While in the process of assembling my second “Worship Confessional” a friend at church prompted me to put into my own words what a worship confessional is. To some people, the term doesn’t really describe the intent, so I hope that I can clear that up a bit.
My wife was the first person to really turn me on to the concept after watching one of the video confessionals at http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com. Carlos Whittaker, or los as he’s known in the underground, is the most transparent guy I’ve never met. It’s surreal. His worship confessionals revealed to me how much responsibility we as lead worshipers have in ushering our mates into the genuine recognition and acknowledgment of God’s presence. (Did I just say mates? Yep, the result of too much Hillsong United, me thinks.)
Anyhow, these are my aims with the worship confessional, in no particular order:
1. Reveal the effort or lack thereof that went into planning and leading that week’s service. – For some people, leading comes naturally. For others, getting the band in line is like herding cats. I’ve found that very few of our technical problems are unavoidable if we take the time to do a proper sound check and test all of the A/V equipment. I used to hate hearing this in the Army, but “if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” Even better, “if we don’t sweat in the boardroom, we’ll bleed on the battlefield.”
2. Reveal the mistakes made and what plans we have to fix them next week. – Problems with transitions should not reoccur every week if we “rehearse” them out, though occasionally things do happen that are out of our control. Our aim shouldn’t be to become “professional worshipers.” Our aim should be to become less and less of a distraction to those we lead. Some leaders have a natural tendency to avoid showing flaws for fear that the senior pastor, the elders, the deacons, the cafeteria lady, etc., will use that as ammunition to destroy them. Here’s an idea you should pass by your leadership: you’re not perfect and only by examining your weaknesses can you begin to strengthen them.
3. Reveal the obvious breakthroughs. – If we make it our goal to engage the congregation, things like song selection and song order cannot be formed in a vacuum, but must involve a continued organic relationship with the congregation and prayer…and more prayer…and more prayer. By the way, we must understand that even what we may term a “bad” service, one that leaves us in a gray funk, is still a service to the Lord and He will always have plans that far exceed our aim or understanding (like my hope that He fixes my sour note before it hits everybody’s ears!).
4. Reveal your vision. – When I was but a young chap, my grandmother had the wisdom to give me every book ever written by Zig Ziglar and Og Mandino. Though I thought that these “self-help” books were cheesy at first glance, most of them have had a very lasting effect on the way that I view my place in the world. For instance, I believe Zig says in See You at the Top that you can’t reach the reaching until you see the reaching. Now, I know that Andy Stanley’s Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision was more eloquent and spiritual, with emphasis placed on Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem, but there’s something engaging about Zig’s fortune-cookie -length points that stick to my mushy brain a little better.
Simply put, it is tough to take the worship team someplace you haven’t been, so God must give you a vision and that vision must be birthed in your heart with a shield of confidence. Pride has no place there, though, and if you screw up and don’t admit it, then no one will know to help you.
The good thing about a worship confessional is that your transparency and vulnerability are recorded for your church, your friends, your family, your colleagues, and your world to see.
The bad thing about a worship confessional is that your transparency and vulnerability are recorded for your church, your friends, your family, your colleagues, and your world to see.
Ephesians 2:10–”For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works”
God don’t make no junk – anonymous south Georgia redneck
My hope is that people all over the world will be doing these confessionals as a way to strengthen the effectiveness of their ministries. May God be your guide.