This post is the fourth post in a series on the core values of worship ministry. These core values were selected by David Loftis, worship pastor at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, NC. These posts are taken from a series of devotions he asked me to write to accompany a training series he did on these core values. Click here to read the entire series.
There is a huge difference between being a performer and being a worship leader. A performer is only concerned with practice and performance. A worship leader, just like a person involved in any other church ministry, is primarily concerned with serving and loving people. We sing and play to communicate the gospel to the people, “taking the church to the cross so they can take the cross to the world.” In order to do that, we must do more than rehearse and perform. We must connect with the people we serve and also connect with the people we serve WITH.
How do we do that? In a church the size of Pleasant Garden Baptist, the best way by far to meaningfully connect with those around us is to be involved in a small group Bible study on a regular basis. Options for this are plentiful. This might be a Sunday School class, a Sunday night discipleship class, a men’s or women’s group that meets at church or in someone’s home. And if there isn’t one that fits into your busy schedule, you can always start your own by inviting a few friends for a regular Bible study gathering!
It is impossible to really know someone’s heart unless you get to know them on more than a superficial level, and this is usually impossible in a large group. People will not frequently open up unless they feel comfortable and protected by the people with whom they are sharing. We are called to have a spirit of mutual growth and encouragement with both the people we serve and the people we are serving with. Without unity within our ministry, we are doomed to be less than effective. Jesus showed how important our relationships with others are as we come into worship when he instructed us to leave our gift at the altar and first go be reconciled to our brother before we come to worship. (Matt. 5:23-24)
Another part of serving and loving effectively is striving to have our ministry reflect the diversity of our congregation. People naturally connect more easily with those who are “like them.” So it is important for our ministry to press towards being multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural, if we want to reach a wide range of the people God sends to us. One of these days, we will be astonished at the diversity of the people surrounding God’s throne in worship.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Rev. 7:9-10 (emphasis added)