You Can’t Lead If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going

3173655310_0d5b4a0138_bI’ve been talking a lot about making disciples in 2013.

In my newsletter we talked a bit more specifically about how to do that – how to teach, model, give opportunity, and provide feedback. But do you know what the problem is? Before you can teach and model to someone else, you must know why you do what you do.

Before you lead people, you must know where you’re going. Common sense, right?

Well, easier said than done.

You need a set of worship ministry values that you live and breathe. Maybe this isn’t something you’ve thought about before. Good. It’s time to rise to another level and be able to explain the type of worship that you’re training others to lead.

What are the characteristics that set you apart? The musical and spiritual values?

Defining Your Values

In order to explain this better, I’m going to articulate my values – the DNA that helps me teach and pour into others. This way, my mentoring can be very targeted towards a certain goal. It’s “in line” with who I am and what I believe God has called me to do. The same is true for you.

So I pray these values stir your heart and imagination to define your own.

1. The Glory of God

The defining mark of a worship leader is his or her pursuit of God’s glory. Period. They are on a journey, a quest to know Him more. Without this ever-deepending, thriving relationship with Jesus, there’s no leadership that can happen. We are leading people to see more of Jesus. If we as worship leaders aren’t pursuing that, we can’t do our job effectively. So I train worship leaders to immerse themselves in Scripture, to read theology books, to write, and to keep an appointment with God on their calendar every day.

Recommended Books:

2. Flowing in the Moment

If corporate worship isn’t an “edge of your seat” adventure, we might as well forget it. We believe that God is moving, speaking, and awakening hearts in every service. The Bible tells us that. So I train worship leaders (and worship musicians) to perform with anticipation. Anything is possible. We keep our antennaes up, listening to the Holy Spirit, watching for the Holy Spirit, surrenduring to the leadership of the Holy Spirit – from the worship leader to the bass guitar.

We also immerse ourselves in theory and ear training so that we can remove barriers to flow. We practice spontaneous singing so that our worship services aren’t about getting through songs. We pursue Jesus with intensity in the moment and help people really worship and connect with God.

“We want to give people great songs to sing but we also want to create a safe context for them to sing their own song” (a great tweet from @lukehellebronth).

Recommended Books:

3. Excellence

We believe in excellence because God is excellent in all He does. We believe in musical excellence but it also transcends into our attitudes, our spirit, our contribution. We show up ready, prepared, and do our very best. We expand our musical creativity to make ourselves more available and useful for God’s use.

Part of what makes out ministry effective is being interesting – to discover, learn, experiment, and develop. We never stop growing. We do our best to present ourselves to God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Recommend Books:

4. Serve the Church

What is the most important thing to God, apart from His own glory? It’s His bride – the church. He created her. He died for her. Consider Galatians 1:3-5:

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Or Jude 1:24:

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.”

Jesus is jealous for the affections of His bride. He died to present her before His throne without fault. As worship leaders, we are serving God’s people on their journey. We make it easy for them to sing. We engage them in declarative worship. We invite them into an experience.

Recommend Books:

5. Make Disciples

What was the last command that Jesus gave His disciples? To go…and make disciples. We have been called to represent Jesus and reproduce Him in others. This is easier to say than it is to do. Mentoring others is messy and difficult. But we believe in pouring ourselves into others – to extend Christ’s legacy from one generation to another.

We do this by never leading worship alone – never doing ministry alone. We bring future leaders alongside us and say, “This is what I do, this is why I do it, this is how I do it, and now you – go and try it.” No matter what skill level you are, you can always invest in someone else.

Recommended Books:

I’d love to hear from some of you. What is your worship leading DNA?

What do you teach your team?

What is most important to you?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. Chapa Ginder says

    Thank you for this article. Even if I have never put these values in writing, after reading this it jumped at me that all along I have been serving with them as my invisible guide or them in the back of my mind. Only they were never on a piece of paper. But now I´m encouraged to write them down and really believe that my team would understand why I do what I do better. Thank you! Your articles I find are a great help in my growth as a worship leader.

  2. says

    Thanks Dave – defining our values is so important in worship.

    I start with some core convictions – some examples
    1) “Be” the message > lead by example
    2) Magnify the Lord > do everything to give Him glory, no flesh allowed
    3) Make it easy for people to worship > be clear, feed ’em good food
    4) Treat people right > prepare so it’s easy for your team to serve

    Stuff like that. Blessings on ya bro!

  3. Tragoudi Arpa says

    “If corporate worship isn’t an “edge of your seat” adventure, we might as well forget it. ”

    David –this is a great article, but I’m sorry — this “edge of your seat” adventure stuff is part of the modern contemporary worship model that is flawed at its core.

    Yes, I agree that ideally corporate worship should bring people into a dynamic personal encounter in a corporate setting with the living God of the universe that is life changing and empowering.

    But worship is more than just an “edge of your seat” adventure.

    If I wanted a Cedar Point or Disney Land or Atlantic City roller coaster ride, I’d go to the amusement park.

    We need to dare to say it out loud that worshipping God is –well, face it — like sex in marriage. The best parts of it are meant for private consumption that sustains a marriage like bread, and water and meals. We invite the public to a wedding ceremony, but they are not invited into the bedroom experience afterwards. For a marriage to last a lifetime, it is full of ups and downs and lots of time just in the middle – solid , every day events of loving someone and being loved.

    Worship is like a marriage that way – some parts are meant for the public, others not. We don’t get married in a ceremony every day. Sometimes, I feel emotionally exhausted and not spiritually renewed by all the busyness of a modern contemporary worship band set that leaves little room for “Be still and know that I am God.”

    • says

      By “edge of your seat” adventure I was referring to a mindset we should have as worshipers. I wasn’t referring to being entertained. So in that I would disagree – no matter how we’re feeling, we should expect to encounter God – His glory, peace, stillness, love, and grace. We can’t just sit back and be spectators. We need to engage. Make sense?

  4. Tragoudi Arpa says

    Another thing: are we pursuing God’s glory?

    What about God’s glory pursuing us and us getting out of the way and letting Him flow through us to minister to the people?

    “Practicing free worship singing” – a key component here is that the team members have to be secure enough in their trust of each other to let the flow occur. Some of this is totally spontaneous and extemporaneous and can’t be “practiced.” We have to trust God AND EACH OTHER to let this flow through when He starts working. If the worship leader doesn’t trust his/her team members to let this happen, it probably won’t.

  5. Laura says

    Love this website! I have a question for you David..what if the lead pastor hasn’t told your worship pastor (or shared with the worship team) what the vision is for the worship ministry? What if perhaps he has no vision for it? I have asked the question twice over ten years time and received no answer. There isn’t anything posted on the church website either. We’ve gone through seven worship pastors in ten years time. I have a hard time staying on the ‘bus’ when I don’t know where the bus is headed or what is expected. In my mind, it’s wasteful of the precious resources God has blessed us with. Truly discouraging for me. Thoughts?

    • says

      Laura, if your pastor doesn’t have a vision for the worship ministry, I would come up with one myself and present it to him. He may just need someone to take that initiative. Is that something you can do?

      • Laura says

        David, I’m a team member, not a lead worshiper, so I don’t know if it would be appropriate to approach him with it. In the past when I have tried to communicate with him regarding how I felt the Lord was leading me to utilize my own talent/gifts on the team, he directed me to the interim worship pastor and wasn’t open to discussion. We’ve had an interim for a year and we’ve just hired a permanent person. I’ve been through a total of seven? worship pastors in the ten years I’ve been involved. :(


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