy 2:1,8 encourages the act of praying for one another. Thank you for praying for me and the Contemporary Worship Ministry. Thank you for praying for Jeanna, for Gracie and Hannah. The prayers have strengthened me and have protected me in ways that I don’t even know. I could not have survived in my position these past 4 years without your prayers. Thank you.
- LOVING US. Colossians 3:14: “Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” More than anything, thank you for loving the Padilla family. A life in ministry is never easy, but it’s made easier by the love of the church. Love strengthens and has kept me going. True love is seen in the way Christ laid down His life for us, a sacrificial love, a selfless and emptying love. We have felt that love over the past 4 years. We felt it during our long wait in the adoption process for Hannah: the prayers and encouragement when we experienced disappointment and the way that the pastors/overseers gave me a whole extra week off as we waited to be cleared to cross the Louisiana/Texas border. We felt it in all of the gifts to our children and the times we needed help with a babysitter. We felt it in the free or outrageously discounted house calls to take a look at some malfunctioning device in our home or to help with some DIY house project. We have felt that love in so many ways, and for that, Jeanna, Gracie, Hannah, and I thank you.
I have truly loved being your Minister of Contemporary Worship and I look forward to seeing what God does through Faith Baptist Church in the future! I love you all!