Serving Beyond the Stage
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
There can be a misconception that we, as worship leaders, can stay closed off from the rest of the world as we search for “the perfect song” and as we practice and prepare for our musical excellence on Sunday mornings. Dr. Vernon Whaley, in a video presentation says that, “sometimes we get to thinking that the only thing the Worship Pastor does is take care of the music. And if that’s the case, then we have missed the scope of the calling that God has placed on our lives”.1 I have had these days myself. Declining lunch get-togethers and really any social engagement in general for the sake of planning the next Sunday’s service. Little did I know that these social outgoings were missed opportunities to get to know those near to me and share with them the faith I was so selfishly guarding.
That being said, I understand that we will never be able to accept every invitation to commune with those around us. But I do want to point out that it should be a much bigger priority than it is. My friend, we must understand that our role as a musician, artist, or producers must come after our roles as pastors, friends, leaders, and mentors. We must learn to break that barrier between the stage and the public. The moment we get so caught up with the music, lights, and service production that we ignore relationships and communion with people, is the moment we have lost sight of a good portion of our ministry.
I know this all too well. I am an extremely introverted person. I do not have the same social energy that many other people have to give. It was, and continues to be, a great challenge in learning how to balance my life in a way where I did not miss opportunities to be a friend, leader, and mentor to those around me. There are many canceled lunch meetings that I desperately wish I would have gone too. There are many friendships, both inside and outside of the church, that would still be intact had I understood the importance of leading off of the stage the same way I led on the stage. There are many missions’ opportunities that I’ve missed out on because I “don’t really want to travel that far” or because “they can find someone else, I’m busy”.
Worship Leaders, we cannot allow an office or a platform to become a security blanket that we can’t serve without. We cannot allow an office or a platform to become a comfort zone that we never leave. I’m not saying that we should not plan out our music and be prepared for our services. I’m saying that the platform of Sunday morning cannot be the only time we share the gospel and help or disciple those who need it. In a video presentation titled “The Many Roles of a Worship Leader”, Dr. Vernon Whaley says, “I find it most curious that many worship leaders are all busy about learning how to do their songs and learning how to do their worship sets, but they never turn around and tell their neighbor about Jesus Christ.”
May this never be so. May we never miss the opportunity the spread the gospel and disciple those around us for the sake of some cool music and a pretty light show. However hard it may be sometimes, answer that phone call. Respond to that text message. Schedule that meeting with your team, congregation member, or person from your community. Volunteer for that mission trip or youth camp. Make it more of point to boldly, confidently, and consistently share the gospel; and learn how to serve beyond the stage. I want to challenge you to look for opportunities to lead and minister and ask yourself a few questions.
1. What are some things that could be set aside to make more time for discipleship?
2. Why is it important to create relationships with people not only in your congregation but also in your community?
3. How could you better balance the things in your life to make sure you don’t overdo it and risk burnout?