Nearly all of us have seen or heard a demonstration that goes like this: the leader places a big jar on the table and next to it are several big rocks, a few smaller stones, some small pebbles, and sand. Then, the question is asked, “Do you think all of this can fit into the jar?”
The demonstration continues by starting with the sand, then adding the pebbles, the stones, and rocks, and the experiment fails. A good bit of the rocks will not fit. Then starting over, the teacher puts the big rocks in first, gradually filling the jar up going in the reverse order of size and finishing with the sand. And, doing it that way, everything fits into the jar.
The point is made – to work at full capacity, you have to put the big rocks in first.
Worship ministry is no exception. There are some big things that have to be placed first, or you will have difficulty accomplishing everything a dynamic worship ministry will demand. Consider these “big rocks” that must go into the ministry first, or eventually, you will struggle.
A vibrant personal life that includes prayer and Bible study.
To lead a spiritually dynamic ministry, you have to foster a spiritually dynamic lifestyle personally. If that is already your practice, keep going! If not, start today spending time in the word and in prayer every day.
A healthy family that is supportive and encouraging.
It is easy as a ministry leader to be insensitive to your family’s needs. If your spouse or kids ever believe the ministry matters more to you than they do, you will eventually struggle. That balance will be tested over and over again, sometimes intentionally by those closest to you. It may take many years, but neglect in this area will eventually cost you more than you could have ever imagined.
A strong trust relationship with the Senior Pastor.
Every Senior Pastor is different, and this will not look the same for every church. Learn the language of your Pastor. Know what makes him tick, and what bothers him. Never surprise him. Be on the look-out constantly for ways you can take pressure off of him and serve him. Always come through when he needs you to step in. Foster a cadence of communication and pursue his view of the world and your ministry often. Whatever you do, build this relationship because the day will come – and sooner than later – you will need him to trust you. Don’t wait before it’s too late.
Notice that none of these have anything to do with talent or a musical style. But, if someone tries to put together an impactful worship ministry without putting these big rocks in first, the day will come when, no matter how wonderful everything seems to be, something major will be sacrificed. It will be painful and hurtful, and the church will be affected by the damage.
Put the big rocks in first.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.