A few weeks ago, our church and partner churches got our worship teams together for the monthly Collective – our opportunity to train our minds and hearts for ministry the way we practice our instruments and vocals for performance.
Pastor Mike King shared his thoughts about worship and ministry. Some of it is specific to our church(es) but a lot of it relates to any worshiper or worship team. That’s what I’ve tried to capture here:
Worship teams aren’t resident rock stars, they’re conduits of community. They’re a key part of building connections within the Body. They’re not outside or above or separated just because they get up on stage on Sunday. We’re all going after encountering God together.
Worshipers have to consider identity – do we believe we are at least called to something?
Don’t find identity in what we do, but in who we are.
Mike uses an idea of three buckets side by side to explain this identity:
First, the Character bucket – things that fill you up and define who you are
i.e. devotion time, worship time, time with spouse, with kids, maybe some wholesome hobby.
Next, the Love bucket – glimpsing God and seeing things differently, starting to care about what God cares about, finding out what God says about us.
Knowing the love of God enables us to be a spokesperson of the love of God
Finally, the Mission bucket or Do bucket = what we do, what we’re called to.
We all love the do bucket because it’s easy, it’s what we know to do. Doing things is the default answer to any crisis or confusion we face.
We can’t find our identity in the do bucket. That’s full of what we do. We can’t start with whats. Start with why. Start with vision.
We must not be interested in notoriety, but interested in legacy. What is the impact we’re leaving behind?
Remember that everything we do is – or should be – in response to the greatness of God.
Have we encountered Him? As soon as we glimpse who He is, He reminds us who we are… not who we used to be, but who we’re going to be by grace.
So, with all that in mind, here’s five key steps Pastor King suggested:
1. Change how we view ministry in worship. Own it like you made it, like you mean it. Worship is not just the music pastor’s thing, and we all have to do his work. It’s OUR work. Change takes strong leadership and it’s not fun; we need leaders to step up.
2. Define results. How do you know where you’re going, or what your goal is? How can you communicate what the future looks like if you don’t know? Generally worship teams are way more concerned about spiritual health than ministry performance. Don’t worry about doing things, worry about what we ARE. Understand the vision on the pastor’s heart, then adopt it as yours.
3. Live transparently. Rock bottom is not a place of shame, judgment, disgust–those are the words we associate not with hitting rock bottom but with people seeing us there. We want to present the nice image. Why wait until life falls apart to change? Find accountability. Build relationships. God moving in the church is always challenged. This step is the most important thing we can do. Dangerous vulnerability, honesty, and transparency. If we can’t open the secret closet of skeletons with the people in this room, why are we serving together?
4. Take time to pause, to celebrate wins. For example, after the crazy eight service Easter weekend…. Week 1, celebrate the wins. Week 2, evaluate what we could do better. Don’t just focus on what went wrong, but be glad for what goes right.
5. Pray like you mean it. If you don’t have a prayer life, you don’t have a worship life. Our culture shifted from servants of the King to creating worship stars. Great leaders take people places that they visit often, so if we’re hoping to lead people into God’s presence, we need a personal worship life. We need time spent learning the love language of the King, hearing His thoughts about our world.
What bucket do we focus on? what are we using to fill each one? what does God want to reroute in our lives?
Who are you?
What has He called you to?
Are you owning His calling in your life?
Are you responding to Jesus because of His greatness?
Needless to say, it was a challenging time of checking the direction we’re headed and the priorities we’ve set. Hopefully some of Pastor King’s comments encourage you to pursue a deeper intimacy with God as well.