As worship leaders, we are privileged to help cultivate hunger for God in our worship services.
This spiritual hunger is different than physical hunger in one significant way. In the physical realm, when a hungry person eats, the appetite is quenched. But in the spiritual realm, hunger for God creates even more hunger. As seekers hunger for God, they are filled, but with even more hunger for Him. Spiritual hunger is rewarded with a greater capacity for hunger.
As worship leaders, no doubt you have observed that the church is filled with believers who are stagnant in their faith, but many still have a desire to be hungry for the things of the Spirit. These believers desire passion for God but can't seem to muster a sustainable spiritual hunger. Worship leaders can steward this hunger in three ways and begin to create a culture of passion for God.
Proximity. Anyone who walks up to a campfire on a chilly evening feels its warmth, sees its energy and is transformed from cold to comfortable. This observer may not know how to build or sustain a fire or know about the science of fire, but none of this matters in the moment.
As believers, we need to get near holy fire to develop a hunger for God. Attending a Spirit-empowered church or surrounding oneself with people passionate for God will start this hunger. Those who are part of a Christian community filled with joy, love and peace can receive spiritual benefits just from being there.
Close proximity to hunger for God creates a hunger in other believers to want it for themselves. How many stories have we heard of two people who were best friends for years until one day they realize they were in love? Their friendship through the years eventually fueled the fire of love.
As worship leaders, we must cultivate our own hunger for God so we can transmit it, through the power of the Spirit, to those we lead. Our personal hunger helps fan the flames of passion in the body.
Taste. We tend to fear what's new, whether an idea, system or technology. When it comes to trying new things with God or starting a fresh spiritual practice, fear comes into play. As a result, people stagnate in their faith walk.
Jesus' instruction to Peter to step off the boat and onto the water must have seemed crazy. Think about it. What if your best friend looked at you in all sincerity and said, "Go ahead and fly! Come on, you can deny all laws of gravity."
But Peter took a risk. He tried the new exotic food he'd never tasted. Now generations of believers look to his example of walking in spiritual authority.
Just as smelling or tasting food awakens the appetite, experiencing a new revelation of God's power and goodness enlivens our spiritual appetite. No one who walks on top of water is going to walk away from that experience and say, "I don't want to try that again." Rather, they would say, "What else is possible with Jesus?"
On a practical level, leaders can find ways to encourage their people to take a risk, to taste something new. For too long, the church has tried to control the sheep out of fear of failure. And for far too long, the church has been filled with powerless, complacent sheep. But it's time now to let them taste what the early apostle tasted: a gospel filled with power from on high. Hunger for more of God will be the byproduct.
Testimony. Throughout the Scriptures, we are encouraged to share what the Lord has done. The power of the testimony lies in its ability to reproduce itself. When someone testifies that his blind eyes were healed, it inspires faith for other blind people to be healed. At Bethel Church, we've heard many stories of people being healed of sickness or injury simply from hearing about someone else being healed of the same thing—even without prayer! When we realize someone else is walking in the reality of what we want for our own life, hope is born.
It's vital that we provide opportunities to hear the stories of struggle and victory from those who have walked the same road we are walking. Inspired by these faith-building testimonies, we experience a growing hunger for what life could be in Christ. As worship leaders, it's up to us to foster this hunger for God in the body as we keep following the leading of the Spirit.
Joshua Mohline is director of WorshipU (worshipu.com), the online school of worship from Bethel Music. With a background as a worship leader in settings from small to large, he has been a part of the Bethel Church worship teams since 2012. He facilitates the worship school as it equips and empowers thousands of worship leaders and teams worldwide.
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