It just hit me that you might be more qualified to do my job than I am. I’ve been leading worship since I was in high school. I’ve been told for years that God has given me certain gifts that help me do that. I love leading God’s people in song. Even though I’ve been leading worship for most of my life I’ve discovered more about this task in the past year then I had in the previous decade. I think I’ve been sorely missing some of the most important parts of being a worship leader. These discoveries have made me realize that in many ways the task of “worship pastor” is different than you would think.
In order to demonstrate the shift I have gone through I must give you a few theological assumptions that I have. The highest pursuit of a human soul is worship and the greatest object worth worshiping is God.
The first question of the Westminister Shorter Catechism is, “What is the chief end of man?” In other words, what is the meaning of life? The answer to that question is, “A Man’s (old world way of saying a human’s) chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.” The meaning of life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. You can also read these passages to see this truth: 1 Cor. 10:31; Rom. 11:36; Ps. 73:25-28.
We all worship. Worship is making much of something or someone. We worship the things we value. Some worship fame, money, sex, safety, sports teams, food, power, or God. We all worship all day every day by valuing things. Christians and non-Christians alike are wonderful worshipers. I believe the greatest thing we can worship is the one who created all lesser objects of worship, namely God.
These are all truths I have embraced for years BUT I think they are incomplete. How are they incomplete? They don’t tell us the highest mode or means of worship. The truths I’ve given you thus far sound good on pages, but what I need is truth that looks good with flesh on. How do I worship God well in the everyday?
I’ve been reading a book called, Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper. In the first chapter there is a section heading that has been branded into my brain. It articulates a shift in the foundation of what I believe about worship leading. It reads like this: Adam: Creation’s Worship Leader. Have you ever thought of Adam as a worship leader? I have never read any psalms by Adam. I don’t remember any worship songs he wrote. Mike Cosper goes on to write,“We see a large, slowly developing story: of the good creator God making a wonderful world, and putting a Human in charge of it to rule it wisely and to gather up its grateful praise.” Adam was the quintessential worship leader as he gathered up creations grateful praise.
This idea spreads through all of scripture. The problem with the world is that people are not worshiping God. The brokenness of the world is all caused by this problem. The task that God has given to every human and every church is to worship AND to gather up worshipers. This is the core of the mental shift for me. We are all not only worshipers. We are all meant to be worship LEADERS–people who lead non-God worshipers to worship God. Evangelism and missions is the greatest act of worship leading. So as a person who has the title of “Worship Pastor/Leader,” I must be thinking about leading lost people to worship God. If I don’t think that way, am I really a worship leader?
This is where the title of this blog comes in. It is not my job to lead only saved people to worship the living God. It is my job to lead lost people to worship the living God. Actually, that is your job too. Christians are all worship leaders. In fact, that is exactly what the church is. The church is an institution created and commissioned by God to lead all of the world back to what they were made for, namely worshiping him.
You may be more qualified to do my job if you have greater access to lost people than I do. God has called me to grow as a worship leader. In addition to improving as a musician and worshiper, maybe I need to find ways to increase my access to lost people. Let us all lead lost people to worship.
EXTREMELY practically: What does that mean for the day to day? It means inviting people to worship with you. You can do this by inviting them to a worship service or by sharing the reasons you love and worship God. Evangelism should feel more like sharing your favorite movie with someone. Think about it. The greatest joy of finding something you love is sharing it. A good restaurant is better if you find others who share your joy in that. A good movie is best enjoyed by a group of friends who can quote every line and together. Sharing your joy in something is what helps you find the fullest joy in that thing. The same is true about our worship of God. Sharing your joy in God is the highest joy of worship.
So here are my new theological assumptions. Worship is the highest pursuit of the human soul, God is the greatest object worth worshiping, and missions/evangelism is the purest and fullest joy and expression of worship.
Balsinger, Robert B. (2007-06-07). Westminster Shorter Catechism with Proof Texts (ESV) (Kindle Locations 73-74). Lulu (Hardcover). Kindle Edition.
Cosper, Mike (2013-03-31). Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel (Kindle Locations 375-377). Crossway. Kindle Edition.