The Call from the Heart and from God in Songwriting

The call from the heart and from God is to relax and simply perform as I must in order to travel down the path that was created for me.

This is not unique to any other type of calling in the life of an individual. But it can seem in the arts that the passion of performing as one is called by God vs. the pull of other responsibilities and activities in life can be a struggle particularly full of angst due to the input and filtering of the messages of the world vs. the messages from the heart and from God.

A very large creator of angst in the songwriting and music industry is the angst created by the real and fabricated ‘fame, fortune and freedom’ that we see on TV and read in the news. No matter how humble many of us are, there is a tug on us that wants a piece of that action. We want to know how to get some of that. That’s only natural for us, I suppose.

But I’m not writing this to delve in to all of the possible issues and feelings of that angst other than how it can relate to us as songwriters. And we are songwriters that, in our estimation, are on the outside looking in. How can we participate in this business of songwriting and be successful?

Some of the first questions we have to ask ourselves are about the definition of success and the direction you want to take as a songwriter. Look for resources that can help answer this for YOU. Pray and spend time with God in finding answers. Are you writing for an audience of only One? Do you write songs with the intention of having them sung at church? Are your songs destined to be sung by a popular artist? Are the lyrics and music you’re writing for the purpose of you getting out and performing?

The definition of success is a topic of it’s own and deserves a separate written blog or article. But let’s simply define success in the eyes of God as one word: obey. That’s what we’re called to do, to obey Him and to focus first on the kingdom. Focusing on the kingdom means that we are to praise God, number one, and change lives, number two. Kingdom success.

The direction you want to take as a songwriter is something that may be a separate consideration from kingdom success. But everything should be measured against kingdom success first. Then it’s time to define your direction. Each direction will give you different answers as to how to proceed. For example, if you believe that your calling is to write strictly for an audience of One and it’s unlikely your lyrics would ever sung by another man or woman, then honing the craft towards an earthly target audience may be a waste of your time. If you are writing with the intention of getting songs sung at church, you now have more than God in your audience. The songs now need to be sung and need to be repeatable by the congregation. To have your song recorded by other artists requires an enhanced approach. Focusing on getting out and performing requires another plan. Each direction deserves individual consideration as to the skill set needed.

We can expand on the individual topics of the skill sets needed later. The call from the heart and from God for your life, songwriting, is a simple song of it’s own. It’s a song that needs to be nurtured and expressed by you in conjunction with the call. It’s a song that is as individual as is your relationship with the Father. Relax and perform it as only you can. Commune with the Father to continually discover the path that He has for you.

Reveling in the Call from your Heart

I recently read an article from a successful songwriter that spoke that his success came to him through luck and following his heart. He wrote it from a non-believer perspective and I wanted to spend a moment analyzing these thoughts.

Let’s get luck out of the way: I’ve always thought that luck is preparation meets opportunity. Enough said?

I am one of those people who believe that everything in the world is created or allowed by God and all people are his children, whether they know it or not. I don’t spend my time judging others for not following Christ but rather look for how Christ is acting in other people’s lives even if they’re not acknowledging Him.

This songwriter began with a quote from an Indian mystic speaking of being still and listening through the quiet and being led by your inner voice. I immediately thought of that small-still quiet voice that we as Christians acknowledge is God acting within us. This is an example of how God has infiltrated many spiritual beliefs in this world and written His name on their hearts.

The writer goes on to say how important it is for us to learn to listen to this inner voice and then lead from the heart. He says that nurturing and developing how to hear your heart is the key in learning to trust decisions, sometimes seemingly crazy, made by it. This reminds me so much of my personal connection with the Father and how important my daily quiet time is in getting to know Him and nurturing the call He has on my life.

Taking action on this leading from the heart is how this songwriter has learned to navigate the music industry. He states that over the years he has become encouraged to take action according to this intuition. It’s like “making a deal with Creativity itself”, he says. The more he has trusted his heart, the more his heart has trusted him and further opened the lines of communication with him.

In Matthew 8, we read Jesus telling us that we need to knock, to seek and ask the Father. In verse 9, Jesus says: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

We know through the study of the word that God is not a genie in a lamp, and that he just doesn’t dole out gifts due to our whimsy, but rather He gives us what we truly need in His timing. He gives us the desires of our hearts as it aligns with His will for our lives.

If the will of the Father is that I am to be a songwriter then He will give me the tools that I need according to His will and according to His timetable. The Father already knows who I am and what I need, but Jesus tells us that we need to continually knock at His door and petition Him and to continually ask. I need to continually ask and to listen to that still-quiet voice and to nurture my relationship with the Father so I am in tune with His will! I need to constantly seek God’s counsel so I can commune with Him and so I can remove some of the silly requests that no longer make sense, or to try and understand a changing landscape.

I need to spend time with Him to understand the type of songwriter that I discover that I am to become. The pressures and other responsibilities in my world need to find balance with how I am called, but the main consideration in life is that I am reveling in the call that God has placed on my heart.

Why a Songwriting Course Now?

Why start a course on songwriting now?? This is a loaded question and an open-ended/multi-pronged one at that. I guess I’ll answer it in two or three broad strokes (with many sub-questions in between :-)).

First, what do I mean by the question? I’m 53 and in the years where many a man begins to wonder whether they’ve ‘missed the boat’ or begin thinking whether or not retirement at any age will financially feasible. Why, after being a songwriter of 15 years or so, should I take a course on songwriting now? I’ve written 40-some songs, don’t I know what I’m doing yet?? Why this particular songwriting course? How does this fit with any spiritual, emotional and financial plan for my life?

We’ll get to those questions. But first, how about this answer for anyone who has a bent for songwriting: Why not take a course on songwriting???? I mean, learning more about the craft is not like taking a stab at all of those ‘can’t miss’ financial opportunities that are out there (with the empty feeling that if I don’t grab the right one that I’m going to ‘miss the boat’). Learning about the craft is a definite boning up on a specialized skill set. Learning from experts can give you the toolset you need to succeed and blossom in the songwriting business world. At the very minimum, becoming a better writer will make your word art take on some very satisfying forms. You’ll craft songs that will more richly tell your stories and enrich your life along the way.

But should I or you take any particular songwriting course?? As is a good plan in life, it’s always worth defining a road map or plan of action. You don’t have one yet?? Don’t worry about it, just keep working toward it.

All right. Why should I start a course on songwriting now that I’m 53? For one thing, it’s because I know that I have already done well at songwriting but now I want to be great at it. I feel that I’ve always been a decent writer. Not great, but I can string together words okay. Looking back at many of the songs that I’ve written, I see a natural feel for forms and prose and a natural feel for instilling clarity, or really being conscious of being concise with my words and aware of not confusing the listener.

Am I trying to make up for lost time; have I missed the boat? Ha, no. But it’s time for me to knuckle down and be the best that I can be in my calling from God to be a songwriter. It’s also the time that I can consider retiring from my full-time job. I’m eligible to retire in two years (because I meet a requirement of being 55 years old plus having a minimum of 15 years of service). What does that mean? It means that I’m eligible to begin withdrawing pension money. I can begin withdrawing from retirement accounts at 59½ years without penalties. But what it also means is that I won’t have health insurance!! Big drawback. What this all means and whether I’ll actually retire in 2 or 5 years is another story for another time!!

So why, after 15 years of songwriting, should I take a course on it now? Don’t I know what I’m doing yet in this business of songwriting? The short answer is no! I’ve been very “successful” in getting my and others songs out there in the world (literally, I’ve shipped CD’s of me and other artists to many different countries) in an effort to spread the gospel. I’ve learned much about publishing and administration. I’ve been “successful” in writing personal praise and corporate worship songs in a local effort. Now, I want to have better commercial success.

I really am less concerned about me as an artist and more concerned with writing songs that other artists and worship teams will want to sing. I want to fill the pipe line full of songs to music managers of all sorts. I want to send music packages to other worship leaders. I want to make my songs shine by paying attention to getting better at the craft of writing, and I want to increase my awareness and write songs specific to genres (actually, sub-genres for me. Since the vast majority of my songs are personal and corporate praise and geared toward the Christian music market, I will concentrate mostly on music managers within that market).

I’ve begun this online course at Christian Songwriter University (which has since folded into the larger ccmni organization). Why this particular songwriting course? I found out about it while searching for Christian songwriting sites. I ran into Contemporary Christian Music Networking International which I found to be very fresh and up-to-date. It is a part of a network of music business related sites, all concentrating on the Christian music industry. CCMNI has a songwriting contest, which I entered. One of the prizes of the contest is one month free membership in Christian Songwriting University. Intriguing! After reading more about CSU, I found that they are not interested in only teaching better craft and about industry relationships. They are primarily interested in helping a songwriter cultivate an attitude of kingdom-first. How we plug in to the calling on our lives from God, and how we express that is of great importance in their curriculum. I found that fascinating and fresh! That spoke to me more than I can express at the moment.

This course and these people who are instructing it are exactly what I need. My heart really wants to grasp all that God has for me in this arena. I have no other longing other than to do my best for Him and to show my wife some earning security in this second half of our lives. Yes, I want to be more financially successful in songwriting. Yes, I want to be able to retire from my other job and lead worship and write full-time instead of part-time for both. These people offer all aspects of what’s on my heart. I truly believe this is a God thing.

This time of my life is really fulfilling for me, and creating a second career of songwriting really fits the emotional bill. This is the person I was designed to be: a songwriter, a worship leader and a husband.

There is no, why now? question about this.

Listen to the call that says He knew you evermore
And knew the days of your life before you
Listen to the call and wonder what He has in store
This chapter of your life is all brand new

Stephen Robert Cass Christian People – 1998 Solid Walnut Music

Lead His Flock in Worship

When we are up front and leading worship, we are all called to rise above the herd (click to read Rise Above the Herd Mentality). We are called to learn to do our part in leading others into the presence of God. This means so many different things, but primarily what it says to me is that I need to get myself out of the way. What do I mean by that?

We’ve heard, ‘I need to get myself out of the way’ in these contexts before. But I believe it is more than just a general call of humbleness. It is not only a passive act, but one that requires thought toward what actions may need to be taken in order to lead God’s people.

For reading scripture, it requires that a person practice that act and/or learn to speak in public. Why? Because stumbling over God’s words is, of course, acceptable and we all do it. But the words are delivered much more powerfully and clearly when we remove the distractions of stumbling and mumbling. People will remember the word, not my stammering. My inability to deliver God’s word concisely may place stumbling blocks in front of another person’s worship and edification.

The same can be said about preaching the word. I’ll be brief on this point. We’ve heard that those who preach will be held more accountable by God and they need to be sure of the truth. But even when those who preach are sure of the truth, they all need to spend the time in learning to deliver crisp and clear speach. They will all spend the time in studying the structures of sermons and how they are best delivered and remembered. These things are all a part of an active committment in becoming a more powerful delivery tool for God’s word and to remove personal distractions from efforts.

When we are up front and singing and playing, we have an enormous responsibility to be leaders and not distractors. All who are called to be on the team leading music are required to approach this work with extreme humility. I personally believe that if there are problems in this area that the person who is leading the worship team needs to address the issues.

All called for the worship team need to have an inner dialogue and learn of their shortcomings in order to make a plan to grow. We all need to be open to discussing our weak areas with our leaders and be open to agree on reasonable action measures when situations go wrong.

I was on a worship team one time when the leader, Johnny, used to always remind us that if we don’t feel right in our walk with God or we currently are struggling with our faith that we take the time to examine ourselves and include the possibility of stepping off of the worship team for a season. I’ll never forget when the time came and Johnny took himself off of the team for a month. He told us he was not right with God at that time, and he wanted to be able to give his whole self to the effort of worship. I sure loved Johnny’s heart.

All who are called need to understand their roles. Yes, they need to understand their musical roles, but they really need to understand their role as an approachable leader of the church. They are ‘up there’ for all to see, and any person might approach them to talk or to ask for help. One of our responsibilities in being on the platform is to know what to say. It’s our responsibility to act in the manner as a leader of the church and proclaim the values of Jesus. It’s our responsibility to tell another person who they might connect with when they have questions of life and of faith.

Back to the aspect of music. Here is an area where the individual needs to examine their heart as to their understanding of giving their best efforts. My personal take as a leader is that we approach practice time as something each individual does at home. Rehearsal time is when we get together as a group before Sunday. Sunday mornings are for a run-through and for last minute tightening.

The thought of giving nothing short of our best efforts has to be the goal. A book written by Robert Sterling on songwriting said that we may not know for sure if Jesus was actually a carpenter, but we’re pretty sure he did some creative handiwork. So, Sterling says, let’s assume Jesus was a carpenter and made chairs and tables for a living. Do you think that Jesus would have hobbled together some crooked pieces of wood and thought, ‘eh, that’s good enough’. I doubt it! So it should be in the preparation of delivering your musical product! And songwriting!! I will now forever think about how Sterling sprinkled throughout the book, “Jesus’ chairs”.

If you are up there singing, you are up there leading worship. Your preparation time includes learning the words to the songs and learning to have a cheerful face. There is nothing more distracting to the people than a singer with a lifeless expression and their face buried in a song book or a page of words. Learn to be expressive and to help lead the congregation in raising hands (if that’s appropriate in your church) or rising up and singing.

If you are a person running sound, your efforts are the same because you ARE playing an instrument in the band. Learning to play the sound board and getting all of the balances and executing all the different level and effect cues is just as important as any guitar or keyboard. More so, actually, because the sound board has the power to make the guitar or keyboard sound so small, not heard and out of balance with the rest. The board has the ability to add distraction more so than any voice. The mastery of all microphone levels to prevent feedback and to present a transparent and musical experience is a skill sorely needed in the worship setting.

The person running lights and video are equally tasked with providing a timely product on cue. If any of these elements are off, the visual distractions and the interruption of worship can be staggering.

Does the world come to an end (so to speak) when any of these elements aren’t perfect? Does God honor our efforts when we come short of these goals? Does it completely ruin the day of a worshipper when things go wrong up there? No, yes and no. But God deserves our best at all times, especially in the house where we gather to worship so as to draw less attention to ourselves.

Having said all that, I also realize that the entire notion of trying to make everything ‘smooth’ can in and of itself be an idol to me and others who are trying to make the entire service a ‘seamless production’ and not devote the time to worship ourselves. I believe that this is a matter of balance. However, for the good of the people, the service of the technical and worship team is the sacrifice of those who are called to help and run the church service. That is why it’s important to give all church volunteers regular time off, so they can make sure that they are not burned out and can enjoy the church service when it’s not their time to serve.

The people with whom we worship deserve to bring praise to God without distractions. We edify the group when we can present our gifts without breaking the flow of our communication with God.

Jesus’ chairs.

Who Am I?

Who Am I to Speak of Anything? Who am I as far as being an expert? I’m nobody. I’m just another guy with a story. But I count Christ as my savior and I have some experience to pass on in the world of being an artist, songwriter and music publisher. Chances are very good that you’ve never heard of me.

Where am I going? Well, that’s a good one. I am going where my God leads me, but I understand the basic path that He has for me. At 12 years old and an altar boy, Fr. Frank Bognanno approached me after Mass one Sunday and asked me if I would like to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I remember thinking, ‘of course’. My life began down the path.

There’s no coincidence here at all with the next part of the story. I taught myself how to play guitar a short time after that. After picking up a book of chords and playing for three weeks, I played in church for the first time. The year was 1970. More than likely, I was in the handful of the first in the country to ever play guitar in the Catholic church. Except for a few years in the late ’80s, I’ve been playing in church ever since. I renewed my faith in the early ’90s in the ‘Protestant’ world.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it eventually came to me that becoming self-taught on the guitar so rapidly at the age of 12 and then playing in church was God’s design for me. Many retreat weekends and church activities filled my teenage years. On my 18th birthday, I was surprised and honored by being asked to join the band Followers of the Way (surf to one-way.org/jesusmusic and use the pull down menu to get to Followers of the Way if interested in the story). That was the beginning of my life as a full-time (and not-so-full-time) musician.

In 1995, I was sitting at home, playing guitar and praying. I was crying out to God, “why, why have you given me this playing talent but yet I can’t write any songs??” (All the songs that I’d written before never stuck, never were appealing and had faded away.) “Why God, why!?” “Because you haven’t been writing about me”, came the very clear answer. It was so clear that there was absolutely nothing else in my mind at the time of that thought. “B-but Lord, you know how terrible I am at writing lyrics?” And just then, my eyes darted toward the Book and He tells me, “You wont’ have any trouble with the music, and I’ve already taken care of the lyrics”.

Bam! Just like a lightning bolt. That’s never happened to me since, but I believe God makes it happen like that when it’s important.

I began writing songs. I didn’t realize that there was really a craft to it. I just didn’t think about it but began to spend some time in the word with the design of writing lyrics. Even though now I realize that all writers are better off at least learning the basics about the craft, I felt that I had come up with some decent lyrics. Maybe it’s a part of His blessing on my life. Bottom line is that it doesn’t matter because they were all penned for His glory.

The idea of the album called “Wisdom – Discovery of the Word” was born. Putting together 12 of the best songs, I booked time at a local studio (with a plan! See a blog linked here on Preparing for the Studio). Solid Walnut Music was born. After looking around on the internet, I found a Christian songwriting site and made some connections and began co-writing. I decided to learn more about music publishing, and began to issue single-song agreements. At the peak of this time in our ministry, I had recorded two solo CDs, produced four for other artists and helped to publish a book.

We sold CDs and the book. We gave away CDs to many different countries over the world in an effort to help radio stations spread the gospel. …so satisfying.

But that time in the ministry has passed. Gone, but certainly not forgotten. I still have product in storage to remind me of that!! Now is the time for a new chapter in the ministry. All through this time I have played and sang at church. “As long as I have breath”, is what I tell myself. Can’t you just see an old codger of 90 up there rockin’ out? I can…

In 2006 I was asked to help plant a new church. I was asked to be the worship leader. Yikes! What an emotional, physical, leadership and…(name your adjective) challenges. Not to mention that I’m such an introvert that this is way out of my comfort zone. But after consulting with the Father, he led me to say ‘yes’. After spending a few years of ‘church-in-a-box’ and setting up and tearing down every Sunday, we moved to a storefront in 2011. There has been so much learning and quite a bit of personal growth. This is where I am for this season in my life: Bridge Covenant Church which I helped to form with my good friend Pastor Kent Bertrand. I produce a podcast of his messages at the church website. Click on the Media tab.

So, I find myself continually fine-tuning and understanding the call that God has placed on my life. In 2008, I began putting my own recording studio in place so I could create demos for my songs. The plan for Solid Walnut Music going foward into 2012 is continue to lead worship as well as write worship, personal praise and choral songs. I will probably branch into writing ‘crossover’ songs, but I see that as secondary. I am taking a songwriting course (2011/2012) and plan to sharpen my skills. The goals are not so much for myself artistically, but so the songs that I’ve written, co-written or for those which I control the rights, are utilized by other artists. I still plan on playing at a high level to help promote the songs.

Thanks for checking out the blogs. I won’t spend a ton of energy writing blah, blah drivel, but hopefully info you can find useful.

Click the category links to the right to surf to the blogs. Oh, and if you’re a music manager and here to listen to some songs for your uses, please click the Song Catalog link.

Rise Above the Herd Mentality

How is it that I am called to rise above the herd mentality (click to read my interpretation of The Herd Mentality or scroll/search to find)? There are certainly ways in which we can, in general, build each other up in these ways and hold each other accountable. But there are also ways of finding out how we are individually called to rise above the herd and to lead. Jesus is our guide for both.

Throughout the the upper story in the bible of how God had planned for us to be returned to his family, we read how God is so holy and so pure that none can look upon His presence and live. His holiness, His righteousness, is so powerful that we cannot live in human flesh terms and be in front of him because of our fallen nature. His purity, which is Love, and his sense of selflessness is beyond our understanding due to our condition of separation from God.

The lower story of how we as a community of people have risen and fallen in our attempts to seek God, but that the only way to seek Him and be re-united with Him is through the person of Jesus, IS within our power to understand!! Whenever I get into a conversation about ‘Christianity is this or that’, I need to always remember to just point people and the conversation to Jesus as quickly as possible!

So, in my own life, how do I rise above the herd mentality? How can I connect personally with God and learn to share His ways? I think that a big part of the answer is one that is common to all of us: spend time in getting to know the word of God. Learn to put on the Armor of God as told by Paul as we, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God” in Ephesians 6. Spend time understanding His story so we can begin to understand our own story and how we can reconnect with Him and with others.

One of the areas where I am really weak is consistenly finding quiet time to commune with God. I do ‘ok’, but it could always be better. My prayer for me and for all of us today is that we can learn to spend time necessary to understand the role that God has in mind for us. To spend individual time with God and in learning His words of life and learning to take them to our hearts is a great way to connect in to that flow and to begin to rise above the herd mentality.

The Herd Mentality

When looking at the Old Testament as a whole, I find that there’s a cohesive message that many have missed (including me all of these years). To me, it helps to gel my understanding of God’s story so that I might be more passionate about doing my part in helping to make more disciples for Christ.

What I see from the beginning is that when we made the decision to go against God in the garden, that this allowed the consequences of separation from God into the world. Now, this is not in itself new territory of understanding. However, there is the telling of two stories from this point forward: the upper story, we see how God has made a plan for us to be re-unified with Him since the episode in the garden, and the lower story, where we have multiple accounts of individuals that are called to lead and to serve God in an effort to lead God’s chosen people. At the same time that we see these leaders, there is a continual theme where the masses of people actually turn away from the ways of God when there isn’t strong leadership.

It’s this lack of leadership where we see the phenomenon called ‘the herd mentality’. I see the herd mentality as an important early biblical theme that plays out all the way through the entire bible. It starts when we read about how selfishness crept into the world when Cain killed Abel, and is written about in every book of the bible going forward. Check this out! We continually read how this or that person or people worship other gods or do things which are detested in the sight of the LORD while the few or chosen leadership try and do right by God (let me emphasize two things: I say ‘chosen’ as in tapped into service, not ‘chosen’ as in special. And I say ‘try and do right by God’ because sometimes they succeed, but most of the time these special people fail, time and time again. These emphases are in and of themselves a hugely important part of God’s story!).

The herd mentality is often the whisper in the back of my brain that says, “Oh, it’s all right to be selfish and to think only of the things that concern me. It’s all right to spend time only on myself. Kill or be killed!” Isn’t this similar to what Cain must have been thinking when he offed his brother Abel? God asks Cain (by the way, knowing full well the answer) in Gen 4, “Where is your brother?”, to which Cain replies, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The herd mentality is shown when later in Exodus 32:1 it says, “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘come, let us make gods who will go before us’.” And so, a golden calf was made by man, and we’ve been making similar golden calfs ever since! The herd mentality, often manifested today by my impatience with situations, says, “hey — somewhere in my brain I know that I’ve been created to always have a leader in my life. Oh, that leader must be me and what I think is great!”

The herd mentality is shown again when in the time of the Judges, we read about the physically powerful Samson. Once he was been killed, all the people just continue forward as if they can’t operate life without a single human voice leading them. Then in Judges 21:25 we read, “In those days, Israel had no king. Everyone did as they saw fit.”

The same pattern continues when the people pray to God to give them a king. God says, “You don’t want a king” and the people say, “yes, we really do”. God says, “All right! But be prepared for the consequences!” And what we discover is that these kings, though many have a heart for God, still do evil to people and are selfish and power-hungry. God was trying to tell them all along, “Let ME be the only king you need!”

This lower story of how we as a human herd with selfish motives continues throughout the New Testament and on until the current day. The upper story of how God is planning to re-unite us with Himself through the person of Jesus is also told throughout the Old Testament through prophets. When Jesus comes on the scene, He tells us exactly how we can be re-united with God: through believing on Him.

‘Believing In’ and ‘Believing On’ may be interchangeable, but I think that ‘believing on’ might be a great way to interpret this because Jesus often tells us that He has come to carry our burdens and that we can place all of our cares on Him. Jesus came so He can carry me on his back during my earthly life. He also came so that when it comes time for me to face the Father, the Father will see only Jesus and not the herd mentality that is in my nature.

The word of God tells us, in a very straight-forward manner, that we are all of the herd mentality in Romans 3:23. “All have sinned and are far from God’s saving presence”. The apostle Paul tells us that it is only through the power of Christ that we can rise above the herd. The herd mentality tells us that ‘we’re not good enough for God, so sometimes, why bother?’ Jesus tells us that we don’t have to be good enough.

Jesus tells us that He is the shepherd of the flock. Jesus is the manager of the herd, and we only have to believe in what He says. Sure, we need to get along with the rest of the herd. But in most instances, the herd will tell you to run over the edge of the cliff with the rest of them. Err on the side of the Shepherd.

“What must we do to do the works God requires?”, they asked. Jesus answered: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent”. – John 6:27-29

Worship Leaders All

When we generally hear the term ‘worship leader’, we think of the man or the woman who is up front and leading us in song or in a time of worship in the Sunday service. But I think we’re all called to lead worship. Some publicly, some in homes and other intimate settings. We’re all called to learn to be better persons though the learning about the grace offered through Jesus. Learning of, and taking to heart, His story of grace makes us stronger as individuals, just by a consequence of the act alone. We’re all called to share this story of grace with the world.

We’re all called to share this story of grace with the world in the ways in which we’ve been called. But don’t think for a moment that your part of leadership is not as important as someone else’s. This is why Paul tells us that all the parts of the body work together to make the whole body of Christ.

If we have a family, we’re all called to be worship leaders to the members of our family in certain ways. We are called by Jesus to be salt and light in the world, and that requires each one of us to take stock and discover how we are gifted or how we are to be leaders. To do our part in our families, whether that be learning to be better men or women of God in the marriage relationship; to do our part as children and to be open to instruction from our parent so we can be equipped to do battle as an adult in the world or whether we’re called to be salt and light at work when a co-worker is being maligned, we are all called to be leaders of proclaiming and exclaiming the truth in love.

We lead each other in worship when we obey the call of each of us to become well-equipped parts of the body of Christ.