Byron Spradlin

Artists In Ministry & Missions

Month: October 2015 (page 1 of 2)

A CALL FOR DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING

Byron smile 1A CALL FOR DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING

Until recently, so many in worship leadership have had to “jump” into their ministry. In the past, there has been little to no formal training in worship. For sure, there have been well respected church music programs at dozens of Christian universities, colleges, and seminaries. But very few institutions provide any kind of discipleship training for the worship leader. And, experienced worship leaders already in the field don’t seem to have the time to “train” or “disciple” someone who’s just getting started.

Most immediately, when assessing the present status of worship leadership training, three problems seem to surface:

1) Many worship leaders lack clear answers to some of the big questions about the essence of worship. Consequently, they often lack direction and focus.

2) Worship leaders lack a precise and strategic vision related to knowing the essential elements for developing and ministering congregational worship ministry in the 21st century.

3) Worship leaders lack a functioning set of personal worship practices that serve to develop their own passionate lifestyle of personal-worship disciplines – including spiritual graces, spiritual formations, and an ability to develop a daily worship routine.

Each of these three problems deeply impacts the worship leader and his or her congregations. The seriousness of the problems facing the worshiping community and their impact on every church embracing evangelical theology, serves as a reminder of why a discipleship curriculum for worship leadership training is needed.

FIVE RECENT CHANGES IN MODERN WORSHIP

Byron smile 1FIVE RECENT CHANGES IN MODERN WORSHIP

In the last few decades I have witnessed great change in the Church’s attitude toward worship in at least in five ways:

1) There are new worship expressions, but also volatile worship wars.

2) There are new electronic media delivery systems for worship including Christian radio, TV, and the Internet with the accompanying questions raised about worship entertainment and commercialism.

3) There are new worship cultures (e.g., the Calvary Chapel movement, the Vineyard Church movement, the Hope Chapel network, the Willow Creek network, the HillSong Worship network, the Redeemer Presbyterian church network) and also controversial worship cultures (e.g., the House Church movement and the Emerging Church movement controversies).

4) There is a growing vision for worship as mission (worship evangelism, doxological worship, worship in missions, etc.), but new struggles for missionary worship specialists.

5) Worship is opening to all the arts, but there are controversies about the use of the arts in worship.

Yet, in spite of the amazing advances in the evangelical worship, encouraging vision for world missions, exciting inclusion of worship in growing church planting movements, and commitment by publishers of worship music to provide engaging, spirit-filled songs for “the church,” there still exists one major and glaring omission: Well-trained leadership. This is the need the Church must and, I believe, will address in the coming years.

THE KEY NEED AMONG WORSHIP LEADERS

Byron smile 1THE KEY NEED AMONG WORSHIP LEADERS

There is a very real need in our North American churches for more spiritually maturing, artistically skilled worship leadership; leaders who are clearly called, biblically sound, spiritually dynamic, pastorally oriented, artistically skilled, and specifically trained for worship ministry in our churches and their missional assignments.

Many worship leaders are inadequately equipped in areas of spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation. And, unfortunately, there are few training methods and materials readily available for use by church and mission leadership in training artistic Christians.

If musicians and worship leaders are going to take on the mantel of leading God’s people in worship, the Church and its missionary enterprise desperately need to equip them as spiritually maturing, artistically skilled worship leaders.

Evidence indicates that the evangelical church is failing in this area of discipleship training. I believe that what is needed is curricula or programs of study that will help local church leaders mentor and disciple spiritually maturing, artistically skilled worship leadership. It’s time for the Church to accept this responsibility.

 

Three Needs Of Worship Leaders

Byron the thinkerTHREE NEEDS OF WORSHIP LEADERS

Over the past twenty years, the influence of worship on the evangelical community has changed dramatically. The worship leader now has a role in ministry not shared by musicians since the beginning of the church.

If it’s the general consensus by evangelical theologians that Scripture declares worship is central to life and living, one of the top priorities for Church and mission leaders should be intentional training and discipling of worship leadership.

The renewed emphasis on worship by the evangelical church should compel church leaders to focus on the multiplication of spiritually deepening, artistically skilled worship leadership ready to serve the myriad of opportunities existing today in the Church and its mission mandates. As a result, and as a cause, there exist some very large needs in the North American Church today, especially in the area of matters related to worship.

Three needs that relate directly to this observation are . . .

  1. The Church lacks specialized worship leadership.
  2. The  existing Church and missions leadership currently initiates very little intentional, specialized discipleship of worship leadership.
  3. As a result, few artistic Christians laboring in the worship arts arena receive adequate, intentional, and specialized worship-ministry or personal-worship discipling.

The Place of Worship

Byron smile 1THE PLACE OF WORSHIP
Worship is central in all of life because God is supreme. But North American Protestant churches and the Christians who attend them do not seem to demonstrate that reality in their worship practices, or the way they seem to be engaging the communities around them.

Consider the following: If public and private worship were actually central in the life of the gathered Church, then maybe Christians lives would look significantly different than those lives outside the church. Perhaps our churches would be noticeably more vital and North American church attendance would be increasing. In reality, attendance in the American Evangelical community is on the decline.

Could it be that because of our own perception of God’s mandate for worship that many churches that claim to be evangelistic aren’t? Or, that the children of churched families should embrace a solidly biblical worldview, but they don’t. It’s critical and essential that the evangelical church begin to place more emphasis on the role of biblical worship in its church services.

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