My Hands: 'What Do I Practice?

Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on April 8, 2010

Meet Joe, the new worship leader for Crosstown Community Church. Joe is fictional, but you might recognize some of his qualities.

Joe works forty-five hours a week as a software engineer but still spends between five and ten hours preparing for Sunday morning. A lot of that time isgiven to reading Scripture, studying notes from the pastor's previous message, and praying for the church. Late Saturday night you'll usually find him poring over songs for the next morning.

Joe really wants to be used by God to help people grow in their love for him.

But things haven't been going too well. Last Sunday he forgot to tune his guitar. Again. After two verses it sounded so bad the pastor came up andasked the team to start over. During the third song, Joe remembered the team hadn't practiced going from the chorus to the verse. After a minor train wreck,the piano player finally got them on track.

Every week Joe fumbles through chords, misses cues, and forgets words. When others suggest he could grow in his abilities, Joe shakes his head and smiles. He's sure worship is about the heart, not trying to play everything perfectly. He thinks loving God and knowing him through his Word are all he needs.

The congregation wouldn't agree. They think Joe needs skill. And theirworship of God is being hindered by Joe's lack of it.

Skill is the ability to do something well. It's related to qualities like expertise and competence. We can tend to under value it, like Joe, or idolize it,like we do in professional musicians and athletes. But rightly understood andpursued, skill can mark the difference between ineffectiveness and fruitfulness in our leading. It can contribute to, or hinder people from, engaging with God.That's why we should make it a priority.

While God can work through us in spite of our mistakes, incompetence, and lack of preparation, he commends skill and uses it for his glory. When Moses had to find men to oversee the construction of the tabernacle, he didn't pass around a sign-up list. He chose craftsmen whom God had gifted with“skill and intelligence” (Exodus 36:1). When David looked for a Levite to leadsinging, he picked Kenaniah “because he was skillful at it” (1 Chronicles 15:22, niv). Under divine inspiration, David wrote that musicians are to “play skillfully on the strings” (Psalm 33:3), and David himself, as king over the people, “guided them with his skillful hand” (Psalm 78:72). In the New Testament, Paul referred to himself as “a skilled master builder” (1 Corinthians 3:10).

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