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How Worship Leaders Can Leave a Legacy

SHARE THE SPOTLIGHT—Sharing the spotlight can be literal or figurative or both. Whether you have the position, attention or the actual lighting equipment, it’s important to the success of the one you are mentoring that you gradually and intentionally spotlight them. Obviously, you want to make sure to give them worship leading opportunities. Start by giving them songs in a set, and eventually they should be giving you days off. It’s also important to know and teach them that it’s not about their ego. When it comes to church and worship, it’s not about anyone’s glory except for God’s. Make Psalm 115:1 a theme verse: “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and Your faithfulness.” Recognizing the light of the world together is the most amazing way to share the spotlight.

CULTIVATE COLLABORATION—Mentoring reaches another level when you include the one you are investing in into the creative process. This can be one of the more challenging tasks in the mentoring process because it requires two or more minds coming together. Everyone thinks differently, but when you successfully put those thoughts together you get a balanced attack toward your goal. One of my strengths is that I’m an achiever. This can work against me as a mentor because I like to get things done. As a mentor, I have to be very intentional about cultivating collaboration. For instance, I sit down every week with another worship leader in our church and create the worship setlist. My pastor, who mentors me, is also intentional about collaboration. He sits down with me, every week, and asks for my input in his sermon. The result is a better sermon and setlist and an overall better worship experience in our service. Obviously, collaboration greatly benefits our church, but that’s not all. It greatly benefits the leader you are mentoring. It gives them buy-in and models the idea that we can do things better together.

BECOME A PROMOTER—If you believe the one you are mentoring has the potential to be a better version of yourself, you have the power and responsibility to make that public knowledge. This is not about building up someone’s ego. It’s about promoting the next leader. In 2014, I had the privilege of hiring my brother to come on our team and be my worship arts assistant. He can pretty much do everything I can do, and he is nine years younger than me. I believe that he will surpass me in the music arts of our church, and I would be foolish to try and hold him back. To hold him back would be a disservice to him and our church. So, to be proactive about mentoring him, I immediately started promoting him and his abilities to my team and the people in our church. I would often tell people that he is a better musician and media artist than I am, and it’s the truth. I told people that he was “Durbin 2.0,” new and improved with all the upgrades. I believe that, and because of my position I have the unique opportunity to elevate and promote him to those I have garnered respect from. To not promote someone that has the potential to be a better version of you is an admission of your own personal fear and pride.

When we are not proactive about mentoring, we run the risk of being an enemy and roadblock to progress. Our fear of being upstaged blinds us from our power to replace ourself with the next great leader. That’s an incredible power and responsibility.

If we’re not careful, we will miss out on having a living legacy and watch our legacy die with us.  

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Gary is the Worship Arts Director at Redemption Chapel in Stow, Ohio. He is also a blogger and a songwriter with a passion to serve the church. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children and have been married since 1999. You can follow him on Twitter & Instagram @garydurbin or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garydurbin.