Multicultural Worship

How is a Worship Leader like Charcoal?

I am grateful that God has blessed me with a godly mechanic. Truth be told, my vehicles break down frequently, so it is nice that I can enjoy my mechanic’s company. I see him often…

Yesterday, as he was fixing my van, we began talking about worship leaders and
charcoal. Go figure. It seems that the most outwardly appealing and exciting time in the life of a piece of charcoal is immediately after it has been doused in lighter fluid, and started on fire. The flames are bold and dynamic. There is immediate warmth. It is quite exciting to be around!

Many times we are looking for worship leaders that are “on fire.” We place a high value on the heat and light we experience as certain dynamic people lead worship. We often exalt skills and abilities that are more external than internal.

These external abilities may be great for making a scene or drawing a crowd, but they offer very little in terms of long-term results. The fire is more external than internal. And the reality is that while this might be the most outwardly exciting time, this is not the most useful time. Please do not try to cook anything on a charcoal fire immediately after it has been lit. You will not like the results.

As my mechanic friend pointed out… many great worship leaders start like gangbusters, only to fizzle out in a few months or years. Maybe they somehow get separated from the coals around them…self-sufficient, independent. That is one sure-fire way to burn out.

But, oh what a blessing is the leader who has been burning for quite a while, in close fellowship with others who are white-hot for God and His ways! Oh, the long-term benefits of having a leader that has the fire on the inside as well as the outside!

We need to take seriously Paulʼs caution to Timothy about elders and leaders not being recent converts and giving them time to be tested. Donʼt give them too much authority too soon. Donʼt put them in lonely, isolated positions. Rally around them, encourage them, keep them accountable, and think long-term.

Be careful not to put too much emphasis and value on external skills and abilities. Let us judge no one from a worldly point of view. May God raise up among us many worshipers and worship leaders who have as much fire on the inside as they do on the outside!

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