As I’ve grown older, I have developed a more refined appreciation for old things… for timeless things. I am increasingly aware that our world is inundated with cheap stuff. We live in a culture that uses something for a while and then throws it away to get a new or better model. One defining characteristic of a timeless item is that you can usually tell if it was made quickly and without much thought about longevity or if it was made with quality, care, and intentionality. You can tell when something was made to be used over and over again and to still hold up under the strain. These types of items are made for longevity, and can be repaired or fixed should they break. They’re made to stand the test of time, but not without some care and maintenance.
I’m reminded of the not so distant past when everyone had a Television set that sooner or later had to be repaired. There was a shop where you could take your T.V. to have it worked on. It wasn’t uncommon to have a Television for a decade or more, and to have the tube repaired, or the knobs replaced. Televisions were made to last 10 or 20 years, as long as they were maintained and taken care of. They were built with longevity in mind, but even the most highly engineered piece of equipment will not last if you don’t take care of it.
God made our souls this way: to be timeless… to be immortal, but because of the fall, our bodies and our sinful hearts war against it. We have to establish rhythms that bring health to our souls so that they continue to operate as they were designed to operate. Ultimately, God protects our souls, but the things we talk about in the context of this short blog series are things that God’s word instructs us to do. He’s given us tools to battle sin… rhythms to live in that keep us healthy, and unfortunately, many Christians never use those tools. Matthew 7:24 reminds us that we must ground ourselves in the right sort of things because when the storms of life come (and they will), only a life built upon Christ will withstand what life has to throw at you. We must have a sound & healthy foundation, or you will either burnout, or be disqualified.
We know from God’s word, that we were not meant to walk through life alone. Throughout the book of Acts, the early church did life together. Community is something that God intended for us to have to be able to express love for one another, exhort one another, and to even suffer with one another. The idea of community can encapsulate a lot of things. Some people see community as the group of fiends they hang out with on weekends, or perhaps the neighbors that live around them. Many people find community with the people who have similar interests or hobbies. All of these are true, however, as Christ followers, the bible calls us to a deeper form of community. There is intrinsic value in being a part of a community of believers because there are certain things that are built into that community. A healthy community is almost always centered around mission. Typically, people who are on the same mission (who are passionate about the same things) find community together. I live on the East side in Austin, Tx. I love the East side… it’s a very eclectic and diverse neighborhood with poverty, new growth, old tradition, and hipsters as far as the eye can see. I want desperately to see God redeem people on the East side. My community is made up of 5 families who all live there and are similarly passionate about seeing God change lives in our neighborhood. One of the things that glues our group together is our mission. The mission (ministry on the East side) is clear for all of us.
Community is something that you as a Worship Leader must have with other believers because it shapes and molds who you are. When believers have the same mission and begin to intentionally pursue community, certain elements naturally occur that bring life, strength, and sharpening in the life of it’s members. I know this is cheesy, but ask yourself the who, what, when & where questions concerning your community.
- Who are the people around me that help shape me and are a part of my foundation?
- Who around me can ask me hard questions and see things in a different light than I do?
- Who can tell you when you suck, and then celebrate with you when great things happen?
- This could be your band members, but it has to be more intentional and consistent then just chatting in the van on the way to the next event.
- What is your mission? What has God burdened your heart with?
- What does your community call their mission?
- Does your community communicate the Gospel outside itself?
- Do we get together consistently and intentionally?
- Do we spend enough time together to accomplish mission and sharpen one another? – Am I invested in the group, or is it easy for me to be unengaged?
- Do we connect at a place that most benefits us or our mission?
- Do we meet at a place that fosters community, or makes it more difficult?
Community requires an element of vulnerability which in turn, makes you a better leader. Within community, there is the opportunity to open yourself to others in something that our group and others call an LTG (life transformation group). This is simply a small group (2 or 3) of community members (gender specific) who walk in a deeper level of vulnerability with each other in the realm of confession, repentance, accountability and prayer (for each other and for non-believers). An LTG is where critical spiritual growth and consistency take place. This is the core of a healthy foundation, not just for the Worship Leader, but for any Christ follower. If you don’t have community in this way… pursue it & pray for it. Community doesn’t happen over night. You have to fight for it. If you already have community with other believers (band members, friends, neighbors) take a look at the intentionality of your group. Make sure that it is impacting the Kingdom in the lives of the group members, as well as in the lives of outsiders. Community is a huge building block in a foundation that keeps leaders healthy and working the way God intended. Make sure that this is a rhythm that you have in place… it will be an incredible asset in ministry and in life.