So, my leaders contacted me and asked if we could have lunch. I have to admit that I have been so close to Father lately that I had no idea what they wanted to meet about. I just got back from my second Philippines Mission, and I have been on this high for a good while. God did some awesome things there, and the worship, while certainly more primitive on the technical side, I would say was very deep... very moving.
We sat down to lunch in a nice little restaurant I like, and we chit-chatted about this and that... songwriting, next week's set, some new songs to learn... And then the tone changed. The meeting became about me. Not something I was particularly prepared for.
The instrumental director talked about his desire to help me with some skills that I need to work on. He had noticed some things and as he presented the ideas, I agreed that this is an area I was unaware that I needed to work on. But, being a mostly self-taught singer musician, it was easy to see how he could help me in my areas of weakness - of which there are many. I am pretty much a vocalist who learned guitar out of necessity... much if not all that I have learned has been by demand. I work at my craft, but I also have a family and a full-time job. His heart was absolutely in the right place, and I was humbled to see how he cared for me enough to challenge me to be better.
Next up, the vocal director. Now I admit, I have no training whatsoever, but have been leading worship for a very long time, so I was caught off guard by the comment that I could use some trinaing on some of the shapes of my vowels, and some other very minor tweaks. Again, as I have had no training and she has a degree in Music, it was rather easy to submit and accept the constructive criticism, and look forward to the assistance that was being offered. Honestly, I look forward to actually knowing what I am doing :-)
Then came the one that hurt... There have been comments that I "move too much" and I "rock out" just a little too much. There were other more specific comments, but the general idea was that the way I act up on stage was a bit too close to performance, as opposed to a posture of worship. I had to bite my tongue, cross my legs and my arms - everything to not say anything stupid. I measured my words, "I am a passionate person... I move a lot when I worship..." Yeah.. it kind of sounded dumb to me too... The leaders reminded me why we are up there and who we are leading to whom... And yes, I do not want to be a distraction. But there is a line that is not easily defined... How do you know when I am worshipping? Sometimes, when I am not leading, and I am worshipping in the auditorium, I silently bow my head and visit with Father in our quiet place. Sometimes I stand and raise my arms as high as they can go... most of the time, I really do not know what I do. I don't really pay attention to my externals... Being close to my Father is all I want. Me and Jesus. That's what it is about.
Now, I know these two leaders of mine, and they are awesome. They are godly and I am blessed to work with them. I also know they have leaders over them and receive directives as part of their jobs. They also have a vision for what the ministry should look like. And, as it now appears, my vision may be different than theirs. So, where does that leave me.

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Hebrews 13:17

Submitting is difficult. It is not natural to a leader. Not a worship leader, small group leader, or leader of business (all of which I am...) I venture to say it isn't natural for anyone. That may be why Paul talks about submission so much...(Do you really need the verses.. ?? You know them... I know you do...) In Ephesians 5 & 6 Paul deals with the topic at length... I am guessing I am not the first follower of Christ that has had this issue. Thank God, he was so very clear...

That pretty much sums it up. I will obey. I will be sensitive to my posture. I will seek their assistance in the honing of my talents. I will do my best to discern what they really mean, and obey them. And, I will pray that I obey with a pure heart... a servant's heart. And I will ask if God wants me to lay this ministry down. I don't think that He is calling me elsewhere, but I will continue to listen and seek His guidance. But I will not follow my flesh - because my flesh rebels, and says, "How dare they?!?" My flesh says "Who do they think they are, talking to me like that?" (Actually, they were amazingly gracious... my flesh overreacts just a bit ;-) My flesh, as it the case pretty much all the time, is wrong.

Views: 20

Comment by Doug Lane on January 26, 2010 at 9:52pm
Yeah, this is a hard one. Truth is that if a person cannot submit to their authorities, they have no business leading at all. I learned that one the hard way. Unfortunately for me, it took several attempts! I was rebellious against my pastor in San Antonio. Sorry Sean. I was rebellious against my pastor in Georgia. Sorry Jeff. I was rebellious against my pastor in Michigan. Sorry Steve. Then I became a pastor. Not that I have the office "senior pastor". But I am a pastor. And I discovered very quickly the heart behind each of these men that I had rebelled against. And I was ashamed. None of them wanted mindless agreement, but they did want submission. And that was not too much to ask.

I had a Pastor-friend of mine say once, "If you cannot submit to your pastor, you must quit." True.

Thanks, Dan, for the reminder and the honesty.
Comment by Nicki Black on January 26, 2010 at 10:16pm
Hi Danny. It really sounds like you have a heart for the Father, and a humble respect for those who lead you, and the covering of your church environment. It took a lot of courage to be vulnerable with us here.

Let me offer this little bit of my heart, if I may. While perhaps being technically right with their assessment should your spirit quicken this, I really believe that our heavenly Daddy created us all to be different, without a mold of what worship should "look" like, or "posture" like, or "sound" like. While we should never ever perform to gain light for ourselves, it doesn't sound like you're the type to do this. What it sounds like to me is that your soul is longing for an intimacy and boldness just to be in His amazing presence - that Shabach place at His feet - but your church setting may not allow or even understand that kind of freedom. No stab whatsoever to your church or leadership. I was on numerous worship teams for 12 years at my last church, but the Lord gently kept calling me to step down, as He knew my soul was like a desert because the worship was dry like a desert, and they wanted to wrap it all up in a pretty little God box. ... you know.. one size fits all. But clearly, worship does not. I am absolutely not encouraging you to step down or leave your church. However, I am encouraging you to press into the Father, and ask His heart for where you need to be, and how He would free you up to passionately love on Him through your worship, however that may be displayed freely, honestly, and without pretense. This is something I've had to learn myself. I've wasted away years and years of my life worrying about what others thought of me or my style of worship. I was told by leadership I "stuck out" in a negative way early on. That actually put chains on me, and I withdrew and didn't even recognize myself for a long while. I felt pent up and frustrated and rejected. Funny thing, is that I wasn't doing anything to be "different", but I think my passionate soul to worship the King of Kings with my whole being spoke louder. Who knows. But it was a precursor to my husband and I leaving our prior church, and the Holy Spirit leading us to a church that is exactly the right fit, with a worship style that is exactly the way He created me to worship. And the new church also teaches a lot on the Father's Heart, which is a life and ministry changing thing in and of itself. I am not the same. Praise Jesus! I am free!

Hang in there! Don't let "man" get you down! Stay close to Daddy, and He'll show you which road to take. ;-)
Comment by Junjie on January 27, 2010 at 3:35pm
Good blog post, reminding us of the basics, the basics many worship leaders forget... :)


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