Thursday, August 28, 2014

Does God Call Ministers of Music or Worship Leaders?

I am a huge believer in God's call to vocational ministry. I experienced it many years ago beginning in high school and being resolved to some degree in college. I also believe we need to speak about calling to ministry to our students. In our attempt to emphasize everyone's call to service in the Christian life (which I agree with), I think we have "de-emphasized" God's calling to "full time service".

But, within that I have noticed and am trying to figure out a new phenomenon. At the national Collegiate Week done in Glorieta, New Mexico each August by the Lifeway Collegiate office there are 1700 students in attendance. Many of them are leaders in their campus ministry. Steve Masters, BCM Campus Minister at LSU, for the last two years has organized a luncheon for students who have been called to ministry.

At that lunch, they are seated at tables according to their area of calling. It is attended by 80 to 100 students. There are tables for those called to the pastorate, missions, youth ministry, children's, college, etc, etc. Each of those groups had large numbers.....except one.....there was only one student for music ministry. Last year at the luncheon it was similar.

With the great emphasis on music in our worship these days, why does it seem there are fewer feeling called to lead worship?

As some worship leaders have become celebrities, is it seen as beyond what an "ordinary person" can do? A few churches today have gone away from having a permanent Minister of Music or Worship Leader and they bring in different worship bands or worship leaders to lead each week. Are we "de-emphasizing" the music leader as "minister"? Where does that take us?

Are there fewer experiencing a call to lead worship? Should there not be full time worship leaders in churches? Or, are we separating ministry from music?

By the way, I highly, highly recommend Jeff Iorg's book, "Is God Calling Me?". It is a great book to give to students. It is super practical and readable and only 115 pages. I've given it to tons of students.

1 comment:

  1. That is a great question Arliss. As a Worship Pastor, I would agree that the tides have changed a bit. As I have also had the opportunity to do quite a bit of Collegiate Ministry work as well I would say the problem is the same in that area as well. Those positions are viewed as either stepping stones to something else or a lesser call, as if such a thing existed. These areas are very public for a short bit and are out of the public eye the rest. This bring the view that these are lesser callings and therefore can be lightly staffed.

    I believe this is evidenced currently more clearly in the BCM world. As there has been a massive defunding of full time ministry work in exchange for other options. As we have done that we are seeing the depth of our minsitries taxed and hurt because time is required to dive deep to invest in students. I believe the same is becoming evident in our worship ministries. We are seeing the depth of our worship services eroded into little more than an attempt to make good music and get to the sermon. The depth of the words we sing are lost on average person because we never challenge them to dig deeper into the songs. A simple illustration is the song Come Thou Fount. Knowing what Ebenezer, Fetter, Interposed, etc can drive our congregations to new depths of undersanding of the song, but in order to dive to those depths time is required. Time that bi-vocational or lay people just do not have or willing to spend.

    So, how do we change it? That I do not know. I can only pour into so many, but hopefully in time the laws of multiplication can get us back to that Heart of Worship and how to bring our congregations along into the depths with us.

    Aaron Smith