Monday, February 07, 2011


This scripture is pretty familiar to us.

(Proverbs 4:5-9) Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

I read it a few days ago and had a renewed respect for it in light of the ministry that I serve. Let's be honest worship leaders; we work hard at being a lot of things - good musicians, up on the latest music trends, tech-savvy, looking the part, having lots of experience with various styles and forms of worship - but we're not that great at getting wisdom.

I'm not sure why - most of us would agree that wisdom is important, but what does it really mean to be a "wise" worship leader? It may seem elusive, but if we'll take a minute or two to broaden our perspective, we might just get motivated to go after it!

The search for good theology is a challenge. While there are tons of great books and blogs and resources about Christian life, they're not all "theology." That doesn't negate them or mean those things are without value, but when we're talking theology, we're talking about belief. What we, as a church, believe about God and why. I love cool books and stories and metaphors, but we cannot lead our people with just that stuff. When you and I step on that stage and endeavor to lead people in the praise and reverence of God, we've gotta' know why we're doing it. Why do we say that phrase instead of some other one? Why do we sing in this format? What core beliefs of this church are we promoting? Do we even know them?

Doctrine may not seem very exciting, but when you're in the trenches and you're dealing with real people and very real problems, you gotta' know what your church believes about God. Those songs will be long faded when real day-to-day ministry is still around and you've gotta' know your stuff.

Regardless of where you lead - the main Sunday morning service, Wednesday night youth, Celebrate Recovery, 6:30am men's breakfast - you're pastoring. Having pastoral wisdom shows itself in a very obvious way: you forget about you.

The second you step on that stage or platform or "front of the room," the songs and prayers and planning and performance stops being about you. It's not just about what you like or tends to move you. You bear a huge responsibility now and to ignore that sends a very clear, and negative, message.

I'm not saying you disengage. We should worship wholeheartedly, but we should know that we're not the only person in the room.

Simply put...learn how to think like a normal person.

I'm not (necessarily) saying that worship leaders aren't normal. But you gotta' be an everyman.

That means you end rehearsal on time because your teammates have families and jobs and responsibilities. That means you sometimes call an audible on a song that's not working and find something that's more folks can engage with. That means you try to put yourself in the shoes of that one guy or girl out there who just stares at you. What are they thinking? Am I leading them well?

We need wisdom, gang. We need it bad because the world is full of wannabe church superstars and professional Christians. And I guarantee you that most of your people can see that sort of falseness the second they walk in. Get wisdom! Go for it and pursue it and don't ever stop!

We're some practical tips on how we can do a better job of "wising up."

  • READ THEOLOGY. Carve out one hour in your week for studying the reasons for your belief. Ask your pastor or consult a church librarian to find some books that will stretch your mind and shore up your beliefs. As you read, your theology will get more and more solid.

  • PASS IT ON. The best way to be pastoral is to think of pastors/mentors in your life. Make a list of things they did that made a difference in your life. Then do those things for other people.

  • BE REAL. Even when operating at our most efficient level of "awesome," we're still a bunch of hacks. Remind yourself that people will be way more encouraged and motivated and blessed by who you are than what you can do.
What do you think? What other ways can we "get wisdom"?


Johnny! said...

Regarding theological wisdom, a friend has his students go to Church services and construct a confession of faith based only on what they hear. The results are quite telling. People really do need to think about what they sing and say.

Todd Wright said...

That's a great idea...quite convicting, too.

Johnny! said...

Thinking further, a WL should also know (and agree with) his Church's confession. I have met many guys who hop from Baptist to Presbyterian to Methodist Churches. It seems to be just a gig. I'm not talking about mere employment (I play often at Churches I would not join) but taking a staff position.

How many of those guys can clearly articulate that Church's faith statement? Or sign off on it?