Posts Tagged ‘leading worship


Can God Use Me?

I was 14 year old when God called me to ministry. It was on a Sunday night in August, 1969. Mr. Whitehead, a deacon at our home church, came to me that night and invited me to do a ministry with him the following Sunday afternoon. He said, “Jones – if you’re going to be in the ministry, you need to meet me here Sunday at 2 o’clock. Bring your guitar.” When I got there, I asked him, “where are we going?”  He mumbled, “we are going to jail.” When you are young in the ministry, you start out at the nursing home and the jail. In the nursing home they can’t hear you, and in jail they can’t leave…both are a captive audience. Sorry, bad humor.

This was the first time that I had been to a jail. As a young teen, I was pretty intimidated by the circumstances, but I was willing to go and sing my three little songs that I had prepared. When it came time to preach, Mr. Whitehead – with no advance warning – announced to the inmates that I was preaching. Wow!!! My first sermon was 11 minutes long and I told themeverything I knew about God. When I asked them if anyone would like to accept Christ, 7 out of 13 said yes. God taught me that day that it was not about me. God took the feeble words of a 14 year-old kid and brought hardened criminals to the cross.

As I left the jail, I was on a spiritual high because God taught me a valuable lesson. If God can use a 14 year-old kid that knew nothing, He can use anyone.

Yes, God can use you today and everyday. Make yourself available and God will surprise you with how much you can do for His kingdom.


Skill and Worship

As worshipers, we naturally desire to give God our best, both spiritually and skillfully. When we abandon ourselves and worship God with all of our being, it’s an unparalleled experience. God’s Spirit can accomplish more through something as small a line of a song than we could accomplish in our whole lives. We tell ourselves that we need to get in the “right frame of mind” so we can worship with all our heart. I believe that this is paramount. And while I believe that skill in worship plays second fiddle to spirituality in worship, skill cannot be overlooked. Remember the story of Cain and Abel? Both gave offerings to God. But only one gave the best he could give while one just gave some of what he had. Part of our offering to God is our skill. We play to Him, sing to Him, dance to Him and give our all to Him. We show up not only spiritually prepared to worship but skillfully prepared to worship Him as well. When I first began leading worship, I foolishly thought that if I rehearsed too much or thought too much about what I was going to say or play, I would leave no room for God’s Spirit to be in control. All it took was a few awkward moments in a couple of services to quickly oust that theory. Now I do my best to show up prepared, both spiritually and skillfully, and ready to yield to the Spirit’s prompting. Do I still make mistakes? Absolutely. More than I care to admit. But I know that I am doing all I can to give God my very best. While I will never impress God with my skill, I know that He is blessed when I present the best offering I have.


Keeping it Relevant

As worship leaders, we naturally want our congregation to be happy with the music we choose. This can be taken to a negative extreme of worrying too much about what the congregation or pastor may think. I am not referring to that type of situation here, so please recognize that disclaimer before reading any further.

I was recently given a book about hymns by several older women from a ladies Bible study that I had been leading worship for. They had requested “a hymn every now and then” and I had done my best to acknowledge their request without totally reverting back to hymnal days and losing the rest of the women. The group was comprised of women from their mid-twenties to upper seventies so I did my best to choose set lists that would include at least one song that each woman should know. While most of the ladies would worship to well-known contemporary worship songs, it was the older women who blew me away with their response to the hymns. They were so appreciative for songs that they had known and sung much of their lives and really worshiped. I had known that they enjoyed the hymns that I had thrown in the set lists every now and then, but I was really shocked and touched as I read all of their hand-written thank yous inside the front page of their sweet gift.

It would be nice if our congregants were composed of men and women who were all completely alike in age, stage and musical preference, but in reality that is usually never the case. As worship leaders, we need to do our best to find music that ministers to as much of our congregation as best we can. This usually means that we need to get to know our congregation and be accessible to them. We can’t know what will minister to them if we never see them away from the platform or we never have a moment to talk with them. Jesus himself modeled this, as he went from town to town talking, visiting and ministering to people one-on-one. He had large group ministry (think of the loaves and fishes crowd), but he also had personal ministry as well (think of the woman at the well). My boss Ray Jones has said, “People won’t remember you for the great song you sang or the cool guitar lick you played. It’s when you take the time to talk and pray with them that you make an impression.” Take time to listen and get to know those you are serving and then watch them worship with you.

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