traveling musician

5 Biblical Concepts for the Traveling Worship Leader

Logan Walter says his road ministry is an extension of his home ministry.

My dad traveled in a worship band called Gabriel from the mid-70s to the early 90s. Actually, “traveled” is an understatement. Before I was born, my dad was on the road as many as 250 days per year. He knew how difficult it was to be a traveling worship leader, so he encouraged me to major in Business and get a stable job. God had other plans.

For the past 12 years, I have been following in my dad’s footsteps, traveling and leading worship wherever the Lord leads. Itinerant ministry is a joy and an honor, but it is also full of challenges and temptations, so I always keep these five Biblical concepts in mind:

1. ONE THING IS NECESSARY

In Luke 10, there is a story of two sisters named Martha and Mary. Martha is hosting Jesus at her house, and like many hosts, she busies herself with serving. To Martha’s dismay, her sister Mary does not help with the chores. Instead, Mary chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to his teaching. When Martha confronts Jesus about Mary’s laziness, Jesus says “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

When we travel, there are many chores to be done. There are itineraries, set ups, sound checks, leadership meetings, set lists, pro presenter problems, breakout sessions, tear downs, blown tires, etc. In the midst of the chaos, we can’t forget that “one thing is necessary,” and that’s to spend time, sitting at the feet of Jesus.* We must be reading the bible and praying daily. For me, that means a bible reading plan through YouVersion and a prayer list that is organized in Evernote. The road is unstructured, so I have to be creative about how I plan and structure my life.

For example, when I arrive at an event, I think through a time for my band to sit at the feet of Jesus together. Sometimes it’s before evening worship; sometimes it’s in the morning. Sometimes it’s in the green room; sometimes it’s at the hotel. When I am intentional about finding a good time and place to study the Word, my band gets into good rhythms. When I let things happen naturally, the chores overtake our schedule.

*I am indebted to Aaron Ivey for pointing me to Luke 10 and giving me a black v-neck shirt that says “one thing is necessary” across the chest. Black v-necks are my love language. Thank you, Aaron.

2. FAMILY TAKES PRIORITY OVER MINISTRY

1 Timothy 3:5 says “If someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” In other words, your ministry to your spouse and kids takes precedence over all other ministries. When I was a kid, my dad worked his travel schedule around my baseball season, so he could be at my games. Even better, he was my head coach!

Now, I have my own household to lead. In January, I got married to a beautiful, smart, godly Spanish teacher. She traveled with me to six church camps this summer, and for the first couple of weeks, I must confess that I did not make her a priority. I busied myself with chores and did not do a good job of finding time to sit at the feet of Jesus OR be with my wife. When she expressed her concern, I said, “I love you and I can’t wait to talk with you about this…after rehearsal.” But as I was heading out the door, I felt the conviction of 1 Timothy 3:5. I had prioritized the Church over my own household.

I texted my band, letting them know that I would be late to rehearsal. I stayed and talked with my wife about her concerns, we made compromises, and I committed to being a more present husband. This was a defining moment in our ministry this summer. Now, even when my wife can’t join me on the road, she knows that my ministry to her takes priority over all other ministries.

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