My Story – The Battle of a Worship Leader Part 3

The last two weeks I was sharing on the battle of a worship leader. I focused on two areas namely; The Worship Team & The Congregation. I was thinking about the third area that I want to write about this week, “The Church Leadership” and  that’s when I realised that the only way to share the last section is to tell my story.

I started leading worship at a young age after being thrown into the deep end at a Scripture Union camp. It was both the most nerve wrecking experience as well as the most exciting experience I can remember. For years thereafter, I was leading worship at camps, youth groups, family gatherings and eventually church services. My world was very simple then, I would usher people into the presence of God and thereafter hand over to my leader. Over the years my leadership skills grew and I ended up being ordained as a Worship Pastor. It was an amazing time as I started developing other worship leaders and the teams were growing. I can’t explain how this happened but one day something began to grow within my heart. It started off as a simple thought, “I could do this better than my pastor.” It was this simple thought that eventually grew and got me going down a path that I believe many worship leaders find themselves particularly if they are not careful in guarding their hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

The Submission Battle

So I can’t recall when this all started but I do remember that it took a simple thought that grew into a mountain of offence. It’s amazing how a thought that is not brought into the Lordship of Christ can create a whirlwind of negativity and offence.

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

It wasn’t long before I was walking in so much arrogance in my heart that I really thought that I could do things better than my leadership. My heart was full of pride and I was blinded by spiritual arrogance that I couldn’t even see it. It took me two years to finally realise that I had a heart problem and that I needed healing from this battle of submission. God places leaders in our lives. It is God’s heart that we all walk in humility and stay under authority. We might not like or agree with everything that our leaders do but it is to God’s glory that we honour our leaders.

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

It was David that refused to dishonour King Saul even though he was wronged by Saul. True humility lies within a culture of honour! I am amazed to see how many pastors I’ve spoken to over the years have had challenges with their worship ministries and even their worship leaders. It’s an area that I believe the enemy has targeted in order to bring division and strife.

So don’t give in to it! Stand on the Word of God and stay honouring and submitted to your leaders. There is an amazing blessing that flows when there is unity between the Worship Leader and the Church Leadership.

I would love to hear from you so feel free to write to me at tim.feder3@gmail.com

Tim Feder

Tim FederTim and Shaveh Feder head up Sounds of the Nations South Africa, a global ministry under the leadership of Dan McCollam, that aims to release the authentic sound of worship in all nations. Tim served as a Worship Pastor at His People Church for more than 7 years. As a worship leader, song writer and qualified studio engineer, Tim serves the body of Christ through training and equipping worshippers.

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The Battle of a Worship Leader (Part 2) – Tim Feder

I started writing this blog last week in the hope that this will help many to understand what worship leaders experience week in and week out in serving God and the people of God. I also started writing in order to encourage worship leaders and worship teams to not grow weary in what you’re doing. It is an honour to be entrusted with the responsibility of ushering people into the presence of God. What a privilege!!

Last week I started with highlighting three groups of people that worship leaders have direct interaction with. These are namely The Worship Team, The Congregation and The Church Leadership. All three groups of people are vitally important for worship leaders to engage with and all three groups of people have various needs, yet all three groups have one purpose; to glorify the Father!

The bible says in Matthew 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” That word “agree” in Greek is “Sumpheneo” where we get the word “Symphony” from. So where there is Agreement or Symphony (like an orchestra, each section playing their parts in harmony), the impossible is possible and an atmosphere of breakthrough is released. I quickly realised that my role as a worship leader is to lead these groups of people into a place of ‘Unison” (One Sound) where the Glory of God can reside and make its dwelling place. This is really what happened in 2 Chronicles 5 v 2-14 

Last week I shared about my experiences in leading the Worship Team. You can read more about that here if you missed it. This week I want to share about my journey in leading the Congregation.

The Congregation

I remember the first time I had to stand in front of a group of campers to lead worship. There were about 50 campers at that Scripture Union campsite and I was asked the night before to draw up a list of songs and for the first time I was no longer just the acoustic guitarist backing the worship leader but I was the one responsible to lead the songs. It was scary and yet exciting at the same time. I was 14 years old and I’ve been watching my worship leader leading for a few camps while I was just strumming the guitar quite happily in the background. I remember seeing the faces of the campers and thinking to myself, “Are they going to respond to me as they respond to Andy?” It was the longest 10mins of my life but it was the start of a journey.

It was about 10 years later that I found myself standing in front of a crowd of 3,500 leading them into an atmosphere of worship, every Sunday. In looking back I realise that no matter what the size the congregation, the principles of leading were still the same. The skill of leading 10-50 people and leading 3,500 – 5000+ people can be developed over time but what I want to share with you today are the principles that God taught me over the years which I believe would be the same no matter the size.

  1. Authenticity

    I can not be anyone else but me. This is something I believe that many struggle with particularly today where there are so many commercial products on worship. Hear my heart, I believe in recording the worship and distributing CDs and DVDs as it’s an amazing tool to get the atmosphere of worship into homes & other areas; however we as worship leaders need to be careful not to fall into a competitiveness of trying to be someone else. Authenticity is grounded in identity. Identity is grounded in knowing who God is and who we are in Him. When you know that God loves you deeply as a son/daughter and that you cannot earn His love or His approval, you begin to realise that there is no need to try and be anyone else but you.

    Knowing this “truth” allows you to accept that you are not perfect but that you have been made righteous through Jesus; you are not faultless but that you have been made holy through Jesus. I began to notice that the more real I am as a worship leader, the more real God becomes to the people I’m leading.

    Jesus said to the woman at the well that God is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. We cannot have the Spirit of God without Truth and we cannot have Truth without the Spirit of God. They are interlinked. So be yourself! Since God took you just as you are and you are His workmanship.

    Eph 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

  2. Preparation

    I used to think that preparation starts with a song list, but a mentor and friend once said to me, “Before you speak to the people about God, speak to God about the people”. What is God saying about the people you are leading? What is God doing in the lives of the people? Who best to ask than God himself. Once we know the heart of God, a song list is just a tool to reveal the heart of God to people and to help the people to respond to who He is and what he’s done/doing. Have you ever prepared a list where a particular song just stood out above the rest and when you got to that song, the atmosphere in the room shifted? I had many experiences where God would reveal or highlight a particular song and when we sang that song, we couldn’t go further because it was a “song in season”, a song that revealed the heart of God and got the people to respond to a revelation of Him. It is in that moment that the “symphony” is formed. An agreement between heaven and earth where there is a alignment of the atmosphere of heaven and the atmosphere in the room. (2 Chronicles 5 v 2-14)

  3. Be a Worshipper that Leads, rather than a Leader that Worships

I know this sounds like a play on words but think of it this way. I am primarily a  worshipper before I am a leader. Getting this priority right helps me to remember what is ultimately important. Leadership is a skill that can be sharpened through development but being a worshipper is the very essence of who I am. This can only be discovered in intimacy with the Father. I have been designed to be a worshipper of the Father!

I used to focus on the response of people when I was leading and it would bother me if I didn’t get the desired response. Then the Lord taught me that if I approach as a worshipper rather than a leader, my focus is to shift the atmosphere through worship rather than try and get people to follow. This was so liberating as the pressure of trying to get people to respond in a certain way, was completely lifted. I guess when we look at David sitting in the courts of King Saul and playing the harp, he was just releasing his worship as a worshipper and that caused Saul to have breakthrough in his body, soul and spirit. We are really just “Facilitators” of shifting an atmosphere in worship.

I pray that sharing a bit of my journey and experiences will help you as you journey with God in worship. Next week I will share a bit on my experience with co-leading with The Church Leadership and the importance of staying in unity.

I would love to hear from you so feel free to write to me at tim.feder3@gmail.com

Tim Feder

Tim FederTim and Shaveh Feder head up Sounds of the Nations South Africa, a global ministry under the leadership of Dan McCollam, that aims to release the authentic sound of worship in all nations. Tim served as a Worship Pastor at His People Church for more than 7 years. As a worship leader, song writer and qualified studio engineer, Tim serves the body of Christ through training and equipping worshippers.

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The Battle of a Worship Leader – Tim Feder

I’ve always wondered how much people know about the challenges worship leaders face in leading a team and ushering people into the presence of God week in, week out.

Over the years of leading a worship ministry, I’ve tried my best to communicate to our congregation and leadership the huge sacrifices that worship leaders make in order to ensure that the team is ready every week. Being a worship leader is one of the few ministries in a church service that requires leadership with a team, the congregation and then co-leadership with the pastor/s. Therefore it is one of the most challenging but also rewarding leadership roles in a church. Over the years I’ve tried to understand how best to lead the Worship Team, the Congregation and co-lead with the Leadership. This week I’ll share some thoughts around leading The Worship Team:

The Worship Team

The worship team is a group of people. The first thing I kept being reminded of is that the team is made of people. These are ordinary people with ordinary challenges that everyone face. As a leader it is important to remind yourself that the people in team have needs and not just talents/gifting. I found myself in the beginning years of leadership looking primarily at gifting/talent because of the function of the worship team but quickly found that if the needs of these people were not being addressed, the talent/gifting would never operate in its fullness. So I asked myself this question, “What do they need?”

Now I know that many have various needs but I would like to suggest that I found the following to be the general needs in the worship teams that I led over the years.

Spiritual Growth

I quickly realised that coming together as a team and just running through some songs was not growing people spiritually. Spiritual growth comes through praying together and sharing the Word of God together.

Col 3: 16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

As a Worship Leader, making time for prayer and sharing is so important as it builds the spiritual maturity of the team and brings everyone into alignment with purpose and function.

Relationships

In a group of diverse people, relationships don’t just happen. Someone has to cultivate an atmosphere and culture for people to feel free to build relationships. The Worship Leader therefore has to be a relational person in order to help the team to build relationally. Making time for relationships to build can be taxing as it’s not always possible to do that at a rehearsal or a Sunday morning before the worship starts. It takes a get together, a supper or a day at the beach to help teams develop relationships. I tried to plan a social event at least once a quarter for the team to be able to relate outside of the rehearsal or service. However building an atmosphere for relationships can happen every week in the way a leader leads. A relational leader allows time for people to chat to him/her and each other. This again can take away time from rehearsals if one is not careful and intentional, however giving 10mins can do much in creating that relational atmosphere.

Skills Development

Everyone wants to grow in their skill. A Worship Leader can identify which areas each member wants and needs to grow in regarding their skill. A skilled musician/vocalist can give much more and flow much more than an unskilled music/vocalist. The beauty of skill is that it can be developed and the more the person wants to develop, the quicker they develop. A wise leader builds a hunger for growth and then motivates the person to seek after that growth. I remember clearly having to ask team members to consider taking on another instrument as they just hit a ceiling with their skill. I’ve found that one of the common reasons why people leave Worship Teams is that they are just hit boredom with their skill and that no development has taken place for a long time. So motivate your team members to grow in their skill and to get the necessary help for them to grow.

I love this quote by Author, John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Be sure to lead by example with regards to development of skills.

Psalm 78:72 “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”

Next week I’ll share some thoughts on leading The Congregation. I would love to hear from you so feel free to write to me at timothy.feder@sotncapetown.com

Tim Feder

Tim FederTim and Shaveh Feder head up Sounds of the Nations South Africa, a global ministry under the leadership of Dan McCollam, that aims to release the authentic sound of worship in all nations. Tim served as a Worship Pastor at His People Church for more than 7 years. As a worship leader, song writer and qualified studio engineer, Tim serves the body of Christ through training and equipping worshippers.

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The Journey of Faith

I would never have imagined that journeying with God would be a roller coaster of FAITH. My wife and I stepped out of a very secure boat about four years ago to walk on the waters of the unknown following a very clear word from the Lord. We stepped into Sounds of the Nations knowing that God has told us to, but with no directions of what to do once we’re on the water.

I guess it’s pretty much how God operates when it comes to obedience and faith. Hebrews 11: 8 “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” I’m pretty sure that Abraham would have experience a roller coaster ride in his journey of faith. There would have been moments of such certainty and then moments of complete doubt. Last year I was sharing to a church about this journey of faith, when I realised that in the first year of stepping out, my biggest challenge was overcoming fear. Fear is the crippling nemesis of FAITH. The first few months I was lying awake at night worrying about whether this decision was the right one. I was worried about security, whether we would be fine financially, whether I was qualified to do what God has called me to do, whether, whether whether… and the list just went on and on. Then one day I was meeting with my mentor and friend, Ps Bill Bennot. I remember clearly sitting in his office and breaking down. It was like all the worrying just became so overwhelming. It was then that something broke as I realised that I cannot do this by my strength. A journey of faith requires a total surrender to God as our source and God as our strength.

Psalm 84:5 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.”

What is God telling you to do? Maybe it’s that step into that new job or getting involved in that ministry He’s been telling you to, whatever it may be, start that journey of FAITH and see what God will do.

Tim Feder

Tim FederTim and Shaveh Feder head up Sounds of the Nations South Africa, a global ministry under the leadership of Dan McCollam, that aims to release the authentic sound of worship in all nations. Tim served as a Worship Pastor at His People Church for more than 7 years. As a worship leader, song writer and qualified studio engineer, Tim serves the body of Christ through training and equipping worshippers.

 

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