Laying Things Down
After 8 years leading the worship team and being on staff at The City Church in Canterbury the Elders have found out I can only play 4 chords on the guitar. I’ve been sacked….
Not really!! (I can play 5 chords)
The news is that I'm going to be laying down leading the worship team at Church from September and finishing on staff. Let me tell you the story about how I got to this place and the amazing kindness of God speaking into my situation and what I've got planned for the future….
I became a Christian at the age of 17, came to uni a year later and became a member of City Church in Canterbury at the same time. I’ve stayed in Canterbury ever since mainly because of the Church. I love the fact that our Church prizes the teaching of scripture, extols Jesus every week and is Spirit led. I love the friendships and the community we have. I’ve enjoyed leading worship, preaching, serving in the youth work and student work over the years and on 23rd November 2012 I was asked to start leading the worship team (I only remembered the date because it was the day Caleb was born!)
Over the last 8 years I’ve run my own wedding photography business (imaginatively titled "Olly Knight Photography") 3 days a week and I’ve been on staff for Church 2 days a week. Both jobs have certainly filled my time! There have been so many elements of my Worship Team Leader job that I have loved. I’ve loved leading the humble men and women in the worship team. I’ve had the joy of training and investing in many of the Worship Leaders who I’d consider close friends. I love the fact that different team members are so different to one another but there are no egos and no one has ever tried to push themselves forward for opportunity or position. I’m grateful to God for such a team. I’ve enjoyed team nights, leaders meetings and the chance to be creative- to song-write and put out our first Church album "Thankful Hearts" a couple of years ago.
There have also been aspects of the day to day work that I haven’t found as enjoyable as I thought I would have. The administration, recruitment to the team and Sundays at Church haven’t been the same for me since being on staff as they were before. I’ve been feeling for quite some time that I could pass the role onto someone else to really fly with. I’ve never wanted to cling onto position or for it to become my identity “Olly the worship team leader”. Many times over the years I’ve said to Martin (our lead Elder) “I don’t mind finishing, I can leave now if you like?” and he’s always said he’d like me to stay on. Back in March I was out on a walk with Martin. I was chatting about my excitement of getting to photograph weddings again and some of the Summer conferences I was going to be leading at. He said that he thought that I might have more joy if I gave up the day to day leading the worship team and carried on with photography and other music work. I went away from that conversation feeling excited about the change that could be coming but I didn’t want to make a quick decision.
I was thinking about my lovely Wife Kirsty. Apart from helping me with the Photography business Kirsty hasn’t had a job over the past 18 months. Both our kids are now at school so this seems to be the season where Kirsty can explore what she’d like to do next. I’ve had two amazing jobs over the last 8 years and now I feel it’s time to prioritise my Wife and her growth and development and for her to follow her passions and dreams.
Saturday 8th May seemed to be the day when things clicked into place. I was having a long bubble bath(!!) and I was listening to a podcast. A Photographer called Ross was talking about how money isn’t the most valuable commodity that people have in their lives; time is the most important commodity. You can choose to spend time with your family and loved ones rather than spend your life working. Over the various lockdowns we've had in the last year I’ve seen the importance of family life afresh. I haven’t been working as much and we’ve had more quality time together, I’ve been rushing around less and we’ve got to really disciple and invest in our kids as a result of that.
On that night- Saturday 8th May - I couldn’t get to sleep for ages. I think I got 2 hours sleep as I was thinking about the situation so much and praying and seeking God. I knew it was right to lay down leading the worship team. I woke up on the Sunday morning feeling shattered but went into the Church offices to lead worship on our live stream and I felt really free and full of joy having made the decision.
That Tuesday (11th May) I chatted things through with Martin. He was excited for me, for Kirsty and our family for this new season ahead of us. I had peace as I made the decision to stop working for City but I still wanted confirmation from God that it was the right thing to do. The day after (Wednesday 12th May) a lady called Kim from my Church “out of the blue” sent me a WhatsApp voice message which turned out to be a prophetic word. She said that God wanted to push me into something new that would require faith beyond what I have now. That it would mean laying down leading the worship team. God wanted to use the influence and position that he’d given me to tell stories of his goodness through new songs and that God would give me prophetic songs that would set captives free. Wow. I’d wanted confirmation and God gave that to me the very next day through a lady who knew nothing about my situation!
Photos of our family by Jayne Nottage Photography
What will the future look like for me and for us as a family?
From September my work will mainly be in photography. I feel called by God to show his love to Bride and Grooms that I work for and to be a blessing to other Photographers in the industry.
I’ll be working hard in the Summer at weddings (like a little squirrel gathering nuts!) and then in the Winter not working as hard (hibernating like the said squirrel)
In the Winters I see myself being able to do more worship projects- songs, videos, albums?
Kirsty will explore what to do next and the kids will be staying at their brilliant school.
We’d love to stay at City Church as a family and I’ll still carry on serving The City Church by leading worship and preaching (if I’m needed!)
I’d love to carry on serving other Churches in Relational Mission (our Church family) and other Churches on Sundays or to give training to worship teams during the week.
I do feel called by God to minister in different settings so I’d love to carry on leading at events like Keswick, Word Alive and Forum. I’ve enjoyed them so much over the last few years. I’m still seeking God about whether to carry on with Come and Sing with me online.
I thought that getting my dream role- leading the worship team and working for the church would satisfy me. Over the last 8 years I’ve felt called to lead worship but haven’t always enjoyed the role as much as I thought I would have. God has used this time to lovingly remind me that no role or job can ultimately satisfy me. Only He can satisfy me. As I lay down this role my prayer is that God would raise up a man or woman to take on this role and take the team further than I could and see more passionate praise of Jesus on Sunday mornings for us as a Church. I'll be cheering that person on.