Below FEIC Communications & Worship Consultant Jeff Slaughter shares about his vision for the European Worship Institute and how he hopes to serve FEIC-member church worship teams.
Before moving to Europe in 1998, I took it for granted that one could make a career as a worship pastor/leader. In the USA, those interested in worship ministry as a career can earn a degree in music or worship studies and find a full-time paid position on a church staff.
But as we got involved in European ministry, one of the first things I noticed was that most European churches didn’t have a worship pastor on staff. In fact, many churches struggled to find competent worship leaders, musicians and vocalists to serve in their churches. I learned that most Europeans go to university to earn degrees that lead to paying (secular) jobs. They are not encouraged to follow worship ministry as a career as there are few churches who can – or do – pay those responsible for their worship. And there are few, if any, such degrees available.
In fact, most churches rely on volunteers to carry their worship programs. And often, those volunteers lack experience, musicality and confidence.
As I began to grasp the reality of the European church (12 years ago), I felt compelled to help provide worship training opportunities by organizing worship seminars, conferences and events as part of our missions calling. Eventually, we founded the Brussels-European Worship Institute which served as the host organization for a number of events in Belgium, France and The Netherlands.
As we look toward the next decade, our heart is to see the Institute expand even further, serving worship teams and churches in other European countries. To this end, we’ve changed the name of the Institute to the ‘European Worship Institute’ to reflect a broader geographic scope. And we’ve developed our program to offer three distinct levels for: the local church, the regional church and the European church.
‘Focus’ is our retreat for local church worship teams. Our program can be adapted to meet the needs of each individual church, offering several components including times of worship, times of teaching (live and DVD) as well as times of fellowship featuring games, breaks and meals. The idea here is for a worship team to get away from the busyness of life and spend time getting to know one another better, learn more about their roles on the worship team, and worship without the pressures that often accompany service times. Plus, we have lots of fun.
‘Converge’ is our seminar for multiple churches within a region. Here, the idea is for a lead church to sponsor a regional worship seminar for churches in their area. The host church issues invitations, staffs registration, and organizes breaks and lunch.We plan the content and bring the teaching team. Our Converge teaching teams are normally from the USA, have servants’ hearts, and are led by a competent worship pastor who does the bulk of general session training assisted by qualified musicians and vocalists from his church. This format offers the host church an opportunity to serve neighboring churches, and to gain from years of experience of trained worship musicians and vocalists.
‘Camp Worship 2012′ is our intensive training camp, open to any worship team or individual in Europe. We will have a strong teaching team with us and offer three to four intensive days of theological study about worship, practical sessions about worship as well as individual workshops for vocals, piano/keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, drums as well as sound and media technology. The goal here is to offer a more intense training opportunity than a one-day seminar can afford. We’ll emphasize as much one-on-one training as possible. Evening sessions will feature refreshing times of worship, encouraging speakers, and prayer. Plus, we’ll plan some fun outings in the host area.
Having served for 10 years as a European international church worship pastor (in Brussels and Paris) and for more than three decades as a church worship ministry volunteer, I am especially passionate about helping train Europeans for volunteer service in the international church setting.
Our hope is that FEIC member churches will take full advantage of the European Worship Institute and schedule a ‘Focus’ retreat for their team, host a ‘Converge’ seminar for churches in their region, and send team members to our ‘Camp 2012′. The European Worship Institute is here to serve. Please let us know how we can serve you.
If you would like more information about any of the above, e-mail Jeff Slaughter at: [email protected]
Jeff Slaughter served as worship pastor of Brussels Christian Center from 2000-2009 and worship pastor of The Bridge International Church in Paris, France since March, 2010. He currently lives in Brussels with his wife Kathy and son Nick.
“Focus enabled VCC worship teams to come together not only to learn about many aspects of worship but also how to relate to each other as musicians. Most commendable is Worship Pastor Jeff Slaughter’s thorough preparation before he even set foot at VCC. His wisdom as a worship pastor in an international church environment was extremely helpful to us. I believe that Focus retreat was the most successful retreat we have presented at VCC to date and has brought about a unity, expectancy and a joy in serving as musicians on a worship team. We (I) highly recommend Focus for your church worship team.”
– Chapa Ginder, worship leader at Vienna Christian Center