Give A Fish / Teach To Fish
There is an old saying that goes: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. This principle is worth considering when it comes to leading our people in worship!
As Worship Leaders, we have the distinct privilege of giving people “fish” week after week! We are the ones who are doing the hard work of preparing a set list, practicing the songs, rehearsing the songs, and then ultimately serving up the songs during our church worship gatherings. This is good!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving the people a weekly dose of fresh “fish” that is served up and ready to go, but let’s not make that our only priority. Part of our job should be to teach the people to “fish” for themselves.
Dropping the fish analogy for a moment, let me communicate very clearly: I am talking here about teaching the people to praise and worship God apart from our weekly gatherings.
Many of the people that we serve week after week by leading them to the Father through musical praise and worship do not realize that He is just as accessible (sometimes even more accessible) outside of the assembly. Many fall into the trap of thinking the only time that they can successfully connect with God is when we are leading them in musical worship. Sadly, we can tend to be the very ones who are actually laying that trap.
Yes, we should continue to give “fish” to our people on a regular basis. It is good and right for us to do the work and prepare a ready-made meal for our people to be a part of. But we also need to be teaching our people to “fish” for themselves, on their own, without us. Here are just a few tips that can help to that end.
Encourage daily worship, Bible reading, and prayer. While you are leading your people in weekly musical worship, take a moment to encourage them in their daily, personal walk with Christ. Saying something as simple as, “I hope your daily Bible reading and prayer this week was rich” can go a long way in communicating that you actually want them to be pursuing God on their own.
Model daily worship, Bible reading, and prayer. Obviously this can be tricky, because you are not exactly inviting people into your own private prayer closet, but you can still make references to what the Lord has been showing you throughout the week as you have faithfully spent time with Him. Sometimes I start a song with a comment like, “This week as I was spending time with God, I felt like He was really revealing this truth to me, and I wanted us to have a chance to sing it together.”
Offer great resources. If there is a great article, book, daily devotional, worship album, or Christian radio station that you have found to be exceptionally helpful to you personally in your walk with Christ, take a moment from the stage to encourage people to check it out.
Look for ways to become less. One simple way to communicate that you want your people to be able to connect with God without you is to be actively raising other people up into your position. Look for spirit-filled, good hearted, potential worship leaders and work with them. Train them. Give them opportunities to either lead a single song, or even the full worship set.
Pray for your people. Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes circumstances, and it changes hearts (including our own). If you want to see your people actively pursuing God on a daily basis, without feeling like they need you to lead them in it, then you need to be actively praying for them, and asking God to make that a reality in their lives.
Artwork provided by my good friend, Brooke Gehman, an authentic and wonderful man of God, devoted follower of Christ, and an amazing husband and father. Brooke is a gifted Worship Leader, an incredible artist, and a Potter by trade (check out his website).