Missing the mark?: how my spiritual gifts effect my calling as a worship leader

August 12, 2007

Are we sometimes overlooking part of our calling as Music Ministers? Not the over-arching general calling, but our specific one: based on the spiritual gifts and natural talents that God has given you is your vision for your ministry all that is could/should be?

Last night, I hosted at The Wherehouse – the youth environment at St. Simons Community Church – the 3rd in a series of special Friday night community-wide free ‘outreach’ events. Our first was in June: Saint Lewis, my wife & I’s modern worship band, and the Inside Out band, the worship team from our youth group, led a very passionate exciting night of worship (video worship confessional still-forthcoming – seriously). I used the event to ‘vision-cast’, directing the songs and the event as a whole to move towards challenging our youth to recognize that evangelism is the flip-side of corporate worship – challenging them to participate in our future Friday night events. Our second, in partnership with another local ministry, the Gathering Place. was an open mic night. Having hosted an open mic night for years in Athens, GA, this was truly a delight, and though I didn’t take a headcount, the room was almost uncomfortable at points we had so many in attendance. Last night we brought back one of the stand-out acts from our open mic night to play their own concert.

It wasn’t a ‘Christian concert’, mind you – what ever that might mean. I mean some, if not all (I’m not honestly sure – is that bad?) of the musicians on stage were Christians, but by no means would most consider them a ‘Christian band’ – personally I’ve never found that term/distinction helpful anyway. They played covers of Phish, Pink Floyd, Dispatch, and even – per my request – Sufjan Steven’s beautiful “Casimir Pulaski Day” which almost brought tears to my eyes.

I loved what I saw that night: new faces – friendships – kids supporting one another. I scampered about the room from table to table just trying to made some connection with everyone that was there. You see, one of my spiritual gifts is Evangelism – not in the street preacher sense, but I love planting those little seeds, even if it merely be a smile – I love entrusting those seeds to God, having faith to know that it’s those connections that God often uses to draw people in deeper with Him. I think back to some of the influences that led me to consider following Jesus, and I remember hanging out behind a concert-bar in Cincinnati with the members of then A&M Records band Holy Soldier, and the mere fact that – unlike all the other bands I’d watch who immediately hit the bar and began chasing girls when the show was over – they stepped down off the stage and asked a geeky High Schooler how he was doing, and then their guitarist showed me his new watch. Sound rediculous, but that connection was a deep spiritual one for me: this guy was a Christian, yet it wasn’t a race to save people on his own – there was a comfort there to just ‘be’.

Some 11 years ago I wrote and recorded a song inspired by Madeliene L’Engle‘s book “A Circle of Quiet” – I called it “A little like Time”. Even the title was simply a play off the idea that we needed ‘being time’ – time to just ‘be’, and not ‘do’. I still think that Evangelism happens best when we don’t pursue a person in order to save them, but pursue a deep, thriving relationship with a huge, beautiful, loving God, and let the gospel become a part of us – then evangelism happens naturally when we just ‘are’ – just as an act of everyday walking-it-out worship. Like a rock musician chatting with a high-school fan about his watch, we can just care about people and pray our life reflects His.

That’s just to say, as a ‘Worship Leader’ at a wonderful Gospel-loving church, my calling – because of the gifts and passions God has given me – may look significantly different from yours, fellow worship leaders. I bet that your only spiritual gift isn’t music (at least – I hope not). I’m a mix of musician, pastor/teacher, evangelist, and prophet, and if I am to walk in my calling as a worship leader I need to consider how those giftings can best be utilized – can best express themselves for His glory.

I suppose I’m just feeling thankful – thankful to God that He saved me, and specifically, that He called me to ‘be’ a certain me, and called me to walk out His very specific plan in everything. I hope maybe someone else will be encouraged by these ramblings.

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4 Responses to “Missing the mark?: how my spiritual gifts effect my calling as a worship leader”

  1. Billy Chia said

    Shannon,
    Phreaking awesome.
    I seriously just posted about this on TWC.

    I’m going back there to link to your post here right now.

  2. […] Lewis tells a great story about leading worship according to our calling. This is an excellent example of leading beyond the Sunday morning […]

  3. ann said

    i like this site

  4. […] in line were a few posts that are also some of my personal favorites. MISSING THE MARK addresses how one’s spiritual gifts can change the way in which they fulfill certain ministry […]

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