Jon Nicol asks if you really love the people in your church.
Early in ministry, I had a senior pastor say to me, “You know, Jon, you do a good job leading worship, but I’m not sure that you really love the people of this church.”
My first thought was, “Well, I don’t hate ‘em.”
My second thought was, “Ow…”
It hurt because it was true. I was more focused on set lists and segues and building a band than I was forging relationships with those I was leading. I didn’t hate them, but I sure wasn’t loving them.
I was in a relatively small church where it was possible to get to know everyone. So I took his rebuke to heart and started to work at getting to know and loving the people I was serving. When I left there a few years later, it was tough departure because I had grown to truly love the people of that church.
But there was still a part of loving the congregation that I didn’t get.
A while ago, I heard Tom Jackson, a live music producer, talk about “loving your audience.” Translation for the church: loving your congregation.
Tom says this:
“The enemy of love is not hate. Rather, the enemy of love is self-conciousness. We’re preoccupied with our ‘selves,’ and when I am concerned about me, then I’m not concerned about you.”
I realized that when I was on the platform leading, I was leading my congregation from a place of self-consciousness. And my team was following suit.
So we’ve begun to take Tom’s message to heart. We’re learning to express visually and not just musically. We’re learning what it means to be so prepared that we’re free to NOT think about ourselves and able to think about what the congregation needs.
The church I serve at currently is beyond the size of knowing every person. And so while I can build relationships with some, I can’t really know them all. But I don’t need to in order to truly love them. So I wanted to build on what Tom says about loving the congregation and give you some practical ways to love the congregation that you’re leading, both on and off the platform.
Sometimes it’s easier to look at the negative side first. So here are 10 ways to hate your congregation as you’re leading them in worship.