So Now What?
How does this realization change our attitude toward leadership? Here are three ideas for how we move from the button-pusher mentality to the instrument-for-helping-people-connect-with-God mentality.
First thing’s first – Worship. As in the verb. Aaron worshipped first. The priests who served in the temple worshipped first; then they served through their worship. Their service was a natural part of their own expression of worship. As Chris Tomlin’s FOH engineer for 9 1/2 years, I was a part of over 700 of his concerts (I know, I’m pretty lucky). Even though I worked with one of the best worship leaders alive, it was still too easy for me to think that proximity to worship equals engagement in worship. “Worship by proxy” is not what God has called us to. I talked to a church staff guy a few weeks ago who said, “I’ve been here for three years and haven’t missed a Sunday, but I feel like I haven’t been to church in a long time.” What has been a huge catalyst for my own engagement is remembering my priesthood. When I could see myself as an integral part of helping to facilitate Chris’ vision for where he wanted to lead people, it caused me to keep my head up, my eyes open, and my heart ready for what God wanted to do. A win for me is helping to take that guy at the end of the row from arms folded and mouth closed to hands raised and singing along.
Secondly – Be brilliant! God placed such high value on the group of people who served as the conduit between himself and his people that he marked them. They were to reflect who He was. This call to excellence continues on through every generation of believers.
Whatever we do, we are not called to be mediocre at it; we are to be excellent at it.
“Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing. That was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.”
— I Chronicles 15:22
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…”
— Ephesians 6:7
“Sing to Him a new song. Play skillfully, and shout for joy…”
— Psalm 33:3
For some of us, this is about getting practical and stepping up our game in how we train our teams. Sometimes the “headless chicken” scenario is merely a reflection of a team that isn’t well prepared. Here are some simple, practical things you can implement:
1. Develop systems that work for your team. They don’t have to be intricate. They just need to bring clarity to the processes.
2. Create stage plots, color-coded cables, and well-labeled inputs so there’s no confusion.
3. Hold regular training on gear for your team. This demonstrates your value of excellence.
4. Be clear about the “win” for each member of the team on any given week. When they can see a bullseye on the target, they have a way of knowing what success is. Everyone can celebrate when they hit it, and there’s a way to measure progress when they don’t.
As important as practical steps are for developing a topnotch team, being brilliant is more than just being skillful. Think of brilliance in terms of LIGHT.
Matthew 5:14-16 tells us that we are “the light of the world…”
How do you reflect the light of Christ to the rest of the team around you? How do you reflect that light to the people you serve? How do we as a team reflect His light to the entire church? The best way for our congregations to experience authentic worship is to be led by a team that’s worshiping authentically!
Lastly – Feel the weight. I know that sounds strange, but it’s important that we learn to humbly carry the weight of the people we serve on our shoulders. And no, we are not talking about bringing back the carved stones or the ephod, although if we did I think Instagram would get a lot more interesting. No, we’re not on an ephod reinstatement mission, but they do present a great picture of what we’re carrying. Understand that you are clearing the path between the people and their God. You get the awesome responsibility of making sure people who need to connect with Him have the best opportunity to do so.
Here’s an easy challenge for you: Share the story of Aaron with your team and challenge them to pick two people this week to “carry.” It’s amazing what happens when we work alongside people who we know are cheering for us, challenging us, and who are bought into the same vision as us. Encouragement and accountability have a way of infecting an entire team, and it’s always for the better.
You’ve Got A Friend
One of the best ways we become better leaders is to surround ourselves with other leaders who share the same priorities and are on the same path moving toward the same goal. At MxU, we see a particular tension all the time: Church production teams, especially those whose churches set the bar high, are some of the most spiritually vulnerable people on campus.
Let’s stay connected, so you can not only get better at what you do, but also get better at who you are!