- Applying that practically to our modern-day worship context, what defines a “win” for us in ministry? Obedience.
How do you define a “win”?
Throughout my years of being a worship leader, I have been asked that question on multiple occasions. And I’m certainly not the first worship leader to contemplate what defines a worship service “win.” As leaders, we need to be aware of whether or not our worship services are hitting the mark. Every week we need to ask ourselves questions such as:
- Did we accomplish our goals?
- Did we lead people where we set out to lead them?
- Was there anything distracting that we could improve upon?
- Was the service a success as a whole?
The answer to these questions will vary for each church based on your context and what your goals are for your worship services. Some will base success on the level of production quality. Some will evaluate wins based on numbers (attendance, new visitors, baptisms, children, etc). Some will interpret a worship service win based on the overall feel of the service and whether people were engaged or not.
All of these are valid but I believe there is one measuring stick that we should consider above all others…obedience.
A lesson from the Book of Joshua
At the beginning of the Book of Joshua, God is setting Joshua apart to become the new leader of the Israelites once Moses dies. Joshua has a difficult job ahead of him. He is tasked with conquering the nations living in the promised land and leading in the Israelites thereby fulfilling God’s covenant. Here are the words God speaks to Joshua in that moment:
Joshua 1:7-8 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
God knew exactly what He was asking Joshua to do. He knew it was not going to be easy. Joshua was going to have to make difficult leadership decisions. He was going to have to fight difficult battles. At times, Joshua would need to rely on the supernatural power of God to get the Israelites through difficult circumstances.
God’s words of encouragement to Joshua are “Be strong and very courageous.” But I love that He doesn’t stop there. God goes on to explain exactly how Joshua will accomplish being a strong and courageous leader. He tells Joshua to obey the law. He tells Joshua to meditate on God’s word day and night. He tells Joshua to do everything written in His word. That’s what will make Joshua a prosperous and successful leader, being obedient to God’s word.
Obedience In Modern-Day Worship
Applying that practically to our modern-day worship context, what defines a “win” for us in ministry? Obedience. How do we know we were successful on a Sunday morning? Obedience. How do we know we led our teams according to how God has called us to lead? Obedience. But obedience only comes from a strong knowledge and commitment to God’s word.
I believe as a whole the church, with the best of intentions, has based success on numbers and other factors that may or may not be signs of obedience. If we hit our attendance numbers but haven’t been obedient to God’s word, should we consider that a win? If we have a flawlessly produced worship service with no tech issues and a perfect band performance but are not meditating on God’s word, is that a win?
When we start basing success on obedience over everything else we begin to ask different questions. Did we use our resources to the best of our ability? Did we love and care for our team as much as we should? Were we committed to God’s word and prayer? Did we honor God with what we presented in our worship service? Obedience changes the way we look at our worship services.
That’s not to say that other factors should not be considered. But if obedience is the first and primary goal, the other factors fall into place. Be a strong and courageous leader. Meditate on God’s word day and night. Do what it commands and like Joshua, you will be a successful and prosperous leader because obedience is the win.
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Josh Brainard is a veteran worship pastor of 20 years and during that time has served at several churches in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He is the founder of simple-tracks.com and is currently the worship pastor at Grumlaw Church in Hartland, MI. Josh has been married to his amazing and supportive wife for 20 years and has two beautiful daughters.