Hi, I’m Seth, I’m a worship leader. And I have a problem. I judge and look critically at worship services when I attend other churches. I know others have this issue too. It’s frustrating because I really want to just let go and worship, but I’m thinking about the details and how I might apply it at home. It’s a struggle I’ve had for a long time. Today in worship at another church [family vacation day :)], the worship experience was wonderful, but the slide person messed up. A lot. At least by my standards.
Let me get back to that in a minute.
You may have noticed the words “be a Jesus learner” on the header of the website. It’s something that began to rattle around in my brain while I’ve been digging deeper into discipleship and following Jesus. One of the main, secular ways of defining disciple in ancient Greek was learner. I love how many define disciple as follower or student, but learner hits me where I need it. A learner has to always be watching, asking questions, failing, trying again, mimicking the teacher’s hands and motions, and being willing to keep showing up each day. To learn more. To soak up the next step. It’s a daily walk and an exciting one. Especially, when your teacher and master is the creator and SAVIOR of the universe! Anything can happen and does!
…and something happened today.
I noticed the issues at this church, but I DIDN’T JUDGE! I didn’t feel my heart do what it normally does or get pulled away from worship. I just noticed and moved on and my heart carried on in worship. It was a wonderful feeling. It’s funny, the minor distraction was probably the fact that I wasn’t distracted, haha!
Over the last couple hours, I’ve been pondering that experience and I’ve realized a big thing: God is maturing me as a disciple and a disciple maker.
As I grow closer to Jesus as His disciple, I am constantly humbled. I’m messy. But He cleans me up. I stray and He comes back for me. I ask questions and He calmly answers them. I try and try and try to listen to His voice and He never stops speaking, even when I struggle to hear. I read His word and He’s always shaping me and pulling me back to His embrace. His love. His endless love. He likes ME. NOT what I do. It’s important to strive for excellence, but in His mind, excellence is being the closest I possibly can to Him. It’s easy to judge others by their mistakes and actions when you’re judging yourself by the wrong measuring stick as well.
As I’ve grown closer as a humble disciple, it’d made me a better leader and disciple maker. Maybe that slide operator was having a bad day and they lost their job on Friday and their head wasn’t in it. Maybe it was their first time and they were doing their best. Maybe they were getting texts from their mom during the service because their dad had just been rushed into surgery. Who knows?? One thing I do know, it that life happens. Stuff happens! If our worship of God is confined to an hour once a week and if things don’t go smoothly, our judgement of others, that church, the leadership and our relationship God suffers, wow, we have other issues we need to work through.
Right after Jesus, people are first. I’ve been telling our worship team that a lot lately and I pray my actions will be where my words are. When you love people you don’t stop expecting growth and excellence, but those aren’t pressure points you start to lean on. You begin to see less pressure and more purpose. The purpose of being disciple. A Jesus Learner.
When you are first a humble, repentant, forgiven, disciple of Jesus, you begin to lead differently. You begin to see worship differently. It becomes less of a check-box, todo list on Sundays or worse, a production that has to be executed flawlessly, lest the congregation’s faith and view of the church is tarnished.
Instead, it becomes a place to draw near to your ultimate love. A gathering of friends who are like family and want nothing more than to encourage one another, grow together, forgive together and pull close to the presence of their true joy: God Himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Constantly learning, always worshipping and seeing each other as Jesus sees us: loved, forgiven and beautiful.
Let’s be Jesus Learners.