I’ve decided David wouldn’t have made it as a worship leader in today’s church. Not that his songs wouldn’t hold up. Oh, they’d hold up, alright! But there’s just not enough grace. King David was one messed up dude, y’all. Lies, murder, adultery, and that’s just the beginning of it. With all of the systems of accountability we have in place these days, I can say with a good deal of confidence that David would be banished from most churches’ stage for life- and rightfully so, maybe. After all, serving in a position like lead worshipper means you are now called to a higher standard. But, somehow, David persevered. He messed up; there’s no questioning that, but he also rose from it. The question, then, is how is that even possible and can a resurrection like that happen in my life and my career as well?
It can, but you can’t do it. Harsh? I know. Don’t worry- I can’t either. Chris Tomlin can’t. John Wesley: he couldn’t. Not even King David. You see, while David’s resurgence and success in the fallout from sin speaks to some degree of a Godly character (he was “a man after God’s own heart” for crying out loud!), it’s really a testament to the God of grace- the One who offers forgiveness and a new beginning everyday to messed up worship leaders like you and me and David alike! If you’re a lead worshipper struggling with a re- occurring sin or an aspiring lead worshipper wondering whether your past disqualifies you from service in God’s kingdom, take heart! The God you worship-His mercies are new every morning, and as a result: y o u a r e u s a b l e. You are usable and fit for service! Perhaps even more desirable, in fact…
Check out this email that showed up in my inbox recently from a nearby pastor looking for some help in the area of his church’s worship leadership. I think it’s rather eye opening at times:
I know that you work with a lot of different worship leaders in a lot of different ministries. This gives you a great perspective on worship leaders and what it takes to lead a congregation in an understanding of who God is. We are in need of a worship leader . . . Our church is comprised of a lot of people who are on their 3rd or 4th chance so we wouldn’t mind a person who may not have the best past and could probably not serve at many churches being a worship leader. We have such a heart for restoring people and the position of lead worshiper would be a great example to those we attract. Anyways, just give it some thought and let me know what you think and who you know.
Lead Pastor, church in metro Atlanta, Georgia, USA
How about that- a church that actually prefers their worship leader with a checkered past! I wonder how many churches today feel the exact same way? It’s a question worth asking, I think. It just goes to show there really is hope for someone who’s promising future seems derailed by the consequences come from one bad decision or an unwise lifestyle choice even. Let’s look at how David handled it.
It’s likely you know the story. David was the King of Israel, the most powerful man in his town, and had at his fingertips literally anything he could have ever wanted or needed. Still though, it wasn’t enough. One evening, out his window David caught a glimpse of the beautiful Bathsheba and decided he had to have her. Although Bathsheba was a married woman, David summoned for her anyway and had relations with her. Not only that, David had Bathsheba’s husband killed, and Bathsheba became pregnant as a result of this night. You wanna talk about a mess! How do you recover from that? When a messenger from God, Nathan, points out the sin of the king, David reacts appropriately and in a way you and I can learn from.
David doesn’t run from his sin. With sorrow and humility David confessed his sins to God, and The Lord was faithful in forgiving him. Listen to Psalm 32:5 as David reflects back to this night through song: “Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’– and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Is it really that easy? Well here’s what Psalm 51:17 promises: “A broken and contrite heart . . . God will not despise.” A broken and contrite heart God will not refuse.
The thing that makes grace so amazing, I think, is its relentlessness. Grace always goes farther and remains longer than we expect. Grace wouldn’t be grace if we deserved it; David’s life is absolute proof of this. And just as David bounced back, in the face of shame, living amidst the consequences of that night, we too can bounce back. We can rise again. Through Jesus, there is hope and a future and a God who longs to give it to you. I simply love the truth of Isaiah chapter 40. It says that even young guns like you and me will eventually stumble and fall- it’s inevitable. But those of us who put our hope in God, our hope for deliverance and forgiveness completely in Him, will have our strength renewed by God. We will fly on wings like eagles do. We will run and not begin to get tired. We will walk and not collapse.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It does not matter what you have done. No sin is new to God, and scripture even says that in the weak places of our lives, in the areas and situations where we really need help, His power is made perfect. Perfect. King Jesus, for me and my friends who struggle daily to live this “Christian-life,” breathe grace into our lungs. May your spirit lead us on the path of holiness and righteousness and patience and purity for Your name.