Paul Haugen

I normally don’t post about individuals. I don’t think it’s all that polite to talk trash about people directly, and I’m also not one to faun all over people. But I’m going to make an exception today because my good friend and our worship pastor at Clovis Hills Church is moving on. Quitting. Bailing. Flying the coop. Moving to greener pastures. You get the picture.

Paul has been our worship leader for the past 5 years now and I think he was our first “real” worship pastor. I say that because Paul was the first to have “the look”. There’s actually a look for worship pastors you know. “The look” is characterized by thick black rimmed glasses, spikey hair, and usually some form of facial hair. Throw in sandals, ripped jeans and an acoustic guitar you’ve completed “the look”. You ARE a worship pastor. I think Paul was also quite a bit younger than most leaders we’ve had, oh and did I say he had NO experience? But somehow he made the cut and we were open to working with him and giving him all the support we could.

Now you can always run into problems with any new leader. You never know what their style will be. I’ve been playing at my church for around 12 years now (and playing music for 25 years) and so I’ve seen a lot of different leadership styles. Some guys are more particular about their vision than others. Some guys are easy going and some are hard asses. This is just human nature and I’d never found anyone I couldn’t work with (though honestly some were a lot tougher than others). So I was really surprised at how easy it was to work with Paul. Maybe some of that was due to the fact that he had not held a worship leader position before, so we could just break him in the way we wanted to! haha! But I think it goes deeper than that.

Paul has a genuine leadership ability. Ronald Reagan once said that the way to lead effectively is to surround yourself with the best people possible and then let them do their jobs. And I think that’s what Paul has done. I’ve seen him identify people and distribute the load of managing everything that needs to get done and he’s done it in a way that honors people’s commitment and skill sets, rather than just assigning todo’s and expecting people to do things the way he wants them done.

He’s also managed to recruit some amazingly talented people and actually keep them, which is not easy to do. In a volunteer situation there’s no real incentive for very talented people to stay involved other than the fact that they want to serve, so they need to be treated with care and respect both from a time/commitment standpoint and also a creative one. Paul has done a fantastic job at respecting people’s skills and experience and taking advantage of those things, without sucking people dry.

Lastly, and most importantly, Paul has really brought the team together as a family and has been a true spiritual leader for us. Nobody in the past has ever taken on that role, which I think is really odd now that I look back. In the past, the band was just the band. Basically a bunch of used up rockers from the bar scene who show up on Sunday and backup the singers. Paul was the first guy to suggest we all get in a bible study together and for me that changed everything.

We began to really come together as a group and really grow as people and followers of Christ as we studied together. We began to lean on one another, and get involved in each others lives. And we began to go beyond the band and begin to serve together in other areas of our community. We made an album of original worship music together. We went to Africa together! And so this loose group of guys is now a throughly knitted together family, living, learning and serving together.  That right there is worth more to me than anything Paul has done for Clovis Hills as an organization. Because this is what Christianity is all about. Bringing people to a relationship with Christ and seeing that relationship expressed in people lives.

So when Paul announced that he was moving on it was, for lack of a better phrase, kinda sucky. But Paul is convinced that this is God’s will in his life. Now that phrase really bothers me, and only because I’m a bit of a cynic. Whenever a Christian wants to go and do something else, they say it’s the “will of God”. See, in the secular world if you want to go work for more money or a better position or better lifestyle, you are just ambitious, greedy and probably selfish. But if you are a Christian, you are doing the “will of God”. I’ve seen many people leave our church to go do the “will of God” and the failure rate is about the same as regular ol’ sinners leaving one company for another. So I generally think the phrase “will of God” is overused and mostly disingenuine. That said, I believe Paul is 100% sincere, and I honestly do think God is going to use this guy in great ways, as he already has.

I’m also confident that life will go on at Clovis Hills. No organization is wholly dependent on one person, no matter how good you are. That’s just a fact. And so while some are panicking at the thought of change, I’m perfectly comfortable knowing that we’ll continue on just fine and that God will bring us a new leader that will take us in new and interesting directions. I also think it’s important for the rest of us to suck it up, step up, and support the organization through the changes.

So Paul, if you’re reading this, thanks for everything my friend. It’s been a dynamite 5 years. May God watch over you and your family, and lead you in your new adventure.