While greeting the congregants at the sanctuary doors following the sermon, one parishioner turns to comment to the Pastor. “Pastor, that was a pretty good sermon today…but then I guess it should be, you only work one day a week!” This misconception has become so common place through the years that it’s a very well-known joke in Christian circles. It’s been told countless times during sermons to lighten the mood or maybe lead to the explanation that reality is nothing like the joke. It’s true a Pastor works all week for the weekend. However, rest assured that they’ve already done a full week’s worth of work before the weekend ever came.
I am who I say I am, right?
That is, unless the Pastor believes the joke to be truth. Can you imagine a Pastor who truly believed he only needed to work one day a week? That his preparation, study, and all the things that go into being an effective Pastor, teacher, and minister only needs to be a priority and on his “to-do list” one day a week? I think we can all agree, that Pastor would be an embarrassment and a terrible minister at best. At worst, that Pastor would be a complete and utter failure who misinforms, misguides, and causes destruction and disunity.
The Pastor is not the only minister who needs to understand the position, the responsibilities, and all that is required to be the most effective. Those of us in worship ministry can be subject to similar joking criticism, but the stark reality is far from serving once a week. You may be saying to yourself, “I just sing”, or “I just click a button on the computer”. You may feel like what you contribute doesn’t require anything from you outside of Sunday mornings. Friend, please excuse me, but you couldn’t be more wrong. You may have heard the phrase “a life of worship” and the encouragement that those involved in worship ministry should be exemplifying that phrase. But, what does that mean? What does that look like for those in worship ministries?
Road Work Ahead
This isn’t an exhaustive list or a complete how-to, but let’s look at one of the greatest worship leaders (king David) divinely inspired words from Psalm 145 to give us some simple, good foundational points for what we can do to work for daily growth and equipping to serve more effectively.
Psalm 145 English Standard Version (ESV)
1I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
We commit and determine to extol (enthusiastic praise), and bless God today, tomorrow, and forever. The Lord is great, and the end of his greatness can never be found, so we should be seeking and proclaiming his greatness daily. This speaks to daily reading of the Bible (his Word to us), prayer, and enthusiastically praising Him to ourselves, to Him, and to those around us.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
We commit and determine to boast on Him and teach of Him to all ages of people. We commit and determine to seek wisdom and understanding from God’s Word, the truth, and speak and declare the truth. He is far too immense for us to completely understand or comprehend, but we are still instructed to get to know Him, His ways, and His expectations/commands more. It’s a relationship.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]
We commit and determine to know the characteristics of God. He is gracious, merciful, patient, abounding in resolute, unwavering love, and faithful. He is good and merciful over all creation. We need to be ready to remind and/or instruct people concerning who God really is. This contrasts with false teachings or understandings not based in God’s own revelation about Himself.
We commit and determine to accept and tell of the Lord as King, whose sovereign reign is eternal. His Kingdom is unlike any earthly kingdom.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
We commit and determine to proclaim salvation, restoration, and provision for all those who will respond to the Lord in truth, through Jesus Christ. (read Hebrews 10)
24-7, well, ok…let’s start with 1-4
You all have likely heard that worship ministry doesn’t just happen on the stage or behind a console. In fact, we are ministering every day in many different circumstances. Can someone in worship ministry “work one day a week” and still say they adhere to the above commitments and determinations. Sure, they could. However, when they are called on to serve and expound, how prepared and effective would we expect them to be. Ill prepared at best. Ever been called on to play a song you’ve never listened to or only heard once? Yeah, that kind of prepared.
To be truly effective in worship ministry we must be striving and seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord every day. We must take seriously the talents, abilities, and tasks he’s allowed us to have, as a faith-filled servant-leaders. We must be diligent in delivering a return on the Master’s investment in us and strive to be honing our skillfulness. (Exodus 36:2; Matthew 25:14-30; Psalm 33:3) In worship ministries, we use not only spoken word to proclaim, but also music, lyric, and multimedia. In short, any resource we have!
Some questions to ponder and pray on:
- Being honest with yourself, do you feel that you’ve too often taken the ‘one day a week’ approach to your part in worship ministries?
- If so, how do you think your approach effected the rest of the worship team?…how about the worshiping church?
- If not, how might you be able to help others in the worship ministry to take the next step up in their spiritual disciplines?
- Have you ever considered your talents or skills as a gift from God, with which he expects a return on investment?
- Take a moment to pray and listen. Do you feel the Holy Spirit prompting you to deepen your commitment to personal spiritual disciplines? (could be daily Bible reading and study, or additional skills training/practice, or intentionally seeking to express your worship of God to help others… the list goes on!)
Feel free to post thoughts below if you’d like to share.