Now, I agree that modern churchianity plays to the carnal strengths and gifts of the congregants too much, especially in the area of worship. At my old church people were often in the choir leadership based on vocal ability and not Christian leadership. Others were allowed to stay living in public sin. Non-believers were paid to play instruments if the pastor could not find volunteers from the body. The result was that the choir and music ministries were often the most tested by the enemy who knew full well the depth of the egos involved and the lofty treatment they often received from pastoral leadership. The problem with Cathy Sander's presentation here is the notion that God has a plan that we can screw up. That the guitar player is secretly a minister waiting to happen if only we would not get in the way. That our lead tenor is secretly the next Kari Jobe if we would just stop asking them to sing? Once again, the doctrine of self-importance. God may very well be able to use that guitar player as a minster or that tenor as a gifted song writer but if they do not walk those paths His plans are not thwarted. Again, He is God all by Himself. He does not need nor ask for our input. This is the pagan way of viewing god. That He has a certain "will" for our lives and we live out our existence in pursuit of some secret path to that will. The truth is He has given us the path in the bible and if we would just follow it, the details become irrelevant. For instance, Betty may wonder if marrying Bob is her destiny, or God's will for her life. She will pray and fast over it, seek elder advice, and submit to Christian counseling. To the pagan, God's will is one of two paths -- to marry Bob or not to. The reality is that God's will exists down both paths as long as we are sticking to scripture in our lives. Sanders concludes:
"How Can We Prevent This from Happening? The first step is to take time to sit down with each person on your team individually and find out what it is that God has mandated them to accomplish. Make sure they know that it doesn't even have to be something related to their current role on the worship team; it's possible they have been just filling the spot the best they knew how, but inwardly knowing they had been sacrificing their calling the whole time for the "greater good." Next, think about how you can help the people on your team to the next step in fulfilling their purpose. If nothing else, you can agree to pray and believe that God will show them His plan for their future and give them the strategy to walk into it one day. If you find someone really would fit better somewhere else in the church, or perhaps they should be in a parachurch ministry that functions outside of the four walls of the church, don't be afraid to make a plan to get them into what they need to be doing. Don't see it as a loss; it's never a loss when someone is walking in the calling they are supposed to be functioning in. Maybe it's time to recruit and get some "new blood" on the team and start the training up process all over again. Worship leaders, let's make it a point to be aware of our team and strive to help them walk out the purposes and plans that God has placed in their lives. This is how we truly build the kingdom of God. You will find that your ministry will be even more blessed in the process!" -- Cathy Sanders
Now we really start to see the doctrine of self-importance. Notice that every one of the people under her leadership must have a special mandate from God. They each have an assignment because after all, how special are they! If they are unsure, the plan calls to pray in agreement that sneaky ole god will one day reveal his special plan he has for their lives and of course a strategy. We all need a strategy for how to "walk in" the calling God has for us. No beloved, we do not. We need a strategy for reading His word continuously to draw closer to His revealed will. We need to understand that perhaps our calling is simply to live an obedient Christian life. To be a good Christian mother. To be a good Christian husband. To honor God at work. To be salt and light to a dying world. How boring, I know!
I do not blame Cathy Sanders as this was how she has been raised and taught. Modern churchianity is all about you. The sermons are now motivational or self-help sessions instead of exegesis. Rick Warren once wrote to pastors that the key to having Easter visitors return the following week was to not preach the Gospel. Instead start a sermon series on their community importance or how to be more significant. This gospel of self-importance infects all areas of churchianity, so it is no surprise that worship falls victim to it as well. The one place we should be solely focused on God we instead sing about how we are His portion and how much He loves us. How could He not? We are so special!
But we are not beloved. God is special. God deserves the worship. The plans are His. He does not need nor ask for our counsel. Our job is to not guess at what He wants. He has already revealed that in His Word. His will for our lives is found in His word. We need to stop mystifying and paganizing God and it starts with purifying worship. It should be about Him and not us. If ever we feel the self-importance creeping back in we need to get down on our knees and proclaim how great thou art!
Us? Not so much.
Reverend Anthony Wade