Check out Part II of the Performance vs. Ministry blog series! Donald is a pastor and worship leader in Zambia, and he is the director of NLW’s ministry in Africa. He works and travels with the NLW team multiple times per year, helping lead and teach at the various events hosted throughout Africa.
Click here to read Part I, or just keep scrolling to read Part II!
I am not writing as an expert, having passed this level of performance to full ministry. l find myself struggling sometimes!
The following seven differences between a minister and performer have been of great help to me!
Firstly, all of us want to rehearse so that we can come out perfect in a service! Very right! But performance comes in when we rehearse and start worrying about the results after our musical worship. Dwayne Moore, the Next Level Worship International founder, has a special teaching on how preparing a worship service is like baking the cake. We can do all the preparations of the process of baking the cake, but the oven is the one that brings out the cake! A minister must rehearse and pray to God for the results! After your rehearsal, pray, pray and pray for God to use you!
Secondly, have you come across worship leaders who don’t value relationships with the Church members, but want them to do what he/she wants in the service? A performing spirit’s first thought doesn’t care about relationships, but wants to impress his/her audience with a nice voice, great dressing, or the physical appearance. We need to be people of sound relationships with the people we reach. A minister’s first thought is to reach his/her audience! I believe ministering to people is not on Sundays only, but every day, and if we strive to do that we will reach our audience effectively!
Thirdly, one of the first things l wait for after leading worship is that l must be compensated, whether in words or another way. That is a performance spirit! Receiving compensation may happen or may not, and if I look for it and it doesn’t happen, discouragement crawls in! As ministers, only God will tell us, “well done faithful servant!” Our compensation is eternal! We can be and will be compensated by people, but let’s hear from our God to tell us and that’s eternal!
Fourth, a leader who doesn’t reproduce or who doesn’t make others successful is a failure! This is also another performance spirit; it only fights hard and sacrifices only for their own good in their calling! If l ended to be the most powerful worship leader without building others also to grow, I am not ministering! Our hearts must be to further the ministry, seeing others grow and pulling young worship leaders to our level! Then, l will be successful and faithful before God. Our hearts must be to see others do better, even better than us!
Fifth, when we stand before the people to lead, we are not there to just fulfil the program and sit down; we are there to make sure God’s truth is conveyed to the hungry souls! It’s not “show must go on” slogan, but “God’s truth must get through.” We are sometimes tempted to do all the songs we prepared, which is okay, but we care-less if God wants us to just repeat one song so that the truth in that song can be accepted by the audience.
Sixth, have you been at a place where you want to lead worship so that the audience can focus on you and not God? Well, l have been there! I was embarrassed in a service where the Pastor asked me to lead a song that he heard and had tried to reach his church but failed because he couldn’t remember it well. I went in front to teach and lead it, but my heart wasn’t right because l wanted to make a name for myself! I was greatly embarrassed; l forgot the song counts, tune, and where to start! Let’s learn to love to lead so that we can direct all the glory to our Savior! He alone deserves all the Glory!
The seventh one, the battle any of us can have, is that we can put a price tag on our ministry opportunities. We may think that money is our greatest reward for the work of God. If so, that is a performance spirit, and it brings limitations to our growth! Certainly there is nothing wrong with being honored and helped financially. Jesus said, “A laborer deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7). However, He wants us to know that He alone is the one that can give us the greatest rewards! And when we realise this, we become ministers before God! Our hearts will be at peace even when we don’t get any rewards from men!
Beloved, our hearts MUST be right before our God for us to minister before Him in spirit and in truth! And that’s the worshiper God is looking for, the one that shall every day learn to check the way his/her heart is before God. God loves us undeservedly; He works in our lives even when we don’t realise, and He remains faithful to His Word!
God bless you!