Be Strong and Courageous
I have been leading worship or helping lead worship in some shape or form for the last twenty years. It’s been a great joy to step into this calling that God has placed on my life. I’ve led in many different places and size congregations, from college ministries to mega churches to church plants and student ministry. The one thing that I think can be one of the most challenging aspects of taking a new ministry position is taking over an existing team.
In 2012, God called me and my family to leave my position as worship pastor at One Hope Church in Waterford Lakes, Florida and plant a new congregation in Peachtree City that is now CrossPointe Peachtree City just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The one thing that I’ve always wrestled with personally, and the thing that we help guys wrestle with in the application phase as church planting assessors is whether they are called to plant or to pastor. All planters are called to pastor but not all pastors are called to plant. So, after two years of planting and plowing, seeing God establish a congregation, raise up elders and deacons, equip staff and volunteers and provide financially for the church plant, I felt like I had finished what I had been called to do. God led us, then, on a beautiful journey of handing off that congregation to another CrossPointe Pastor and back into worship ministry at CrossPointe Lake Nona.
I give the brief history lesson to communicate that I am almost near the one year mark of “taking over the team” at CPLN. In the next few blog posts in this series, we’re going to look at the things God has taught and shown me this past year about taking over the team. There have been lots of mistakes and lots of wins but the one thing remains; it’s God team and I need to follow Him in order to lead them.
In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, there is a shift in leadership. Joshua takes over Moses’ leadership and we get a glimpse into what that transition looks like. This must have been one of the most exhilarating and intimidating moments of Joshua’s life. He’s taking over the leadership of the guy he saw part the Red Sea and lead God’s people out of slavery and bondage, among other things by the power of God. Makes my situation seem way less intimidating.
In that first chapter, God speaks to Joshua about several things but commands him to do a couple things:
- Be strong and courageous.
- Be careful to do according to all the law.
That’s it. That’s the pep talk. Here, you’re in charge of a nation. Be strong and courageous and do what I’ve commanded. That’s it. No leadership development plan. No reading plan. No seminary. Nothing. Just be strong and courageous and follow God.
What’s amazing is what happens in the next paragraph. Joshua begins exerting his leadership and telling the people what they were to do next and they respond in humble submission and tell him that they will obey him as they obeyed Moses. But here’s the catch. It wasn’t because Joshua was going to execute some new ministry plan, or had team revitalization vision or took them on a team beach retreat to dig deeper. No. The Bible says that the people respond in this way because they knew that the Lord was with Moses and said to Joshua, “Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses!”
The people are on board with Joshua because they were confident that the Lord was with Joshua. They trusted that Joshua would follow God’s commands and seek Him daily in doing so. They also are on board because they trusted that Joshua would be strong and courageous to do the things expected of Him as the leader.
So, my big question is in two parts for you, worship leader. Whether you’re taking over the team, have taken over the team, or you’ve had the team for a while now.
Are you a strong and courageous leader because the Lord is with you or because you’ve figured worship ministry out?
The danger in our culture today is that we can rely on talent, training, and the books we’ve read or the people we know to generate a false sense of strength and courage. If you are not seeking the Lord daily and relying on Him to lead yourself and your team in all things you are very close to experiencing what will be one of the most humbling seasons of your life. Pride comes before the fall.
We must remember that it is God who grows our team, our churches, our unity, our skill sets; not us. Look back at the first part of Joshua. It’s God who gives them the land, not Joshua. He reminds him that every step he takes has been given to him by God. He says that no man will be able to stand before him, but then states that just like Moses, He will be with Joshua. So, the men falling before Joshua aren’t falling because Joshua is amazing. They fall because the Lord is with Joshua.
As worship leaders, our jobs are to celebrate the person and work of Jesus Christ, pointing people to Him week in and week out. To lead teams and organize them so that they are equipped for the work of the ministry, and shepherding them and coming alongside of them as dear brothers and sisters. To be skilled at our crafts and work hard to present a worship offering that is pleasing to the Lord. Yes, there is much work to be done as a worship leader in the Kingdom of God. But all of that work must be done seeking the face of the Lord and knowing that we are able to stand strong and courageous in all that we do because He is with us. He is our God.