by Alan Hope
You may be saying to yourself that it’s a bit late in the day to be asking myself this question but I have been praying and pondering on this question for a number of weeks now, in fact ever since our name was changed from ‘Worship Team’ to ‘Music Ministry Team (MMT)’. I can only speak for myself and I know that have said this on a previous occasion but the change in name has struck me quite forcibly. I would go so far as to say the change in name was a ‘Kairos’ moment for me. It has made me really begin to consider deeply the reasons why I am a part of the MMT.
If I am honest with myself, when I first became a member of the Worship Team I saw my role primarily as being one of the group of musicians up at the front providing the instrumentation and helping to lead the singing aspect of the services, pretty much in the same mould as the organist did in ‘days of yore’, nothing more and nothing less. Since we took on the change in name it has made me very much more aware of the depth of the role that Our Lord has placed upon me and our team.
As I was thinking about what thoughts I would like to bring to you during this dwelling time I was searching the WWW for anything that would help to clarify my thoughts and came across the following words taken from the film ‘Jerry Maguire’.
“And now we get to the answer.
We must crack open the tightly clenched fist of commerce and give a little back for the greater good. Eventually revenues will be the same, and that goodness will be infectious. We will have taken our ‘number oneness’ and turned it into something greater. And eventually smaller will become bigger, in every way, and especially in our hearts.
Love the job. Be the job.”
It may seem odd to be quoting from a Tom Cruise film but this is a piece taken from Jerry Maguire’s ‘Mission Statement’, a document that he writes during a crisis of conscience. If you aren’t familiar with the storyline of ‘Jerry Maguire’ it begins with Jerry (Tom Cruise) living his life full on as a sports agent totally consumed by his efforts to accumulate as much wealth as he can through his promotion of the athletes on his books. Due to the physical and mental stress that this all consuming, double dealing lifestyle places upon him he eventually suffers a physical and nervous breakdown and during his period of recovery realizes that there can and should be another way of operating in the backstabbing, business world that he inhabits. This is when he has his ‘epiphany moment’ and comes up with his mission statement of how he intends to operate in the future.
What, you may be asking, has this got to do with our mission statement as worship leaders?
Well, to be honest, over the past few weeks I have been feeling a bit like Jerry Maguire. Over the past weeks, since we momentously changed the name of our team to the Music Ministry Team the change in name has, as I said previously, been haunting my every thought about my role within the church. I have spent a lot of time assessing my own genuineness and integrity as a worship leader. I have asked myself the question, “Why do I do what I do?”
Recently we introduced into our bank of music the song ‘Creation Calls’. When I first heard the song it brought me to tears because it reminded me so much of my father and the simplicity of his faith and belief in God. For my father all he had to do was look at how beautifully the roses in his garden (which was his pride and joy) were created and he knew without any shadow of doubt that there is a God.
As I get older I am learning to build a faith more like my father’s. In my youth I had the typical rebellious, questioning, nature of youth. I wanted unarguable scientific proof that there was a God and in my argumentative searching for truth I found myself drifting further and further away from knowing God. Now at the age of 66 (I always was a slow learner!!!) I feel that I am beginning to understand what my father was trying to show me all those years ago. Now I have begun to experience God in more real ways. I saw His face in the beautiful Lancashire countryside as I stood on Pendle Hill a few weeks ago with Christine and Bella, our Cavalier King Charles; I can hear His voice in the sound of the wind and waves as we walk along Cleveleys’ promenade; I saw God the Mighty Creator at work in the miraculous births of our six grandchildren.
I know now why I am a worship leader. I am a worship leader because I love it. Worship transcends the singing of songs on Sunday mornings. I love to worship the God who creates majestic mountains, vast oceans and fragile infants. I love being a worship leader and helping others to encounter God in a fresh, more intimate, meaningful way. And it doesn’t matter if I am leading with just my guitar or a full band. It doesn’t matter if I’m leading a small group of two or three or a church of 150.
Yes, I love being a worship leader! And if the worship I lead is genuine, that genuineness will be infectious. And ‘infectious’ is the all important word.
As many of you know, I was a member of a Lancashire comedy folk group for almost twenty years and every single moment in that group was an absolute joy. Everyone of us in the group were close friends and the music we made and the laughs we shared were an unending source of pleasure to us. Frequently members of the audiences that we played for would come to us at the end of an evening and say how much they had enjoyed our performance and the reason that they had enjoyed it was because they could see how much pleasure we were having and sharing together. In other words our joy was infectious.
And in the same way, If we within the MMT are worshipping Our Lord with all the joy in our hearts then it will be infectious, it will be contagious, we will pass it on to others.
And finally, don’t forget, God doesn’t need our worship, worship is one of God’s many gifts to us, it is for our benefit .
So let’s make sure that we love what we are doing so that we lift up our hearts, our souls and our lives to give him all the glory and thanks.
To go back to Jerry Maguire, let’s ‘Love the job! Be the job!’