I wanted to share something that I wrote for our staff at Element Church. While this may not directly apply to everyone who reads this, I do believe there are some things that can be helpful for you. If you happen to read this and you serve on a church staff somewhere, I think this is a great reminder of our ultimate calling in our ministry, and no matter who you are, I hope this encourages, inspires or challenges you.
What are we called to as a staff?
In 2 Chronicles 29, King Hezekiah summoned the Priests and Levites together to spark a revival and return to the Lord. The temple had been closed for years, idol worship was running rampant, and the people had abandoned God.
2 Chronicles 29:11 says, “My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.”
As I read this in my own devotional time, I was so challenged by this call to the priests. This is our calling as well. In this New Testament age, if you are on staff, whether you have the title of “pastor” or not, you are a priest or a Levite. The priests and the Levites were in charge of leading the people to the Lord.
A couple of things stood out to me in this call from Hezekiah. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the order in which he says these things. If it is a coincidence, then God used it to speak to and challenge my own heart. These aren’t the only things we are called to do. Each of us has unique aspects to our calling that we need to live out, but I believe this is an excellent reminder of precisely what we are called to do as the leaders of Element Church.
1. To stand in God’s presence —
Hezekiah said, “the Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence.” Listen, your first responsibility as a staff member at Element Church is to stand in God’s presence. If we aren’t personally spending time in the presence of God, how can we expect to lead other people to do the same?If we aren't personally spending time in the presence of God, how can we expect to lead other people to do the same? Click To Tweet
It’s been said many times; you can’t lead someone else to place you haven’t been yourself. This is why the first two things we ask in our accountability times are about how we are spending time in God’s presence. Being in God’s presence will have a direct effect on the power we have to live in purity and integrity and to lead with courage and boldness.
If we don’t stand in the presence of God, we don’t stand a chance in the presence of our people. #preachIf we don't stand in the presence of God, we don't stand a chance in the presence of our people. Click To Tweet
2. To minister to the Lord —
This one was so huge for me. As leaders, I think we often believe that after we stand in God’s presence, the very next thing is to minister to the people. Yes, as leaders in this church, we should be ministering to the people, but our ministry is first to the Lord.
This does not mean that God somehow has a bad day now and then and needs our pastoral care. I mean, let’s all be honest, if God needed us to care for Him, then we should all just pack up our desks and find a much easier career to pursue. When I say that we are to minister to the Lord, I’m talking about the fact that pleasing Christ in what we do is our first and foremost priority. Obedience is our success, remember?
Before we rush out and try to serve the people, let us stop and ask the Lord, “Is this how you want us to serve?” I’m all for pursuing excellence, being creative, thinking outside the box, and pushing the limits. I’m the first one who wants to charge a new hill or create an original method of doing things. But let’s not be so focused on doing things better for the people that we forget who we are genuinely doing it for.
We can be on the cutting edge of ministry without actually ministering to the Lord. Does this mean we shouldn’t be on the cutting edge? Of course not. I want us to keep our focus on serving the Lord and allow Him to lead us where He wants us to go. Again, obedience is our success.We can be on the cutting edge of ministry without actually ministering to the Lord. Click To Tweet
3. To lead the people in worship —
Notice, two-thirds of what Hezekiah was calling the leaders to do had nothing to do with the people themselves. After standing in God’s presence and after ministering to the Lord, then they were to lead the people in worship. And before everyone looks at the worship staff to do this one, we are all worship leaders in our church.
I believe that everything we do in our service to the Lord is an act of worship. We too often equate singing with the only form of worship. It is “a” form of worship, but it is not “the” form of worship. In fact, as valuable as worship through singing is, I believe the most important forms of worship we can lead our people to do are the ones that everyone else on the team does, not just the worship team. As a part of this team, each one of you is called to lead the people in worship.I believe that everything we do in our service to the Lord is an act of worship. Click To Tweet
Let’s not get our priorities out of whack. Let’s not start our jobs by leading the people first; let’s start with standing in God’s presence. When we stand in God’s presence, we will be more in tune with His will and unless we know God’s will for the people, how can we lead them to worship Him anyway? Do you see how this is all connected?
I am honored to be a Priest and a Levite on this team with you. I’m calling us to the same thing Hezekiah called them to do; Stand in God’s presence. Minister to the Lord. Lead the people in worship.