New Year thoughts
At the end of 2014 I shared a message to our whole worship team (from all 11 congregations!) for the coming New Year. Although it was written for our team, and particularly for where Family Church is going in 2015, I’m sure there will be thoughts there that will encourage and inspire you too – at least, that’s my hope in sharing it with you!
Have a great 2015 and, letting go of the things of 2014, hold fast to the prize of the upward call of God, which is Jesus Christ Himself (Philippians 3:13-14).
First off we want to say a massive thank you to all of you for your heart, passion and tireless service over this year. It is a great pleasure to be serving alongside you all because you are such an exciting, creative and inspiring bunch of people!
We have so much to be thankful for as a team. This last year has seen real growth, not just with having Guildford join us, but each congregational team becoming stronger in leadership. There are always challenges, there always will be, but it is in facing those challenges head-on and seeing God make the way for us, bringing the provision and breakthrough we need, that the real growth takes place. One of the key ‘doorways’ into worship is giving thanks, and for us to lead others in giving thanks we need to maintain an attitude of thanksgiving ourselves. Breakthroughs and provisions come when we start by giving thanks. Let’s go into this new year with thanks in our hearts and on our lips what God has done already and what He is about to do.
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 5:20 NKJV)
2015, Spiritual Growth
Worship is a spiritual thing; more than an ‘act’, it’s the flowing out of God’s life within us into and through every area of our lives, redefining our values and priorities around God. Leading worship is more than us just singing and playing carefully chosen songs with enthusiasm and passion. We are leading a spiritual flow of life from our congregations, out of our own spiritual flow of life.
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:38-39 NKJV)
“I’ll bring You more than a song”
Let’s make this year a year where we prioritise and pursue a deeper spiritual foundation for our ministry. It’s one thing to make a song sound good through dedicated musicianship and vocals, but those things are the natural aspects of what we do, and we can’t lead something spiritual with something that is natural. We don’t ignore good musicianship – a deeper spiritual pursuit will inspire us to make sure our natural abilities can carry and enable our spiritual vision. But a song played well won’t be enough to lead people to worship from their spirit.
More of His Word
In this new year, let’s give more time to our relationship with God, to reading His Word. Let’s give time on our own and during our team nights to pray and intercede for our congregations, praying the Word of God over them, and speaking the Word over them as we lead them.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;” (Ephesians 6:17 NKJV)
The Word of God is our spiritual sword, that makes the difference between soulish and spiritual; it is where our strength comes from, where our wisdom as leaders flows from, where our refreshment from tiredness and dryness pours from.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)
We grow stronger in spiritual leadership by knowing God’s Word; and, we avoid our leadership becoming soulish by knowing God’s Word.
Rooted in spiritual strength
Our vision is to carry God’s presence to His people, and to carry His people into His presence, through character and creativity. We do that through all three aspects of human experience – body, soul and spirit – because worship engages all three areas. But it starts in the spirit. That’s what God is looking for.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” (John 4:23-24 NKJV)
Our leadership is rooted in our spiritual strength, not our natural ability.
Reaping a spiritual harvest
This new year is a year for greater spirituality – not weird, or flaky, or hokey, but rooted in God’s Word. Our congregations need us to lead with greater spirituality. Our communities need to see a church that is spiritual and not weird or shallow. Greater spirituality in our lives and leadership will bring a desire for deeper worship in our congregations as we lead them. The harvest of that will be a church that lives out a worship life beyond the Sunday morning meetings that we hold, a worship life that carries God’s presence into our communities and sees His kingdom established there.
“And I [Jesus], if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”” (John 12:32 NKJV)
Let’s take up that responsibility in 2015. It’s in our hands as leaders. God has equipped us and anointed us with His Spirit, His power, His promises. What an exciting time to be leading worship!
Have a great 2015.
Matt & Ali