These past months I have been giving my team a series of lessons. My goal is not necessarily to get them to sound bomb musically (although it is soooo important). My goal is to grow people. I think for way too long people in church have settled for one of two things.
- Amazing musicians and singers with horrible character, performers who have no real relationship with the father or any form of accountability to a home church. People who clock in and out of churches, going to church for nothing other then a position or paycheck. (We will get into this later)
- I love this one (LOL). Musicians who are over spiritual. They go all their life never improving their skills and accepting mediocre worship services … all for the glory of God (sigh).
Let me get this out of the way first. Me writing this doesn’t mean I am the greatest most perfect worship leader that ever roamed the earth. Trust me people; I make a million and one mistakes a day (ask my team lol). However, at this point in my life I’ve been slapped around a few times, so I know a little something. Through out my ministry I have had the privilege of working with a couple different teams. Every team has had its good and its bad, but each team taught me so much about my self and worshipers in the church. I feel like the most overlooked crowd in the church is the worship team. We are the first to get there, the last to leave. We spend hours coming up with song list and then rehearsing countless amount of times. We spend hundreds of dollars a year on our instruments. Some of us have the amazing privilege of hauling instruments every service, setting up and tearing down, hungry tired and sleepy. All for the church members to complain about us not being spiritual enough, they don’t like the songs, its too loud, too soft, too blah blah blah blah blah. My goodness after eleven years of doing this I feel like I’ve heard it all.
One day I made the mistake of trusting a church that said they had the best instruments. So I take my team and very minimal things. They didn’t give us a sound check and when it was time to go and worship, we discovered half the keys on the piano didn’t work. Long story short, it was the worst worship I have ever lead. Some lady decided to over spiritualize the situation. She decided to tell people the reason we didn’t do good was because we were in sin. It was one of those times where I felt like bible slapping someone. No lady, we had half functioning instruments, what do you think was going to happen. We get beef on a daily but that’s not an excuse to live mediocre spiritual lives in the kingdom, or to give God fifty percent of our efforts.
Lets go over point one quickly. Thousands of musicians in the church who worship have no spiritual life. There is nothing that hurts my heart more than spiritually dead musicians and singers. We sing and play to this awesome God who is a total stranger. We sing freedom and are bound to addictions, depression, anxiety, money, fame, position, religion, etc. If you sing to the father but have no relationship outside of your gift then let me break it to you, it is DEAD WORK. You are like a person who casts seeds that will never bear fruit because the soil you plant in is not fertile ground. Can you imagine playing in church your entire life, getting to heaven and the God that you sang to doesn’t recognize you … He doesn’t know you. Isaiah 29:13 says “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote”. Man this breaks my heart because I know thousands of musicians are here right now and I wish I could hug them and bring loving correction. I am going to do a full blog post on dead work but for now I just want to tell you that in the kingdom, being talented is not enough. God wants you, not what you can do. So if this is you, run to the father, ask for real transformation.
Point two. There is nothing in the whole entire planet that makes me as angry as people who take worship lightly. I love spirit filled worship, however I also believe in being the best I can be. This means I need to invest in my gift. If this is what I am called to do, then I will not be okay with being mediocre. There are so many people who think speaking in tongues is enough for a good worship. I don’t care how much a worship leaders shakes. I know when a person fakes the funk. I know when a person is giving a spiritual show to over compensate lack of effort and preparation. Every time I lead I ask the spirit to just come and move. To come do what I cannot do, however I am very strict on my self and my team when it comes to preparing musically through out the week. I remember when I was younger there was this lady at church who would always ask for a special part at church. This lady never bothered to learn her songs so we all knew that when she forgot the lyrics she would speak tongues until she knew the next part. I have encountered mega religious musicians that wont pay for lessons because they don’t want their worship to be tainted by worldly knowledge -__- . That’s a dumb excuse for lazy people who have no business leading or being part of a worship team. If you don’t think God deserves your best effort then do us a favor and let someone passionate about growing take your place. That’s all I got to say about that.
I want to end this blog with a quick story about one of my greatest friends. I met Tyrone in 2010 but it wasn’t until 2012 that we started working together. Tyrone is like a walking orchestra. He plays basically every instrument and he has a brilliant mind when it comes to music. However when I met Tyrone and we made him part of the ARISE team, he was a hot mess. This guy was not only a church hopper, but he also played at clubs, he was known for posting club drinking on Fridays and worship service on Sunday. Tyrone has shown me that I have more patience and love than I could’ve imagined. You see when Elias and I started working in his life everyone told us he was bad news. Every single person on our team at the time would pressure us to kick him out. They said he was never going to change. Fast forward, when ARISE hit its lowest point financially and all the team left us Tyrone stayed. He helped us rebuild everything and until this day even though it’s been hard, he continues to support and love us. We have become family. This guy went from no relationship with the father to knocked out on the floor being confronted by the spirit. All that Tyrone ever needed was some real friends and a whole lot of attention and accountability. People who stopped letting him die in the church pretending his talent was all he needed. There is so much work to be done in his life still, but he makes me so proud. After millions of sit downs confronting his bad habits he has had the choice to leave and ignore me but he has always chose change. We all need balance in our life. So look for people who will help you find it. No matter what condition you are in spiritually, God is amazing enough to find you where you are and take you to a greater level of glory. If God was able to change my cold cold heart (I’ll share with you one day) and Tyrone’s church hopping ways, He can change you for sure. Worship is so much more than music. Jesus is so much more than a song. I pray you have a real worship encounter soon, an encounter that will change you forever.
I’ll see you in my next post.