The Call to be Faithful
Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on April 16, 2010
Whatever standards others might use to judge our ministry, God is concerned that we be faithful. Faithfulness means firmly adhering to the observance of aduty, keeping your word, fulfilling your obligations. It involves being loyal, constant, and reliable.
Being faithful means fulfilling the desires of another. We don't define our ministry; God does. And he hasn't left it up to us to determine the content and purpose of what we do. We're fulfilling a responsibility he has given us.
Paul elaborates on this thought in his first letter to the Corinthians:
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. (1 Corinthians 4:1–2)
Although Paul was writing as an apostle, each of us is to be trustworthywith the mysteries of God—what God has shown us about himself, especially his character and works displayed in the gospel. We're called to faithfully proclaim what he's revealed.
Countless temptations can keep us from being faithful and trustworthy. One of them is fame.
Harold Best observed, “Ministry and fame have become so equated witheach other that it is nearly impossible to think of anything but fame if onecontemplates a ministry in music.”1 That's not the way God intended it to be.
Some of the most godly worship leaders I know are people you've never heard of. They don't have a national ministry, and they've never recorded a CD. They remind me that leading worship on a best-selling worship project isn't a sure sign one way or the other that God is pleased with what we're doing. It just means a lot of people have bought our CD.
God puts people in the spotlight for different reasons. It may be to give a wider platform to those who have followed him faithfully. Matt Redman is one of many internationally known worship leaders who doesn't think of himself as a star but as a humble servant. He has a heart for theology and a deep lovefor his local church. I think that's why God has given him an international influence.
But sometimes an individual's popularity shows us the effects of in dwelling sin and how in these last days people with “itching ears” will flock to leaders who “suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3). Reaching the top of a best-seller list or music chart is no guarantee that someone actually has something worth saying or hearing. It may prove just the opposite.
We're also tempted to gauge how we're doing by the numbers, like howmany people show up on Sunday. But people can be lured to come to churchfor all kinds of reasons—stunts, lavish multimedia productions, cutting-edge music. More people doesn't always mean we're pleasing God. It could just mean we're good at marketing. Like the disciples, we can have a hard time understanding a Savior who's more concerned about obeying his Father thanabout seeking out a large crowd (Mark 1:36–38).
We can also get sidetracked by importing a “concert mentality” into our Sunday meetings. We put together “worship sets,” sing the latest worship hits, and overwhelm people with special effects. Technology becomes crucial and governing rather than secondary and serving. We can certainly learn from concert settings. They show us how sounds, lights, images, and music can beused for emotional impact or to focus attention. Concerts are intended to beintense, emotional, and multisensory. But on Sunday mornings we're not trying to emotionally stimulate people or provide a moving experience regardless of the source. I once heard a woman describe how Bono and U2 taught her more about worship than any Sunday morning worship leader. That's an alarming statement. Our goal as worship leaders is unlike that ofany concert and is far more significant. We're seeking to impress upon peoplethe greatness of the Savior whose glory transcends our surroundings and technology.
Occasionally someone passes me after a meeting and calls out, “Hey, great worship this morning!” After thanking them and walking on, it hits me: Ihave no idea what they meant. Did they like the music? Was the kick drum extra-loud? Were they impressed by what I was wearing? Did the band sound tight? Was my voice lost in the mix? All I know is that something affected them. My job is to make sure I provide the opportunity for them to be affectedby the right things. And that means being faithful to draw people's attention to the God we're there to worship.
Other Posts Featuring Bob Kauflin
- Why Confession Is Good for Your Soul and Your Church with Bob Kauflin
- Planning Sunday's Songs-Plan Contextually
- Focus on Projecting Lyrics
- Music Should Display Variety
- Hearing Familiar Words in a Fresh Way
- Planning Sunday's Songs-Plan Selectively
- Planning Sunday's Songs
- Selecting Sunday's Songs-Plan Creatively