Creating filtered version of banner image.

THOUGHTS FROM A WORSHIP LEADER

Not About Who?

 

Valleys.  Storms.  Rough patches.  

 

Everyone goes through them. In I Peter, the fiery apostle himself warned us not to be surprised by the fiery trials.

 

But we are.  Every time, it seems.

 

"Why me?". Even the least self-centered among us seemingly can't help but repeat it to ourselves. And we have to learn . . . all over again and again . . . that it's not about us.

 

Or to be more precise, it's not about what WE think is best for us.

 

What would Isaac Watts say?

 

It grieves me. It absolutely grieves me.


No, I am not being overly dramatic. When I read criticism of worship songs and styles I literally feel pain. Okay, the pain is caused by the tension of gritting my teeth. But it's still pain.

WAIT . . . on the LORD

 

WAITING AND PURPOSE

January 2015. I was putting away the music accessorries I had gotten for Christmas because . . . well, I had no gigs coming up.

It was a typical Georgia January day. A bleak afternoon cloaked in the typical post-holiday hangover - an appropriate backdrop for my state of mind.

It struck me that I, like those gifts, was made to do a job but had no place to do it. Purpose with no opportunity.

My sixteen year position as worship minister had been eliminated. Sure, I needed a job. More important, I was convinced that God had more in store for me.

August 2015. Bethel Church, about six miles north of Butler Georgia. Close to absolutely nothing else except acres of beautiful pasture. As I step outside the summer sun surpasses every synonym of “brilliant” that I could hope to think of. The field across the street embraces the adjective “pastoral”.  I’m almost amused at the contentment I experience, light years away from the desolation of that dreary January day.

 I had come to several places in one. The first: being willing to go where God wanted me, with no reservations.  I thought I was already there.  The journey was a bit longer than I anticipated.

That place of willingness led to a church I might not have considered earlier. It brought me to a place of fulfillment. And purpose.

This church I had never heard of, in a place I was barely aware of, knew their target and moved inexorably toward it. Their next step: find a leader with the particular set of skills that God had given me. 

Now my personal purpose is intertwined with their corporate purpose, both of which come from God. The common theme is this:

It’s not about us.

The purpose of my music and leadership is not to make me feel better, or to make others think more highly of me.  Or to help me get a job.

It’s to focus on God and to remind others how awesome He is.

The purpose of Bethel Church is not to have nice buildings (which they do) or to get people into those buildings.

It’s to focus on God, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Purpose flows THROUGH you, but doesn’t END there. If it does, it becomes stagnant.  Unfulfilled. And quite honestly begins to stink. 

My choice for what I thought I needed would’ve missed out on God’s best.

If Bethel chose what was most comfortable for them, they would never make a difference.

So next time you feel like you have tools that are unused, and your purpose in life seems way out of reach, remember this: to find your place of purpose, you must go to another place – a place of willingness to let God use the tools that you think belong to you. 

After all, He made them. And what He builds with them will FAR exceed anything you can imagine. 

Ice Bucket with an Extra Challenge

 

Here it is with an EXTRA challenge.  Watch all the way to the end!

ON CHANGE AND DISCIPLES - FOR LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS

 

“Change sounds pretty but actually looks ugly, feels like hard labor, takes time, and pushes every limit we have.”

              – Shaun King 

Holding the WordThese are excerpts from an article by Shaun King, who can best be described as a radical and transparent disciple of Jesus.   

 

 

 

 

 

6 DON'TS OF WORSHIP

 

Photo courtesy of Texas Wedding Photographer, Matthew T Rader

The warnings against idolatry – putting anything above GOD – are hard to miss in scripture.  Yet I believe it’s easy to do just that even as we purport to be in the act of worshipping.  There’s a fine line between appreciating an element of worship and making it our focus. Here are a few things to be aware of so we don’t displace GOD in our corporate worship service.

Critical vs. Critique - 11 Signs Of Ministry Arrogance

 

Church Lady 

I'm actually incubating a lengthier piece about our ease (all of us) in slicing up someone else.  Until then let me offer these checkpoints from Scott Williams at www.churchleaders.com 

11 Signs That You May Suffer From Ministry Arrogance

WORSHIP LEADER: SERVANT OR STAR?

 

Worship Servant

A few years ago, two of our worship team members took my wife and me to a worship conference led by Darlene Zschech. The venue was relatively small, and thanks to

Visit and "LIKE" my page on Facebook!

Share this site on

Share on Facebook

Neil Stephens Worship

This site is about worship, worship music, worship lifestyle and . . . worship.  It's what believers do.

  Listen to samples of the songs from the new worship album.  Download the (free) album, get some charts, and use them in your church.  Check back for new worship songs. Read some thoughts I have from time to time about worship and following Jesus.  

Music from "Every Time I Breathe"

SIGN UP for BIG NEWS, Blog updates, and free stuff (sometimes)

Find me on