First, sorry for the writing hiatus. It's been crazy...things are still crazy, but maybe I'm managing better...anyway, I'm back. Moving on...
We always bring our best. Excellence honors God, inspires people, and eliminates distractions. (Psalms 33:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17)
Our Craft inspires people:
All art tells a story. Good art can tell a powerful story. We play and create good music because our God is the Ultimate Creator and deserves our best effort and creativity.
Several years ago, I was at a conference and Matt Redman was doing a breakout session on songwriting and creativity. He made a statement there that has hung with me, "For too long people have used the church as a crutch to make poor music and play poorly. God deserves the best we've got and that's what we should give him." His point was that the idea that it's good enough for church because "their heart is in it" is a poor place to stand. Our God is incredibly creative! Look around at creation. Listen to the songs the birds sing and the melodies of the wind blowing through the trees and between buildings. Look at the sky and the landscape and see the colors that we only attempt at recreating!
As artists in the church, we are charged with the honor of displaying the glory of Christ via art. That art may be music, visual art, lighting, video, photography, drama, or any number of things. We are called to do so with excellence. We when pursue our gifts and hone them, we are being good stewards of the gifts that we've been given. God has blessed artists with talents, much like the master with his servants in the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25:14-30. He expects us to sharpen those talents and use them for his glory. If we just sit on them or use them for our own pride, we aren't being good stewards of what God has given us.
Below are some ways that lead worshipers and those in the congregation can use the idea of "Craft" to help make the experience the best it can be for all involved.
Lead Worshipers (Worship leaders, musicians, etc.)
1. Show up to rehearsal prepared and on time. When you show up for rehearsal prepared and practiced, that communicates to your team mates that you value their time and that you realize how important our message is.
2. Be creative. Make the songs your own. Create good music. Even cover songs can sound similar to the original while having a bit of personal flair added. The original work is nothing more than a canvas. All artists have boundaries, but we are able to work powerfully inside of those boundaries.
3. Never stop learning. Be open to honest and encouraging feedback. We get better by helping each other grow in our crafts. We should constantly be striving to get better at what we do. It helps us more accurately portray the awesomeness of our God. When we learn something new, it gets us excited about our instrument/craft all over again. It's always great to enjoy what you do!
4. Be thankful for your talent. Nothing is worse than someone being incredibly talented and them letting you know just how talented they are. In other words, be humble. In my opinion, humility is the key to being a worship leader. We must realize that God has gifted us with these talents and allowed us to be a part of His story. It's not about us!
1. Be open. We all have our preferences on what looks good, sounds good, feels good, etc. In the church world, it's good for us to occasionally set our preferences aside to look at the big picture. How can this art reach more people for Christ? Is it biblical? Is it effective? If it's doing these things, we should rejoice in it, even we don't particularly care for the style.
2. Be willing to learn. We should always be willing and eager to learn new songs and new ideas for reaching people for Christ. We should always welcome fresh ways of singing the truth of Jesus. It can be like a fresh drink of water to our soul. We should also be willing to learn from a different medium. Lyric videos, dramas put to music, and video messages are all avenues that we can worship and share the Gospel via art.
3. Be thankful. Be thankful for artists that God has given your church. He has blessed them with talents that help you grow closer to him. Lift them up and encourage them; they'll appreciate it.
Our God is the Ultimate Creator! He is our inspiration and he has given us the desire to paint, sing, write, and display the beauty of His Gospel via art. Let's do this and do it well! Our God deserves it!