After I left my full-time ministry job, I unintentionally took a five-year break from leading worship. I had some stuff to sort out, and I’m still sorting, but recently that break ended when my pastor reminded me that we don’t need to attain unattainable perfection before allowing God to use us.
So I picked a set, printed a cue sheet, and searched the basement for my DI box; the familiar ritual of it came flooding back to me and, honestly, it didn’t sit well. I had literally done this hundreds upon hundreds of times before, and despite all the changes in my own heart in the last five years, the physical act of leading worship hadn’t changed.
I fired off an email to a former music teacher/now friend. Summarized: I’ve been been strumming the same 16th note pattern on an acoustic guitar for 15 years. It was still perfectly acceptable, perfectly safe, and would be appreciated.
…but there had to be be something more.
But “more” can be a dangerous. “More” can be tasteless. “More” can be self-indulgent. “More” can be a distraction. In the past, I had thrown a lot of trends and gimmicks at the “more” wall and not a lot had stuck.
My friend replied:
Work your craft, come prepared, be sincere, work your craft, stay honest, work your craft, practice, plan, coordinate, and work your craft… make the songs yours… keep the melody singable, keep it true… and work your craft…
The rest is anointing… The breath of God… The unquantifiable thing called talent…
Work. Your. Craft.
And it will all find its way.
I got hung up on wanting “more”, but the “more” that is tasteful, selfless, and enhancing doesn’t come in a stomp box or with the latest loop pack, it’s the side effect of working your craft. And working your craft isn’t just the actual act of leading a set of worship. It’s preparing, practice, planning, coordination, learning, experimenting, building up others.
Some of these things come easily to me. Others, not.
So when nobody is complaining, what’s the motivation?
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men… Colossians 3:23
The work isn’t for your benefit and it’s not for your congregation’s benefit. It’s not for men; it’s for the Lord. If that’s not motivation enough, it’s time to reconsider your calling.
So let’s do hearty work.