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.
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.