How to attract—and empower—a new generation of worshippers
Most music has a shelf life. While there are many songs both sacred and secular that span the generations, a vast majority fades into distant memory with the years.
The same can be said of worship music. We all remember and cherish the songs that we sang in our churches when our lives were first changed by the power of God. Those songs stay with us, embedded in the story of our relationship with Jesus. But on a regular basis, new, dynamic worship songs and albums sweep through the body of Christ and again transform lives. These songs are the beauty of God’s creation responding to its Creator.
I am a worship leader. I love to lead people on the journey of a worship experience. I thrive on the creative process of writing songs that will draw people to the redeeming love of God. However, my worship-leading style, method and songs may not be relevant forever. There will come a time when someone else will lead and bring his or her own creativity and leadership in my place. Let me be clear: I will always use the gifts God has given me to lead others, but the expression of that gift will change through the years.
Throughout the Bible we see examples of leaders who tirelessly developed the people around them. Moses had Joshua, Elijah had Elisha, Jesus had the disciples and Paul had Timothy. In each of these relationships, the mentor provided leadership and opportunity for the next generation after him.
I am where I am because of the people who taught me, mentored me and pushed me into opportunities to lead. I want to be a part of what God is doing in the next generation of worship leaders. I trust you do too. There are some key things we can focus on to accomplish this:
Be the best. Push yourself to be the best worshipper, musician and leader. Lead your team by example, and they will follow. Key Question: What are you doing every day to improve yourself?
Recruit youth. Always have someone in training for your job, and give him or her opportunities to lead. There is no minimum age to start serving God. Build the legacy of your worship in the next generation. Key Question: What does your team look like? Is it composed of young, dynamic leaders pushing the limits; or are they satisfied with the status quo?
Be secure. Realize you have a plan and purpose and that your style and expression do not equal your worth. One day you will pass the torch to someone else. Key Question: Does your confidence come from Christ or your position or success? Are you secure enough to let go of ministry?
Take risks. Listen to the ideas your team has and experiment with them. It will challenge you and build confidence and creativity in your team. Key Question: How often do you ask others for ideas?
We should give the same level of effort and creativity to developing others as we do to creating the worship experience. God has called us to “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:12, NIV). Doing this promises to be hard work, but the result is a worship culture that is anointed, innovative and multigenerational.
John Larson is worship pastor at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Ala. John has released a solo worship album, You Are Great, as well as Arise and Motion EP with Highlands Worship. John and his wife, Deborah, have three children and live in Birmingham.