When I began my current ministry nearly four years ago, I began doing small group book studies with our praise team. Since that time, I have tried to pick books that I think will not only be applicable for worship but also for discipleship as well. It is very easy for music people to be music people and not much else. We fall for the lie that we have our territory and we aren’t to venture into someone else’s and they aren’t to venture into ours. First and foremost as musicians, we are called to be Christians growing in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Sure we are to grow in our musical skills, but how much time do we spend on our spiritual lives? When we stand before the congregation each week, whether we like it or not, we are examples to the congregation. When we go to the grocery store? At homes? What kind of example of a Christian are you? Does your life look like Christ to people or does it look like the world? I have a long long way to go…but I am glad God isn’t finished with me yet!
I think one of the most important callings of a worship leader is to shepherd their team. You may say, “I don’t have a praise team?” Well, do you have a choir? As church music leaders, we all have some sort of group that we can influence / disciple. If you are like me, you may find yourself thinking about yourself more than about others. I fail in this area daily, but I know God has called me to make a difference for Him. Those under your care may remember your musical leadership for awhile, but hopefully they will remember your spiritual leadership forever.
So how do I do small group studies with my team? First, I pick a book. Second, I communicate with my team and set a schedule. Could be weekly or monthly? Third, I split up the chapters and assign a group reading. Fourth, we meet on our schedule dates either at a restaurant or church or in homes. We’ve had incredible fellowship at these meetings. For our new book, I have assigned each praise team member two chapters and have asked them to lead the discussion. Trying to push them a little. If it helps, buy a study guide or DVD (if available). Here are some of the books that I have used over the past four years. You will probably sense some patterns. 1. Small books = we will finish them. 2. I really like C.J. Mahaney’s books!
The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life – Louie Giglio *Helps articulate “lifestyle” worship.
Humility: True Greatness – C.J. Mahaney *Can you think of any greater problem for the church musician than pride? “Pride is our greatest enemy, while humility is our greatest friend.”
Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World – Edited by C.J. Mahaney *Do we look different than the world? Are we gear snobs? Attention seekers?
Living the Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing – C.J. Mahaney *Best book I’ve ever read.
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By A Relentless God – Frances Chan *Most spiritually challenging book we’ve read. Has a DVD perfect for small group meetings / discussion.
Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God – Bob Kauflin *Best book I’ve ever read for worship leaders & teams.
CURRENT STUDY = The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness – Jerry Bridges *Won The Gold Medallion Book Award. Has a study guide.
A great site for finding good books is www.christianbook.com