A Lesson in Contemplation
Earlier this year I read a book by Ruth Haley Barton that changed my life. Well, I hope it will change my life. It’s already started to. The book is called Sacred Rhythms, and in it, the reader is led on a journey through various spiritual disciplines that have helped guide and shape Christian believers for thousands of years. As a Christian for most of my life, you’d think I’d be well and truly versed in all of these, but that wasn’t the case.
As I read each chapter I found myself being convicted by my own ignorance, and my tendency toward spiritual apathy. Yet at the same time, I was inspired by the hope of deeper intimacy with God promised in through each practice. Practices like Solitude and Silence – allowing yourself to stop and think in the presence of God without distraction. Disciplines like Sabbath, which I thought was only for practicing Jews and Seventh Day Adventists! Lectio Divina – an approach to bible reading which encourages the reader to allow scriptures to enquire of them, rather than always approaching the bible to enquire of it.
Practicing prayer, confession, the daily examin and other spiritual practices have shown me how much richer and deeper my relationship with God can be. It has also shown me glimpses of what a life centred in Christ can really look like – and it’s so much better than the grind I’d become accustomed to.
Here’s the thing; as a Worship Leader – someone who is tasked with the responsibility of encouraging others to respond to the goodness of God revealed in Jesus – I need to have a life centred around a deep, rich relationship with God. Many of us might think we can do Worship Leading well – but it’s another thing to be a Worship Leader – someone who lives out worship in their day to day, moment by moment lives in a way that honours God and inspires others to do the same.
When we talk about leading yourself, we are talking about allowing God to grow and develop your character through spiritual practices that lead to emotional, physical and spiritual vitality. You’ve probably heard it said that a team is only ever as healthy as its leader. I know I’ve been through seasons as a leader where my effectiveness has been undermined by my spiritual, emotional and physical health – and our team has suffered as a result. Working harder and harder for God instead of walking closer and closer with God is a key symptom.
Great Leaders are Led
I came to realise however that lasting fruit only comes from a deep dependency on God. Prioritising your attention and your affections toward him is key to spiritual growth and true ministry impact. Throughout the Worship Academy experience, we want provide you with tools and practices critical to longevity in ministry and life. Through the exploration of spiritual practices like prayer, bible reading, journalling, solitude, confession, discernment and rest, we’ll discover together the keys for healthy spirituality.
To put it more succinctly: we lead ourselves by allowing ourselves to be led by God. This is the foundation to all Christian leadership. It’s on this foundation that we build everything else.