So, my leaders contacted me and asked if we could have lunch. I have to admit that I have been so close to Father lately that I had no idea what they wanted to meet about. I just got back from my second Philippines Mission, and I have been on this high for a good while. God did some awesome things there, and the worship, while certainly more primitive on the technical side, I would say was very deep... very moving.
We sat down to lunch in a nice little restaurant I like, and we chit-chatted about this and that... songwriting, next week's set, some new songs to learn... And then the tone changed. The meeting became about me. Not something I was particularly prepared for.
The instrumental director talked about his desire to help me with some skills that I need to work on. He had noticed some things and as he presented the ideas, I agreed that this is an area I was unaware that I needed to work on. But, being a mostly self-taught singer musician, it was easy to see how he could help me in my areas of weakness - of which there are many. I am pretty much a vocalist who learned guitar out of necessity... much if not all that I have learned has been by demand. I work at my craft, but I also have a family and a full-time job. His heart was absolutely in the right place, and I was humbled to see how he cared for me enough to challenge me to be better.
Next up, the vocal director. Now I admit, I have no training whatsoever, but have been leading worship for a very long time, so I was caught off guard by the comment that I could use some trinaing on some of the shapes of my vowels, and some other very minor tweaks. Again, as I have had no training and she has a degree in Music, it was rather easy to submit and accept the constructive criticism, and look forward to the assistance that was being offered. Honestly, I look forward to actually knowing what I am doing :-)
Then came the one that hurt... There have been comments that I "move too much" and I "rock out" just a little too much. There were other more specific comments, but the general idea was that the way I act up on stage was a bit too close to performance, as opposed to a posture of worship. I had to bite my tongue, cross my legs and my arms - everything to not say anything stupid. I measured my words, "I am a passionate person... I move a lot when I worship..." Yeah.. it kind of sounded dumb to me too... The leaders reminded me why we are up there and who we are leading to whom... And yes, I do not want to be a distraction. But there is a line that is not easily defined... How do you know when I am worshipping? Sometimes, when I am not leading, and I am worshipping in the auditorium, I silently bow my head and visit with Father in our quiet place. Sometimes I stand and raise my arms as high as they can go... most of the time, I really do not know what I do. I don't really pay attention to my externals... Being close to my Father is all I want. Me and Jesus. That's what it is about.
Now, I know these two leaders of mine, and they are awesome. They are godly and I am blessed to work with them. I also know they have leaders over them and receive directives as part of their jobs. They also have a vision for what the ministry should look like. And, as it now appears, my vision may be different than theirs. So, where does that leave me.
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Submitting is difficult. It is not natural to a leader. Not a worship leader, small group leader, or leader of business (all of which I am...) I venture to say it isn't natural for anyone. That may be why Paul talks about submission so much...(Do you really need the verses.. ?? You know them... I know you do...) In Ephesians 5 & 6 Paul deals with the topic at length... I am guessing I am not the first follower of Christ that has had this issue. Thank God, he was so very clear...
That pretty much sums it up. I will obey. I will be sensitive to my posture. I will seek their assistance in the honing of my talents. I will do my best to discern what they really mean, and obey them. And, I will pray that I obey with a pure heart... a servant's heart. And I will ask if God wants me to lay this ministry down. I don't think that He is calling me elsewhere, but I will continue to listen and seek His guidance. But I will not follow my flesh - because my flesh rebels, and says, "How dare they?!?" My flesh says "Who do they think they are, talking to me like that?" (Actually, they were amazingly gracious... my flesh overreacts just a bit ;-) My flesh, as it the case pretty much all the time, is wrong.