Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18
I have sometimes served churches where the leadership did not communicate a clear vision. I found myself at risk when I asked for one to be communicated. Unfortunately, the lack of a vision DID explain the stagnation or dying at these churches.
As worship leaders, it is also important for us to communicate vision. Your vision may look different but I thought it might be helpful for me to at least communicate my vision and values as a fire starter. I derive these values from the Word and from reason coupled with experience.
I’ll add comments/explanations below each item:
Communicate the countercultural message of Christ in a culturally relevant way.
I’ve never had a church disagree with this in wording, but I’ve served plenty who violated this by their actions, being so in-reach focused and enabling that they lost sight of the bigger picture.
What is the countercultural message? Well, examples would be having faith in God and His work in you instead of simply believing in yourself. Other countercultural messages would be valuing ‘other-esteem’ (Phil 2:3) over self-esteem (or as the best way to acquire self-esteem).
How would those values be communicated in a culturally relevant way? Well, musically, they might be better communicated in modern music styles (since that is what the world listens to) vs in classical music. This is not to condemn those styles nor is it to suggest that we should soley style our worship music for non-believers; this is more of a general guideline. That said, by all means, if your community has a musical language that is based on more historical styles, then that is your culture’s relevant sound.
Worship is the purpose of man and is defined in Rom 12:1-2.
This expression can include music, especially for corporate worship, but worship should never be reduced to it. Biblical worship is 24/7. It is not to be limited by church services.
The Worship music is a picture of Rom 12:1-2 worship.
It symbolizes the 24/7 worship model. What we do with worship music when the church gathers is really just one way of expressing worship corporately. Love, for God and each other, is the chief way we worship Him. Everything else should be an outworking from love. I Corinthians 13:1 says that without such love we are nothing but clanging cymbals.
Give God our first fruits.
Related to the 24/7 worship model expressed in the previous point, we should worship like Abel & not like Cain. This means that musically we DO care about excellence, not for purposes of putting on a show but to paint the picture of giving God our entire life (again back to Rom 12:1-2).
We ARE performing but God is our only audience.
Again, this helps put the previous point on “first fruits” into perspective because oftentimes people confuse excellence with showing off, showmanship or putting on a concert.
The Little Drummer Boy played his best for Him.
Attitude produces altitude/aptitude.
This is where I start to get practical. I care more about my worship team’s willingness to grow than I care about their current abilities (beyond core competency).
I’d rather lead a team of beginners who are hungry for growth than proud virtuosos or obstinate, stuck-in-their-ways musicians at any level. This is not merely a preference but a picture of the attitude we are to have spiritually and not just musically.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
As a leader, build relationships and love people. Leadership is not a right, it is earned. Love provides the merit. Until Godly loving relationships are established, you’ll never have any long lasting influence to lead.
Meet people where THEY are, not where YOU are
If you treat others as if they are you, that will only work for people like you. But what about leading people who are significantly different than you? For instance, I prefer text messages if you’re simply wanting to tell me you’re going to be late or something else informative. But with others, I know I can’t text them because they don’t do text. The same goes for different personality types.
So what is YOUR worship leading vision?
Greg Jones is a musician, music teacher, worship leader and independent recording artist. On my site you find me sharing music instruction, with an emphasis on worship music and articles on worship leading.