Stretching Exercises


No, this is not about running around the block before service, doing jumping jacks or going through voice warm-ups. This is about a much more difficult type of training – it’s the pain (and the gain) that comes from being flexible in our thinking. Our lives are filled with character development opportunities. In ministry or leadership positions; we must learn to bend – not compromise. We ascertain much by trial and error and when we adapt and incorporate God’s wisdom we can know that He will lift us up in His time. Allowing God to stretch us is good for us because it expands our potential. Being flexible makes us versatile and effective because everything we do is closely associated with people. If we could just come in, minister and go home it would be easy but God wants to teach us love and unity in the beauty of genuine relationships – and that (as many of you know) is the hard part. I want us to look at two areas that will test our attitude as we function in our gifts within the corporate service.

First let’s notice the view from the singer/musician/sound person (or any position associated with worship). Each individual has their own ideas about what role they are to play in the music. They may see themselves as a potential leader, a qualified soloist, lead instrumentalist or always ready to suggest new music for the team. There is nothing wrong with these visions in themselves (these are blessings) as long as it is understood that “timing” is the key for them to be fulfilled. A tree brings forth its fruit in its season. Patience is a “perfect tool” that helps us develop character.

For example; let’s say someone brings sheet music to practice and really loves the song and wants the band to learn it. The leader is then faced with an awkward situation and must have the wisdom and strength to handle the decision as an anointed facilitator. If the worship leader has prayed all week about song selection, practiced and believes they have what God wants to minister, he or she needs to lovingly respond that, “we will listen to the song and learn it in the near future.” On the other hand if the worship leader has prayed for a new song that will minister to the body in a special way then it can be accepted as a divine appointment and receive it joyfully as God’s song of the hour. (Ok, this is the tricky part) how the person reacts who brought the song makes all the difference in their attitude and the general response of the entire band. If the person accepts the decision to learn it later with sincerity and a good attitude – the band remains healthy and strong. If the person feels rejected and becomes offended – the band becomes vulnerable to an “infection” of disrespect and heaviness. Thus, the “beauty” of flexibility has its chance to shine! (Or fall prey to rebellion).

Another illustration would be those who desire to sing specials or wish to be added to the roster to sing or play. Some may need more practice to develop a higher skill level, others may not yet be in the “position” to be used but are still developing but have great potential for the future. Or it may be a situation where the person has not yet found their true calling and really needs to seek God’s face for their unique path that He has ordained for them to follow. It may sound strange but many people are not aware of their inability to sing or play music. This will eventually lead to confrontations that will allow truth to bring revelation and reality to those who really want to know God’s perfect plan for their lives. Remember – true leadership radiates encouragement. I have seen people with great amounts of determination and discipline, they have prepared, prayed, cried, begged, practiced, pushed and done everything that could be done to make themselves available for music ministry but were just laboring in the wrong area. Just because a person enjoys music and wants to participate does not necessarily mean they have been chosen and anointed by God to labor in that particular field.

The other area of flexibility is essential in a worship leader. Though it is true that being prepared is very necessary we must be ultimately led by the Holy Spirit. If we set our agenda in stone and lock our programs in without even considering the “moment by moment” whisper of The Lord, we will reap the disappointment of a religious presentation. It is true that God gives directions ahead of time but who can say He will not test our sensitivity and obedience to be led by His spirit spontaneously? This is also true of pastors and teachers as they must walk in the Spirit and be ready to “change gears” when the Lord wants to do something special in the service. Many churches that are lifeless have disregarded the anticipation and excitement of God’s ideas and have fallen into the comfort and security of their own ceremonies. Being instant in season and out of season is just another way the Lord wants all of us to walk and function in wisdom and truth. (II Timothy 4:2).

People are always suggesting new ideas because every person has their own creativity. The leader must realize the fine line of releasing these talents which bring life to the body and the sense of accomplishment and spiritual growth to the one ministering. The other side involves the danger of harnessing the collection of gifts that God has allowed them to oversee with selfishness, pride and issues of “control.” Leaders are placed in the church by the Lord Himself to help encourage people according to the character of Christ. Leaders are to be humble servants and are not to act like they own the “business.” Here’s a good one; let’s say the senior pastor wants to do something out of the ordinary like dropping a song or replacing a song. If the worship leader is to function in the peace of God they must not allow their emotions to get them upset (if they disagree). The enemy may whisper that outside forces are trying to ruin the worship set and that others are intervening into what they have planned. They may feel they already have the direction and others are not being as spiritual as they are. This is a crossroad that can go to a place of blessing or a place of resentment. To be able to react quickly with spiritual maturity and choose to “flow” with the spiritual current can make or break this transition and affect the service. Again, it is reaction and the decision to yield that is crucial.

It is no secret – we all like to do things a certain way and we all have our own ideas about how and what to do about everything (especially church). Those who are involved with ministry leadership discover the role of facilitator comes pre-loaded with many types of challenges. The moment we enter into the arena of authority and responsibility, we automatically become a magnet for complaints, politics, strife and criticism just like a manager at a place of employment. As many of you have learned, enjoying success while being led by God’s wisdom is only accomplished through constant prayer. There is a special anointing needed whether trying to find balance, mediating or needing to make difficult decisions. Discernment of God’s will is not an option when trying to prevent offence with something as seemingly simple as singing a song. God’s love is the foundation that builds relationships that will give us the grace to be stretched when we do not really want to be. Will we allow Him to develop spiritual flexibility in our heart? Selah…

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