Plant + Water = Grow

Featuring Branon Dempsey Posted on May 22, 2009

"Can one ever age out in leading worship?" This question was relayed to me just recently by a friend over Facebook. You never age out of ministry. We just age! Thank God that we have Moses, Abraham and Methuselah to look up to. Now, that’s old. As a leader, age brings wisdom, patience and a special kind of seasoning that can be shared with others. Question: Are you bringing people into your ministry in order to grow?

Experience and history go a long way in the shaping of our ministries. We've invested much time and energy into what we do. But what happens after us? Where does Scripture ever say that we will hold on to our spots forever? Never! It is just the opposite. Ecclesiastes tells us (paraphrasing)  that another man is ready to pick up our work. I think this is the ticket. Being ready. We all have a timeline. When is yours? When is mine? Are we truly training up leaders to take up the baton and run ahead in God’s mission? Vision will change overtime, but the mission of connecting and reaching people never changes. But all the planting and watering you've done is essential for your ministry to take root. In fact, without God using you from the beginning, you may not have the ministry that it is today. But there's one thing that is most important to be reminded of: it is ultimately God's plant, God's ministry.

Is there a time that leaders will age out in worship leading? I say yes. Do they ever stop leading others? No. As a leader, no matter what age, God has gifted you with the ability to influence, guide and mentor people. He has also given you the opportunity, great or small, to be effective in any ministry environment. This is also key. Many leaders go through the thoughts of bettering their current situation. I remember times in my ministry experience where and when I wish things would change. Albeit, personalities, work environments and superiors, there were issues that I wish would go away. The problem. Me. I think often about the words of Jesus in pointing out the speck in other people's eyes, while neglecting your own plank. It is far too easy to point out the negative conditions around you. It is far too difficult to point out the ones within yourself. I know I have plenty.  That's OK. Why? Because anytime we refuse to look within ourselves and see what God sees, we stop growing. A funny Scripture verse comes to mind from Proverbs - in paraphrasing - he who hates correction is stupid (Pv 12.1). That's a good one! But here's the kicker. When we ask God to help us reach down within ourselves for help, we may find an initial resistance. However, what we truly find is healing, peace and freedom. Good friend Dennis Jernigan tells us that honesty is one step towards freedom. I firmly agree with Dennis that true honesty is true freedom in Christ. When we agree with God our eyes our open. When we respond to God and allow Him to initiate the changing process, things change. We change.

If you think I am taking the long way, you are right. Here's the point. Often as leaders, we have our own issues with release and control. It is easy to feel the ownership in something that you have worked hard for. Your sweat, blood and tears have gone into each of your ministries. In fact, you may feel that God has used you to lay the building bricks. You are right. He has used you. If it were not for you and your passion, where would the ministry be? As in 1 Cor. 3:6-7, Paul talks about who one plants the seed and the other waters. Both are essential ingredients, but neither is important. God is the one who causes the growth. We are allowed by God to humbly participate in the work He is already doing.

Ok, put your seat belt on. Ultimately, who has laid the foundation in your ministry? You or the Lord Jesus Christ? 1Cor. 3 goes on to tell us not to lay and build on a foundation with wood, hay or precious stones, but only build upon the foundation which Christ as already laid.

Our leadership positions are positions to release to others. To empower someone is to love, trust and watch them succeed. But you cannot release if you cannot trust. (this is really trusting God first, yourself then others). Remember those who have led you into the ministry you're doing now? They reserved a spot for you to take up the baton and go. Here you are. Now you have the opportunity to release the blessings God has given you to bless others. Here's the really cool part. They go on to be a blessing to other people. And those people go on to bless the next ministry. Truly, the gift does keep on giving. Fact: it is up to you in your responsibility to respond to God and train up and release others.

Again, we never age out of ministry, we just age into new places for the sake of the Gospel. Take time with those of whom you lead. Be ready to move with God when he says go. Be blessed as you serve in his calling to your team. We are never too young nor too old to learn and grow. God has called you to either plant or water.  Let Him take care of the growing as you do you part to serve.

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