Last week, I traveled with four members of my worship team to the National Worship Leader Conference in Centreville, Virginia. If you’re involved in worship ministry, and you have never been to NWLC, you need to go. It’s an amazing time of learning, spiritual refreshment, and fellowship with others who are involved in what can be a lonely line of work – something we all need.
I shared last night with my team three takeaways that I think are going to have a huge impact on our ministry. It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to just three, but here they are, readers!
- In his workshop on inductive worship leading, Tim Timmons posed the question, “How would Jesus lead worship?” (First off, Timmons is real, hilarious, and great fun to spend an hour listening to.) Jesus, he said, invited people into their own stories in such a way as to help them really own their response to Him. Think about the woman at the well or the rich young ruler. He asked them questions about their own stories that brought them to (very different) realizations about each of their places in the kingdom of God. This is what Timmons called Inductive Worship Leading. So, as worship leaders, How are we helping people respond to Jesus? Are we just speaking to them and expecting agreement, or are we looking for ways to draw them into a genuine, personal response to Jesus?
- We are all in the mission field. That’s what theologian and author Leonard Sweet told us. And the first job of a missionary is to learn the language of the culture. This culture communicates in story. The church has tried to build an identity on words, but story is our original language. A strong identity is built on narrative, and if we can begin to rebuild our identity in our original language, we can reach this culture.
- Probably the most important thing I came away with is something that we all ought to know anyway, but it’s something that we forget to easily. Again from Tim Timmons: the only job I have is to seek first the kingdom of God. I can’t make people respond genuinely to Jesus.I’m just a branch. The Father is the gardener. He’s doing all the work.