(Austin Stone Worship Note: This post is the second in a series on how band members can serve their worship leaders. The first post in this series can be found here.)
If I had an official title, I suppose it would be, “guitarist for Jimmy McNeal”. I’m sure he could come up with example after example of how I’ve been a burden to him, as well as times I’ve been a help. I’ve learned through trial and error over the past couple years of playing with him, that the most thoughtful gesture I can show him is to simply be available.
So what is our motivation to be available, with our time as well as talents, to our worship leaders? As with every good work, its motivation must be grounded in the gospel.
Jesus Is Available To Us
“…Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.” – 2 Samuel 6:6-7
Many wonder how someone can rationalize God being good in light of passages like this, but this extreme example was given to show by contrast the extremity of God’s grace through Jesus. In modern western culture, the idea of an unapproachable authority figure is fairly foreign to us, so without the story of Uzzah, we wouldn’t fully realize the joy that comes with Hebrews 4:14 and 16:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. …Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Through these two juxtaposing passages regarding the throne of God, we see a holy, unapproachable God making himself completely available to us through a costly offering of his own blood. The Christian who realizes this divine availability that Christ’s perfect sacrifice has afforded us will be transformed in the way they view their own availability toward those who need them.
Because of God’s availability to me through Jesus, I have a motivation to be available to my worship leader. Now, Jimmy is amazing at being an imitator of Christ to his band, and I respond to the gospel that he shows me in that as well, but our own meditation on what Jesus has done should give us our primary vision for being available and servant-hearted to our worship leaders.
What if your worship leader is not so much of an imitator of God’s character to you? Or you’re not so good at picking up on it? Awesome! It’s an opportunity for you to share the gospel. Not that your worship leader lacks salvation, but that he is included in the phrase, “all creation” and needs to be regularly reminded of the gospel. (Mark 16:15)
Being available doesn’t mean saying yes to everything. It means letting your “yes” be yes, and your “no” be no. (James 5:12) If I tell Jimmy I can play on Sunday a year from now, I play with Jimmy on Sunday a year from now. Availability refers to talents also. I’m a guitar player by trade, but it turns out I’m decent at managing a calendar too, so I operate the band’s event calendar. I help him with administrative stuff when he takes a Sabbath. I try to be creative and bring fresh musical ideas to rehearsals. I pray for him on his hard days, that the Holy Spirit will strengthen him, and on his days of rest that he’ll be restored. By talking with him, I’ve found these specific ways to make him feel more at ease with his workload. After all, our worship leaders do everything we do, times 10.
In most cases, we get plenty of peripheral motivation to be a help to our worship leaders. It could be a good career move for us, we may be reciprocating our worship leader’s kindness to us, etc. But the ultimate origin of all worship is the cross of Jesus. In this, he made himself more available than we could ever imagine a perfect God to be. Let’s dwell on that with joy, and depend on Jesus to give us a deep desire to be available and dependable for our worship leaders.