NWLC East 2010- Tell Christ’s Story!!
Did you know that according to a September 2010 Pew Research Poll, atheists and agnostics know more about Christianity than Christians? How can this be? Bottom line: the church in America is NOT telling the story of Christ.
This is something that has been on my heart and I’m glad that we were challenged as worship leaders in this area: telling the story; the story of Christ and His work. As I sat listening to Dr. Leonard Sweet yesterday at the opening session of NWLC ’10, I became convicted. As careful as I try to be in leading people into God’s presence in spirit AND truth, it is sometimes difficult to balance THE story with every song choice, every note played, every word sung and every transition made for 52 Sundays a year!
Think about this: if you sing 5 songs in a given service, have 2 services per week and meet 52 weeks a year as a congregation, you have had 520 opportunities to share the gospel from the stage. 520! How are you telling Christ’s story?
Dr. Sweet proceeded to tell us about the ancient American Indian role of “the keeper of the winter count.” The keeper of the winter count would be responsible for collecting and encapsulating all that year’s stories into one picture. This picture was a series of stories represented by smaller pictures that chronologically told how the year had progressed and what had happened. Most always, in addition to the fact that the keeper of the count was an artist (he had to be able to draw and paint), he was almost always a musician and wrote songs about the story! These songs enabled all the people of the tribe to learn and remember what happened that year. What a great picture of our #1 responsibility as worship leaders: sharing the story of Christ. Ask yourself: what are you doing each week, in each song, in each transition, to share Christ’s story…to help your congregation learn and remember Christ’s story?
Part of telling this story is being able to get out of the way! Many times, negative emotions and feelings can seep into our ministry and wreak havok. I chose to attend a course offered by John Chisum on staying healthy emotionally and spiritually in Worship Ministry. Wow! I was amazed at how full the room was! John very eloquently taught us how to keep checks on our spirits, souls and bodies, as these are the three arenas Satan likes to attack. He reminded us what Paul speaks about in Ephesians 6 regarding the armor of God, pointing out that while most of these “pieces” are defensive, the Sword and prayer are our only offensive weapons to use.
This class was confessional. It was personal. It was open and freeing. It was real. It was raw. We went around the room and I heard story after story of how worship leaders are being treated at some of these churches. As a worship leader, I can attest: it is not always the most fun and fulfilling job when all you get are complaints! John pointed out that in some of these cases, leadership is the issue and we need to make sure the problem isn’t US! By utilizing the following steps, he feels many of the negative issues we as worship leaders face can be resolved:
1. Set boundaries. Know your limitations, strengths and weaknesses and stick to them.
2. Self awareness. Ask, “How is my leadership personality affecting how my team responds to me?” Also ask, “Is anyone actually following me?”
3. Communication with leaders- are these relationships healthy? Does your staff have regular communication? Do you have a leadership network in place within your worship ministry?
4. Checks and balances. It is a great idea to always practice healthy accountability with other leaders, spouses, family and close friends who will be honest with you when it counts.
When we follow these steps, it frees us up to lead from a place of honesty and humbleness before our Lord. It allows us to more completely tell the story of CHRIST! It’s HIS story, not mine. My job as a worship leader is to get out of the way and let Christ be seen in all facets of my life.
If you are reading this blog and you’re NOT a worship leader, please consider something: tell your worship leader (any staff member, for that matter) that you appreciate his/her work and that you will commit to praying for them on a regular basis. Leading worship isn’t easy, but it’s a calling that many of us have on our lives. We need support. We need accountability. We need friends. We need a fresh word from God like anyone else. This class pointed out that as worship leaders, we’re only human too. We’re just as affected by the fall as anyone and the sooner we come to grips with that, the better off we’ll be.
David Jordan (guest blogger)
Director, Praise Hymn Soundtracks