Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

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Take Your Worship Team on Mission: Missional Moments in Rehearsal

Dutch Fork Back to School Bash 2012How can we  teach basic concepts of how to live ON MISSION with God to our worship teams in just five minutes during rehearsals? In my last blog, I shared how to plan a Missional Retreat for your Worship Team to introduce basic concepts and convict their hearts while you are rehearsing music for upcoming services.  Check it out here if you missed it: http://wp.me/p4ybbl-bx

Step Two in growing a Missional Worship Team is to do something weekly that intentionally teaches your team the Biblical concepts of being on mission with God.  Here are some simple easy things you can do:

  • Share stories of Worship Teams from other churches that are successfully doing missions in their own community.  Email me at markpowers@scbaptist.org for a list of those in South Carolina.
  • Show videos with a Biblical mission theme.  Some good sources are WorshipHouseMedia.com, SermonSpice.com, and IgniterMedia.com.
  • Invite local missions volunteers to come and give a testimony of their work in your community.  Communicate upfront with your guest that you are only able to allow them four minutes of testimony and one minute to pray over the group in closing.  Hold them to it.
  • Invite your own worship team members to share stories of how they are on mission in their family, work, school, and other community settings.  This creates a culture of Missional thinking through healthy peer pressure.
  • Invite directors of local homeless shelters, food pantries, prison ministry, and other community missions to present the needs they have in their work and enlist volunteers from your team who can help meet their needs.

Remember to target emotional impact for real change by using stories, Scripture, testimonies, and videos to illustrate each point. Exercise careful discipline to stay on task and within time constraints. Be sure to close with prayer for your team to apply the concept taught each session.

During this step, you, as leader, need to take note of anyone who seems to be hearing God’s call to be a missional leader or leadership team member. Draw from those who show interest and personally recruit them for your mission team that will work with you to plan and produce a mission project in your community. But be careful not to recruit only those who are Innovators, eager to embrace change but not trusted as leaders. You will need trusted leaders possessing influence necessary to move your vision toward action plans and lead in that process. Also, during this step, begin to promote participation in the next step, Discipleship TRIOs.

The call of every worship leader goes far beyond just making it to the next Sunday and providing for moving, powerful worship that connects us with God.  Christ’s Great Commission calls every Christian to grow disciple makers! The BEST context to “grow disciples who make disciples” is when we are on mission with God – THINKING like a missionary, PRAYING like a missionary, and ACTING like a missionary everywhere we go!  — Mark Powers



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A Summer Meditation for Worship Leaders: “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”

cross01 If you desire to be a leader of disciples, you must beware. “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7, NIV) The biggest challenge we face as leaders is the mastery of our private self. What am I when no one is looking?

Alas, and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die?

Would He devote that sacred head for sinners such as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done, he groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree!

I shudder to think of the whip on Jesus’ back. I do not want to imagine the cat-of-nine-tails bruising and cutting him for me. Yet I persist in my sin, heaping pain on him. Are you too weak to embrace the pain of rejecting secret sin when he took the whip and nails for you? By his stripes we are healed. They are his gift to you. Allow the image of his stripes to overpower private sin. That is your gift to him. Our choice is to either be healed or hold the whip.

Well might the sun in darkness hide, and shut His glories in,

When Christ the mighty Maker died for man, the creature’s sin.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe

Here, Lord, I give myself away, ‘Tis all that I can do.

Watts, “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed,” Public Domain.

— Mark Powers

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Worship Team Meditation, Easter Week 2016: I Stand Amazed

cross01 I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,

and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be:

How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me.

Jesus had sent his disciples on mission. They had returned to recount gloriously of the miracles they had performed and lives they had touched in Jesus’ name. What an amazing privilege was theirs to be in Jesus’ presence every day and see his love touching lives. And when Jesus asked Peter his opinion of who Jesus is, Peter replied, “You are the Messiah of God.” Jesus didn’t deny it. What must the disciples have thought? These Jewish men, looking for a conquering messiah to restore the kingdom of Israel to power and sovereignty, must have thought: “Our time has come. Surely God will vindicate his chosen nation now and we will rule with him, sitting at his right hand.

He took my sins and my sorrows,

He made them His very own.

He bore my burden to Calvary and suffered and died alone.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be:

How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me.

Immediately after Peter’s confession, Jesus drastically reoriented the disciples’ thinking. First, he foretold his own crucifixion. Then he gave them two commands: deny yourself and take up the cross. What must the disciples have thought? A shudder of fear must have chilled them as they heard Jesus’ reference to the cross—the Roman instrument of torture and slow death reserved for the worst criminals. If my Savior is to bear rejection and death for others, then I as his disciple must follow the same path of service. In one sentence, Christ redefined what it means to follow him. The essence of kingdom living is now self-denial and service, not power or coercion. Take up the cross and follow Christ in self-sacrifice!

When with the ransomed in glory, His face I at last shall see,

Twill be my song through the ages to sing of His love for me.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be:

How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!

Gabriel, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence,” Public Domain.

NOTE: – During May and June, I will be teaching an online course based on my book GOING FULL CIRCLE.  The course runs 7 weeks – totally online – and is called “Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission”.  Please join me for this! Cost is $285 plus a $30 tech fee. Go here and scroll down for lots of info and videos about our School of Worship Leadership at Missional University: http://missional.university/index.php/swl.   — Mark Powers

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Worship Team Meditation: “All Creatures of Our God and King”

 Dad-childAll creatures of our God and King,

Lift up your voice and with us sing

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise him! Alleluia!

God has set this world in order. It runs like clockwork in infinite detail with amazing precision. The order of this world testifies to a mastermind of infinite proportions. Yet God’s attention to detail extends to the smallest thing. As mankind lives and moves within this infinitely organized world, we organize our own lives as we reflect God’s creativity and resourcefulness. We call it culture. And when the cultural organization of our lives is in tune with God, we live in harmony as his creation. But when we assume the role of demi-god and force a foreign culture onto a people, we move outside of God’s graceful order. Skirmishes begin to disrupt the grace relationship in which God calls us to live. The joy of singing “Alleluia” is lost when we are under attack from those who should bring God’s grace. War breaks out in our soul, in our relationships, and in our churches. The term “worship war” is an oxymoron. There can be no war in worship when worship belongs solely to God.

And all ye men of tender heart,

Forgiving others, take your part,

O sing ye! Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,

Praise God and on Him cast your care!

O praise him! Alleluia!

How can we rediscover the joy of “Alleluia” when the song of heartfelt worship has been drowned out by a worship war? Hearts may once again become tender through praising God and casting our cares on him. Our souls cry out to God in the unique language of our hearts. In those heart languages we embrace the cross and the love given there. May this act of worship bring you to forgive those who have forced their culture on you. Then may you rise in “humbleness” and worship our God with a fresh spirit, free from the hurts of the past. “O praise him. Alleluia!”

Let all things their Creator bless,

And worship him in humbleness,

O praise him! Alleluia!

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,

And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

O praise him! O praise him!

                      Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

                  — Mark Powers

Francis of Assisi, paraphrased by William Draper and Thomas Ken, “All Creatures of Our God and King,” Public Domain.

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Worship Team Meditation: The Old Rugged Cross

 3CrossesOn a hill faraway stood an old rugged cross,

the emblem of suffering and shame;

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world

of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,

till my glories at last I lay down.

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

and exchange it someday for a crown.

The perfect Savior of the world died on a criminal’s cross. At the foot of the cross, watching her son’s blood and breath drain away, stood Jesus’ mother. Grieving alongside her were her best friends. We don’t know how many of Jesus’ 12 disciples stayed throughout that horrible day of agony. At least one disciple remained, the one whom Jesus loved, probably John, the writer of this account in John 19. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,

such a wonderful beauty I see;

For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died

to pardon and sanctify me.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,

till my glories at last I lay down.

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

and exchange it someday for a crown.

The word of God made flesh takes our sin into his flesh to pay our debt. The all-powerful son of the eternal God became a caring son to his earthly mother. The one who calls all to be his disciples assigned a single disciple to care for a single person. So many amazing paradoxes converge at the cross of Christ. Is there room at the cross for one more? See Jesus looking from the cross into your eyes. Who in this world has he assigned to your care? Will you take them into your heart, your home, your heaven?  — Mark Powers

Bennard, “The Old Rugged Cross,” Public Domain.