Jan 21, 2010

Leading Music in Worship is a Ministry, Not a Job

I'm reading A Resilient Life written by Gordon MacDonald in 2004 and it's really been challenging me in a variety of ways.
In the chapter "Resilient People Forsee the Great Questions of Life's Passage," MacDonald addresses some questions most people ask about their lives in their 20's, then their 30's, 40's, etc. Those questions certainly resonate with me and my experience and with the questions I see my kids - in their 20's - wrestling with. I need to read this chapter again and discuss it in an upcoming post.

What grabbed me at this point was a provocative illustration MacDonald used to demonstrate the ministry pitfalls that the generation gap produces. I'm still chewing on his intention because I got sidetracked with a by-product of his example. I was startled with the following statements:
"... and yet they (the twenty somethings who led praise & worship) were charged with leading people like me (the sixty & seventy somethings) into a worship experience. How could they pray, design worship, familiarize me with God if they knew so little about what was happening in a life like mine?"
Whoa. Leading Praise and Worship with intention? "Design" and "Familiarize" the church in worship? "You're worship leaders," MacDonald addressed a young crowd who led a multi-aged congregation,
"How are you going to usher people into the presence of God if you don't know the questions that form the big pictures in the hearts of the various generations you are leading? As the questions change, so does the content (and perhaps the form) of our spiritual interests."
As excited as I was to learn what the big questions were and how they drive our lives, I lolled about in this worship area for awhile, imagining:
  • worship leaders with the responsibility of the soul care of their crowd.
  • worship leaders shouldering that responsiblity
  • worship leaders being burdened, driven and excited by it.
  • worship leaders thinking of their crowd as their flock.
While we all desire music we like and skilled musicians, I think we'd all agree having musicians who are passionately seeking the Spirit of God and His leading among the particular group over which they are ministering is a mighty thing, a ministry, not a performance. Maybe all musicians in churches do this. Maybe I just haven't been aware.
Check out this motivational interview with Gordon MacDonald aired on Midday Connection, a Moody Ministry that I adore.


Anonymous said...

Val - that has been the whole point. It's always about worship, not performance. Without purposeful worship, it's just noise. Practice may seem, but has never been about perfection at our church. We just want to lead and help others to worship. Sometimes it has probably seemed like control, but it's always an intense desire to do what is pleasing to God and His people. It's quite a responsibility and we appreciate the awesome opportunity we have been given. Thanks for sharing this today!

Poof said...

Excellent, I was hoping I'd hear from some music ministers, thanks.