Surround Yourself With Those Who Celebrate You

Worship ministry is never a one-man show. You can be the best singer, the best musician or the best worship leader. But all it takes is for the PA guy to turn-off your sound and you’re done.

I visited a church once where just before the start of the worship set, the sound guy was playing some background music from a CD. As the worship team got into their positions, suddenly the sound guy turned off the background music. Then silence. He should probably have gently faded out the sound. Mistake number one. I think this took the worship leader by surprise. She turned around to the team and said (wuite irritably) “Why does he always do that??!!” It was loud enough for me to hear and I was sitting in the back row! That was mistake number two; and it was a major mistake.

Why? The sound guy should probably have been corrected, but not in front of the whole team, let alone the whole church.

Like Paul’s exposition in 1 Cor 12, we need to realise that we need each other. Each part of the team has an important and crucial role to play and we need to remind ourselves of this all the time.

But because we are interdependent with our team, we should also ask ourselves: what sort of people should we let in to our inner circle?

When I was leading a pioneering team a couple of years ago, we formed a “Think Tank” of passionate, respected worshippers as our leadership group. I valued all of their views and opinions even though I didn’t agree with everything.

At work, my boss hates it when I agree with him. He thinks a bit of disagreement is healthy. Especially so when we are trying to work out a legal problem; understanding the opposing arguments helps us to formulate our case better. I agree with him (!).

Socrates used to teach that a “thesis” should be balanced against an “antithesis”, leading us to the “synthesis”.

So when working in your team, always be open to different ideas. My music director was a case in point. Every now and then, he would whisper into my ear that the song I had chosen for this weekend was too unfamiliar or difficult for the congregation or the band to pick up. Sometimes, I’d follow his advice. Sometimes, I’d take in on board and still go ahead with what I had planned because I had a purpose in choosing that song.

What is important is that the disagreement isn’t personal. At the end of the day, everyone in our team knew that we saw the best in each other and we wanted the whole team to succeed, both corporately and on an individual level.

I’m still reading Joel Osteen, so here’s another thought from pp 135-136 of Everyday a Friday:

Is your inner circle of friends holding you back? Are those closest to you with you but not for you? If you find that it takes constant effort to win their support and encouragement, they likely don’t understand your destiny.

The Scripture says, “Do not throw your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). You could say your pearl is your gift, your personality. It’s who you are. When you get around true friends, people who really believe in you, they won’t be jealous of your gifts. They won’t constantly question who you are. They won’t try to talk you out of your dreams. It will be just the opposite. They’ll help you polish your pearl. They’ll give you ideas. They’ll connect you with people they know. They’ll help push you further along.

Do not waste your time with people who don’t value your gifts or appreciate what you have to offer. That’s casting your pearl before the swine. Those closest to you should celebrate who you are and be happy when you succeed. They should believe in the very best of you.

Recently, I was coordinating the worship on an intercessory boat cruise as part of the city-wide Commonwealth Prayer Initiative (when CHOGM was in town). One of the worship leaders I invited to take part in it was a guy I had met some years ago. A pastor in the city had connected me to this worship leader because I was wanting to see if we could set up a worship leaders network in the city. This worship leader was part of such a network in Singapore.

I remembered how we spent hours just sharing about the vision and the possibilities. But it never went much further than that and I got too busy doing things in my own church.

The boat trip rolled around and I got to reconnect with this worship leader. We were waiting that day to load up the boat and we were having a quick bite of lunch on the pier. I asked him, “What is missing in the worship landscape in Perth?” and he said, “people who knew how to lead worship and intercession”. I asked whether there were people in Perth who could do it and he said he could think of two: him and me. I was surprised, but I was also encouraged.

To reach the destinies that God has given each of us often takes a lot of faith. Even now, when I think about the possibility of starting a worship network, I am filled with doubt. But I know that I have at least one ardent supporter!

The fact that I got to lead worship on this boat trip was also due to the support of my former worship pastor, who was on the organising committee. She must have thought that I was the right person for the job to have asked me!

Now, we don’t need the approval of people, because we have God’s approval. But it’s encouraging and uplifting when you know there are people who support you, encourage you and celebrate you.

So when you build your team, surround yourself with those who celebrate you; who seek the best for you; who believe in you; and who believe that they will play a part in your reaching your destiny. They don’t always have to agree with you; but even when they don’t agree with you, you know that they will always be there to cheer you on.

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