Last week, my church celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. We also had a day of staff training in which we reviewed the core values of the Kingdom of God which we have embraced as an institution. As one of our pastors, Mike Parker, is always saying, “Vision trumps everything; the rest is strategy”. This phrase means that our core values and then how those values get applied to the unique vision of each ministry can over-ride or trump any strategic decision that the ministry has made. For example, if I am committed to a vision of reconciliation with the poor, but I make a blanket statement that everyone in the music ministry has to be able to read music, then I am letting a strategic choice trump the vision.
Briefly, I want to share with you the core values of the kingdom and then how I apply them to our music ministry.
Gospel Power – Sonship
Romans 8:15 – For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been given a new identity and freedom from sin and death. We are once and for all time set free! As musicians, we are set free from the fear and shame that we’ve been loaded with by our past performance failures. We are also set free from the expectations of worship leaders to be sinless and holy-rollers. even from the “stage”, we can be honest about our sin because we are no longer “orphans”; we have been been full accepted.
Reconciliation: The Bringing Together All People Under One Head – Jesus Christ
Ephesians 2: 13- 16 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Through our adoption as sons and daughters, we now are one family of God. The sinful and oppressive lines of division that once existed between class, ethnicity, or culture have been erased in order that we made be restored to the beautifully diverse expression of God’s image-bearing humanity. As worship musicians, this unity is not invisible and theoretical, but living and active in the love expressed by sharing and learning music from the traditions of the saints in our community. The false dichotomy of “traditional vs. contemporary” music loses it’s meaning when we start to put the power of the gospel to reconcile us into practice.
The Kingdom of God: Justice and Mercy
Micah 6:8 – He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
God has adopted us and reconciled us for a purpose: to demonstrate his love and power by acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God. Caring for the marginalized and powerless is the obedient expression of our new life in Christ our King. As musicians, we have to place a priority on worship expressions that flow out of and then back into a daily life of justice and mercy. Worship services are not arranged to spiritually escape the world; instead we pray against injustice and we rejoice in God’s good works on the earth.
Stay tuned for Part 2: The Promises of God, Team Ministry: Functioning as the Body of Christ, Humility and Weakness, and Trials