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"Don't go through the motions. Don't just wear the mask. Be authentic. Be real."

We've heard all of these axioms, haven't we? We know worship is a lifestyle, and we need to live it before we sing it. These things are easy to preach, fun to write articles about.

It's easy to toss these statements around to your team. Why? Because you're a leader. You have to have something to say. You need to lead, have a plan, be in charge.

But many of us are sleepwalking leaders. Our eyes are open but we're far from awake.

This might not be want you wanted to hear today. What I want to challenge you with isn't easy. It's time to step into the fullness of God this year. That's what I'm doing. What about you?

It's time to live a faith that costs you.

Believe what you sing, sure. But don't stop at belief. Lay hold of the promises of God. Believe in the miraculous. Approach worship with childlike wonder.

Live the kind of life that says,

This worship service is going to cost me because I'm going to give everything. Not just everything in this heightened, emotional moment with my favorite songs. I'm going to stop sinning, repent of my lazy spirituality, and do something that will change a life this week.

I mean, think about it. What happens to us? Why do we stop praying? Why do we stop worshiping in secret? Why do we stop reading our Bibles?

It's because we're more concerned with what people see than what God sees. We've prostituted ourselves on the opinions of man and don't care what God thinks of us. As long as our talent, wisdom and influence are seen by the world, we don't care about anything else.

The most important disciplines can't be seen: prayer, Scripture meditation, fasting, worship.

But a life that is built on being seen will soon see the end. Not just the end of influence, but the end of being a disciple of Jesus.

I have felt the drift myself. It's a strong pull to ease up—to not be too radical. We've exchanged radical faith for something that is not faith. It is doubt masked as maturity. Playing it safe. But this isn't the life God has called us to. This isn't the faith Jesus died to develop in us.

What the Best Leaders Do

We can't just write songs and teach and preach and feed others. To be leaders, we need to first be followers. In order to make disciples, we need to be disciples of Jesus.

The best leaders are committed followers. Eyes on the master. Heart in His hands. Feet willing go. Ready to risk everything for the cause of Christ.

What did Jesus' disciples do?

The went where He went. They did what He did. They gave up everything. They stepped out in faith, looked like fools, messed up and learned. But they also stepped out in faith and did the greater works that Jesus did.

Of course, you can't just be a lone ranger, following Jesus. The time comes where you must step up and lead. But without eyes fixed on Jesus and a heart committed to discipleship, you won't be leading anybody anywhere.

Maybe you're not seeing momentum in your ministry because you're not following anymore. Maybe in 2018, God wants to blow your mind. He doesn't just want you to manage your faith. He wants to see you live the adventure of following Jesus.

David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This article originally appeared at davidsantistevan.com.

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