Culture is defined by words and action. It is the customs of a particular people or social group. Culture is an accurate representation of who you are. One can have ideas and thoughts about what they want that culture to be, but without living it they will never create or change it.
How do we cultivate a worship culture? We live it. As our mission is to live, develop and lead authentic worship, this only happens when we live it in our homes, when we talk about it in our conversations, when we rejoice together, and we honor the Lord above ourselves.
There was a phrase that was popular in ancient Israel that is a culture defining phrase: The phrase…”As surely as the Lord lives.” Jeremiah 5:2 While in this passage it was addressed that they used this phrase and language, but didn’t live like the Lord was alive, They as a people used this language as an unwavering statement of faith.
We have many conversations during the course of the day, but how many are focused on the Lord being alive and active among us. What if instead of the last thing, the Lord was the first thing we talk about. We say we want a worship culture, but our culture is defined by our words and actions. As surely as the Lord lives, I believe that God’s best is soon approaching. As surely as the Lord lives, God has a plan for us, that is much bigger than we are. As surely as the Lord lives, He desires to be the first and not the last on our hearts and minds.
Lets adopt language that reinforces the culture that God is cultivating in us, and lets not forsake living that culture reducing our language to mere words.
How can we use language to help cultivate a healthy worship culture? What would it look like if culture defining language was a part of our regular vocabulary? What are you believing God for in this next season of life and ministry? Does our language match our culture? Is this good or bad?
It is easy to expect from others what we aren’t contributing ourselves. I can notice myself frustrated because of lack of organizational strategy, when at the same time, I am blinded by the fact that I wasn’t providing any myself. I can expect my kids to be kind, thoughtful, loving and willing to share, but at the same time not be able to see that I don’t exhibit those qualities.
We can all struggle with accountability. Are we doing what we request of others?
Who is holding us accountable as worshipers and musicians? As worship leaders are we willing to express to the Lord in the way we desire our congregations? We need to learn how to lead by example both on the stage and in the pew. If we desire freedom, we need the Lord to teach us how to be free. Whatever culture the Lord is cultivating in us, we need to lead that culture.
I love the verse that says, “Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. ” (Psalm 34:3) There is a level of accountability that takes place when you make this statement. “With me” states that I will be leading that way. Join me if you will because I will be magnifying the Lord. Let’s do it together. We can take any physical expression of worship, or any attitude of the heart, and apply this. Confess with me. Humble yourself with me. Shout with me. Draw near with me.
Lets lead with accountability. Live first, then lead.
Are we magnifying the Lord through our hearts desires, our passions, our thoughts, our expressions, and our actions? Can we honestly say “magnify the Lord with me” Are we leading the way, or expecting without accountability? Leaders, are we leading?
Have you ever thought about what would be missing if you were removed from a situation or circumstance? If I think this way, questions begin to rise as to whether or not I am making an impact and at the same, my level of effectiveness is challenged. It is a dangerous question, but an important question that helps me to shape who I am and how I live.
In what is essentially a journal entry turned song, David cries out to God in pain desiring God to turn to him and deliver him.(Psalm 6) In is agony he petitions the Lord, but then he goes on to say, “No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave?” (vs 5) David urges that God’s praise is at stake. His plea for deliverance comes with the argument that God would be missing his praise if he were dead.
David was a man after God’s heart, a man who dwelt in the presence of the Lord, and lived a life a worship. He embodied the very worship culture that God is cultivating in us. Even for him it is a bold statement, and as I read his thoughts, I have to search my heart to see if that statement would be true for me? As I process this passage I would be remiss not to ask myself, “Do I live my life in a way that God would miss something if I were in the grave.” Would my contribution to the glory of God, be missed? Would even a notable portion of his praise be gone? If not I need a good argument for my deliverance😉
Do you live your life in a way that the world would miss something if you were Gone? What kind of impact are you making with your God given life and breath? Do you live your life in a way that God would miss something if you were in the grave? What do you contribute to the glory of God?
I love the fact my son loves Legos. I grew up building, creating, constructing and imagining with Legos. Now I get to watch my son, age 5, do the same. Yes, I get to join in on the fun as well. He loves to make cars, planes and boats and is always trying to build something bigger and better. What kid doesn’t.
What is with our obsession with bigger and better? What is our motivation? Is bigger better? Whether bigger is better depends wholly on our motivation. Bigger can be for our satisfaction and sense of accomplishment and worth, or it can be for a more noble purpose. It can be for our fame, or the fame of someone greater.
David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Lord, but God told him that Solomon his son was the one that would build it. In 2 Chronicles Solomon states, “The temple I am going to build will be great because our God is greater than all other gods.” later he says, “the temple I build must be large and magnificent.” I love his desire to build something great for God. This desire resonates with me. Even though he knew that the temple couldn’t contain the Lord,(For the highest heavens can not contain him) he desired to build a magnificent place worthy of the God that he served.
We have an opportunity to build something of significance, because our God is greater than all other gods. But, we must way the cost, the energy,and the material that it will take. We must also check our motivation. Just as the temple brought attention to Solomon, the moment we build something great it will draw attention to ourselves. We must never forget the reason we build, and we must fight for the glory of God.
Whether it is the temple, legos, or worship experiences, brick by brick we determine if we will settle for mediocrity or build with magnificence for the glory of our great God. What will you choose?
Does building something large and magnificent resonate with you? In worship what is our Great God worthy of? Does this story change the way that we plan, prepare and execute? Are we settling for mediocrity? Are you settling for mediocrity?
Every leader has blind spots, areas of weakness that are hard for the leader to see but are visible to others. The more self-aware a leader is the better he is at addressing these issues. Sometimes in leadership development difficult discoveries are made about oneself.
In some way I am in this discovery process, especially with the principle of proximity. I know that I can’t lead from a distance, which is why I spend a lot of time trying to build relationships, encouraging, and communicating. Through my time at Grace I have come to realize that most of my leadership issues have occurred because of lack of proximity. While most of my time has been fantastic, there have been moments of misunderstanding, confusion, distrust, and questioning motives which are mostly a result of my leadership. In leadership, there is a direct correlation between my proximity and trust. Distance tends to cloud judgement, and builds a barrier of mistrust. Those that are closest trust my heart, and my leadership, those that are not…don’t.
I believe this truth extends to worship leadership. Proximity is key to leading God’s people in worship. The church doesn’t need hired help, it needs people it can trust, free from misunderstanding. The church needs its own people, who care about the church at large more than a song or a service. We can not lead a church in which we aren’t a part.
As leader, I have made mistakes, but I can not let our team make the same mistakes that I have made. Will you rise up with me and lead from within the church, building relationships and trust? Will you be a part of the body in which you serve? Attendance and investment isn’t optional or mandatory, it is necessary.
How has proximity affected your ability to lead or be led? What steps does our team have to take in order to be affective in leading the people of our church body?