The Leaders Will Be Led
Over the past three weeks, the Lord gave me the great opportunity to be used to help with full-time ministry at my church. For approximately three weeks, my church's worship leader was going to be gone and they needed someone to fill in for that time. They asked me because I have helped fill in before and knew I would be available. I knew that this was an awesome task but I immediately became worried.
I have been doing ministry ever since my 10th grade year, but that doesn’t mean it becomes any less nerve racking. It is rumored that Charles Spurgeon would always have a nervous breakdown and throw up before he preached, even after decades of doing it. That just comes with the territory of doing God’s work. If you are not nervous while doing ministry, then you don’t understand the weight of the task placed in front of you.
So while leading worship for these three weeks, I learned a lot through the trials of trying to organize music and lead a congregation into a “time of worship.” As you can imagine, it’s not as easy as it is in theory.
Worship is constant.
This is something that really bothered me after a while of being at Liberty University. It seems that the American church is built around the idea of worshipping the Sabbath, but not worshipping on the Sabbath. Church is something that you do on Sundays and then you go back to your “other life” throughout the week, whether it be at school or at work. But when we read Scripture, we find lives no longer being a reflection of what they once were without Christ. Every single member of the Bible, whether Christian, Jewish, Pagan, or Atheist, had a radical reshaping of what life meant after they encountered Christ. Today, it seems that that reshaping is nullified by our mannerisms of culture.
I specifically found this out through leading people to worship every Sunday because it seemed that people needed a kick start, like an old car, to get back into their “Christian mood.” When I read Scripture, I don’t see the members of the early Church act like that. The consequences were higher and the reward was seemingly much greater. If you are wondering why your relationship with Christ is stagnant, I think a good place to start looking at is whether or not your worship habits are constant. Without a steady and constant base of Jesus, then you will get nothing more than just the world.
Humans are flawed, Jesus is great.
When leading worship, a billion things can go wrong. Not only is there the spiritual side to leading worship, but there is the obvious musical side. This side is especially touchy because when leading worship in a small church, the people who are playing are all volunteers and mostly have no training in their musical abilities. I found myself struggling to be able to solve music theory problems so that they could play the songs better but quickly realizing that their minds were not even within that context.
There was one Sunday specifically where I was the only musician playing and we had no strong singers performing. I knew it was going to be like that before Sunday leading me to practice hours upon hours to make sure I had the music down perfectly. Once I got there, the practice did not go smoothly whatsoever and the service was full of flaws. But the next Sunday, I had a woman come up and tell me that she was thankful because she felt ministered by me that previous Sunday. God reminded me once again that no matter how much I think I have everything under control, the bottom line is that He is God and I am not. My prayer every Sunday before we started was, “God, let Your glory shine through our failures, and be the source of our successes.”
The leaders will be led.
The biggest thing that I worried about over the three weeks was that if I was leading the people the way I was called to. God’s will is a tricky thing. So often, we mime His will in our feelings and thoughts and the Holy Spirit is replaced with our emotions. My greatest fear was that I would fall into that trap while leading a congregation. But by the end of the three Sundays, I found that I was being led more than I was leading. The final Sunday, I did not practice for more than an hour, and I did not plan out a single thing that I was going to say. Despite not having taken as much time as I have before to prepare, it definitely went the smoothest. Everything went to the plan I could not have even conceived.
I think the most important thing for me to remember as I go into full time ministry in the coming years is that when I am leading correctly, it will feel like I am being led.
I am not proud of my way of leading the congregation, but instead very proud in the way that God led them through me. God did things in those three weeks that I could not have even imagined, and were obviously beyond my powers. The next two weeks, I am taking off from ministry as I finish up my job and I will take this time to reflect on that, and not let God’s leadership simply become something that happens when I am in front of a church, but something that happens constantly in my life. This is something that every Christian needs to realize; Once God takes over every element of your life, things will become very easy. Worry concerning whether the fruit will grow disappears because you know the Son is giving life to the fruit.