Ok so i’m jumping right into it…fill in the blank! What are you letting people see? I believe that God has given all of us Christ-followers a level of influence. After all, we are “peculiar” people (1 Peter 2:9) or strange folks and people wonder what or who we are all about. There are many people within our radius who we sometimes overlook. Some of these folks may be on our “spiritual lists” or God-ordained people that He will use us to reach.
I love how Jesus said in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world. As Christians, because we follow Christ, He also calls us the light of the world in Matthew 5:14. Looking at the life of Paul, we can easily see that he embraced becoming “light”. When writing an encouraging letter to the church of Philippi, he says “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me (suffering, imprisonment) has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)
Three things: First, he lets us and those around him see that he used to be the persecutor and is now persecuted for the sake of Christ. His testimony is that all of this is for God to receive glory from his life. The second thing Paul lets us see is how clearly evident Christ is in his life. Wherever he was, everyone saw that he was on Jesus’ side. Being in chains for Christ for everyone to see should be our goal. Lastly, Paul lets us see that because of his decision to devote his entire life to Christ, God has used him to add souls to the kingdom!
Can the people in your sphere of influence clearly see a life of worship and praise devoted to Christ? Can they see your zeal for Christ so much that they inquire about salvation? I urge all of you in music ministry to worship Christ as if others’ lives depended on it. You are the light of the world to “let them see” Christ!
Suggested prayer: Lord, thank you for the example of Paul’s life. I am grateful that I can examine these heartfelt and passionate letters to the church that challenge me to live my life fearlessly for You. Help me to imitate Paul by letting people see a life that advances the Gospel. Use me to offer to confidence in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Have you ever dissected a song to see what it was really about? Think about your favorite song. It could be anything from a love song about your significant other or a song about the Lord. For instance, many of the most popular R&B or country songs focus on heartache, heartbreak, depression and unfaithfulness. These are the songs that people love to sing over and over again, maybe because those topics are (unfortunately) relatable to their real lives. These songs immediately place us in a different time and place mentally; they bring out real emotions. As a lover of music, I am that guy who puts my favorite songs on repeat! However, as a worship leader, it causes me to take a step back and wonder if we truly consider what we are singing, especially in church when worshiping God.
I’ve had this conviction for a while now. Looking back, I wasn’t introduced to gospel contemporary music until I was an adolescent. I grew up in an old family-filled Baptist church where we sang hymns from the red book (with the church’s name engraved in gold) and gospel quartet music with my family’s group. The new contemporary styles of music with the different harmonies were fascinating, but also very challenging to learn in the beginning. When I was introduced to “praise & worship” music, I felt that the songs were impactful and emotional. As I grew older, I found that many of them focused on our issues and the praise came at the thought of what we could obtain from the Lord. Back in 2000 at Liberty University, I was exposed to the christian contemporary genre. The music wasn’t complex at all, but the lyrics were overwhelmingly rooted in scripture. It was as if each song communicated the gospel message and that upward focus helped change my entire approach to music ministry.
I believe that Colossians 3:1-2 gives us (worship leaders) a challenge as we minister songs. It says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” It is necessary for our hearts and minds to look up to God because of who He is in our lives. I would suggest that our problems are “earthly things” and there are many songs being ministered during times of worship that focus on US and not Christ. I do believe that there is a time for these “inward-focused” inspirational and encouraging songs. I would like to think that those songs would still be about thanking God and celebrating the fact that He has made us co-heirs with Christ. Even then, God’s intentions are that we first be willing to share in Christ’s “sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Romans 8:17)!
As ministers of music, worship pastors, worship leaders and volunteers, our charge is to focus hearts and minds on God and His infinite grace and mercy. We are to guide those same hearts and minds to a place of humility. This is done by singing songs that remind us of the gospel. If there be any focus on us, let it be about our sinfulness, our need for a Savior, and our constant need to repent then turn away from our sins. Are we thinking about what we are singing and presenting to our congregations? Lets remember that the body of Christ is edified through worship when our spirits and minds are focused properly on Him. (1 Cor. 14:15).
Suggested Prayer: God we thank You for who You are in our lives. Father, we are grateful for the task You have given us to lead Your people in worship. Allow us to focus on the songs that bring glory to You and that take attention away from ourselves. God You know all and our trust is in You. Help us to better understand Your desire for real spirit and truth worship. Help us to lead by Your word and by Your spirit.
GAVIN MCKINLEY DAVIS
WORSHIP LEADER | MCLEAN BIBLE CHURCH