Debbie Dorman, Director of Worship Ministries, will have served Hope Chapel as a worship leader for 40 years, as senior pastor Geno Hildebrandt said in the Sunday morning service, “without a hint of scandal.” It can be added that she leads with consummate excellence, skill, concern for Biblical truth in song, and with passion. In our day and age, this is a sweet aroma of obedience to our Great God. Deb’s great love for worshiping God, writing worship songs, mentoring younger leaders, and leading others into worship has been her life’s work and devotion. Debbie began leading worship at Hope Chapel in 1978 after marrying Jack Dorman. This is a massive change for her, as well as, Hope Chapel.
In recent years, Deb took the position of Director of Worship and was responsible for not only Sunday mornings, choir, n2Worship’s team, mentoring and releasing new worship leaders, special events (Good Friday, Christmas Eve, etc.), sound scheduling, administrative details, and more – but most importantly entering into worship Sunday after Sunday and leading us to the throne. Her husband, Jack, who loves worship more than anything in life has walked in this leadership also (as well as, serving as an elder and senior pastor). But as he said Sunday, “I’ve already retired a few times. This is all about Deb.”
We can hardly imagine worship at Hope Chapel without Deb and Jack responsible for leading but it has become apparent to Debbie that the grace for the administrative side of being the Director has been lifted and she has clearly felt the weight of the responsibility as she is nearing her 65th birthday. She and Jack feel it is time to move to a different freedom in retirement that will allow her to sit at the piano and worship without thinking as she said, “Oh, we could do this on Sunday.” Their heart is to step aside and see the next generation whom they’ve invested in, step into serving Hope Chapel. And Jack’s hope is that Deb will have more time to write songs again (her songs have been published across denominations and are sung in many other churches = definitely more than we know of).
BUILDING RENOVATION GOES HAND-IN-HAND WITH THIS TRANSITION
Jack’s insight shared on Sunday morning that just as the building renovation is bringing new and exciting things to Hope so will this transition. Will Jack and Deb continue to lead worship at times after the year is out? No one knows including them. They are open to serving on a team. She’s retiring from a job not from worshiping. Worship is the core of who Debbie and Jack are.
Jack also mentioned that neither the board, nor Geno, came to them to asked them to step down because they’re getting older. So no conspiracy theories, please. But he did say with total honesty and classic Jack humor that he’s in his late 60s and the reality is that, “I’m going to die someday.” They’d rather not do it on a Sunday morning with Deb at the piano and Jack on the front mic. Instead, they want to see what God is doing in releasing new worship leaders.
WHO WILL TAKE OVER?
No one knows what this looks like or who will take the responsibility for leading worship ultimately but Geno’s admonition is to take a few months to pray and see what God is doing. So not forming a committee immediately and trying to fill a position. Hope’s heart is always to seek God and follow what He is leading us to do. Geno encouraged the body to talk with the board and staff about ideas and what you’ve heard in prayer (as well as, email him).
IS IT OKAY TO BE SAD AND GLAD AT THE SAME TIME?
It is a time of grief for many as most of us have never known Hope Chapel without Deb and Jack leading but still it’s a new and exciting transition that the Lord is bringing about. So we’ll take a year to celebrate, release, and thank Deb for her service in worship leading and love for the body. And as she humbly said Sunday morning, “It’s really all about the Lord.” So let’s hear together what He’s saying and rejoice also in a “new thing” He is bringing about.