Pastor Dave who leads Community Bible Church, and Pastor Ben who leads Northwest Church were having coffee together, talking about the men and women who served on staff with them at their churches.
At one point in the conversation, Ben said, “Yeah, we have been looking for a worship leader for the past six months, and we finally found the guy! We are so excited.”
“Really?” Dave responded. “Tell me about him.”
“Well,” Ben answered, “They guy is the full package. It’s like a dream-come-true for our Church. He has an incredible voice, he plays just about every instrument, and he knows the tech-side of things like a real pro. I think he’s really going to clean up some of the glitches in our presentation. But when he steps up to lead, he’s just — well, he’s just anointed. I mean, you can just tell that he has been with the Lord. The Spirit really moves when he starts to play and sing. Speaking of that, the guy can play just about anything in any key or any style. He’s really going to help us attract people who love music.”
“Cool” Dave answered. “And tell me about his disciples. What did you learn about him from looking at their lives?”
“What do you mean, ‘his disciples?'” Ben asked.
“Well, I mean what kind of personal impact has he had on the people he is leading? Has he lead anyone to Jesus? Has he discipled them? Has his life had a transformative impact on others from the other side of the guitar, or is it all about what he does on stage?”
“Dave,” Ben shot back – “The guy has his own worship CD, for crying out loud! He writes the most anointed songs you’ve ever heard. He gets asked to do worship seminars all over the state. He’s gonna put us on the map! I’m kind of uncomfortable with the way you’re coming at me. You don’t even know the guy. He’s great.”
“Ben, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure he’s great,” Dave said. “In fact, I personally think your worship leader should be one of the best, if not the best musician in the church. Nobody likes crappy music in the service. It’s just that I’m not sure you really know him either — but it sounds like you’re impressed with his ability to perform for you. I’m just not sure that’s all you should be looking for in a team if you want to do Jesus-ministry. From my perspective, the best way to see how anointed he is would be to look at the disciples he has raised up. In my opinion, if you’re just looking at his performance abilities, and what your church gains from that — you’re not really expecting him to be a Christian leader. You’re just expecting him to be your Church’s personal Rock star and media pro.”
Ben stared at Dave for a few seconds with a look of shock on his face. “Dude. That’s harsh,” he finally said.
“I’m not trying to be harsh,” Dave answered. I’m just asking a question. You can staff your church however you want to, but I think you are opting for a decision that’s pretty telling. If the mission that Jesus has given us is to make disciples, then it seems like you’d want your key team members to be people who have a pretty visible track record for doing that — that’s all I’m saying. Maybe your guy has had an incredible impact on the lives of others on a discipleship level. I’m just saying that it’s interesting to me that you didn’t focus on that when you told me what he’s like.”
This illustration was inspired by a story I heard yesterday by Ed Waken (thanks Ed!). For me, it makes the point that churches often lapse into building things around attractional performances, productions, people, and programs, instead of building things around the call of Jesus to disciple people at every level.
What about you? How do you build the team of people with whom you do ministry? Are they there to attract more people to the show, or are they there as a key part of helping your team to shape and grow disciples — obedient followers of Jesus — in order to fulfill Jesus’ mission for the Church?
Food for thought.