United Church Body – Interview with Joel Klampert
Mat Reames: Hi Joel, its good to have you sharing with us again. For those who don’t remember Joel contributed to “The Soul of Tone” series last year and has some wonderful insights. If you want to read his article you can click here. Joel, I love stalking you on the internet, with twitter, facebook, and your websites. It is amazing to see the things you are involved in and the thoughts that you share. But one thing in particular has really stood out to me recently. That is your 1Prayer movement. Could you tell us a little about this?
Joel Klampert: Thanks for stalking! 1prayer has been amazing actually. It started about 4 years ago in my area with 7 churches coming together with the expressed agenda to Pray. Our goal was to pray as one body to see revival in the church and transformation in our community. Within those 4 years we saw 4 of the churches pull out. About a year and a half ago My best friend and ministry compadre, Adam Fagan-Kela, and I were handed the task of running this ministry and facilitating it monthly. We prayed about it and ran it similar to an IHOP harp and bowl style meeting interchanging worship and prayer and leaning into the Holy Spirit to see what was on God’s heart for the night. We were amazed at what God did through it by shoring up relationships, creating a climate of worship and instilling the necessity for prayer. At the same time it gave us a nice dose of reality at how difficult Unity is.
MR: With the different churches involved, how has it been blending the cultures of multiple congregations and denominations?
JK: It has actually been amazing. Honestly the reality is Unity is sticky. You have to fight to keep peoples eyes on Jesus because the minute we start looking at eachother we fragment as a body. With that said though there is NOTHING more inspiring and amazing than seeing a room filled with people from 3-8 different churches worshiping the SAME God and something that is not a conference.
MR: The other thing that follows in this same vein of being “The Church” as opposed to “A Church” is The ForgeCon which you helped create. I know that 2012 didn’t have a conference, but I love the concept. Would you mind sharing about this vision and what the plans are for the future?
JK: The Forge Conference was a blended vision from my friend Doug Gould who wanted a conference with real hands on training for the church and a vision God gave me and two friends of mine. At the time we were meeting weekly as friends and God put it on our hearts that there was a real need in the small church that was not being met in the larger conferences. God paved the way for us to do two conferences in NJ because of this. There were changes in those involved in the second year as my friend Mike Mahoney stepped in to help me and a few others had to step out. What we realized is the church needs to be challenged. The church needs to be taught to think and not handed all the answers on a silver platter. People in ministry don’t need more training…They need a friend. We tried to create an atmosphere with some amazing speakers, artists and the Holy spirit that would facilitate all the above. It is one of the few conferences I know of that has created friendships that still exist today. As far as the future. There is still a need and we currently don’t have the finances or location to continue. We have recently met to pray and discuss a kickstarter and we are still praying about what is next. At the end of the day I want to do everything I can to help the un-resourced and help them create community so they don’t have to walk in ministry alone.
MR: In the years that I have known you, I have seen this emerge as a strong theme in your life. “Uniting the Body to work together.” I personally think you have a lot to share from your experiences, your wisdom, and your personal revelations. What are some practical strategies you can share for those of us who share your heart to see the community united in worship?
JK: I am very passionate about unity. That is for sure. The reason is because I am convinced that there is HUGE power in the united body. I think of a church full of carpenters and skilled workers. Then there is a church down the block and their roof collapses. The issue at play is they don’t know each other. They don’t have a relationship and are not sharing their gifts with one another. This may seem like an odd example, but in an area like New England your average church is less than 80 people. They NEED the rest of the body and the other churches need them. There is nothing wrong with being different. We can be different tribes, but we are one body. As far as practical ways to attack this unity thing besides getting the leaders to meet I have found that unity must start within relationship and not in energy drink style events. When I first came to Newport, RI I was leading worship and also doing youth ministry. I called all the youth pastors of the area and set up a meeting. Our first meeting a youth pastor came in with a sheet of paper and a list of things he wanted to talk about. These were events and planning items. Within unity you must separate AGENDA with RELATIONSHIP and they must happen at two different times. If a cross-denominational relationship is around an event or agenda when that event ends so does the relationship. However if you have a relationship centered around Christ having grace for differences you can do events together with a foundation and clarity.
MR: Ok, lets shift gears for a second, and I want you to share a little what God has been speaking and sharing with you. I know that you spend a lot of time meditating and reflecting on God and His word. What has He been highlighting and speaking to you recently?
JK: This has been a very interesting season. I have been doing a ton of ministry in one church, moved to another one recently as worship pastor. I write, do Graphic design, am married and have four kids. Within all of that I partner in ministry with my friend Adam. I am trying my hardest these days to make everything count. To have a reason for doing everything and to be deliberate.
God has been speaking a lot to me lately as a worship leader, unity leader, community builder and family Guy. I will just bullet point them because I am pretty sure we could write a book with this.
- You can’t lead a flock and your family be a mess
- Preparation is important but so is being open to the Holy spirit making you do a 180
- For years and years churches would design newspaper ads with a picture of their church. Now it is pretty popular to design with images of hipster people drinking coffee and rocking out with smoke machines. While none of that is wrong it is flawed. There is ONE thing that separates us from this world and that is the saving grace of Jesus. Sadly that is the least marketed item for most churches and yet the most sought after by the lost.
- Individualistic and consumerist attitudes in churches are prevalent these days. Coined the “me” church. What I have found interesting is the leaders who complain about it the most tend to be the worst offenders of that spirit. We need to as leaders pray daily NON NOBIS DOMINE – Not to us oh Lord… But to Your name we give Glory. Pride is creating mini kingdoms and humility builds up THE kingdom
- Zealousness, joy, faith and passion are contagious which is why conferences are great. However without constant prayer and pursuit of the CONSISTENT nature of God we will wane and lose our “Saltiness”
- I have been a blogger for 7 years now… only recently have I neglected it, but one thing I have noticed is the GREAT story tellers have inadvertently convinced those who are not good story tellers that their testimony isn’t needed. I think God is calling ALL to profess the good things He has done regardless of how “great” we think it sounds. Testimony blesses the body. Testimony is proof that God is at work.
- We need to spend more time praying for power in worship and believe in faith that like paul and silas our worship of God can break the bondage that people are in.
- God is also speaking to me the importance of unity around communion or the eucharist. Communion in many churches has been relegated to the “if we do it to often it loses its importance”. Yet we do the same number of songs and sermon every week. I think we as the church need to really spend more time on what separates us from this world and what unites us as the Body
MR: Ok, one last question. Are there any resources that you would recommend people check out? Books, Music, Podcasts, videos, movies?
JK: Wow that is a great question… hmm
- Dangerous Act of Worship: Labberton
- For the Life of the World: Schmemann
- The last Christian: David Gregory
- Plan B: Pete Wilson
- In a Pit with a lion on a snowy day: Mark Batterson
- The Cry of the Deer: David Adam
- Mozart’s Requiem
- Klaus: healing waters
- Daniel Bashta
- Sojourn Music
- Bethel Church
- United Pursuit band
- Misty Edwards
- Matt Redman: Facedown
I could recommend for days… I would say this though. Don’t just read books that support your theories. Get out of your finite box and devour everything you can looking for what God may want you to learn. Listen to music that you love and can worship to but also to music that challenges you lyrically and prophetically.
Thanks again Mat!! Glad to be a part.
MR: Well I appreciate you taking the time to share your heart with us. It’s really great to hear how everyday people are experiencing to power and presence of God. I love how you help facilitate that. If anyone wants to know more about Joel, check out his website http://klampert.com and follow him on twitter @joelklampert
Photo Credit: Chris Moncus