2011 - the pursuit of...
Now that the new year is well in gear and off to a flying start, I've been getting my vision and goals in order for the months ahead. The reason it’s important to have vision is, as Proverbs 29:18 says " Where there is no vision, the people perish". Vision encourages us forward and enables us to grow. I love the quote by 1979 Nobel Prize winner Theodore William Schultz "If you don’t grow you die".
So what is our vision for this year? How can we grow as worship leaders, musicians and worship teams?
1. Pursue God
Psalm 27:4-6 (NIV) One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
On most days I have many desires; a new pair of boots; my son to sleep well; to lead worship with great passion and anointing; to see God move amongst us; or just a good coffee & croissant…(you see my point :) ) but in this year I desperately want to pursue God and seek Him, that He would be at the centre of every desire.
What is going to change this year to allow our pursuit of God intensify? What disciplines do we have in place? What are we willing to sacrifice?
Our church is doing the “One Year Bible” which is a journey through the scriptures, reading three passages and a commentary daily. I started this on the 1st of January, and I must say it is been a huge stretch to keep up with (especially over the weekends) but already I can feel my hunger and desire for His word rising within me.
We as worship leaders in God's church must have something to bring when we lead. We are all 100% responsible for our own pursuit of God, and it must be our priority. If we don't feed our souls, they will starve. But God promises that if we seek after Him diligently, daily, He will pour into us and it will be out of that overflow that we can lead people into His presence.
2. Pursue Excellence
In the last ten years I've heard a whole lot of teaching on "excellence" in the church, but recently I've been wondering, do we need to be “excellent”? Does God really care about “excellence” in our church services? And, actually what is “excellence”?
If it’s not our goal to give an impeccable performance, impress people, or be the greatest musicians in the world and people aren’t paying to come and see us play, then why is it so important to be “excellent” - After all God can use any old donkey to carry his presence, and I thought we weren’t supposed to be the focus anyway?
So I’ve been pondering Matthew 25:14-30 where Jesus tells the parable of the three servants. If you don't know the parable well, Have a quick read...
Just like these three servants we also have been entrusted with gifts from God. God has left them in our hands, to be worked so they grow and increase and to be used for His glory. In the parable the first two servants work with what they have been given, and have more to show when the master returns. They are praised ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ But the third servant buries what he is given, because of his FEAR he does nothing with the talents. His master says to Him ‘You wicked, lazy servant!.... So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.'
This story really speaks to me about the gifts and talents God has placed in our hands, as musicians, singers, leaders and worship leaders. We can not afford to withhold what we have been given. God has entrusted us all (even though it isn't equal amounts), but if we don’t put these gifts to work, and see an increase they will ultimately be taken away. Kind of scary! What a responsibility. If we are faithful as the first two servants are God will actually give us more. Excellence is important to Him, and our way of honoring Him is to be faithful with ALL that we have been given.
In the parable it strikes me how servant that buries his talent is held back by FEAR and LAZINESS. Isnt that so true of us sometimes with our giftings. We don’t want to fail trying, so don’t try at all, or we simply don’t have any discipline to keep us working at what we’ve been given.
Excellence is not trying to BE the best, excellence is GIVING our best. We as the church are not in competition with the world, or each other. I can try my darndest to be as good as Beyonce, but ahh, its never going to happen! I can however be the best ME possible by working the hardest I can at honing in on the gifts God has given me.
How are we going to craft our abilities this year? How are we investing into music this year? Are we learning the parts? Are we practicing? Are we learning new songs? Are we setting aside time to be creative and songwrite?
Really hope you guys have had a great start to the year, and lets believe as we pursue God, and give him our very best, He will do far more than what we could dream or imagine. xx