What are your Intentions… Servant-hood or Stardom?

We live in an unusual day where anyone can be made famous for any peculiar thing. 20-30 years ago it took effort, it took a special gift, and a stroke of luck in many cases. Today it seems that anyone can be made into a sensation over night… from rags to riches, from shame to stardom. In the age of technology, reality TV, and YouTube popularity anything is possible I guess.

Just think about it, we have the Kardashian family who tend to always be in spotlight for seemingly no reason whatsoever, we also have reality TV stars who get recognized on a national level for merely living their “lives” on television. The world is full of large ego’s and people doing whatever they can to get their second of stardom… their moment in the spotlight.

So, how does this truth impact the church?

The “rockstar” or “celebrity” mentality has invaded the church like a plague and, for some reason, it has been embraced or accepted wholeheartedly. All around us there are celebrity pastors, authors, and worship leaders… people flock to their ministries, churches, or events just to hear them speak, to preach, or sing. Is this a bad thing? I would say not always. But, is this always a good thing? My answer to that would be definitely not.

With a large stage comes a large audience and a huge responsibility. How committed are we to stepping up to the plate on that task and delivering faithfully? We shouldn’t be scared of growth! It is a great thing! But we must be careful to keep our intentions in check. The truth is this: When it becomes more about advancing our desires, our goals, and our agendas than it does about advancing the Gospel then we know we have a MAJOR issue on our hands. When we are concerned more about the national spotlight than the community impact we have missed the mark somewhere along the way. Our “best seller” or multi-building church campus or complex is nothing but a statue to our accomplishments if our congregations are getting a watered down, “ear-pleasing,” form of the Gospel.

Here are a few things to keep in mind or ask yourself if you begin to become a “well-known” public figure… because we have said that it can happen to nearly anyone with almost no warning I today’s day and time.

  •  Respect or Idolatry?

Are we using our elevated platform to elevate ourselves… or Jesus? Are we demanding respect because of the things we are doing for Christ, or are we raising our own banner high to be worshipped? It’s a hard thing to distinguish. When we cause people to exalt us, or any other person, above God, we are leading them into idolatry. Stay humble. Keep your eyes on the prize. Worldly fame fades, but the Kingdom of the Lord stands forever.

  •  Who are we causing our congregations to follow?

People need leaders, and God has provided His church with leaders. How are we leading? Are we shepherding the flock and caring for the people within our community? Being a “celebrity” pastor will draw people in initially, but being a part of a community will keep them there. Are we causing people to follow us or are we pointing them to following Christ. Let’s face it, church isn’t about us, advancing our careers or goals, or even making a living for that fact. Sometimes the Lord blesses us with those things, but our focus must remain on Him through it all. We must ask ourselves… who are our congregations looking to? Who are they following? Us or Jesus?

  •  Sensation or Substance?

The Word of God isn’t popular. It doesn’t exactly cause or call people to be comfortable. Want to write a best-seller? Avoid deep theology and anything within it that hurts people’s feelings. Want to write a hit song? Keep it positive and upbeat, but don’t get deeper into the Gospel than surface level. I only say this to make this point: If we have to dumb down or sell out the Gospel to attain any level of success then that is a success that we shouldn’t want. Are we drawing people in because we sing or play so well? Are we bringing people in with our charisma and charming smile/personality? Or, is the Gospel so evident in our lives and words that people who desire substance want to be around us, to sit under our teachings, and to participate in our worship. We should never sell out substance and depth for experience or emotion. Let’s not cause people to succumb to our personalities, but rather let’s cause them to surrender to Jesus.

So… What have we learned? Is it wrong to have a desire to hear the words of a well-known “larger-than-life” pastor? Is it such a bad thing to worship along with the newest iTunes chart sensation? No! I would actually dare to see that we are wise to encourage people to seek out and learn from the best teachers, worship leaders, and theologians possible.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be well known for your ministry… if your intentions are correct. Just remember to ask yourself: what kingdom am I expanding? My kingdom? Or the Kingdom of God?

Pastoring and Leading with a Tender and Gracious Heart

What is your leadership style? How do you get things done? How do you lead and manage those around you and continually push them to strive for excellence even though the majority of them are over-worked and underpaid (if they are paid at all). This question is often ignored and we are rarely taught how to be effective leaders and managers of those who enable us to do our jobs effectively.

Ask yourself… how do I lead others?

  • Are you a micro-manager? Do you have to be at the wheel on every miniscule task? Do you struggle to trust others as much as you trust yourself to do the jobs at hand? If something has to get done are you the only one that you can trust even if others are more than able and equipped to handle it?
  • Are you passive in most, if not all, areas? Do you allow those around you to do “their own thing” and lead from the sidelines just cheering on your team? Do you work beside others to get the job done or do you watch as they perform ALL the duties?
  • Are you a commander and chief? Does your quest for excellence cause you to lead with a firm hand and stern words that strike fear into the hearts of those under and around you? Do you DEMAND respect from others in an unhealthy way? I hope not… and although that is exaggerated you would be surprised how guilty of this behavior most of us are daily.
  • Do you nurture growth in all areas through the things that you say and do? How about, do you nurture growth through the things you DON’T say and DON’T do? Are you a gracious leader who leads by example and works beside their team to accomplish the tasks at hand with excellence and faithfulness?

Did any of those descriptions of leadership styles “hit the nail on the head” when describing you and your style? I bet one of them struck a chord…

As pastors and ministers I believe we should challenge ourselves to lead with grace and tenderness to nurture and improve those around us in all areas. That description would best fit under our fourth option or style described. Let me explain why…

Often, speaking for myself here, we get so caught up in the weekly tasks that we tend to ignore those doing them and only acknowledge the tasks themselves instead of acknowledging the one(s) who actually DID the task. We can let time pass without giving things a single thought until we notice something that has been done unsatisfactory or not “up-to-par.” How do we break that cycle? How do we lead and improve/ grow people in the things that they do while showing grace?

The Pastor that I serve under, Herb Williams, has influenced me greatly by leading with a tender and graceful spirit, and by doing so he has grown me and enabled me to do my job more effectively. He has a saying that will forever impact my life and I think it is useful to all of us when put in a leadership position. He says, “I would rather make the mistake of showing too much grace, than make the mistake of being too quick to be harsh.”

An attitude of grace and tenderness grows people and nurtures relationships. Harshness easily turns away and causes dissention or discord.

You may be agreeing with everything I have said but are wondering, “What does this look like, and how do I do it?” Below I have listed several ideas or thoughts on how to develop others by leading with a gracious and tender heart.

  • Show Grace with your Words

Our words mean more than most of us would acknowledge. The way we speak to people can build up and make people comfortable when serving alongside us, or it can tear down and put people on edge and prohibit them from doing their job effectively. Gentleness is something that I personally struggle with. The one who knows this the best is my Fiancé Alaina. Sometimes I have to be intentional when speaking and dealing with her to be gentle. I would dare to say that it is never the problem that we have a desire to be harsh to others… for some of us harshness just comes naturally and that is something we must work on and deal with. When speaking with people we should strive to use words that are kind and gentle… words that build a nurturing and effective working environment.

In other words, be careful what you say and how you express yourself! Do you have some words in your vocabulary that shouldn’t be there? You may react to that question quickly with a resounding, “NO!” But hear me out… there may be some words that we say to express ourselves that aren’t “bad” or “curse” words, but they also aren’t helping us out when we are trying to connect and nurture others. Some things just come across as more tense, harsh, or dividing than others. The old sayings, “Think before you speak” and, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” ring loud and true and are very helpful here. After all, there are ways of saying constructive and difficult things nicely…

Love those around you. Grow them. Pour into them and allow them to pour into you. Nobody is damaged beyond repair, or inadequate. We all deserve to be shown respect, so let the cycle start with YOU.

  • Correct and Guide with Grace

Obviously there are times we need to correct other people, but there is a way to do that in a way that develops a constructive environment with the ultimate goal of doing things with an excellence that points people to none other than Christ. Our critiques and corrections never have to be done in a hateful or mean-spirited way. Instead I have found that providing tips and bringing to light areas to focus and improve upon gets the job done while also providing a teaching and learning opportunity for all parties involved. It may take longer to approach things in this manner, but overall it teaches and conveys things in a way that makes them “stick” through experience more so than a “quick-fix” method. In the end, we are here to pastor and minister and we have to accept the fact that all changes aren’t made overnight. A challenge that we all need to accept is to find ways to gently say what needs to be said and to promote unity and growth through our constructive guidance and/ or criticism.

  • Get YOUR Hands Dirty

 This point may seem like it doesn’t belong… but I assure you that it absolutely does. Every good and gracious leader divides up tasks and places trust in people, but they also lead by example. NEVER give another person a task that you aren’t willing to do yourself.

Do you think that you are too good for particular tasks? Are you willing to:

Sweep the floors?

Clean the toilets?

Sanitize after a disastrous vomit experience?

Make those hard home or hospital visits?

Run the Soundboard or projectors?

If you are above any of these tasks then get out now… You can’t expect another staff member or volunteer to do something that you haven’t, or aren’t willing to do yourself. Be gracious by making life easier for those around you. Part of any pastor or ministers job is to care for and equip those around them. Equipping someone may mean showing them grace and guiding them through a task… and I hate to break it to you, but that isn’t always a quick endeavor!

Are you caring for and equipping people or setting them up for failure?

  • Show those Around you that they are Appreciated

Think to a time when you felt under-appreciated or taken for granted. It’s awful isn’t it? Was it harder to stay motivated and to pursue excellence in the tasks that you are in charge of? I bet it was. Simple acknowledgements of appreciation go a long way in nurturing a positive working environment. We all hopefully have the same interest and passion: working for the Lord’s glory… but we have different avenues and ways of going about accomplishing that task. Support each other and provide recognition when people are exceling in their particular areas. Take time to say “thank you.” It doesn’t cost anything, but it can be the exact encouragement someone needs to press on.

On the same note, part of leading with a tender and gracious heart is to be able to acknowledge and intentionally apologize when we fail. We must swallow our pride, humble ourselves, and admit that we were wrong or that we came up short. We won’t do everything right and those around us know that… stop the act and admit it. If we are gracious in the ways that we lead others then I bet they will be when the roles are reversed. If you are tender and gracious in your leading then I bet you will have many people wanting to support you and pick you back up when you fall.

Be a gracious leader by rejoicing with others in their victories and successes and by supporting people through their shortcomings.

This list or collection of ideas obviously isn’t comprehensive, and I’m sure many of you could add great insight into this post. That being said, I hope you have taken something from this because I know I sure have. We all have work to do… none of us are perfect leaders, but we should always be willing to adapt and improve. I will leave you with the words of Ephesians 4:32:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Your Most Valuable Resource

What is your ultimate priority within your ministry? What do you care about the most? Sometimes these questions seem super simple to answer when we are asked because, frankly, throughout the years we have learned the right answers. Often I find myself answering those particular questions with the answer that I have trained myself to answer with…

Did you catch that? 

I know what the answer should be, and I give that answer without truly evaluating if my actions prove it to be true. We poke fun at the Sunday School answer mentality that children often develop. You know what I am talking about… Jesus. Jesus is always right, it is the answer to everything. But the reality is, we are just more advanced and mature children in Sunday School. We have trained ourselves with safe answers, but sooner or later we are going to have to truly discover the real answers to the hard questions we are asked or have to ask ourselves.

Our ministries depend on it.

What do I really care about most within my ministry and when leading my teams? Expansion? Preparation? Musical quality? The experience or atmosphere? Or do I care first and foremost about the people I am serving and working beside?

We should strive to bring excellence to our services, and we do that by intentionally placing priority on things that develop an atmosphere and expectancy of preparation and excellence, but what good is excellence without connection and growth? I would argue that it is meaningless.

I say that because the world does many things with excellence. Go watch Coldplay and leave breathless after a stunning performance, take a stroll down the Las Vegas strip and look at the lights and signs, or go marvel at the Eiffel Tower and it’s unbelievable architecture. From an artistic standpoint all of these things are magnificent. They are excellent. But without personal and spiritual growth they are nothing more than monuments to mankind. Monuments to ourselves and our worldly value, worth, and excellence.

You see, things aren’t always as they appear. In Matthew 23:27 Jesus said this to the religious leaders of His day,

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Are we white-washing our tombs? Are we working extremely hard to appear beautiful while under the surface we are dead or dying? Are our people growing spiritually or has a spirit of complacency or death crept in? What is our ultimate purpose? What are our priorities?

What would we say is the most important thing within our ministries? Do our actions back that up?

In this post I will challenge the way we think and approach our ministries and our pursuits of excellence. Do we care more about the task, or do we care more about the individuals on our team? I would argue that our people should be our focus and are our most valuable resource. How do we cherish this resource? We focus on them, we care about them. Here are a few of my thoughts about caring and growing our teams spiritually.

We should strive to develop excellent believers before excellent musicians or volunteers.

Just because someone is an excellent guitarist or addition to your team doesn’t mean you have done your job. Whether or not they mesh with the rest of your people holds little to no significance if they are at a spiritual standstill as far as growth goes. Now obviously I am aware that believers go through seasons where at times we feel as if we are growing more than others, that is beside the point. What fruit does your life show? What fruit does their life show? As worship pastors we should be encouraging our team members to be more than great team members and musicians. Our first focus should be on developing spiritual warriors… men, women, and children who live lives of worship and personally pursue after Christ first. In other words, disciple and develop your people in more areas than just music!

See your team members as more than tools to help accomplish a task.

Take the time get to know your team members and to show them that you care about them and what is happening in their lives. Our team members are more than just the roles that they play within our ministries. We must work to see beyond the tasks and to the lives that they live. Let’s truly value them for who they are, and not just their contribution to our team. In the end, all the  musical excellence in the world means nothing if our stages are nothing more than an alter to spiritual apathy, complacency, or death. We need to be looking at the long-term goals instead of just short-term fixes.

Sharing is caring.

I mean that in exactly the corny way that it sounds. Share your life with the people around you. Disciple through the way you live and you’d be surprised who takes notice. There’s a difference between managing people and developing or discipling people and when we grasp that difference our ministries will radically change. Developing and discipling people takes an investment of ourselves, but it is SO worth it. Let’s help our team members reach their goals and potential in all areas, not just in the specific areas of our ministries.

Well… that wraps us up for now! Please feel free to comment with other thoughts and feedback!

Do you feel Adequate?

Have you ever listened to a Christian CD or gone to another ministry’s service and thought, “Holy cow, they are so talented. God is going to do great things through them.” Most of us probably have. I know in my own situation I love to watch “live” DVD’s of worship services produced by the major “mega” churches of our time. As a musician I am awestruck… each and every time. The sound is so clean and rehearsed, the cues and transitions are spot on, the production is incredible. It is inspiring. Often I even begin to compare myself and my ministry to the expectations set by these large-scale productions. I know in my situation it is SO easy for me to feel discouraged or inadequate in comparison to the things other ministers and ministries are doing around me. I observe the things they are doing and the things I am not. I notice the level of “professionalism” or excellence that I feel as if I can’t live up to. I hear stories of the Lord’s work within those churches, ministries, or organizations and feel absolutely inadequate. In reality, I’ve walked right into the trap the deceiver has laid out for me. Satan has a way of making kingdom work a competition… a comparison based off of worldly values, and we have a tendency to walk into the trap each and every time. Do you ever feel inadequate? Discouraged? How about competitive or envious? I do. I have. But… there is a way to fight back. Below I will give some things we can remind ourselves of when Satan is doing work on our spirit.

  • We can have a Biblical confidence in Christ.

So often in our churches we are reminded to stay humble… to keep our pride in check. Although this is absolutely necessary in the life a believer, I have found that I have the tendency to over compensate in the opposite direction and make myself feel inadequate to do the work the Lord has put in front of me. We have been “preached” at so much on the subject of pride that sometimes our first reaction to avoid it is to squash out any and all confidence we have. Don’t hear me wrong… pride is something we should fight…everyday. Any pride we have in ourselves is pride that has been misplaced. There is nothing wrong with being a confident person if our confidence is put in the right areas and focused on the right person. Either our confidence is ultimately in God or in ourselves. We consider one to be “faith” and the other to be arrogance. Let’s take a look at a misplaced confidence or pride in Daniel 4:28-37:

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

In this passage King Nebuchadnezzar shifted his pride from God and His work and onto himself and paid the price for it, but was restored when he laid aside his pride and instead boasted in God with Godly confidence in the work of His hands. Misplaced pride is detrimental to the life of a believer. It will ruin you. That being said, a lack of Biblical confidence in and through Christ will also hinder you in your ministry. Be confident in Christ and His working through you. Phillipians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Confidence isn’t always a feeling… it is a choice. We must choose to walk in confidence even when we are feeling inadequate. We do that by reminding ourselves that our confidence doesn’t have to depend on what we can and can’t do. Rather, our confidence is found in what God can do in us and through us. Godly confidence is an assurance not of one’s own ability but of God’s power working in and through His faithful and obedient children for His glory and not for our own. It is a boast not in man but in God, thereby giving Him all the glory. Feel inadequate? Develop a Biblical confidence.

  • Rejoice in the work of your brothers and sisters!

So often churches and ministries fall into the trap of competition. We must remember we are all on the same team and should be working together towards the same goal… not against each other. It is SO easy to succumb to the little green monster that lives inside all of us. Jealousy and envy are not helpful to the body of Christ. I constantly have to remind myself that God has placed people where He desires them to be and uses us all differently. Church isn’t a competition. We all do things differently… for a similar purpose! 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 says:

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Are you an eye? Be the best eye you can be. Are you an ear? Be an outstanding ear. God promises to work through His people, so we must remain faithful to Him and rejoice in the work taking pace around us to further His kingdom. Comparison is exhausting and a no-win situation! All we have to do is be the best version of ourselves as possible and trust that God will equip us to do whatever He’s asking of us. Don’t want to feel inadequate? Then don’t view God’s work through others as a direct comparison to God’s work through you. Instead, let’s stand beside our brothers and sisters in Christ and rejoice in the work God is doing through them… through us. We are all on the same team.

  • Excel and rejoice where God has placed you.

 At some point everyone is going to become discontent. Sometimes we may want to be someone else or to have another’s ministry. Satan deceives us by getting us to believe the lie that we will be happy if we just had what another has. The truth is, accomplishments and talents are not what makes us happy… true happiness is found in the Lord and the doing of His will. Ravi Zacharias writes in his book “Cries Of The Heart” that:

One of the most liberating moments in life is when we are able to accept ourselves as God has made us and are free from the shackles of trying to be someone we are not and were never meant to be. We then soar to be the unique personality God has given to each of us. (39-40)

God has created us ultimately to bring Him glory and we should be content and happy in doing that in the time and place that He has put us. Living our lives wishing we had something different means we miss out on the best God has for us. Want to feel fulfilled? Want to feel adequate? Then praise God for where He has put you and seek to Excel in the accomplishing of His will and plans for your life at this moment. God has not called us to be someone we are not, He has called us to simply be exactly who He has created us to be. Accept who you are and where you are. God has a will for your life and ministry and has provided a way. Seek it and excel.

Pray that God gives you Biblical confidence and keep your eyes on Him… He will take care of the rest.

Worship Leader or Worship Pastor: What are You?

Who has impacted your life the most? Your parent(s), a friend, a mentor? How did they do it? When thinking about these questions we will most likely all have something in common… the people who have and are impacting our lives the most do so on a personal level. We all have celebrity role models, whether they are movie stars, rock stars, or celebrity pastors/ authors is irrelevant, because these people can only do so much… they can instruct from a distance on an impersonal level but that is their limitation. What about the average blue collar guy who lives life beside us and speaks wisdom into our heads and hearts everyday.

What makes him special?

The thing that sets the important people around us apart from others is the personal interactions we share with them. They live life beside us… they are in the trenches beside us everyday. We know that when the going gets tough that they are the ones who will stand strong beside us through it all. They truly care. Did you catch that?

They truly care.

 Do you care? Do we as worship “pastors” care?

I found it interesting that the word pastor is derived from Latin where it literally means “shepherd” and relates to the Latin verb “pascere” which means, “to lead to pasture, set to grazing, cause to eat.” Shepherds in Biblical times lived amongst their flock. They consistently worked with them and taught them the best way to go. The sheep responded to the voice of their shepherd and trusted that he would not lead them astray. At night a shepherd would gather their flock into a pen or cave and sleep across the entrance in order to protect their sheep from predators that lurked around in the night. Shepherds cared for their sheep, and they demonstrated that caring by being there beside them and tending to their needs.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. -John 10:11-14

Are we being pastors? Are we being shepherds? If roles were reversed and you were in another person’s shoes would you trust YOUR “sheep” to you?

Here comes the hard question… How do you view your role in ministry?

Back in September of 2014 I had to answer that tough question myself. One day at Southern Seminary I found myself early for class and face-to-face with a wonderful professor who asked me that same question. It was tough. He said, “Tanner, you have all the right answers. You do all the right things… but, do you love your sheep?” Those simple words started a chain reaction and revolution of my thoughts towards “worship ministry.” You see, being a worship pastor isn’t just for those with exceptional musical talent. Being a worship pastor takes exactly that… being a pastor.

In my opinion a worship ministry is very limited without the presence of a pastoral figure. Hear me out! People may worship along with that ministry… individually, but without someone nurturing them, protecting them, and caring for them we truly are just giving them a song to sing. A pastor watches over his flock to see that they grow spiritually. A worship pastor wants to see his congregation and team grow as worshipers. The term “Worship Leader” seems to place the emphasis on leading a service (which we do). “Worship Pastor” takes the emphasis off of the service and places it onto the people… the sheep.

Do you lead the singing portion of the service or do you lead people?

We take our jobs seriously. We spend countless hours finding songs, reviewing songs, rehearsing songs, and leading our teams/ congregations. But… how much time do we invest in people? It’s about more than a song folks. I believe that it is time for us to focus less on the sound and more on the heart, less on our talents and abilities and more on the needs of our congregations, less on perfection and more on the motive. In the end, what we do should amount to more than 5-6 songs on a Sunday. We should be investing into the lives of those around us, shepherding them and impacting them on a personal level.

True discipleship and pastoring takes place up close on a personal level.

Sheer musical talents and abilities won’t cut it. Let’s set out to be pastors together. We want to bring more than a song. Let us pray together for the compassion and patience it takes to shepherd God’s people. Let us pray for wisdom and the ability to carry each other’s burdens. Let us pray for sensitivity, and most importantly let us pray for change.

I will leave you with wise words from Proverbs 27:23. It says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.”