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Worship Leaders are Spiritual Leaders
by John Pape
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This article is for worship leaders. And as such, I believe it needs to focus on leadership skills. It is my intent to do this from a Biblical perspective. The only prerequisite for leadership is you must have somebody follow you. I can be just one person or thousands. The definition is still the same - A leader must have someone following them.
Understand That You are a Spiritual Leader
But there is more to leadership than having people follow you. In the Body of Christ you are a not just a leader. You are a Spiritual Leader. Your leadership skills must be in alignment with spiritual ideals.
Spiritual Leader Defined…
A Leader is someone who is called by God with God given capacities and God given responsibility to serve a specific group of God's people directing them in God's purpose for that group to bring glory to God.
Now that is a powerful! Go back and read that again. As a matter of fact go ahead and memorize that statement. It is the basis for the rest of this article. It is an important statement that will help you understand your place as a worship leader.
Now what I want to do is break that statement down. There are six important points that I will cover with you. Let's begin with the first point…
1 Samuel 3: 8-17 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
The ministry is a calling from God to do His work. God's works through His people. He equips them with the proper tools. Things like temperament, abilities, talents and Spiritual Gifts. I believe that every Christian has a specific call in their life to serve God in the ministry. Our focus is of course in the area of music and how that relates to the church. Along with the ability to perform music there needs to be a calling. Let me pose a question to you. Can someone with extreme musical talents not be called to lead a group of people in worship? Yes, it is possible for a talented musician or singer to not be called to become a worship leader. They could very well be called to another ministry. That is of course God's decision and each individuals responsibility to do what God call them to do.
There are two types of people in the ministry. Those that are called by God to do His work. And those who are attempting to do God's work yet are not called. Seems rather obvious. But it does happen on occasion that someone is assigned to do a task in the church without regard to any calling on that individual's life. This usually happens when "The laborer are few". It is important to note - Unless you are truly called you will be frustrated and discouraged. Your ministry will be ineffective.
How do you know you are called? That is an age-old question and it's up to you to discover whether you are called or not. Just so you know - I believe that every Christian is called to ministry in one way or another. Each person has a place in the body. There is a perfect fit for every Christian believer. God has purpose for your life. It is you job to allow God to reveal it to you.
Make sure that God has actually called you into your ministry. A good indication of your call is found in your natural inclinations, abliities and attitudes. Which leads us to the next point…
God Given Capacity
Each of us is given the ability to touch people's lives with the Gospel message. God does this through individuals like you and me. God given capacity is made up of two parts. One part is natural ability and the other part is Spiritual Gifts.
Natural Ability -- the tools God uses to glorify Him
The natural ability covers the scope of our intellect and physical prowess. We may be a great mathematical thinker, superior at throwing a ball or a technically skilled musician. From the first day we are born we discover things that we are good at doing. We enjoy the success we have at doing them. And because we enjoy these activities we continue to practice, study and learn about these things. Eventually it becomes a part of our identity. Our Natural ability is the tool by which God can work through us to effect His Kingdom. As a worship leader your tool is music.
Spiritual Gifts -- the method He uses to execute His purpose
The day you received Christ into you life as Savior you not only received the awesome gift of salvation, you also received Spiritual Gifts. Every Christian has at least one. The gift He gives you can be small or it can be grand, a gift none the less. Whatever the amount is unimportant, what is important is that you use your spiritual gifts to its fullest potential. Be thankful for the Spiritual Gifts you have.
Now some will debate whether music is a gift. I tend to believe that music is a tool rather than a gift. You are able to take our Spiritual Gift and apply it to music. If you are a teacher - use music to teach. If you are an evangelist - then use music the evangelize.
The best way to learn about spiritual gifts is by reading the Bible. Reading and learning should be helpful in the discovery of your spiritual gifts. First read the following bible verses:
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
1 Corinthians 12:27-30
1 Peter 4:7-11
Each of these verses categorizes each gift that makes up the Church body. Each one is important.
God Given Responsibility
Matthew 25:13-29 Tells is a story about a man who gave his servant each a talent according to their individual ability. Two out of the three invested their talent and it grew. The third one who happened to have the smallest portion did nothing with his talent. This did not please the man in the story. What I glean from this is that we are responsible to take what God gives us in talent and use it.
Responsibility is about stewardship. Stewardship is the effective management of the resources that God gives us. It is a matter of "taking care of business" for the Kingdom. In the kingdom of God you have no rights. That's the opposite of our society today. We are led to believe that our rights are paramount in everything. But, in reality God has given us worship leaders a responsibility. The Bible makes it clear that we are to be "Doers of the Word". Responsibility requires commitment to do what God has called you to do.
We can look at the parable of the talents and see that God requires us to be responsible steward of what He has given us. The main lesson here is that you must take what God has given you and make it profitable for Him. Otherwise there will be severe consequences. You have spiritual gifts and natural abilities. Now it's time to take those gifts and use them for God purpose. Of course, nothing is done in a vacuum. Therefore you must take responsibility for your action. Both good and bad.
To serve a specific group of people
John 13:13-15 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Jesus was the perfect example of a servant. He washed the feet of the disciples. This was a radical move on the part of Jesus. The lowest person on the social scale did the washing of feet. It was Jesus who came to serve us. And by His example we are to serve others.
Look around you - Who do you see? People! At least I hope that your church has some people in it. This is your specific group of people. God in His wisdom and Glory placed you in the exact spot that He chose for you to minister.
Now we can examine the people a little closer. There are big one and small ones - There are young ones and old ones - There are men and there are women. People come in all shapes and sizes.
Moses was called by God to serve a specific group of people. He took the Israelites out of Egypt and delivered them to the Promised Land. As you know there were a few snags along the way that caused these people to wander in the desert for forty years. But, these were the exact people that Moses was created to serve.
As a worship leader in your church, you have a responsibility to serve that group of people for the season of time God keeps you there. Spiritual Leaders are servants to those around them. Jesus was the perfect example of this.
Directing this group of people toward God's Purpose
Help people become effective tools for the Kingdom - do these three things…
1. Help them to Discover their place in the Body of Christ
2. Help Them Develop spiritually
3. Help them Deploy their place in the church.
Three things to remember…
Discover -> Develop -> Deploy
Once you know your team member's individual Spiritual Gifts it is your responsibility to help nurture those gifts. Discipleship is key in the development phase.
Nothing is worse than unrealized talent. Or talent that is wasted sitting on the shelf. Therefore it is vital that each person deploy. That is "go into all the world." You see someone with a calling on their life; you do a disservice to the church by hindering the execution of that part.
To Bring Glory to God
The ultimate Goal it to bring Glory to God. As musician it is tempting to pursue ego gratification. Your performance in judged not by how well you did - It's based on how well you related to God and His purpose. The object of your worship is God. It is our job to take our Gifts and Talents and use them to give God glory.
There are entertainers and there are worship leaders. Each one has a different objective. An entertain often times bring glory to themselves. And music is entertaining. Yet it is also a tool used by God to be used by the Church to worship Him. There is a distinct dividing line between doing something by our own strength or allowing God to do it.
You bring glory to God when you die to self and serve the people with song. You bring glory to God when the people are able to focus on their Creator and Savior. In many respects you are a tour guide. Helping people to have an intimate relationship.
Read more articles by John Pape or search for articles on the same topic or others.
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24 Jan 2005
I found this article really good. I especially agree that there is a difference in musical performance and using music in worship. The way I look at it, when I am performing I am projecting myself out to the audience. When I lead worship the focus of attention is God.
22 Jan 2005
Good stuff! As a worhsip leader myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the content of Your article. Keep up the great work!
20 Jan 2005
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