There is an epidemic taking place on worship teams all over America; something that is happening right under our noses—and many have no clue that it is even taking place! There are many people in worship ministries who are not walking in the purpose that God called them to, and us worship leaders aren't doing anything about it.
Things used to be so simple before we had all of the modern technology and highly-organized ministries and functions that are now an integral part of our churches today. Please don't misread what I am saying. I am not against organization, and I am extremely appreciative for technology and everything that it has to offer nowadays, but there is a crucial key that sometimes gets lost in the mix. It is easy for all our "busy-ness" inside of the church to keep ministry going strong to shift into "business," thus losing sight of the individual people who make up the teams we lead.
We are Called to Equip the Body
Paul's words in Ephesians 4 can help us to get a better focus,
"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12, NLT).
If we look at the original Greek for the word "equip," we see more than just giving tools to someone for a job; it means to put something into order, to adjust it, to strengthen and make something what it ought to be. As worship leaders, this is what we are supposed to be doing for those who are under us. Our responsibility is to help God's people walk in the calling He has placed on their life and strengthen then for that purpose, not our own. Unfortunately, sometimes we can be more focused on how people can fit into our own vision and program instead of helping them fulfill their calling. We force a square peg into a round hole, and that person's actual purpose gets put on the shelf for an unlimited amount of time, while our mission as worship leaders is fulfilled every Sunday.
The last thing the enemy wants is for all of God's children to walk in their purpose. If that were to happen, he would lose every stronghold and foothold in the body of Christ, and there would be an overflow of the kingdom of God reaching the world like never before. So Satan is happy when people are distracted from fulfilling their calling. He wants to keep that person singing in the choir because we needed another tenor instead of writing the next pivotal worship song, or keep that other person playing the drums every week when they have an anointing to lead. All the while, we are content to get all our spots filled so our program runs smoothly!
When my husband and I were youth pastors, I was always trying to cultivate the gifts of those on my team. Our worship team was mostly led by the youth themselves, except for maybe one or two other people and me. Whenever possible, I would have others on the team lead, even if they weren't the greatest at it yet. If I noticed the guitar player also had an anointing to sing, I would have that person lead a song from time to time to see if it was something God was developing.
Our ministry is supposed to look like a river, always flowing and never growing stagnant. From my experiences in many years on ministry, the people who missed what God called them to do were the ones who stayed put in one specific area way too long, never allowed to step out to fulfill what God put on their heart.
How Can We Prevent This from Happening?
The first step is to take time to sit down with each person on your team individually and find out what it is that God has mandated them to accomplish. Make sure they know that it doesn't even have to be something related to their current role on the worship team; it's possible they have been just filling the spot the best they knew how, but inwardly knowing they had been sacrificing their calling the whole time for the "greater good."
Next, think about how you can help the people on your team to the next step in fulfilling their purpose. If nothing else, you can agree to pray and believe that God will show them His plan for their future and give them the strategy to walk into it one day. If you find someone really would fit better somewhere else in the church, or perhaps they should be in a parachurch ministry that functions outside of the four walls of the church, don't be afraid to make a plan to get them into what they need to be doing. Don't see it as a loss; it's never a loss when someone is walking in the calling they are supposed to be functioning in. Maybe it's time to recruit and get some "new blood" on the team and start the training up process all over again.
Worship leaders, let's make it a point to be aware of our team and strive to help them walk out the purposes and plans that God has placed in their lives. This is how we truly build the kingdom of God. You will find that your ministry will be even more blessed in the process!
Cathy Sanders has been involved with music for over 27 years. She is an anointed worship leader and psalmist who regularly leads worship for community and church events. She has produced three albums, and her music was played on the radio for over six years in the northeast. She is also a prolific writer who has authored/coauthored five books. Cathy carries master's and doctorate degrees in Christian education, graduating with honors. Cathy and her husband, Andy, reside in New York with their two teenage children.
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