I’ve had this discussion with many different people over the last several years. Professors have brought it up, friends have brought it up, friends who are also worship leaders, the few youth pastors I have worked with and we’ve discussed it several times at newhope even since I have been here. He have come up with many great responses but they are more for how a church can measure to success I think. There are many things that could be said to make a Sunday successful and we could all list them but I want to talk to worship leaders specifically today about this.
Sometimes I find myself measuring success on a Sunday morning by how loud the congregation sings.
How big their smiles are as they sing.
How many hands are raised…or maybe half-raised because they are nervous to raise them all the way.
Or even by who has their eyes closed as they sing.
Or by how many people compliment me and the team after the services.
How well the team did.
Or any number of other things.
Here’s the thing though, the Lord does not measure success on Sundays in those ways. At all. I am a huge fan of Oswald Chambers. Huge fan. The man has no idea who the heck I am and he still writes about me every day (he has got to be reading my mail).
Today he brought up Luke 10:20-
Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven…
That got me thinking. As I lead each Sunday, I should not just rejoice in how many people were engaged or how many people received Christ but rather the fact that my name is written in heaven! This is not to say that souls are not important. CERTAINLY NOT! This is not to say that leading people to the thrown is not nearly as important as I once thought. CERTAINLY NOT! (please know the capitalization is for emphasis. I am not yelling at you all. Or rather the one person reading this. Sorry. I <3 you.) This is all to say that success on a Sunday, I believe, should be measured by how much we give.
Am I giving this my all? Am I giving this my all despite circumstances? Oswald said this:
The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is, success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we live now. Never seek anything other than the approval of God, and always be willing to go “outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13).
THAT was a wake up call. Oswald, like I said, must be reading my mail. That is exactly what I have been doing since I started leading worship and certainly the last several months. SUCCESS IS NOT MEASURED IN NUMBERS. He goes on to point this out…
In Luke 10:20, Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have a commercialized view-we count how many souls have been saved and sanctified, we thank God, and then we think everything is all right…Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they totally yielded to God.
This is it. This is why we do what we do. For me, I was reminded, encouraged and challenged once again to do my absolute best each weekend as I prepare and as I lead. Not that I didn’t already do that and not that I did not know this but I now have a different view on that and the verse in Colossians 3:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…
GIVING THANKS in WHATEVER you do. Ok, Lord. Whatever. Indeed.
Be encouraged, friends.