It has taken lengths of time and pointed intentionality to acquire the aforementioned basic principles in my mind. It has taken even more time and intentionality to keep them there. I need to be reminded of them often. Maybe your experience is different? For the third installment of things I have learned in my journey as a lead worshipper in a church plant, I will be highlighting one of those principles: Balance.
In the town where we planted the church in 2001, there lived a golf-pro named Ben.
Ben was poised to become a breakout PGA star in the 1990s until a cancer diagnosis forced him to rethink his chosen career. While undergoing treatment he began to entertain himself with golf club tricks. This also entertained his family and the medical professionals who were supporting him in his cancer fight. This led to a celebrated career as a highly sought-after, world-class golf entertainer.
One particular trick he created involved a large exercise ball and an oversized driver. Ben would balance himself on the ball, a golf ball would be tossed in the air toward him and then he would drive that ball a couple of hundred yards! (insert “ooohs and aaahs” from the crowd!) He would talk about balance as he performed the trick. Not just the typical physical equilibrium definition of balance (although that is important as no one wants to fall off of the platform during worship or during a golf trick for that matter) but also the mental and emotional steadiness definition. In our case, I would add spiritual to that list of steadiness.
Church planting & leading worship require all three
Church planting & leading worship require all three – mental, emotional, and spiritual steadiness. Staying mentally steady will require a mind renewed (Romans 8:6; 12:2). Staying emotionally steady will require emotions that are kept in check by the word & promises of God (Psalm 139:23, Philippians 4:7, Colossians 3:2). Staying spiritually steady will require reliance on the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised will live & empower those who believe in Him and we also know from John 4:23-24 that:
“23 the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Balance in the context of leading worship
Balance in the context of leading worship in a church plant is an interesting mix of trying new things, failing or succeeding, and then trying again. I remember the first time we tried to add a drummer to the mix of the acoustic guitar, two vocalists, and bass player with our small portable sound system. Most of the church plant needed divine healing from deafness brought on by the onslaught of the morning. It was not good. We attempted to match our volume with the volume of the drums (the drums were being pounded by a former professional heavy metal musician…) with the small sound system. Between the drums and the feedback, I am still amazed that folks came back the following week! But something happened that morning. I felt completely off my game, yet still, there was grace! There were smiles on many faces of the newly deaf congregation. There were people who were raising their hands in praise. There were people attempting to sing (I say attempting because I’m not actually sure anything was coming out of their mouths – I couldn’t hear them).
I knew that in the natural there were things to correct. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually I didn’t feel steady however I realized that God sometimes uses loud to get our attention. It took a minute to realize that the balance was not in my natural control or ability but in the ever-presence of my Heavenly Father. As mentioned earlier – He is the catalyst for all three areas of balance. (we will delve further into them in upcoming posts)
Unfortunately, Ben lost his battle to cancer in 2015.
I won’t soon forget the lessons taught by Ben while he entertained. It’s hard not to pay attention to a guy who is standing on a big red ball wielding a five-foot driver.
In what area do you struggle with balance?
How closely do you rely on your natural ability?
How has that worked out for you? 🙂