(Austin Stone Worship Note: This post is the second in a series developed from content from our Worship Leader Development Program, and the second in a two-part post from Todd on this topic. The first part of this post can be found here, and the first post in this series can be found here.)
In Part 1, I talked about the importance of pursuing God in order to effectively lead worship. I introduced the spiritual disciplines, and discussed the disciplines of abstinence which help us make room for God. In this part, I’m continuing on to the disciplines of engagement.
Disciplines of Engagement
The disciplines of engagement are communal disciplines which purposefully engage us with God and others.
- bible study,
- confession, and
I found it interesting that prayer and bible study were listed as communal, not personal. I am pursuing interaction with God even though I usually do them on my own. But I have seen God work really powerfully when I practice those with others as well. Celebration is important, and is not a strong suit for me. But I have come to believe that if you are not celebrating what Christ is doing in your life daily, then you probably aren’t celebrating Him in that fast song at the beginning of your set either.
The idea of confession carries a lot of fear, especially for those in front of others and for those on staff at churches. We often don’t feel we have a safe place to be weak. You have to find it. And submission can be difficult for worship leaders as well. We are prideful by nature. To be honest, it takes a certain amount of pride to say, “You know, I should probably be up in front of all these people and be in charge of this thing.” We must learn to submit in our actions, and to beg God to help us submit in our hearts as well. Many a worship leader does what his pastor asks on Sunday and then goes home bitter about it. That’s not submission.
James Bryan Smith lists many more ideas, ways we can pursue time with God, giving Him access to shape us.
Some of my favorites were:
- counting blessings,
- slowing down,
- creating space (margin) in our lives,
- writing a letter,
- media fast,
- deaccumulation of material things, and
- praying for the success of competitors.
I know, I know, you’re awesome and humble and don’t have any competitors. But I have seen God change my heart toward guys that I have envied, and I know He can for you.
How to Move Forward
Don’t just make a checklist and try to do them all at once. Pick a discipline, and work on it. Train yourself. See what God does in your life through that discipline. Another idea that is hugely important is keeping the Sabbath. In fact, it’s so important we’ll probably have another blog on it sometime.
None of these disciplines are a formula. I am not showing how you can force the hand of almighty God to be active in your life. “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3 NASB). We are coming, consistently and purposefully making ourselves available to God. We are coming, believing that in order for us to lead, we must be led. We are coming, receiving God’s revelation and falling more deeply in love with Him. We are coming, accepting that every effort we devote to small loving details, learning about bread, and peanut butter and jelly, will enable us to make a better sandwich the next time.