Sometimes you don’t realize you’re thirsty until you take a drink.
A few summers ago, I spent a weekend in Texas with Michael Bleeker and Aaron Ivey.
After a few hours of being around these men I realized I needed more water.
Just by hanging out, watching, listening, learning, I saw them being the kind of pastor I want to be. Who those men are and the culture God has used them to create was powerful and a spring of water hitting the driest place in me.
What I mean is, sometimes I don’t want to be a worship pastor. Sometimes I think what we do isn’t very important. We sing a few songs each Sunday, big deal. Anyone could do it. And that’s partially true. And that’s partially tragic.
Ivey and Bleeker don’t think like that. They walk in a humble confidence that takes worship leadership miles from just singing. These men lead. On and off stage they lead towards God. And there is no greater task in all the world than leading towards God.
Bleeker is effortlessly pastoral. He did things for his band that I’d never done or even thought about doing. He cares for them, prays for them, knows them, serves them, and it’s all done without an ounce of entitlement or credit. The way he is backstage translates onstage. He leads sacrificially. He cleaned the bathroom and made the coffee in the green room for his team. He told me he writes his band members a letter once a week, letting them know he prays for them. He said he goes on stage, stands where they play, and prays for them, then leaves a letter on their music stand. He said it’s normal, and it's been one of the most fruitful parts of his ministry.
Ivey is effortlessly influential. He—from the outside—would seem like a dreamer, an artist who hates details and doesn’t plan or do things on purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ivey is deliberate. He leads with intention, every word he’s going to speak over his people written in a journal he carries on stage. He has a fire in his eyes for justice, he and his band do community better than anyone I’ve ever seen. They all live in the same neighborhood. And Ivey has a rehearsal space at his house. So, band practice is on Friday nights and it starts with a huge dinner and hangout for the kids.
Leading worship is leading war. I was reminded of that by these two men. Every Sunday, they stand before their church knowing one day they'll stand before God on behalf of their church.
These guys, in a few hours, reminded me of the weight of what we do.
It’s more than singing. It’s shepherding. It’s leading people towards God. And there is no greater task in all the world than leading towards God.