Does your life reflect Thankfulness?

As a rollercoaster holiday season approaches one word gets tossed around quite a bit… thankfulness. What does it mean to be thankful? How does one live life thankfully? Is it a natural response or a choice? What are we thankful for?

Often times we dumb down a life of thankfulness to simply giving “thanks.” When in reality it’s so much more… a life of thankfulness is a behavioral style, a thought pattern and mindset, an attitude, and a choice most of all.

Psalm 107:8-9 says,

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Being thankful is something that’s always within our control.

Nothing turns us into bitter dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. We see it all around us! We live in an ungrateful dissatisfied society and unfortunately that spirit has made its way in and is prevalent in our churches. Nothing robs us of the joy of Christ and our salvation faster than neglecting to recognize and be thankful for the things around us.

We see in Romans 1:21 that when humanity rebels we neglect to recognize and give thanks to God. It says,

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Have we forgotten how dependent we are on God for everything?

Let’s not be foolish or ungrateful. Let’s give thanks.

Below I will offer some thoughts and applications on how we can develop, maintain, and nurture a thankful heart which is then exhibited through a thankful lifestyle.

  • Focus on Christ.

Psalm 103:1-6 says,

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

When we read this thankful Psalm it is necessary to notice that the first thing we must do is focus mind and heart on God! Looking at the passage we can see the priority that the Psalmist David places on recognizing that all we have to be thankful for comes from Christ. Everything within the Psalmist David, and hopefully us, should rejoice and say “Bless the Lord” first in all situations.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:19-20,

Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

James 1:17 says,

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Let’s open our eyes to the glory of God! But, if that alone isn’t enough to spark your flame just count up the numerous undeserved gifts God spreads before each of us every day!

  • Remember how far we’ve been Brought.

This lengthy section out Psalms 107:13-32 recalls the numerous deliverances the Lord has provided His people,

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

We can also look into the Old Testament at the story of Moses and see how God used him to accomplish His task of delivering the Israelites out of Egypt. Even when Pharaoh and his army pursued they were crushed by the sea at the hand of God.

So… let me ask…

How has the Lord delivered you?

What is your testimony? What did the Lord bring you out of? We all have a story, because we are all undeserving of anything expect a sinful, pitiful life that ends with us being in Hell.

But… God ransomed us while we were still undeserving sinners.

Isaiah 53:4-6 says,

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

We all have plenty to be thankful for. Give thanks.

  • Make the Choice.

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:15,

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

A spirit of thanksgiving is always the mark of a joyous Christian.

Colossians 3:15-17 goes on to say,

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

As believers we are called to be a thankful people! We have the most to be thankful for out of anyone… think about it, the riches of the earth are temporal but the gift of Heaven is eternal. So… we don’t have to be the richest, most successful, or popular people on earth to have a thankful Spirit. In Christ we have more than enough to rejoice over!

2 Corinthians 9:15 says,

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Thankfulness is a choice.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

It is the will of God that we live in a constant thankful attitude!

Choose thankfulness. There will always be hardships and trials but because of Christ we have hope and that is enough to be thankful for.

Psalm 106:1 says,

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

We Do What It Takes.

When the projectors aren’t working, when the sanctuary is too cold, when drama breaks out who are they gonna call? Unfortunately not Ghostbusters…

No job description can truly summarize the duties of a minister.

In John 6 we see a very familiar and well-known Bible story unfold. John 6:1-5 says,

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

Most of us recognize this story as one of the miraculous works of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and it is, but I also see this as a description of the life of a minister or disciple. Jesus, the Son of God, the miracle worker, the God incarnate feeds the crowd that was following Him! We know that the crowd obviously needed more than earthly bread and fish, but Jesus recognized a need and fulfilled it.

The job description of one in ministry is exactly that. The work is never ending, and the demands of ministry don’t conveniently fall into a 9-5 schedule. Like a doctor who is on call, ministers are merely between tasks… never really “off the job.”

Ministry is a 24/7 job because the needs of church or ministry remain constant.

We do what it takes to get the job done… regardless of what the job description may say. So… how do we maintain this lifestyle? We obviously aren’t superhuman. Below we will think together on how to be an effective minister, get the tasks done, and not kill ourselves in the process.

  • When possible leave work at work.

In some fields of work when you go home you are free from the duties that come with your job. You can’t really take a piece of machinery home or hold face-to-face meetings from the comfort of your bedroom. Ministry cannot be described in this manner. People have needs that arise at all times of the day and night and need your help “on-the-spot” without warning.

That is exactly what we signed up for.

Pastoral ministry is relational, and relationships are developed in and grown in times of need… and we all know that needs don’t arise according to our convenience or schedule.

However, some things just aren’t that urgent. Some things can be left at work until tomorrow. That bulletin can be printed 12 hours from now, and those lights can be adjusted and programmed another time. When possible leave work at work and allow yourself to rest and be refreshed.

Even Jesus needed some “time-off.” In Matthew 14:23 it says,

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

  • Family first.

It is pretty well known that the families of a minister are often the one’s sacrificing the most. Often the needs of a minister’s family are the last to be taken care of. They usually receive the leftovers… however little that is.

But… we must work diligently to see that our family is prioritized correctly and not deserted for the church. In fact, we see in 1 Timothy 3:12 that part of the qualifications for a minister is to have a healthy household.

Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

All throughout Scripture we see the importance of family in ministry. In 1 Peter 3:7 Paul calls us to live in “understanding” with our families and to care for each other’s needs in more than just physical ways. 1 Peter 3:7 says,

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

For those of us who are married we are called to love our wives/ spouses like Christ loved the church! Ephesians 5:25 says,

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Lastly, Matthew 19:4-6 says,

He said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

The ESV Study Bible commentary is very beneficial when interpreting this passage. It says,

From the moment they are married, they are unified in a mysterious way that belongs to no other human relationship, having all the God-given rights and responsibilities of marriage that they did not have before. Being “one flesh” includes the sexual union of a husband and wife … but it is more than that because it means that they have left their parents’ household … and have established a new family, such that their primary human loyalty is now to each other, before anyone else.

Our loyalty to our families is unlike loyalty shared with any other mortal being. We must place priority on those who help hold us up, who we come home to, who understand us, and care deeply for us.

We cannot forsake our families.

  • Do not over-commit.

This is a category than I myself struggle with in a very real way. How many times have you over-committed yourself to the point of breakdown? I have over and over again… in fact; I am over-committed at this very moment.

It never happens on purpose! We have an opportunity that arises that really is a good thing and we hop on board eagerly to offer our assistance. Boom! We have too much going on and things get neglected… for me the thing that usually gets neglected is my own physical health/ rest and my poor wife.

Busyness is a real issue!

The devil would love to take us “out of the game” by bogging us down and making it impossible for us to do exceptionally well in any area of our ministry.

This is where priorities are key… we must learn the art of saying “no.”

In ministry sometimes I think we are scared of saying “no” for the fear of letting someone down or missing an opportunity to further the Kingdom of God. But what we often forget is that we are meant to equip… not do ALL the work alone!

Ephesians 4:12 actually says what our ministry is…

To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

If we are spending our time equipping others then we should be able to share the workload! It is important for us to remember that it isn’t us that builds the church… it is Christ.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says exactly that to Simon Peter,

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

  • Make time to care for your own spiritual needs.

This should seem obvious, but unfortunately it is easier said than done. As ministers we are constantly pouring ourselves out and into others and if we don’t take time to be refilled then the supply is going to run dry. It’s not a matter or IF… but rather WHEN.

Even Jesus separated Himself from others to pray and refuel.

Mark 1:35 says,

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Matthew 14:23 says,

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

We must not sacrifice our own relationship with the Father to get a job “done.” In reality our congregations NEED us to be ever connected to the Lord. Take time. Get alone. Allow God’s Word to speak to you.

It is through the Father alone that we have the strength to handle the tasks of ministry. Rely on Him.

Check the Ego at the Door

Everyone has dealt with someone who is a “know-it-all” before. Large egos are easy pretty easy to spot and are typically pretty difficult to deal with. Problems with the human ego or an inflated “self-worth” or importance have been around a long time… in fact, I would argue that ego problems go back nearly almost to the beginning of creation. I think we can find our first ego issue in Genesis 3:1-7 where it says,

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

I find it quite interesting that one of the very devices (ego) manipulated to deceive Eve in the Garden was the very thing that caused Lucifer to fall in the first place. Isaiah 14:12-15 paints us a picture of a self-absorbed Lucifer with an ever growing ego who desired to be seen as more than he really was.

Isaiah 14:12-15 says,

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.

Obviously we can see by the end of that verse what the outcome of that thinking was… A man named King Solomon, who people say could be the wisest man to have ever lived, said in proverbs 16:18 that,

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Now obviously we have a lot more at play here with the fall of both Lucifer and man than just a human ego issue… but I think we can see a self-importance or self-inflation issue displayed in the Garden of Eden when Eve is deceived by Satan into believing that she could “be like God.” So… we have our very first example of an ego problem.

So… what is the problem with a little confidence? Nothing… if found in Christ.

But… an ego is an entirely different monster. We see in Scripture that the Biblical model for Believers is actually quite opposite to having an ego or inflated sense of confidence in self. The Biblical model or Christ standard is one of humility and of dying to oneself.

Luke 9:23 says,

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

So… for those like myself who like to be involved and love to serve within the Body of Christ and may struggle with pride, ego, or over inflated confidence… what do we do? How can we continue to serve and make sure that the attention is being directed in the right place and that we are staying “in-check?”

  • Check your motives.

Where is our focus? Ourselves? Or others? Matthew 22:37-39 says,

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

In this verse Jesus teaches us that the greatest commandments were to love God with all we are and to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we truly strive to keep these commandments it is impossible to have an ego issue because we are essentially removing all the focus from ourselves and placing it where it should be… Jesus and others. That’s what it’s all about in the end anyways right?

Our insecurities are often manifested as excess confidence and the desires of the flesh and this world scream out for attention, acknowledgement, and praise but for those of us who have been reborn in Christ we no longer are enslaved to those desires and we no longer must give them dominion over us.

Galatians 2:20 says,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 5:24 says,

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

  • Live humbly.

Lets face it… none of us are the best thing since sliced bread or two-ply toilet paper. Without Jesus we are worthless because it is in Him that our only worth is found.

A humble heart has no room for an ego because it recognizes that all we have and all we are comes solely from God. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul gives us a very serious reminder that all we have: our talents, successes, wealth, knowledge, gifts and abilities, etc… come from God and because of that we have nothing of our own to boast of.

1 Corinthians 4:7,

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

It is reassuring to know that all we have we have been given and that the Lord’s work isn’t dependent on our talent, skill, or anything else other than our obedience. God hasn’t called us to be the best, most adorned, highly skilled and praise worthy leaders… He has called us to be humble servants.

Micah 6:8 says,

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

1 Peter 5:5-6 says,

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you

Indeed, Jesus Christ is to be the example for how we should live and He Himself lived humbly. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus says,

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Psalm 51:17 says,

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

We aren’t called to be experts. We are called to be humble servants.

Romans 12:3-5 says,

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

If the answer to your problems is yourself then you haven’t addressed the biggest problem of all. Don’t let your ego be your idol… check it at the door.

What is your Platform: Using our Opportunities Wisely

Many of us would say that we have been blessed with many opportunities. Do you recognize those opportunities? In what ways do those around you receive blessing through the opportunities that you are given?

Some of us are full-time ministers. Some are students. Others of us interact with people each and every day… maybe you are a: police officer, school teacher, mechanic, maintenance man, waiter or waitress, etc. We all have different talents and abilities and different ministry fields that we have been given the opportunity to serve in.

On a side note: If you aren’t a minister then I would say to you that you have a a wonderful opportunity to live as Christ in front of others! People expect “holiness” from clergy… and unfortunately many expect hypocrisy from “average” church-goers. I would challenge you to not be “average.” Use your opportunities wisely!

Romans 12:1 says,

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

What part(s) of yourself can you give? What part(s) are you holding back? What opportunities have you been given? What is your sacrifice? Opportunities sometimes can be hidden, misconceived, or unidentified… but I promise they are there. How are you serving?

If you’re a Christian, God has given you at least one spiritual gift. And those gifts aren’t just for your own benefit; their purposes are to bless the entire Body of Christ. When you discover your spiritual gift(s) and use them everyday in your particular ministry field and in your local church, you’ll see amazing growth take place in your life, ministry, and in your congregation.

1 Peter 4:10 says,

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

You see… your gifts aren’t really for you at all. They are for God and others. If you think your talents or gifts are simply ways in which you can be successful, make a lot of money, and please yourself then you’ve missed the point of your life… and I am afraid many of us have missed it and we don’t even realize it. God has given us talents to benefit others, not ourselves, and believe it or not, it will recipricate because God has given other people talents that benefit us.

We all have different opportunities and gifts and each part matters. There are no insignificant people in the family of God. You were created, formed , and placed to serve God and bless others.

Your gifts, talents, and opportunities matter to God.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 says,

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

Are you using what God has given you for the benefit of others and your congregation and to make the world a better place? Or are you just wasting them or using those talents to benefit yourself?

Below I will outline a few steps to finding and using your opportunities and gifts to honor and glorify God.

  • Being willing

The first step in discovering and using our opportiunities and gifts to glorify God is to be willing to do so. This sounds simple, but it might not be as easy as you think. What is our reaction going to be when God presents an opportunity for us to scrub toilets, visit a nursing home, or do maintainence work around an elderly person’s home? Many of us might shrink away form the idea of serving “behind the scenes” in inconspicuous ways. We might think that God has got more “in-store” for us than that. I would tell you that no job is too lowly for a servant of Christ, and maybe that this service is a test form God to see how we will handle a forefront job or position. Don’t just look fort the glorifying jobs… because they are all glorifying in God’s eyes. Hopefully it’s the Father that you are trying to please and bring glory to anyways right?

Serve. Use your opportunity.

  • Being available

I don’t know about you, but I consistently find myself wondering where my day has gone. Time is precious… and SO many of us over-commit ourselves and get busy with things that we shouldn’t be so concerned with. It is because if that point that I think one of Satan’s best fiery darts is busyness.

Ephesians 5:15-20 says,

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We see Paul here in Ephesians calling us as believers to see the way in which we use our time as important. Paul says to us, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.” God urges us to use our time wisely and to take advantage of our every opportunity to serve, honor, and glorify Him before those opportunities disappear.

We can use our time wisely when we put God’s will into action in our lives, caring for one another, spreading the good news of salvation, and anything else that gives glory to God.. Ask yourself, “What can I do today to glorify my Savior Jesus Christ?”

Therefore… time is a precious commodity that runs out.

  • Being prepared

Anyone who has read any of my blogs previously knows that I am huge on preparedness. I think that in any task, no matter how medial, we should be prepared and equipped to do the job at hand with excellence. , I have noticed that in my particular area, corporate worship, we can too easily develop or encourage a mindset that if we are not “worship leader” we can kick back and place the our weight on someone else in “leadership.” But, let me clarify one thing, as servants of the Lord we are all “worship leaders” in different areas. How are you leading?

Being prepared can make a world of difference. Being early to practice running sound, projected lyrics, or lights can make services run smoother and more effectively. Spending time preparing in prayer can wage war against the spirits that fight for our souls on Sundays and every other day. Preparing by training and investing time into others can keep someone struggling anchored to a Christian body of believers or help reveal a personal spiritual gift to someone who may be unaware of it.

Every time you serve, whether it is in the front or back, interior or exterior of the church, you have the privilege and opportunity to encourage and lead others to worship God. So use everything you have to point people to Jesus.

Prepare yourself. Prepare others.

How are you using your opportunities and gifts? What are you holding back?

Picking up the Wreckage

What do you do when in the middle of leading worship you have a train wreck? Things are going smoothly and then suddenly the service flies off the rails. Everybody has had it happen, and some “catastrophes” are worse than others… but all of them make us feel helpless and, dare I say it, embarrassed.

Some Sundays we leave feeling as if everything went perfectly, no technical malfunctions or difficulties, no slip-ups or word vomit, and the music sounded well rehearsed and prepared. And then there are the Sundays where you feel like you take giant steps backwards in the opposite direction of perfection or excellence.

When it feels like you can’t do anything right what do you do? The train is “off the tracks” so, now what?

Look to Jesus.

It is true that God commands the pursuit of excellence, but there are times that even the most prepared individual messes up.

2 Peter 1:3 “…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and excellence…”

Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

Our best-laid plans can be laid to waste in an instant. But, the good news is that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness. When things don’t go as planned, people are able to see more clearly our humanity and fallibility.

God commands excellence, but forgives in the coming short of perfection. To strive for excellence means to do our best, and to be content to leave the rest for God; to be perfectionistic means that we aren’t ever truly satisfied with the results of something that we do.

The only perfect thing on this side of the fall to ever be will be Jesus.

Godly Biblical excellence allows us to live at peace with God, knowing that we are giving our best effort with His aid; to be perfectionistic means to live anxiously, always worrying about the flaws in what we are doing or that are in our past. To strive for excellence means to humbly depend on God for our abilities, strength, and results, and to give Him glory. If we could ever be “perfect” then why would we need God? It is because of our lack that we can see our NEED for Jesus.

My encouragement to all of us today is that our worship is not about professionalism and perfection. Neither of those things are necessary. Worship must always be about the lifting up of Christ.

Yes, we must seek to improve in every area. We can seek help or practice and study more. But in spite of what happens we must NEVER take our eyes off Jesus, or we have missed the point and purpose. Offer areas that you continue to struggle with to God in prayer, and then you give thanks for what happens. We must trust that God will be glorified in all the things that we do, the good and the bad, the excellent and the “not-so-much.”

So, this week, while we will work towards getting the songs right, I hope that we work towards getting to know Jesus better even more. If we deliberately prepare and still make mistakes, the world isn’t going to leave its orbit. God won’t smite us.

Christ will be lifted up, Christ will be honored, and we will be transformed. In the end, we will eventually have PERFECT worship… in eternity with Jesus.

Remember, God can continue working, even through our mistakes.

How Prepared are We?

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am a stickler on being prepared. I feel that if you are going to do something then you better be prepared to do it right and to the best of your abilities or you shouldn’t even bother at all. So many times though I feel as if we as worship pastors get into the daily “grind” or routine and enter unprepared into one of the most important things we do each and every week… leading congregational worship!

You might be saying, “Woah! Woah! Woah! Hold on to your horses there hotshot… you don’t know my life or my habits.” That may be true… but I believe that if we prepared ourselves and our congregations to worship on a regular basis then we would be seeing so much more true, authentic, and Spirit-filled worship in our local churches.

I’ll put it this way… being prepared for a worship service means more than having faithfully practiced and rehearsed the songs to your accepted level of excellence. Being prepared is more than having a strict minute-by-minute or song-by-song schedule to abide by, a team of professionals who could play the songs forward or backwards at any desired speed, or having all your segues and cues polished and ready to go.

Being prepared for worship includes being ready to lead, sing, and play… but it also includes so much more.

God is on a search for true worshipers. John 4:23 says,

“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.”

Are we being faithful to worship and lead in spirit and truth? Unfortunately for some of us that means we may need to make more time to prepare ourselves, and our teams.

Let me clarify one point before we dive deeper into this subject. We MUST prepare ourselves musically to lead worship. We CANNOT expect to properly lead people if we don’t know our stuff! So, take that as you will. We all prepare differently, but we should settle for nothing less than excellence. Our God is deserving of more than mediocre unprepared worship… and when we continually thank Him for the opportunity to do what we do and yet we don’t spend the time and effort to adequately prepare then we are blowing the opportunity we have thanked Him for. God doesn’t NEED us to accomplish His task and will, but He desires to see us used in His purposes. Prepare well and be ready to be used.

Now that I’ve made that one clarification lets take a look at how we can and should prepare for leading worship.

  • Prepare your Heart and Mind

It is of absolute importance that we take time to prepare our hearts to worship God before we set foot in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. True spiritual preparation takes time and effort and isn’t done in the fifteen minute gap between sound check and service.

In fact, God made this crystal clear when He gave the law in Exodus 19. Verses 10- 11 say,

The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

God called the people to prepare to come into His presence, or even near His presence when He came down onto the mountain where He would speak to Moses. The people weren’t even on the same mountain and they had to prepare! We are actually approaching and entering into the Lord’s presence with our worship… we should seriously prepare! We see consistently throughout Scripture and history that God wants His people to get ready to come near to Him, to prepare themselves for an encounter with Him.

When we take the time to think about what we are doing when we enter into worship, and lead worship, suddenly personal preparation becomes a priority. Take the time to think about the God that we are worshipping.

  • Prepare your Congregation

We know that corporate worship is of central importance. Psalm 22:22 says,

I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you

We are to praise God in the midst of the congregation! Worshipping Christ together is vital for us as Christians. Life wasn’t meant to be done alone… and neither is Christianity. So think about it, you’re worship isn’t for you… it is ultimately for God and also for encouraging your brothers and sisters in Christ.

A runner wouldn’t enter into a marathon without specific training the same way an individual wouldn’t climb into a ring with a boxer without having at least put on gloves before. We should prepare ourselves for worship as least as well as we prepare ourselves for other things that don’t hold a portion of the weight eternally.

Work to both prepare yourself for worship as well as teaching your congregation to prepare for corporate worship. When we place specific value on something people handle it differently. Place value on your corporate worship.

  • Prepare through Prayer

This point may seem like a given, but when we get scattered and rushed it is typically the first to fly out the window. Part of our preparations for leading corporately needs to be specific prayer for our corporate gatherings. If we can make this a priority I guarantee you that it will help and encourage you and others in your congregation to keep your focus on the Savior King who alone has the power to save, heal and deliver all who call upon His name and who is worthy of all our worship and more!

We must cover our gatherings in prayer. Commit yourself to praying over your services. We can do nothing alone. Here are some prayer points that will get you started.

Pray for direction. Pray that we are receptive to the Spirit and willing to go against our own plans if called to. My Pastor has repeatedly said to me that Pentecost didn’t occur because it was placed or scheduled in the bulletin.

Pray that Christ be glorified. We must continually pray against any sense of pride that may develop within us. Our worship should be about Christ and for Christ. If He isn’t in it then we are just singing songs. All that we do needs to point to the Father.

Pray for change. We must petition the Father for the hearts of the people within our congregations. We can have great services, but if nothing changes then all we’ve done is provided false security. I challenge you to pray for conviction and repentance, it isn’t pretty… but it is necessary and will bring change.

Pray against the enemy. Satan wants nothing more than to make us as believer’s weak. A sense of comfort or idleness is a scary thing. Let’s pray against the works of the deceiver that can invade our gatherings and congregations. We serve a mighty God, a roaring lion that crushes the head of the serpent. Pray against the devil and his works constantly.

John 14:13 says,

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Hopefully through this non-exhaustive list we have all seen the importance of our preparations. Being prepared keeps us focused on what matters. When we’re spiritually prepared, we’re not as concerned about songs and arrangements (which are important), but the engagement of the congregation and the presence of God take the front seat.

When we begin to ignore the preparation of our heart, trivial matters tend to steal the show.

We also must remember that we have no right to come into God’s presence on our own. No amount of preparation that we can do is enough to make us fit, but we must be faithful to do our part!

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.

Why is singing a “new song” essential to Christian worship?

Think of your favorite song…

Why is it your favorite? What kind of memories does that song bring along with it every time you hear it? Music has a way of creating and capturing moments in fewer words and simpler methods than any story teller could ever hope to do in their writing. Songs have an awesome way of conveying messages to sometimes unaware listeners that will stick with them longer than any sermon they will ever hear.

Thinking about the level of comfort that comes along with “old” and familiar songs makes me wonder why in Scripture we are commanded to sing “new” songs unto the Lord and not “old” or familiar songs. In fact, three Psalms start with the words, “sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalms 96, 98, and 149). Isaiah 42:10 says:

Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

Why such the emphasis on singing a “new” song… won’t any song of praise work?

Nowhere in Scripture do we find a command to sing “familiar” songs to the Lord… because we do that anyways. Human beings are creatures of comfort and we don’t need to be reminded to do things that we love. Does anyone have to tell you to drink your favorite refreshment or partake in your favorite activity? No! We enjoy that particular refreshment or activity and we naturally gravitate towards it. Singing and worship works in the same way. If we aren’t careful we can get stuck doing the same things and singing the same songs over and over again until they become bland or ritualistic. The Lord desires a “new” song and because of that desire we are reminded over and over again through Scripture.

Other than the Biblical commandment to do so, why is singing “new” songs essential to healthy corporate worship?

  • It creates a “freshness” in our worship.

Have you ever been in a rut? It’s a bad feeling that many of us know all too well. By devoting ourselves to finding, learning, and singing new songs we can help fight against ruts in our corporate worship lives. We have already established that songs capture times, moments, and memories within themselves and hopefully as we mature and advance in our walk with Christ we feel the need to create new memories and moments. New songs can capture new seasons of our church bodies lives and speak to particular situations that are around us currently. We all have those particular “go-to” songs that our congregations just love and have grasped on to, but I would like to encourage you to not go-to those songs so often. God presents new mercy and grace everyday and because of that we should offer up new praise and worship. With new songs comes a freshness in worship. I know that it is easier said than done, but a new song a month or every other week is a good way to get your congregations searching, learning, and seeking new music as well as creating new memories and moments that they will get to relive forever when they hear those particular songs.

  • It provides opportunity for an expansion of our worship vocabulary and library.

How many of us can quote more songs word-for-word than Bible passages? Unfortunately, I know that I can. Songs are memorable and contagious. We hear them, learn them, and memorize them without much effort. By continually playing the same songs we are just feeding that behavior and those words eventually begin to not carry as much weight as before. By introducing new songs we are introducing new material for our congregations to learn and think about without even meaning to! Let’s put new words, thoughts, and phrases in their minds to enable them to worship in new ways, with new words! I catch myself throughout the day humming or singing a particular section of a song without meaning to and I know that I am not alone. As worship pastors, leaders, and teams we should have a desire to place as much Biblical and Godly content into the heads of those around us as possible. What that ultimately comes down to is learning new songs. Let’s put forth an effort to finding solid songs and to teaching them to our congregations so that their worship libraries can be expanded for those times when their minds drift to musical content. Music is widely available everywhere and ultimately we want them worshipping Jesus and not Bieber… so we need to give them songs new songs to sing.

  • It causes us to put forth effort.

In the end, it is just easier to sing old and comfortable songs. It comes natural. But, we serve a God who shows us new mercy and grace everyday and provides a way for us to worship and be creative. If we are going to be good stewards of the abilities the Lord has given us then we need to put forth some effort in our worship. Our eternities in Heaven are going to be spent singing praises to our God, and I’d like to imagine that those praises aren’t going to consist of “Amazing Grace” 1,000,000,000 times… Let’s begin to live our eternities now and praise our God in new and fresh ways. It will take effort, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

Let’s take the challenge together to sing new songs!

I don’t want you leaving this blog thinking there is no place for familiarity because that is not the point at all. To be applicable I will state that I never do more than one new song a week and typically play a single new song two weeks in a row before introducing anything else. But… every church is different and you are the best judge for your particular situation. In the end, we should be singing new songs with songs that we already know and love. God has given us memories of the past for a reason, but we are also made new in His love daily and we should celebrate that with new praise unto Him!

Intentionality is Key

The Merriam-Webster defines intentional or intentionality as something done with intention or on purpose. How often do we do things purposefully? When we act with intentionality towards someone or something we are giving them or it perceived worth in our eyes. That’s huge. To whom or what do you give worth?

Here are a few things within our ministries that we as worship leaders should approach with intentionality and allow God to in turn use for His glory:

Your Personal Relationship with Christ

This may seem like a given, but it is far too easy to get in the flow or into a routine and to become a full-time worship leader and a part-time follower of Christ. We as human beings are very good at faking things by becoming “excellent” at what we do without even thinking about why we do it. We all have the church or spiritual mask that we can put on to make people believe we have it all together even if we don’t. Sometimes I myself can be so “task-driven” or goal oriented that I forget to be intentional with Christ. Improving our ministries and getting things done isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but if we do those things while sacrificing personal devotion then what are we really working for? I lead worship a lot… but I hope that I can be a personal worshipper of Christ even more. Let’s decide right now to never become more focused on the things that we do and how we do them than the REASON behind what we do. Take time to spend with Jesus… your congregations will thank you.

Your Communication

Communication is key! Be intentional to communicate among your leadership and your ministry. I have found that the leadership in any church loves to take time in order to find out what is happening within the body. Fill them in! We don’t have to do this alone.

This also can have another side to it. As worship pastors we are really good at spending time to create structures and worship services and then keeping our reasoning to ourselves! Let people know why you choose the songs you do and place them at certain parts of a service. Some people are better at putting the pieces together than others and I personally am very poor at providing them with all the pieces on a weekly basis.

Your Time

Think back to the last time someone or something had a problem that they approached you with right before rehearsal or a service… if it wasn’t sometime in this last week I am thoroughly surprised. It would be hard for an outsider to understand the amount of stress and last minute emergencies that we as worship leaders deal with on a weekly basis. I have just come to accept them as a part of leading within a body of believers. I also know, from personal experience, how easy it is to stay busy and yet get nothing done. Our time as ministers is limited and often times we are stretched in every direction, but in order to serve our congregations with Godly excellence we must work to be intentional with our time. It’s far too easy to get overwhelmed by all the last minute things that come up, but if we are careful about scheduling in advance and thinking ahead not only will we get more done, but we will free up more time to be intentional in other areas that are on this list. We should strive to never treat our ministries like a list of tasks or jobs that we have to get done every week, and one way to do that effectively is to have a schedule!

Your Relationships

 Jesus was intentional about building relationships with His followers. We should follow that example in order to disciple and mentor those around us. As “Worship Pastors” we need to be acting like a pastor, and that requires more than just singing or playing an instrument. Being intentional within a relationship is essential in establishing influence and developing those around us into productive disciples who can, in return, spend their lives mentoring others. Jesus walked, talked, and ate alongside His disciples. They experienced life together. It was in that way that they were able to be ministered to.

Chip Bell says, “Effective mentors are like friends in that their goal is to create a safe context for growth. They are also like family in that their focus is to offer unconditional, faithful acceptance.” There can be no discipleship without relationship… and relationships are intentional.