The four Gospels articulate three foundational habits the LORD Jesus Himself practiced and that He advocated for the first disciples. We’ve already discussed companioning in a previous blog post’ “Companioning with God”, but there are three more to consider:
Daily meeting God in His Scriptures (the Word);
Daily connecting with supportive relationships (fellowship) with fellow believers; and,
Daily serving others on God’s behalf (serving).
These habitual practices seem to be foundational for all believers, regardless of their unique and customized assignments. Therefore, it should go without saying: especially for those who God assigns to lead His congregation in the important and central activities of gathered congregational worship, that they should set their sights on developing these life-long habits to a deep and central level in their own lives.
ONE: Meet God daily in His Word. This foundational habit must be developed for healthy worship leadership. Jesus does not directly say the words, “study the Bible every day to be a good believer,” or “meet me in the Bible every day.” But Jesus’ entire life was centered around God’s Word, the Holy Hebrew Scriptures.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9, underscores God’s desire for His people to marinate in His Word: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
God is serious about the practice of His believers meeting Him daily, repeatedly in His Word. He told Joshua, in preparation for Joshua’s new leadership role as head of the people of Israel, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
The Church needs worship leadership steeped in God’s Word. Every worship leaders must purpose to set their face and heart on meeting the LORD daily in His Word.
TWO: Regularly connect with supportive relationships with fellow believers. Healthy Christian friendships help us develop as mature disciples. All disciples, especially worship leadership disciples, must purpose to nurture a set of solid friends from which they find strength, encouragement, instruction, correction, and accountability. Humans were created by God to live in community. It is difficult for a disciple – especially one with an artistic personality – to develop and mature spiritually outside a community of faithful, loving, God-seeking brothers and sisters in Christ.
THREE: Regularly serve others who need your help. This includes answering the call to evangelism, meeting the social needs in a community, and reaching out to people when they are hurting. This is the act of “putting our good works into practice.”
Interestingly, Jesus Himself, on the very first day of His public ministry confronts Satan with the pronouncement, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” (Luke 4:8). And then toward the end of His public ministry he states, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40).
The Apostle Paul writes, “. . . we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. . . .” in 1 Thess 5:14; and, “. . . Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” in Gal 6:2. Finally, it is recorded that the Early Church that, “. . . they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people” (Acts 2:45b-47).
The practiced habit of “serving” others on God’s behalf is one of the key ingredients in the recipe of becoming a healthy disciple.