For my birthday, my wife and I had lunch with Keith and Kristyn Getty. Along with 170 other people.
Periodically, the Gettys hold luncheons in different locations to discuss leadership in the church, song writing, and how we can best disciple the people of God. I truly appreciate their emphasis that singing in worship is holy behavior and not just to get the congregation “warmed-up” for the sermon.
During the time together, we sang some of the hymns written by the Gettys and Stuart Townend. It was a wonderful thing to be led in worship through the simplicity of folk music written by local church leaders. Then, Keith and Kristyn took questions from the group. The inquiries ranged from “What’s your process to writing a song?” to “How do you test your songs?” There were two observations that Keith made that I believe are worth repeating.
First, to answer one question, he dealt with the quality of a song. He observed the following grid.
Bad melody + bad lyrics = the song will never be used
Good melody + good lyrics = the song will always be used
Good melody + bad lyrics = the song will be used too much
Bad melody + good lyrics = the song will never be used
His point is clear. Too many people will use a song regardless of the lyrics as long as it sounds acceptable to the audience. It is a danger we must guard against.
Secondly, a question was asked as to how they assess the work of a worship leader. The answer was brilliant. It had nothing to do with being on the right key, if the lighting was just right, or if the band felt good about their work. The test of a worship leader is simply this: Did the people worship well?
The true test for the worship leader is not about their skill but about the congregation’s engagement with Christ.
I feel that this is a true test for all of church leadership. As a Bible teacher, the test is not my ability to speak well but whether or not the people encountered God. It is a good test for everyone engaged with church leadership whether on staff or as a volunteer. We should ask ourselves consistently not about how well we did our work but how deeply the people met with God.
This article was originally published at philipnation.net on February 28, 2013.
Philip serves as the Director of Content Development at LifeWay Christian Resources and frequently speak at churches and conferences. A graduate of Beeson Divinity School (MDiv) and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin), Philip has served as a pastor, minister of education, and a church planter. He also serves as the Teaching Pastor of The Fellowship, a multi-site church in the Nashville area.