Updated: Jul 8, 2019
I remember being asked to lead worship in a small church in Fort McLeod, a small town a half hour away from the city where I lived. The church there had no worship leader or musicians and the pastor asked if I could help him on Sunday mornings. It would mean a 30 minute drive each way in my beat up station wagon every Sunday. I was a broke college student and I was already involved in my home church with worship. It was a bigger church and we had plenty of great worship leaders and musicians. This church had none, so I said yes. I wasn't trying to be noble, I just wanted more practice and here was my chance to lead every single Sunday, my team of one.
Some Sundays the only people in service was the pastor and his family. I'd get up and lead worship from the piano. They'd sing and clap, then I'd move off stage so the pastor could get up and preach to us. To most, this would seem like an easy gig or a waste of time. But it was invaluable to the call God placed on my life.
Here's what I learned. I learned to lead the hardest person, me. I had to learn to prepare and practice even if I ended up leading a crowd of one. I had to be faithful and passionate and ready to give my best every Sunday, regardless of the size or the response. I learned to love and serve the pastor and his small congregation and I learned to love that little church and it's sporadic members.
It was at that church, while I was practicing and waiting for service to start that I wrote my first worship song. The whole song came out so naturally as I sat there preparing to lead. I quickly wrote down the words and somehow managed to remember the melody. Back in my bigger church, I sang it to my friend, who called the pastor over and long story short it ended up on the alum our church ended up producing. That album didn't become a big hit and I didn't get famous off of it. But it gave me a vision for what I could do and what God wanted to release through me.
The hardest person always to lead is me - not because I am problematic, but because I have to lead myself to see the value in the opportunity that is in front of me. The value wasn't measured by the number of people or the size of my team. It was measured by value I placed in what God put in front of me. Would I be as faithful with leading one as I would leading a thousand? Would I be as studious to learn from that church as I would be to glean off a famous worship team? And would I honor it enough to faithfully increase the gift God placed on my life?
If you can lead yourself to see the value in what God's place before you, you will lead the same no matter where you are.