Being a Worship Leader - 2

By John A. White
Contributing Writer
August 29, 2023

Read more from John A. White
Part - 2 Biblical Leadership Models


In the previous section, we discussed the idea that what we do as leaders is not leadership, but rather leadership is a manifestation of our character and who we are as leaders. In the pervious section, I asked you to examine yourself for the internal characteristics you believe will manifest leadership. This process of self-examination is difficult, but necessary. The benefit is that you learn what your leadership strengths are and what gifts you are likely to be most comfortable with as you develop as a leader. Also, you may recognize areas of your spiritual life, character and gifting that could use maturing as you consider your gifts with respect to the needs of your particular ministry or how you envision your future ministry.

For example, someone who initially has a teaching gift typically has little tolerance for people who do not respond to Biblical truth. For them, if God says it, then people should conform their lives immediately to God’s word. However, in today’s relativistic society, a stanch and academic approach may not be received well, if at all. Therefore, the teacher must also incorporate measure of compassion with tolerance for differing world-views to be more effective in sharing God’s truth. Knowing both your strengths and weaknesses will help you become more effective in communicating your gift to others. As said earlier, recognizing your gifts or blend of gifts is an important first step. Next we will discuss biblical leadership models.

Old Testament Leadership Models

Let’s begin by defining leadership. Leadership is a God given appointment accompanied by a specific anointing and authority to carry out God's plan, not only in the leader but in the followers as well. Joshua’s appointment to lead Israel shows us many leadership qualities and is worth considering.

"The Lord said to Moses, 'Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit... and lay your hand on him; and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation; and commission him in their sight. And you shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him. Moreover, he shalt stand before Eleazar the priest, who shalt inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. At his command they shall go over and at his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation"" (Num. 27:18-22).

And as we know, Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land and through many successful military campaigns. The first point we can draw regarding leadership is that Joshua's qualifications are not his experience or his relationship with Moses, but rather “he was a man in whom God's Spirit was in.” The point is that God does not call His leaders by their accomplishments or their strategic relationships; He sovereignly calls them by seeing the fruit they will bear as they live obedient lives.

Next we see that Joshua was commissioned in front of all the people. This act of commissioning allows the minister to be recognized by the congregation as a leader. Today, different religious traditions commission their leaders differently. Though it is not in the scope of this lesson to discuss commissioning forms, it is important that the emerging leader knows that point in time when their church’s leadership recognizes their gift of leadership. This might be as obvious as when the emerging leader is ordained, or as subtle as the church quietly supporting the emerging leader’s ministry.

Finally, Joshua consulted Eleazar the priest. It is important for the emerging leader to stay closely connected to their church’s leadership in a relationship that will provide spiritual guidance, as well as spiritual accountability. This should apply to their personal life as well, including their family relationships, the way they are managing their time, and how they are planning for the future. It would be best that an accountability or spiritual formation relationship be with someone outside their leadership sphere of influence to maintain objectivity. As leaders, we need to take the time to monitor every aspect of our or inner life with friends who can be trusted to keep the information to themselves and for their wisdom and discernment.

Let’s study Moses’ qualifications for leadership in Ex 3:7-12

"And the Lord said, 'I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. And now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppression them. Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt. But Moses said to God ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt? And He said 'Certainly I will be with you, and this shalt be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt you shall worship God at this mountain.”

Moses’ question “Who am I?” reveals his recognition that neither his relationship with Pharaoh and other Egyptian leaders nor his excellent education in Pharaoh’s house were sufficient qualifications to complete God’s plans for him and for Israel. Also notice that God did not tailor His plan according to Moses’ abilities (neither his inabilities); God established His plan independent of Moses. When Moses tries to back out of the responsibility that God placed on him, God effectively tells Moses, “This is not about you; it is about Me working in you.” Everything that Moses needed to lead Israel, God provided. God continues to call His leaders out of their inability into His extraordinary ability.

As a side note... worshipers should take notice of what God's uses to validate His word to Moses, "You shall worship at this mountain (Mt. Horeb)”. Worship is a consistent outcome of completing God’s work in and through an individual or group.

New Testament Leadership Models

Some Biblical leadership gift models, which are sometimes called the five-fold ministry, can be found in Eph 4:11-13 which says:

“Eph 4:11It was he who gave some to be (1) apostles, some to be (2) prophets, some to be (3) evangelists, and some to be (4) pastors and (5) teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

It is God’s intent that all the gifts work together for the purpose of building the body of Christ. Table 1 includes the five gift models of Eph 4, as well as shepherding and service models. In any given situation, one or more of these gifts could be harnessed through a person or a group. The point being, that these leadership ministries are essential for building the body of Christ, whether they are expressed through a group or an individual.

Table 1 – Leadership Gift Models

In Table 1 we see similarities between Jesus’ mission and the Church’s mission. If we consider that these gifts are needed until the Church is unified in the faith (which has never been the case since the Church’s inception), then we can assume that God is still giving these gifts (Eph 4:7-16). While there are many ways of looking at spiritual gifts, thinking of them in terms of gift clusters can be useful.

Rarely is any one gift singularly expressed. For example, Gregg Laurie and Billy Graham are evangelists that preach Biblical lessons to demonstrate people’s need for salvation. They combine the gift of evangelism with preaching and teaching. A shepherd will use the Bible to console, comfort and encourage the flock. He combines shepherding with teaching and helps. Knowing what ministry gifts you have may help to clarify God’s call on your life. At the end of this section is a Gift Assessment Survey that can help to identify the gifts you are currently using. This tool is not prophetic, so don’t expect it to determine the gifts you may have in the future or identify gifts that are currently dormant in you. It will most likely identify the your prominent gifts in your current situation.

I would like to briefly address women in leadership. Because there remains a gender bias that was introduced in the Church after its formation, many women have not assumed their leadership callings. As a result, I believe the church suffers.

Table 2 shows Biblical examples of women as effective leaders in Israel and in the Church. Contrary to some church traditions, these women exercised leadership over men. If we maintain a theology limiting the gifts in Table 1 to men only, we need to ask ourselves if the Biblical examples in Table 2 are “unbiblical” in our theology. If so, we should consider overhauling our theology. Nowhere does the Bible indicate that God was sorry for His choice of women leaders. If fact, He chooses and anoints women over and over again. Any gender bias goes against the many Biblical examples we’re given and against Gal 3:28. Having said that, we must not overlook the Biblical mandate that woman in leadership must remain in proper authority relationships to the church (1 Cor 11:3, 1 Tim 2:14). There remains a delicate Biblical balance of authority for women; authority to lead while remaining in submission to church authority. And men need to help find this delicate balance, not merely quietly support, or passively tolerate women leaders. I do not want to belabor this point, so I will defer this conversation to the many books on this subject that could help bring balance to women’s authority, like J. Lee Grady’ book entitled "10 Lies the Church Tells Women".

Table 2 – Women in Leadership

Regardless of gender, the Christian leader is chosen and empowered by God as a result of God’s sovereign will. God does not choose people because of their experience, aptitude, unique skills, social position or politics like man does. In fact, when you consider Moses’ preparation to lead nations as Pharoh’ son, you realize that God’s calling is overwhelmingly greater than any skills a person may possess. So what qualifies people to be God’s leaders? Leaders are called because, in their humble obedience to God, they will naturally produce the supernatural gifts of Godly leadership. If there is one thing leaders should remember, it is that God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

God’s Sovereign Call to Leadership

Because many people think of leadership in terms action rather than a gift of character, they struggle with their call to leadership. While they desire to fulfill God's call to lead, at the same time, some don’t want to be presumptuous about their leadership. As a result, leaders neither understand nor utilize the full authority given to them by God and the people they are leading. Consequently, they find themselves in a cycle of ineffective leadership and unable to attain God’s call and vision in their lives and for their group. The prerequisite to being an effective Christian leader is operating in God's authority and call.

There are several ways to know if you are being called. Sometimes we have confirming revelation or are led to become leaders through our time spent with the Lord. When you are given opportunity to lead, that opportunity itself could be conforming God's call. John Wimber once said a worship leader is a person that, when they lead worship songs, people worship. This pragmatic approach might be another conformation of God's call. Whatever the method may be, it is important that you establish a “touch point” in your life to distinguish the time and the way that God’s call to leadership was revealed to you.

I say this because you can be certain that your call will be challenged many times and you need to have the conviction and assurance of knowing, without a doubt, that your calling has nothing to do with you and everything to do with God’s will. Having that “touch point” and knowing that “God's gifts and His call are irrevocable” (NIV, Rom 11:29) will bring great assurance when the enemy, or even your own doubts, attempt to undermine your confidence in your calling.

Think About It

Example of a Worship Leader Time Line

1) Create a time line of your call to ministry and leadership (see example above).

2) How do you feel about your call to leadership? Do your gifts qualify or support you in any way?

3) When did you know you were called into Christian service? Write the date in your Bible.

4) In general, what leadership model best suits you? (Refer to Table 1.)

5) Discuss your call to leadership with important people in your life. What do they say about your call as a leader?

Gift Assessment Test

See the Excel file

Being a Worship Leader - Part 1

Being a Worship Leader - Part 3

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