In the fall of 2019, I started an exciting journey into learning key fundamentals of worship ministry. As someone who has been active in worship ministry for a number of years, I felt it was important to return to the basics so I knew I was operating in the right mentality while serving. I sensed this was an inevitable journey I had to take as I believe learning is one of the most important activities a leader can be engaged in.

I’d like to highlight some of the most important lessons from the year of courses and material.

PERSONAL WORSHIP

A very strong focus was made on personal worship and abiding in Christ. Serving in worship ministry is meant to be an overflow of your personal devotion and worship. If there is not a strong pattern of abiding in Christ already in your life, your service to God in worship ministry is not as authentic as it seems to be.

The more we are intentional in pursuing Christ, the more He will give us a heart to pursue Him. We are not naturally inclined to want to spend time in His presence. Our natural and fleshly world leads us to be selfish and focused only on our internal goals. But when we have a heart to be like Christ, we develop a desire to pursue Him more and that is strengthened by God.

In our efforts to glorify God with our service in ministry, if we do so without the presence of God and that being a guiding force for us, our service will be limited in its effectiveness. We can be the most talented or hardworking team member, but if we are not regularly pursuing Jesus and seeking to operate out of the power He gives us we will be limited in our effectiveness.

EXCELLENCE VS PERFECTION

In our service of ministry is our goal excellence or perfection?

Many worship leaders and musicians get so caught up in the idea of perfection – their musical craft has to be so perfect and flawless that is what defines quality worship.

Unfortunately, this is not the biblical concept of excellence or what God desires. Ultimately, God desires a heart that is intent on pursuing Him. This involves being intentional with every decision and action you take. Is Jesus involved in your major and minor decisions? We can know we are living a life driven by excellence when we are seeking God’s direction even in minor steps in life.

There is an important truth for us to remember: We can work hard to find success in an endeavor and we can even succeed according to the world’s standards. We will achieve fame and recognition – but we still may miss the mark on achieving excellence in Christ.

Excellence is a fruit of a fully submitted life to the Holy Spirit. If you devote your life to being excellent in a Christ-like manner and seeking to exalt His name above your own, you never know how your lifestyle of biblical excellence will affect people around you.

Our purpose as ministry leaders should be singular – reveal God – and nothing less.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

A servant is a person who performs duties for others. A leader is a person who guides or commands a group, organization or country. What is a servant leader?

A leader’s role is to serve the people under them well. When you examine your primary motivation for serving in leadership, you can get a sense of whether you are succeeding or failing in the biblical idea of leadership, which is driven by serving others not lifting yourself higher.

Paul prays this prayer for the Ephesians (3:14-19, ESV):

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

One of the hallmarks of true, lasting servant leadership is spiritual growth. Paul prays for the Ephesian believers to be filled with the fullness of God.

As leaders, it is essential to ask ourselves if we have grown spiritually or not during our time in our roles. And if we haven’t, are we taking steps to work through that?

The “serve” part of servant leadership is driven in the end by a crucial question – Do we love the people we serve? If we truly do, we will meet them where they are and help them to the next level in their walk.

DIRECTION & PRAYER

Prayer is a crucial aspect for any Spirit-driven leader. As leaders, we can often get stuck in the mud of trying to force or manipulate endeavors or projects without any foundation of seeking God for direction.

It is essential we assess the condition of our hearts. Honestly asking the question of why we are praying is essential. Are we praying out of religious requirements (to check off a list) or from an internal desire to know Christ fully and exalt His name? We should work to reveal God above all else as Christ followers.

As leaders, our most important relationship is with God. If our connection to God is strong, we won’t let distractions cloud our vision. What does your vision look like today? Are you truly aligned with God?

Worship ministry is one that requires creative strategies and techniques. But if we are not led by the Holy Spirit we will not be effective (according to how powerfully the Spirit wants to move). We will determine our work was a success by human standards but we are so limited by our lack of complete reliance on the Holy Spirit.

If the aspects above are not a focus or priority for us, we are not being effective as worship leaders or team members. When we think of worship ministry, we tend to think of the technical aspects of worship (which are essential) but true success in worship ministry comes from having these essentials first and foremost.

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