Spiritual Parenting as Worship Leaders

Well, I missed writing this post last week and have finally found a bit of time to write after our missional community gathering tonight. As I continue to ponder what it looks like to be a homesteading worship leader, I wanted to focus this week on spiritual parenting. Tonight actually seems to be a very fitting time to write due to the emotions that tend to hit after our spiritual family has left our home for the evening.

So worship leaders as spiritual parents. Not necessarily what we think of when we sign up and accept the call to serve in this capacity. Most of us probably have a musical gift, ended up playing in a praise band when we were young, and then we got good enough to where someone asked us to lead worship at one point in time. Before you know it you lead worship regularly, maybe go to school for it, and then boom… you find yourself as a worship leader. Because churches need us… and let’s face it, there’s not a lot of people who can do what we do.

I find myself loving worship leading, yes, because I love the Lord, but also because it comes easy to me. I can sing and play. And to the point to where I can learn a new song in a matter of minutes. So then Sunday can hit, the band practices, and then I can tap into the Holy Spirit and have a powerful worship service. If only this is where the job ended. But if we take seriously the call to make disciples, it cannot end there.

Making disciples is the one thing that Jesus commanded us to do. To invest every bit of resource into our followers to help them imitate the words, works, and ways of Jesus. To give them access to our lives; to stand shoulder-to-shoulder. When we read the Gospels, we see the words disciple and rabbi often, but when we start following the journey of the Apostle Paul, these two words fade. Since he is leading Gentiles, he doesn’t speak of rabbis and disciples, he speaks of parents and children.

For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. – 1 Corinthians 4:15

Our call of making disciples can be seen through the lens of spiritual parenting; being a spiritual father, or mother. Not sure about you, but as a father of three children ages 1, 2, and 9, parenting is much harder than leading worship. Except for those moments when you are parenting and leading worship simultaneously like I was doing tonight at our missional community gathering. If you can imagine me, my wife, and my friend Wynn, sitting on the entertainment center in my living room with my two littlest children crawling on our laps singing with the rest of our spiritual family… yikes. The shrieks, the cries, the pushing and shoving. But this isn’t just my kids, it’s the handful of other kids, too. All of us, together, in a holy mosh pit multitasking like crazy. This is hard. But it is oh so good.

Tweet: Our call as worship leaders is a call to make disciples. Our call to make disciples is a call to spiritual parenting. @jasonmphelps

Parenting is hard, but worth it. Much harder than just singing and playing. So when I look at my role as a spiritual father leading worship, tonight’s MC gathering is a fairly accurate portrayal of my overall ministry. We are called to lead with joy, determination, and with expectation that the Holy Spirit is moving. We are called to invite our spiritual children (and actual children) into worship, despite the kicking and screaming; despite the distractions. The call to Jesus is always an invitation into something better. There is also challenge. The challenge to keep our focus on Jesus and the challenge to choose joy in the chaos.

We love our children. We provide freedom for our children. We also provide discipline. We are leaders of our spiritual oikos, our spiritual household. By stepping into the responsibility of spiritual parenting as worship leaders, we are bringing worship into the lives of our spiritual and biological children. This life isn’t meant to be kept to Sunday morning on a stage, but to be deeply embedded within our homes and rhythm of life.

So as we bring worship into our homes, as we parent our spiritual children, as we teach them how to worship, as we develop red hot centers of passionate followers of Jesus, may we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with others as we live this crazy life together continuing to invite people into the presence of Christ where His peace is real and oh so near.

The Acts of Homesteading

Homesteading. It’s not a word that we, Americans, use much anymore. At least not since the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I, myself, actually had to look up the definition of homesteading on Google before officially making this blog live. It’s actually a funny story of how we came up with the name “Homesteaders.” Ashley and I were enjoying our hot tub the other night and I told her I felt the Lord calling me to start a blog about the missionary worship leader. So naturally, in my creative spirit, we had to come up with a cool name. We started throwing out random words… So random and outrageous my wife and I have deleted them from memory. But when the word Homesteaders came out… We both knew that this word captures the essence of the missionary worship leader too well. I knew enough about homesteading that this could work. And when I ended up knocking on the front door of Mr. Wikipedia’s home, I was relieved to read that homesteaders was the right title for this movement and blog.

In 1862 the US government under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln passed the Homestead Act. The intent of the act was to open land in the west in order to populate and better the land. Here is a snippet about how a homestead could be attained and whom could attain it:

“The Homestead Acts had few qualifying requirements. A homesteader had to be the head of the household or at least twenty-one years old. They had to live on the designated land, build a home, make improvements, and farm it for a minimum of five years. The filing fee was eighteen dollars (or ten to temporarily hold a claim to the land).” – Wikipedia

I think this quote gives an image that we can grab onto when conversing about the homesteading worship leader. The homesteader had qualifications to meet and a responsibility to the land he was receiving. He was to make a home, improve the land, and stick around a while; as well as expending some financial capital to secure the land and, of course, make all the improvements.

For us, as homesteading worship leaders, we can perhaps imitate these pioneers and apply these responsibilities within our own lives and ministry. When we live out our vocation as Worship Leaders beyond the stage, beyond the production, beyond the music, and into our every-day lives, and seek to be builders of spiritual family, we will without a doubt see kingdom breakthrough on the frontline of the missional frontier.

Over the next few posts, I will be fleshing out these ideas:

Homesteading Worship Leaders who…
1. Are the head of the household
2. Live on the designated land
3. Build a home
4. Make improvements
5. Farm it
6. Stick around for years

I hope this is resonating with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts thus far on the homesteading worship leader. Have you seen any breakthroughs in your neck of the woods by embracing worship and mission?

An Introduction to the Homesteading Worship Leader

Jason is a native Californian who made it to Texas in 2007 after a 6-year taste of the Midwest.

He is the former Director of Worship Arts for Oikos Church (Houston), which he helped plant in Fall 2013. He is husband to Ashley, and father to Isabella, Iliana, and Porter.

Together, they are passionate about developing a worshiping culture where God’s sons and daughters seek to imitate the words, works, and ways of Jesus as they live life on the missional frontier. A culture whose worship is transformational, authentic, and passionate when gathered together at the temple, yet goes beyond the temple walls and into neighborhoods and homes.

Leading worship since the turn of the century, he has seen and experienced many facets of this calling; yet one in particular has truly grabbed his attention and his heart: the missionary [or homesteading] worship leader. For many, leading worship begins and ends with the stage, but what if worship leaders embraced something more? Perhaps even something more significant than a Sunday-only experience? What if worship leaders became significant warriors on the front-lines of disciple-making and kingdom-building? Worship leaders possess a musical craft that many do not, so what if we leveraged it for mission and discipleship?

Join Jason as he seeks to explore a new kind of worship leader; a leader who is passionate for the Father, who is radical about community, and who is zealous for reaching the lost. A “homesteading” worship leader taking new ground for the kingdom of God in both the temple and the home.