What is the purpose of singing in Christian Worship?

Every Sunday across the United States and around the globe voices are raised in churches. Why do we sing? Why has singing become such a large aspect of what we gather together to do on Sundays? Is there something magical that happens when we sing?

What does our singing look like to others? Is it weird? I personally don’t find the fact that we sing praises to God weird at all. We have musical souls and use music to express every other aspect of our lives (sadness, happiness, anger, etc…). Why wouldn’t we sing to God? In fact, the Bible is filled with commands to sing and lift praises to our God.

Psalm 100:1-2- Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

Psalm 95:1-2- Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 147:1- Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

Isaiah 12:5- Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.

So… the Bible tells us to sing. But, if for some reason that isn’t enough for you then the fact that the Saints that have come before us sang should speak volumes to you and your beliefs or reactions to singing. We can even see an account where Jesus sang with His disciples before His betrayal. Mark 14:26 gives us this account when it says:

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

In fact, Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that we have a God who is going to sing over us Himself one day.

 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing.

So… we sing because God Himself sings! We are also commanded throughout Scripture to sing praises to our God. We have already seen many of these passages, but we can find another in Psalm 33:3 where it commands us to:

 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

John 4:23-24 also says that God is seeking people who worship Him. He Himself delights in our worship… He delights in our singing!

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

God is worthy of our praises and that alone should make us sing. We should rejoice and celebrate in the grace that we have been give. We have been blessed beyond measure and spoken words alone should not be able to completely contain our praises and excitement.

Other than the fact that God is worthy of our praise and we are commanded Scripturally to sing… why do we sing? What is the purpose of our songs? I will provide a few practical applications or purposes of our singing below.

  • We sing to remember.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to recall the words of songs you haven’t heard for a numerous amount of years? Some songs are like learning how to ride a bicycle… once you hear them and they are there you never can forget them regardless of how little you bring them to the front of your mind or how hard you try to forget. As humans we store literally hundreds, even thousands of songs in our brains without even knowing it! We live in a musically saturated world. Rhyme, meter and song are the most powerful mnemonic devices.

You may be asking… what is that weird word?

Mnemonic devices, according to the Oxford dictionary, are devices such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something.

Music has an unusual mnemonic power. We remember patterns in music much better than patterns in words alone. In Deuteronomy 31:19-22 we see a particular passage in which God uses music to help his people remember his words. In this passage we see Moses commissioned by the Lord to write a song for the people of Israel so that they can easily remember God’s words.

“Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give.” So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the people of Israel.

It is crazy that even in the Word we can see the fact that music has incredible memorization power for humans acknowledged. Paul says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly…singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Therefore, we can see that songs whose lyrics expound on the person, work, and glory of Christ tend to stay with us long after we’ve forgotten the main points of the sermon.

To end this point I will provide a snippet from a previous blog post of mine:

We live in an entertainment driven culture, so sermons or teaching just aren’t stimulating enough to keep some people connected. I found it interesting that researchers have discovered that the brain releases dopamine, a chemical related to attention and focus, when people watch TV or play video games because that “entertainment” is giving the them a “stimulus surge.” In a culture filled with this “surging” it is easy to see and understand why we have collectively become desensitized to things like sermons, lectures, meetings, etc. This lack of focus without “surging stimulation” can be seen first-hand in our sanctuaries and classrooms.

Interestingly enough, the brain also releases dopamine when stimulated with music!

 I have said all of that to make my next point clear… our music is important. The songs that we sing will likely be remembered when all else is forgotten, and because of that we must work to make wise choices regarding what we sing and play in our limited time each week. Our music shapes the Gospel for our congregations on a weekly basis whether we want it to or not.

We sing to remember God’s words, characteristics, and all that He has done for us!

  • We sing to respond.

Sometimes just thinking or speaking isn’t enough! Think about your response to a great gift you’ve received. If you just said “thank you” without smiling or looking happy what would be perceived as your true response or emotion? Think about a soldier returning home from war and his wife rushing out onto the runway and leaping into his open arms… what an awesome response! Speaking alone isn’t enough! The glory of God cannot simply be talked about. We need to sing! Simply thinking isn’t enough! The glory of God cannot simply be thought about and kept inside our minds. We need to sing!

Think to the book of Exodus when Moses and the Israelites fleeing for Egypt and the army of Pharaoh, just when the Israelites thought they were had and that they were done for God delivered them by crushing the enemies and their armies. What was their reaction… their response? They sang.

Exodus 15:1- Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.

We are told to sing with “thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Singing is meant to be a whole-hearted activity. Emotionless singing is an oxymoron. God gave us singing to combine objective truth with thankfulness, doctrine with devotion, and intellect with authentic emotion.

1 Corinthians 14:15- What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

In the end, the act of singing engages the full range of our emotions. Singing is a way of expression. It helps us engage our entire being in worship and praise to God.

Has God given you something to sing about? Has God given you a song? Sing it.

  • We sing to encourage ourselves and others.

James 5:13 says:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

Singing can be an encouragement. What is more encouraging than standing amongst your peers, your brothers and sisters in Christ, when you are at your highest high or lowest low and hearing them sing praises to God. Not everyone is in the same spiritual, or emotional place on Sunday mornings when we gather… but yet we still do. It is encouraging to sing, and it is encouraging to hear other’s sing to our God.

When Paul and Silas were in prison what did they do? They prayed and sang… that should say something.

Acts 16:25- About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

  • We sing to engage.

Music is an essential part of our culture. Music is everywhere. How do we engage our culture that has drifted far away from the truths of the Gospel and the Words and lifestyle of Jesus? One way is through our songs and through our music. Great music can assist us in reaching those who are far from God. Music affects people in strange ways that words simply cannot. Music can reach the human spirit where mere debate and spoken truths cannot. It can soften our hearts and make us more receptive to the truth.

We see the lives and attitudes of inmates changed when Paul and Silas are in captivity singing and praying. When the doors swung wide open and the bonds fell off nobody ran away. Nobody even tried to escape! What changed their hearts? God did. Through what avenue? Most likely the truths being expressed through Paula and Silas. We see change not only in their testimonies… but in the response of the prison guard ready to take his own life to avoid punishment and the disgrace to his family’s name. Acts 16:25-34 says:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Music can change lives. Sing truths that will infiltrate hardened hearts, and sing challenges to those of us who already know Christ. We can worship, teach, and evangelize through the songs that sing on a daily and weekly basis.

  • We sing to silence the enemy.

My favorite reason that we sing is to silence the enemy. Singing throughout the centuries was used as a battle tactic or a way to prepare soldiers for battle. We see in the Bible that singers and musicians were just as big of a part of the army as the soldiers themselves. They led the fighters into battle! Tribes in Africa will often sing and shout before heading into war as a way of intimidating their enemies with the size of the army and the volume of their voices. In Korean and Vietnamese history soldiers would rush into a battle with loud shouts and songs to intimidate and overwhelm their enemies. In American history music played a large role in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars as both a moral booster and communication technique.

We can apply this strategy to our own lives. We enter into spiritual warfare each and every day. When we accepted Jesus as our Savior we basically put a target on our back for Satan and the world to shoot at. But, when the enemy tries to attack your life or church, the raised voice of faith in the promises of God will drive him away. Psalm 68:1-6 says:

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him! As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God! But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Sing truths to yourself and to the works of the world and the devil. A simple reminder is often all it takes. 1 Samuel 16:23 says:

And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.

Refresh yourself and others. Sing to yourself and with others. Prepare yourself to fight and let the devil know who the victor will be!

My favorite song to sing in times of spiritual warfare in my own life is “Always” it goes like this:

My foes are many, they rise against me, But I will hold my ground. I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way, my help is on the way.

Oh, my God, He will not delay, my refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true. My God will come through always, always.

Troubles surround me, chaos abounding, my soul will rest in You. I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way, my help is on the way.

Oh, my God, He will not delay, my refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true. My God will come through always, always.

I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord. I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord. I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord. I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord. 

Oh, my God, He will not delay, my refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true. My God will come through always, always. Oh, my God, He will not delay, my refuge and strength always, always.

  • We sing to unite.

Ever wonder why singing is the dominant art form or artistic expression in churches? I believe the answer to that question is simple… singing is the easiest way to unify a large group of people.

People sing together in all kinds of places including church. We sing together in different scenarios and for different purposes… but it always unites a group of people for a sole purpose or with the same words. Singing together binds us together. When we sing corporately it provides a way for numerous people from all races, backgrounds, social and economic classes, and ages to express the same thoughts and passions together.

Do you want a more united church? Sing together.

These are just a few of the reasons we sing together in churches every Sunday. This list definitely isn’t exhaustive and you may have some reasons yourself that I haven’t mentioned. We must all take the challenge to truly think about and work to understand the reasons behind our singing. So… I’ll close this question:

Why do YOU sing?

Whose kingdom are you building?

We live in an age of self-promotion. We love attention. Think about it… social media, reality television, selfies. Everyone strives for likes, pokes, shares, retweets, clicks, and followers. What is our motivation behind anything that we do?

We know that 1 Corinthians 10:31 calls us to do all thing unto Christ and for His glory…

 “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God.”

But do we? What is our motivation behind the things that we do? Whose kingdom are we building? Are we building up our own? Are we building someone else’s? Or are we building God’s kingdom?

I believe most of us deep down want desperately to build the Kingdom of God… but sometimes without even knowing it our intentions or methods can get cloudy or twisted. We want to see souls saved, lives changed, community built amongst believers. We desire to see believers equipped, young Christians discipled, and churches grow. Doing this with the correct motive and without a human agenda in times of struggle (and especially success) is the real challenge. Colossians 3:23 says:

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”

While we are on this subject there are a few things I’d like to think about out loud…

  •  If people can go to our websites and hear about all of OUR ministries, OUR successes, and the things that WE can offer them, but they can’t see or hear about Jesus then we are in serious need of a wake up call… we are building OUR kingdom. In the end, we don’t really have much to offer apart from Christ.
  • If the thing that continuously brings people back to our churches is the great music, comfortable atmosphere, or free coffee and donuts before service then we have totally missed the mark. Don’t get me wrong; these things are good things if we are using them for a greater purpose. We should desire more than membership… we should desire life change.
  • Church membership, numerous programs and opportunities, and worldly excellence doesn’t change lives… Jesus does.
  • If we are constantly worrying about what people (outsiders, our church members, etc) will think before we make a decision then who is really in control of the Kingdom we are building? It obviously isn’t our Father… because He tends to get ignored often times when we make decisions.
  • Are we in the Gospel business or are we just businessmen? What are we building, promoting, and growing? Are we growing or expanding our kingdoms just for growth or expansions sake? You know… Steve Jobs would have made a heck of a church planter, consultant, or “church growth expert” while he was alive. He may not have been saved… but he knew how to communicate, promote, and grow a business. He was a good leader. God wants more than successful businessmen and leaders… He wants sold out servants. If you happen to be both then I’m sure that is okay too!

Here are a few things we can keep in mind when we think about the work we are doing and what kingdom we are building on a daily basis.

It’s kingdom work… not a competition.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the things we are doing as individual bodies of Christ that we neglect the fact that we are all on the same side. We are part of the same family. We must face the reality that not every church has the same strengths as another. The “body” language in 1 Corinthians is often looked to within a single church or “body of Christ” whereas in reality we are all the body and many of us serve different purposes than each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 says,

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 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.

We don’t all use the same means to get to the common end. We all have different strength, passions, resources, and gifts. We MUST work together as a unified body to see that we are playing to our individual strengths and covering for each other’s weaknesses.

You may be asking… how is this practical, or how can I actually apply this?

Well let’s say you have a prospective member of your church that struggles in a particular area that your church doesn’t have the resources to effectively come alongside them in… but another Gospel loving Christ-centered church in town does. Do you point them in the direction of a ministry you know can help them or do you keep it to yourself and hope it works out? By pointing them in the direction of someone who can minister and disciple them effectively in their current situation you are growing God’s kingdom… you may not see your particular church or ministry “kingdom” grow because of it… but who cares? We don’t all have the same strengths! We need to stop acting like we do and work as a team!

Pride comes before the fall.

There are some of us in the ministry that will be part of a movement of God and we will see rapid growth in the ministries in which we serve… we must remember that it isn’t anything in which WE are doing. God has given us a gift… a moment to be part of something amazing. The show can and will go on with or without us. Stay humble, fight pride, and be a part of it! Allow God to work in and through you!

We must continually ask ourselves who is being glorified with this action? What kingdom is being advanced? All that we do should point to Christ and work to the advancement of His kingdom. James 4:6 says,

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Be used and stay humble.

Numbers may not equate to success.

Growth is super encouraging, but how and why are we growing? How is this kingdom being built? Are we establishing a strong foundation on the Word of God or are we building a kingdom to ourselves, our trendiness, flashiness, or excellence in arts or leadership? The Word of God isn’t always popular, but it is ALWAYS necessary. Preach faithfully, sing faithfully, and let the Lord do His work.

We need to be working to share the Gospel with the lost. If our ministries or churches are growing substantially but we aren’t baptizing ANYONE then we need to think about where those people are coming from. Are we just reshuffling church members from one church to another or are we reaching our communities? Now obviously church-folk shift from one church to another at points in their lives for numerous reasons… but that shouldn’t be our target audience. If our ministries or churches are growing primarily by stealing evangelized people from other ministries or churches that already part of the kingdom of God then what kingdom are we really growing? Probably ours if they already have citizenship in His…

We must check our motivation, stay humble, and allow God to move. Let’s work together for the one and only kingdom that matters.



Who are you?

Who are you? What is your purpose?

I’m sure that isn’t the first time you have been asked or have wondered that for yourself? Who are you and what is your purpose?

This question definitely isn’t a new one… it has been asked since the beginning of time. I would say that every person (other than Jesus) has experienced an identity crisis at some point in his or her life. For example, Adam, the first man, faced an identity crisis when it came time to pick between the fruit and his calling as the first human creation. Who was he? Could he be better? He was deceived into thinking so and he took the bait…

We also see an identity crisis of sorts in the book of Jonah… The Lord spoke to Jonah and commanded him to be a missionary or preacher to the people of Nineveh. Although Jonah heard form the Lord, what he was hearing didn’t line up with the plan he had for his own life… he had an identity crisis. Jonah ran from the Lord and pursued his own interests. We all know the rest of this story…

Obviously we know there are other reasons and ways to look at the stories of both Adam and Jonah, but one thing is very clear… we all have a NEED for an identity.

An identity crisis is defined as:

A psychosocial state or condition of disorientation and role confusion occurring as a result of conflicting internal and external experiences, pressures, and expectations.

Too often, people base their identities on what they do or in the acceptance of others, and the perceived expectations that come along with that acceptance… whether it is a job, hobby, relationship, or even positive or negative remarks from peers. Traditionally, we’ve been taught to find the answer in one place…we are what we do. If I write, then I’m a writer. If I play music, then I am a musician. If I play a sport, then I’m an athlete. The world creates easy definitions of people and we look to those definitions far too often. We like to define ourselves based upon what we do. Somehow we have been deceived and allowed the things that, for the most part, we have dominion and control over to define us as people. We are allowing our identity and self worth to be found amongst the things of the world.

Are you being controlled or limited by the things that you allow to define you?

The truth is that God intends for all people to find their identity in Him alone. Our effectiveness as pastors and worship pastors is hinged upon us becoming comfortable with the people God has created us to be. Our identity is found and secured in Christ alone when we begin to follow him… we must simply accept that identity and pursue it wholeheartedly.

Below I will present some ideas that come along with finding your identity in Christ. Who are we? Here are some things to keep in mind…

  • A New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

If we have accepted and are following Christ then we are a new creation. Our previous identities are no more! Your identity as a musician pales in comparison to your identity as a son or daughter of Christ. Galatians 3:26 says:

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

  • Tools of Christ

John 15:5 says:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

After conversion we become the branches or arms of Christ. It is through us that the Lord delights in doing His Kingdom work here on earth. Our identity can be found in Christ and expressed through the calling He has placed individually on each of our lives. There are particular characteristics that we are called to have or develop as sons and daughters of Christ. Colossians 3:12 challenges and calls us to better ourselves for God’s work here on earth. It says:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

  • A People with a Purpose

A lot of our seeking for identity comes from our desire to have or know our purpose… people want a purpose. When we begin to follow Christ our purpose is made clear. 1 Peter 2:9 says:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

In Christ we have a purpose! God has given us an identity and a purpose to serve Him here on earth 2 Corinthians 5:20 says:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Having an identity crisis? Seek the Lord and your identity in Him will be made clear. Feeling ineffective or unequipped to do the job ahead of you? Pursue Jesus and He will equip you for the task before you. Be confident in your identity because it has been secured by none other than Christ!

As we all seek out our identities, purposes, and callings in Christ I will leave you with a challenge found in Romans 12:2:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


Do Others See What You See?

Have you ever had a goal? A vision?

The word “visionary” is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

: having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future

: having or showing a powerful imagination

Think about some true visionaries from throughout history and our culture… What do they all have in common? It’s not necessarily resources (before their success at least). It isn’t a certain level of education. It’s not a location, race, gender, or economic class. Really their similarity isn’t a person, or a place… it is a thing. They all share a passion, a dedication, or a drive to cast a vision and to pursue it relentlessly until it happens or their vision is altered. True visionaries work towards accomplishing their ideas, goals, and visions. If they hadn’t taken steps towards achieving their goals and visions we would merely call them dreamers or idealists… but they did.

You may be asking…

Why are we talking about visionaries? How is this important to my ministry?

Well… you know I am going to tell you. The church in America is in need of a revival. We have gotten so complacent in remaining exactly the way that we have been that often times tradition has leapfrogged right ahead of Jesus without us even taking notice. Who are we? Why do we do the things we do? I would dare to say that the average church-goer has no idea of the vision or desired direction of the church that they attend. Some churches in their entirety might not have ever nailed down a vision… or certainly not made it known enough to work towards achieving or accomplishing it!

If our vision has been to stay exactly where we are, and to always have comfort and a security blanket then I think 90% of us have been successful! Awesome! Go us!

I’m being harsh here… but how do we ever expect to truly be effective if we aren’t organized and working towards the same desired goal. Vision is important. Goals are necessary. Helen Keller was quoted saying that, “The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.” One of my favorite NFL coaches named Tony Dungy talks quite a bit about casting vision and setting goals that inspire people to better themselves for a greater cause. Tony Dungy says:

The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. Vision will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve excellence. Only vision allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. Vision has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our vision is what we become in life.

Develop a vision for yourself. Develop a vision for your ministry. It will change who you are and the way you do things. It will unite and enable people to accomplish a decided goal. Things don’t necessarily become easier with a set vision, but they do become more understandable and focused in light of a defined greater purpose.

Here are some thoughts about being a visionary within your ministry:

  • Seek the Lord

Too often I have “visions” that aren’t of the Lord… they are actually just my desires and I am doing my best to justify them using the banner of Christ. Sometimes we pursue ourselves and our own wants mistakenly without even knowing it. It’s too easy for me to say that, “God wants my ministry to write and record hit songs to be used by churches all over the world.” When in reality that is what I want and God’s plans may be entirely different than mine.

Trust the Lord. Seek the Lord. Pursue the Lord.

It is so easy to say… but much harder to do. Let us seek God first and allow His vision to become our own and then let’s see that vision through until the end.

  • Get others involved… Share your vision

Stop signs would be pretty useless if they were camouflaged… something that isn’t seen, heard, or known about might as well not exist. The same goes for a vision… a vision in leadership should be visibly clear and understood by the entire congregation of a church. It does no good to have wonderful visions if they are kept secret. When asking a random church member, they should be able to say in a few short sentences what the mission of the church is, and it should be visibly obvious and evident. This allows people to focus where there needs to be focusing and it also encourages servant-hood. A vision of the church should be something that the church can live into and come along beside. We aren’t meant to do “church” alone… include other people in your vision and see how much farther it can go. As a minister not only are you a shepherd… but you are also an enabler. Enable people to serve and accomplish purposes that are far greater than themselves. You never know… they might become part of your vision.

  • Pray. Pray. Pray.

Obvious right? But, prayer is vital to our ministries and visions. We must saturate our entire lives and all that we do with prayer. If we even stand a chance at discerning the ideas and desires that the world throws at us then we must be in constant conversation with the Father.

Want to hear from God? Pray.

Want to see lives changed? Pray.

Want to develop a Godly vision? Pray.

Develop a vision, work towards it, and pray it in!

  • Pursue your vision out of faith

Not all visions are easy. God doesn’t grant us all with the glamorous visions and plans that we would hope for, and we should thank Him for that! Some of us will have to give up a lot to pursue God and the vision He has given us for our lives. It won’t be comfortable, it won’t be glamorous, or self-glorifying… but it will be worth it. Step out on faith and pursue God relentlessly. Chase the vision that God has given you!

  • Do not give up!

Not all visions given by God are a walk in the park. Some will last a lifetime and we may die before seeing our vision fulfilled. Look at Moses… he delivered the Israelites with a vision of redemption and seeing the Promised Land, and although He was able to see the Promised Land from Mount Nebo before he died he was never actually able to set foot within it. Moses did his part, and eventually his vision was fulfilled and came to pass. Set short term and long-term goals to keep yourself motivated and pursuing a larger purpose. Rejoice in your successes and regroup after your failures… but always press on.

So… what is the vision God has given you? What are you doing to accomplish that vision?