I believe as a worship leader, it can be easy to confuse ministering to the Lord and ministering to man. It is easy to get so caught up in leading a congregation in worship that we lose sight of the ultimate goal. We often want so badly for others to have a meeting with the Lord that we ourselves miss out on that meeting. As leaders, it is crucial that we also take part in this meeting.
Our Identity In Christ
As human beings, we all have identities, and they are found in different things. I'll use a music reference of this if I may for an example. Imagine a bass player; that person calls themselves a bass player because they play bass and they play regularly whether that be on stage, or at home, etc. They identify themselves as such because they simply play bass. However, if that person doesn't get the opportunity to play their instrument on stage or at home, their identity is damaged and they feel their sense of value and worth are detracted from.
In this post, I'd like to focus for a minute on our identity in Christ. The Bible defines us as several things. The Bible says that we are chosen and dearly loved, the Bible calls us children of God, but for our purposes, I want to look at the fact that God says that we are Priests.
"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" 1 Peter 2:5
"But you are a chosen people, a royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9
That last verse even goes into a job description for us: we are made Priests so that we can declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.
Now, our identity, who we see ourselves as, makes a huge difference in the way we function, how we live, and the choices we make. If we do not see ourselves as priests, that then relieves us of any responsibility that a priest holds. But, what happens if we take on the role of a priest?
Our Role as a Leader
If we see ourselves as priests, that will change everything. It will change the way we relate to God and other people. If we see ourselves as priests, we have the right and responsibility to do what priests do.
I have a list of things that we are able to do once we have taken on the role of the priesthood. To do this, I would like to use the Levites as examples..
1) Build/Host Tabernacle - To get something out of the way here, I want us to understand that the word "tabernacle" is much more simple than we think. It is just a fancy word for "tent". In the Bible, when you see Moses' tabernacle, it just means Moses' tent. The Hebrews referred to this as a tent of meeting.
The idea behind tabernacle is exactly how the Hebrews defined it; a place of meeting. When you go to church, do you have some sort of an expectation that you are going to meet with God? It is a body of people coming together with God being the focus. So, with that said, here is where being a priest comes into play: In the Bible, only priests were allowed to set up tabernacle. Only priests are able to host meetings with God. So as a worship leader, if you do not see yourself as a priest, do you see where this can be an issue? This is part of the joy of the priesthood! We have the ability to set up a meeting between God and man.
2) Carry the Presence of God - At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day. Deuteronomy 10:8
The Ark of the Covenant always represents the presence of God here on earth. This was the Levites responsibility to do so, as was their responsibility to set up and carry the rest of Moses' tabernacle. As it was their responsibility, it is ours as well, and our joy. We carry the presence of God where ever we go. This also can pose a problem. What if we don't see and identify ourselves correctly? As a worship leader, we carry the Presence of God onto that stage; it is crucial that we recognize this.
Think about the fact that we are ambassadors. Where ever an ambassador goes, the laws of his mother nation apply in that place, like diplomatic immunity. If a United States ambassador goes into a foreign nation, where he is standing just became the United States of America, even though he may be standing on German soil, U.S. laws now apply there as well. The same goes for us as followers and as priests. Where ever we go, we are able to bring the Kingdom of God into that place, because the Kingdom of God is our mother nation. That is why I believe we are able to bring a small piece of heaven to people that we come in contact with. When we contact someone without God, the laws of the kingdom of this world, the laws of sickness, death and decay, no longer apply because we are in that place. Isn't that interesting?
3) Minister to God - Look at that passage again in Deuteronomy 10:8. It mentions ministering to the Lord. This is going to be the point of what I am trying to say in all of this. As priests and especially as worship leaders, our primary focus is NOT to minister to man. We should focus on ministering to God and His pleasures, His desires, His will, His glory and His entertainment. As worship leaders, our focus should not be on ministering to the people in the congregation. That means, our primary concern must be of the will of the Lord. If the target of our ministry is pleasing the people in our congregation, we will always have a ministry that falls short. We want to target our ministry on pleasing God and His tastes.
Also, as people, as humans, we do not have the ability to meet the needs of others. We don't have the ability to take care of everyone's problems or even provide them an answer for everything. But, we minister to the One who is able. I think we as leaders in the Church would be more effective if we step away from people's needs and concerns and focus on pleasing the heart of God, because He can take care of all the things that we cannot in people's lives.
As I mentioned in the beginning, it's easy to get so caught up in leading a congregation that we often miss out on the meeting that we took part in setting up. If we have an effective ministry, it will be because our focus is on Jesus alone. I think that is something that we all know, but is easy to lose sight of.
Want to know something else that's pretty interesting? Do you know what happens when we minister to the heart of God?...
He shows up.
That's the ultimate goal.