|Worship Update: 4th Quarter 1993|
Leadership is ... a dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacity influences a specific group of Gods people toward His purposes for the group.by Brian Doerksen
I define leadership as sovereign election resulting in decisive functional authority that builds up the body. Bobby Clinton in his book, The Making of a Leader defines leadership this way: …a dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacity influences a specific group of Gods people toward his purposes for the group.
David is a nearly perfect archetype for us as worship leaders, because he learned how to worship God in secret, before he had a position of leadership. How did God prepare David? Through the quiet disciplines of raising sheep. God will use those life experiences, both painful and positive, to shape and prepare our characters for service.
In the sixteenth chapter of 1 Samuel, we get some of the background of how David was chosen to reign as king.
The Lord sent Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem. One of Jesses sons would be king, but the Lord didnt reveal which one ... until later. When Samuel arrived, he saw Davids brother Eliab and thought, Surely the Lords anointed stands here before the Lord. But the Lord vetoed Samuel.
Samuel had to ask Jesse if there were any other sons. Well, sure, there one more. Enter David, who had been with the sheep, and who had been overlooked even by his own father.
Then the Lord said to Samuel, Rise and anoint him. He is the one.
Its hard not to be chosen. Ask Davids brothers. But its just as hard to be chosen. If youre not chosen, youve got to deal with jealousy and judgements. If youre chosen, youve got to deal with insecurity and frustration. David would be asking, Why did I have to be chosen and have my brothers hate me?
God knows how to use any and every circumstance to refine, purify, and conform us to the character of his son. If He doesnt choose us to be a leader, Hes doing it because He loves us. If He does choose us to be a leader, Hes doing it because He loves us.
Ive argued with God: If You really knew what You were doing, You wouldnt have chosen me to do this. Im shy ... I dont like to speak in front of people, etc. On the other side of tow, someone else who hasnt been chosen says to God, Ive got this skill. Im better at this than he is.
David was chosen, in part, because his relationship with God and his heart of worship was cultivated when he was alone with the sheep. There is no substitute for being alone with God and cultivating your worship relationship with Him. God is jealous for that. When David was king, he probably thanked God for all the time God had set him apart through work circumstances. He wrote some of the most incredible love songs to God there.
If you want to be a leader, you must cultivate an appetite, or at least a tolerance, for that place of aloneness.
What happened to David happens to us as leaders when we allow him to take us through this process of preparation. Hopefully youll learn to fear God more than you fear man. That may explain the incredible courage David displayed at the valley of Elah when he challenged Goliath. We see the fruit of that process expressed in some of Davids psalms. Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (Psalm 86:11). In god I trust I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:11)
Another result is that youll acknowledge that God gave you that position of leadership. David knew he wasnt elected king over the people; God put him there. He feared God more than he feared the people.
Are you a leader because you played your cards right? Was it because you hung out with the right people at the right time, hoping theyd notice you so that you could be a leader? Or are you a leader because you know God called you? If its the latter, you fear God more than you fear man.
Later on in 1 Samuel, we read that Davids anointing was followed up with a call from Saul. David came to Saul and entered his service.
Sometimes youll see someone move out of the waiting phase into the doing phase and youll say, God, why them? Ive got it more together than them. You intensely desire leadership but its not released to you yet. Why? Possibly because you still need it. You need to be a leader so that you can be built up. Remember our definition of leadership: Sovereign election resulting in decisive functional authority that builds up the body. Leadership isnt about your needs; its about serving the needs of others.
But you still see leadership as a source of emotional therapy. You think, I could be worship leader in my kinship and have visibility. Maybe I could be at least one of the worship leaders in our church then I could do something important.
Even Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days of fasting between the time of his public confirmation, and the beginning of his ministry. In the third chapter of Lukes gospel, Jesus is baptized, and the Holy Spirit comes down from heaven in the form of a dove. God Almighty speaks audibly and says, This is My son whom I love. I am well pleased with him. Where did Jesus go next? He didnt start healing. He went to the wilderness for forty days.
That part of our human makeup that is naturally impatient, anxious, selfish, and ambitious, must be put under the control of the Spirit in this stage. Jesus must become greater, we must become less. This is particularly hard for musicians to understand. I remember my life at this stage. I would be unemployed for a period of time and then I would get a job. Then they wouldnt need me any more and theyd let me go. It seemed like I couldnt do anything. My wifes family thought I was crazy. Why dont you just go to university and get a degree, get a good career? I wanted to, but all I could do was go back to God and say, God, what did You say? The Lord said, Dont do that, do this. I wondered if He was sure about it. Waiting was hard.
Then God finally releases a measure of leadership and somehow you dont need it anymore. I oversee the 50-70 people in our church who are somehow involved in worship ministry. I can sense that some are still ambitious and their waiting time isnt over, so they cant do anything. So they mope around. They look at you with these big longing eyes as the band plays. After this goes on for a couple of years, they finally realize they have to deal with it. Im a patient guy (and so is God) and they might end up sitting around for ten years with those sad, puppy eyes.
Finally this gets broken and then I say that they can do it. By then, they dont need to do it and I practically have to crack the whip to them to move.
When that leadership is released, then weve gotten to the point where our desire for the body to be built up is stronger than our need to be built up. We dont ignore our need to be built up, but the desire for the body to be built up overrides the temptation to use that leadership position for our own self-esteem. What builds us up as individuals? The Fathers love builds us up. Its His love that builds us up, not attention and fruitful ministry.
I need to say one more thing about leadership and that is commissioning. Youre prepared, youre called, and you wait, and youre commissioned before men and by the leaders that youre under. This is the fun part. But soon you trade in the agony of waiting for the agony of doing.
God says, Okay, I want to take you onto a new level of leadership. Then you begin the preparation stage, etc., and it starts all over again. It never stops. As soon as youre doing that, Gods calling you up to a new level of faith and of risk. A problem I find even in charismatic worship and a lot of renewal worship is that you have leaders that go through those stages of preparation, and then they stop. God knocks at their door again, telling them its start again, time to prepare. Theyre saying, No way! Im not going through that again.
Going into some churches I find myself saying, This is nice worship but wheres the edge? Wheres the risk? Wheres the freshness? There are probably people there who are desperately afraid. I pray that they would become so secure in the Fathers love, that they would be willing to re-enter the cycle of preparation, taking another risk. They need to take the risk of giving ministry away to others the Lord has prepared. They need to make room for others and trying new things that theyre not necessarily good at.
Is the Lord calling us to be experts and specialists, or is He calling us to always be students, always be learning, always willing to step back in to start the preparation for the next thing?
Article reprinted from the October 1993 Worship Update newsletter
© 1993 Vineyard Music Group. No re-publication is permitted in any media or format without written permission from Vineyard Music Group USA.
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