Archive for September, 2011


On 9/11 and Suffering

Sunday morning marked ten years since the World Trade Center towers fell, and thousands of lives were lost in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. For most of us who watched in shock as events transpired over the television it was a somber day. This is not the first catastrophic event in recent history but it is one that our generation will never forget. We dwell in a world tainted by sin, but live in denial of that fact until we are subjected to a wave of suffering. Suddenly we remember the God we forgot and neglected, asking him to bless a country that would rather he only exist in moments of uncontrollable crisis. We became accustomed to the belief that our own little world had only small imperfections. This must change.

Do we intellectually confirm that we need God without realizing how desperately in need of him we are? Often times I find myself trying to handle everything in life myself, asking God for help when I feel like I’m in a tight spot or at the end of my rope. I failed to acknowledge my dire need of him at all times: I failed to acknowledge sin as an ever present danger, a fact in my life. I don’t think the proper response is “America Bless God” as if he needs our blessing, but that we must acknowledge our need of him and continually recognize and accept his help. Then we will be just as shocked by the starvation of an unknown homeless man as we are of the events of ten years ago.

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So what’s the difference and is it important? A worship leader is often responsible for the worship team and everything that occurs on stage during the musical portions of the worship service. Leading a team that is in turn leading the congregation in music and worship is a great responsibility that requires heart and authenticity as well as skill and talent. A worship pastor is so much more than that, being not only a worship leader with all of those entailing responsibilities but also a pastor of the local church body. To be a pastor entrusted with the spiritual guidance of God’s people is both the greatest honor and the greatest responsibility. Being a worship pastor is about being a leader, teacher and mentor. Aside from leading a team and planning the service, a pastor is concerned with both the growth and spiritual development of the team members specifically and the congregation as a whole, teaching them from experience and biblical text the principles guiding the radical life of following Christ. Even more important than this is the concentrated time and effort that a worship pastor spends on a select few people in a mentoring relationship to effectively reproduce more leaders and pastors to take their place and continue to pass the torch.

These definitions do not have to be permanently attached to actual positions within the organizations of the local church, but rather can aid us to truly understand our callings and talents. The worship leader may not be a gifted pastor, but very sensitive to the spirit and skilled in pointing a congregation in the right direction. Likewise, the worship pastor may not be the best leader, but an excellent teacher and mentor providing spiritual direction and demonstrating the principled life of the Christ-follower. Both of these roles are key to the church and everything that we do as worship leaders, and we all share a certain measure of both sets of attributes. Holding a specific position emphasizing one set does not excuse us from practicing the other as well. Let us all hold dearly to what brings the body of Christ together: Worship.

What circumstances do you find yourself in? How can you apply these principles there?