IF Jesus WAS A WORSHIP TEAM MEMBER
What if Jesus was a member of your worship team? It would be truly glorious. He would play everything perfectly and nail it every time. After all, as a part of the triune Godhead, He’s the One who created music in the first place. But beyond His stellar performance, consider how He would interact with other team members. He would be full of grace and truth because this is who He is (John 1:14). There is no doubt that He would be inviting and approachable. He would have a whole lot of grace for His fellow team members who were at various stages in the development of their character and competency. Yet He would also be willing to challenge His teammates, speaking the truth in love.
But no one on your worship team is this perfect balance of grace and truth like Jesus, so exit the pipe dream. The members who make up your worship team are far from perfect. The leaders who lead your worship team are far from perfect. And so you have it, a bunch of imperfect people, but a perfect high priest. Let that sink in. Jesus, the faithful high priest is able to relate to our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), and so we are called to imitate Him and boldly approach His throne of grace. We are called to submit our actions, speech, emotions, and motivations to Him (Luke 9:23). While we are certainly not Jesus, we are certainly called to follow the example of our great high priest. Ephesians 5:1-2 gives us this charge, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” What does the way of love look like? There is a passage of Scripture that defines what biblical love looks like in action:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” - 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a
To evaluate how we are doing at walking in the way of love, we can ask ourselves the following questions:
“How patient am I with my team members?”
“How kind am I towards others especially when they fall short?”
“Am I envious of others and their giftings?”
“Am I boastful and overconfident in my own abilities and looking down on others?”
“Do I seek to honor others (Romans 12:10 - “outdo one another in showing honor”)
“What is driving me? Is it selfish ambition?”
“Am I easily angered and keep a record of everyone’s faults?”
“Do I seek to protect others and to protect our unity as a team?”
“Do I trust others? Do I hope with them and persevere with them?”
One thing is sure, love will never fail because love, perfect love, is ultimately a person, Jesus Christ, who never fails. Another thing is also sure, we will fail because we are human. However, this failure is a beautiful opportunity for us to display the way of love toward one another. Not if, but when, we or another team member makes a mistake and falls short, we can show grace and patience. We can provide coaching and help. In the same way, when we fail miserably at showing grace and instead display disdain and frustration, failing to love well, we can admit our wrong and ask forgiveness. We certainly want to push past failure and seek to grow in our craft. We want to steward our talents well so that our team as a whole flourishes, but we want to do this in an environment that is loving, inviting, and welcoming. I believe we can pursue musical excellence for the glory of God because it honors Him when we desire to steward what He has given, but we want to just as actively pursue growth in our love for the Lord and for one another.
If there is one thing your worship team would be known for, pray that it is known for the members’ love for one another (John 13:35). If someone were to sit in on a rehearsal and watch how your team interacts with one another, what would they conclude? Over and above a slick production, pray that their take away would be that your team truly loves as Jesus loves. Chances are that when that is happening, team members will also move toward being faithful musicians who steward their craft well because they are compelled by their love for God and their fellow teammates.
So, while 1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t exclusively say anything about worship teams, it has everything to do with worship teams, because teams are not made up of individual people doing their own thing, but consist of a collective of people working together. The product that the team produces is not the only thing that matters. How the team interacts with one another and how they work together on the way to producing the product is just as important. It is safe to infer that we can lead the perfect worship set, nailing every transition, and playing every musical part perfectly, but if we have not love, we gain nothing. Yet, we can strive for excellence, doing our very best, and have a love for one another that is patient and kind, not envious, not boastful nor proud, not dishonoring toward others, not self-seeking, not being easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. When this kind of love marks us, it is something very special that the Lord will bless.
Let’s engage with this together. Leave a comment below and let us know how your team is doing at loving one another. What kinds of things has your team done to ensure that the team is loving each other well even in the midst of other pursuits like musical excellence?
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