Building a Disciple-Making Worship and Music Ministry
Worship Pastors/Ministers of Music often associate their realm of responsibilities with the week-to-week preparation for Sunday worship services, fixated on the production of an event. The job focus primarily has been musical with other pastoral responsibilities added into the mix as needed. Discipleship is that “thing” that is done in Sunday School, small groups, the sermon, etc.
As we consider the marked numerical decline in the North American evangelical church, we realize we are not doing well at fulfilling the great commission of Jesus Christ. The task of discipleship is not just for the senior pastor or staff person responsible for discipleship.
Slater Murphy, director of the Church Music Department of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, notes:
My heart is encouraged by what I am hearing from some of our music and worship pastors. One of our young men is leading an intensive weekly discipleship group of men (not necessarily involved in the music ministry), which is set up to meet together for approximately six months. At the end of this training, each of these men is expected to begin leading their own discipleship group! Another of our music pastors is leading a weekly disciple-making group in his home on Thursday nights, training 3-4 young couples at a time in faith building studies.
Are these two worship pastors doing something outside their realm of responsibilities? Perhaps so thirty years ago, but today, certainly NOT.
It is time for followers of Christ, called to serve Him through music, to aggressively pursue the Biblical mandate to go and make disciples. This calls for a radical commitment on our part. Here are a few practical considerations:
- The one who desires to disciple others must first embrace a life-style characterized by regular, consistent private worship. Spiritual intimacy with God is prerequisite to any attempt to invest in the lives of others.
- The disciple-maker should have a fluid and growing knowledge of God’s Word.
- Disciple-making can be broad (large group context) and narrow (small group context). As the disciple progresses along in spiritual growth and maturity, the disciple-maker should set up multiple opportunities to input truth, both explicitly (instructional moments) and implicitly (modeling moments).
- Disciple-making necessitates regular quality time with the disciple.
There are many ways we can be intentional in making disciples. As a disciple-making worship pastor, many of these should be a part of your life:
- A weekly one-on-one time of teaching (non-musical). Find a person in whom to invest your life.
- A weekly small group (3-4) (non-musical) meeting together for the purpose of discipleship with the goals of spiritual growth, authentic relationships, and multiplication. (more on this next week).
- A weekly large choir or instrumental group experience, during which you steadily communicate the truths of God’s Word extracted from the music’s theological foundations.
- A weekly worship team, praise band, or vocal leadership team (small group), during which you budget time for imparting truth and encouraging spiritual growth.
- A weekly children’s choir, youth choir, or youth ensemble experience, which would permit you to mentor students and give individual attention through small group activities. It is hard to emphasize just how important this is for the spiritual development of our children.
Often, we don’t feel we have time for discipleship in these group experiences due to the deadlines we have to meet. When we get to the place we don’t feel there is time for discipleship, we need to re-evaluate our priorities.
As will be discussed next week, it is imperative that replication is a goal, where the one being discipled will then disciple others.
We cannot do any of this in our own strength! “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.” It is time for us to make a radical commitment to invest in the extremely rewarding process of disciple-making! If you don’t, then who will?
The majority of this post was adapted from an article by my friend, Slater Murphy, director of the Church Music Department of the Mississippi Baptist Convention with his permission.
NEXT WEEK: How to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples
Some Biblical Models of Disciple-Making:
- From the Old Testament, Joshua 4:1-24 (Verses 21-24, “And he said to the sons of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, “What are these stones?” then you shall inform your children, saying, “Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.” For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”)
- From the New Testament, Luke 24:13-35 (Verse 15, “And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Himself approached, and began traveling with them.” Verse 27, “And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Verse 32, “And they said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’”)