While I was perusing through Facebook, I saw an ad for an undergraduate program for Worship Leaders. The ad read, “Do you want to learn how to write songs, record studio-quality albums, and get your songs to music industry execs? Then come be a part of our college and major in Worship Leading.”
Honestly, the whole ad really made me sick to my stomach. What do these things have anything to do with worship leading? How can you weigh this ad next to Amos 5 where God says to His people:
“Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
– Amos 5:23-24
What Not To Focus On
As worship leaders we should care about what God cares about and focus on what He’s focused on. But are we? Are we focused on writing the next great worship song that will be sung by millions? Or are we focused on caring for the outcast, orphan and “least of these” (Matt 25:40)? Are we worried about crafting a concert-like experience each week? Or are we more concerned about picking songs that “teach and admonish” and clearly proclaim the gospel (Col 3:16)?
As worship leaders we should care about what God cares about & focus on what He’s focused on.Click to tweet
Instead of trying to be the next great Worship Leader “Rock Star”, here are three things that I believe worship leaders should be focusing on:
1. Focus on loving the people God has given you
After Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus replied “Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep… Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).
Our focus should be on our team members and their souls. Regardless of our actual title, we are a pastor shepherding a team, not just a bandleader playing music with them. Are you regularly encouraging your team members in the Word? Praying for them and with them? Challenging them spiritually when they’re stuck? Comforting them when they’re hurt?
Focus on loving the people God has put under your care. That is something He cares about.
2. Focus on pointing your congregation toward God’s glory
When Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Lord replied, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
God is the one who reveals Himself to our congregation and awakens worship in their hearts. Our job is simply to point people toward Him, giving them a clear view of His character and work. People aren’t changed because of our fancy arrangements or electric guitar riffs. People are changed because we point them to Christ. We help people see God more clearly through music, but God is the one who works through the music to reveal Himself to them. He does the heavy lifting. So ask yourself, are you clearly pointing your congregation to see and savor Christ? Do your song choices reflect that? Does your service flow? Is Jesus central? Is He clear?
3. Focus on knowing God more intimately
2 Peter 3:18 says “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Our primary responsibility as ministers is to know God more. There is nothing more important than having a deep, living and intimate relationship with Him. We can’t lead people to where we have not been. If we want awesome, transcending experiences of God in our worship services, then we first have to experience them ourselves. Are you going deep with God in your private worship? Or have you grown cold and jaded? It’s time to recapture your first love.
If we focus on these three things, we will be the kind of worship leaders that are effective tools in the hands of God.
How about you? What would you add to this list?