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Why Worship Leaders Should Be Committed to Discipleship


People don’t become like Jesus because of great worship sets. A worship leader must be as committed to the discipleship enterprise of a local church as any other pastoral leader, paid or volunteer.

We do not have the luxury of just doing our musical part, then leaving discipleship – the formation of people into Christ-likeness – to others.

We all play our part, but our part is one element in a larger spiritual task among our brothers and sisters. People don’t become like Jesus because of great worship sets, they do so through discipleship.

They become like Jesus because great worship sets are integrated into a broader discipleship process that is helping individual Christians experience the Father’s love, make Spirit-discerned decisions, embody Christ’s character in their homes, relationships, and workplaces, and learn a way of being human that confronts the powers of the age.

“We today suffer from the unexamined notion that the more recent something is, the better, or more true it must be.” – Richard Foster

Old things matter. We feel it when we lay our hand on the weathered bark of an old tree, experience the frail but warm embrace of an aging family member, or taste a wine that has taken time to become to the palate what only a fine wine can be.

What has stood the test of time has stood the test of time. The longevity of anything speaks of its durability. When it comes to discipleship practices that can help us “feed on Christ” (John 6:57 – “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me”) sometimes “old” is the new “new.”

The spiritual practice of the Daily Examen, a pattern of prayer that was formed (I believe by the Holy Spirit) in the heart of Ignatius of Loyola in the early 1500s, is like that for me.

I’ve met with God in a thousand profound moments through many vehicles like songs, communion, relational moments, art exhibits, long walks, and more.

I welcome spontaneity, and have had the privilege of leading many into moments of worship that have surprised me as well as the rest of us in the room.

But I have never so consistently and so profoundly been able to re-orient myself to the love of Christ, in seasons of both deep suffering and inexpressible joy, as I have through the Daily Examen.

In an extended season of chronic health struggles, with the attendant anxieties and inner battles with which such struggles come, it is been my anchor spiritual practice. Sometimes old things are old – and yet are still in our view – for a reason.


This combination of articles on discipleship and worship originally appeared here, and are used by permission.