Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Being An Old Worship Pastor

I may only be 34, but on occasion I catch myself wondering how long I will be relevant as a worship leader. I know it's crazy and, believe me, I don't entertain these thoughts often. Unfortunately the "culture driven" church music scene puts a subtle pressure on guys like me when you attend conferences and see young hip guys defining the new wave in church music. In any regard, I really enjoyed Bob Kauflin's recent post that was a reflection on his 52nd birthday. I definitely appreciate how Bob has set an awesome example of how to be a "seasoned and effective" Worship Pastor. He has also used his experience and wisdom to faithfully encourage others in ministry. Thanks Bob! Here's his post...

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Growing older has its drawbacks. We've seen them first hand as our parents have confronted things like Alzheimer's, injuries, and debilitating diseases. But I'm certain that God intends us to think of getting older in a positive way. Or else why would he say things like this:
“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Prov. 16:31).

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair” (Prov. 20:29).

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16.)

Glory? Splendor? Being renewed? I have to confess that each time I notice some new pain that seems to hang on for weeks, those aren't the words that first come to mind. What does come to mind is walkers, wheel chairs, and nursing homes.

Okay, maybe I'm overstating it. But a few years ago I had a conversation with a worship pastor in a fairly large church who was concerned he was turning 40. He wasn't sure he'd still have a job in a few years because he wasn't as energetic and musically relevant as some younger guys who were starting to lead.

Now I'm listening to this guy talk, thinking, "If he's old, what am I? Pre-historic?" I think I was able to help him see that leading congregational worship doesn't require you looking like or having the energy of a rock star.

Besides there are real advantages to being an old worship pastor, or an old anything for that matter. In our youth-enamored culture, it's good to be reminded that growing old is a good thing. Here are some thoughts that have encouraged me recently.
  • I know my Savior better and love him more than I used to.
  • I know and love God's Word more than I did when I was younger.
  • I've seen my pride exposed more often, so in some ways, I'm humbler than I used to be (although I still have quite a ways to go).
  • I have more mistakes and experiences to draw from so I'm hopefully wiser in some ways. Definitely more relaxed.
  • I'm less impressed with what I do and more impressed with what God has done in Christ.
  • I can serve future generations by telling them all the stuff I've done wrong and a few things I've done right.
  • God has graciously given me another year on this earth to enjoy my family and church, bear fruit for his glory, and prepare for eternity.
  • Every year, I'm one year closer to seeing the face of my Savior.
I don't know how old you are. But I know this. Growing old is a gift from God. And I'm very grateful for it. I pray you are as well.

7 comments:

donk said...

Amen...Thanks for passing that on Scott.

Kristen Kufeldt said...

Thanks Scott for the reminder. With my position and the age that I am, I sometimes wonder what God has in store for me as the years pass by. I sometimes question why God has chosen to give me such responsibilities even now. I am always encouraged by those who are older than I am. I have learned so much from "older" worship leaders in my past. I don't ever think leading worship can become irrelevant, no matter what your age. Kristen

Rich said...

Whoa...I have at least couple years on you and know exactly what you are saying. I think that staying "current" is crucial, but we cannot stop the clock. I hope I can at least speak the language of the culture in order to lead today's people in that language to worship God. I also am finding great joy in raising up and influencing these young guys/gals. Besides all this, The Stones and The Boss are still pretty cool, so I refuse to retire.

scooterpastor said...

Good word all!

Kristen, one thing for sure, God has great things in store for your future! :)

Rich, I hear you on that. Speaking the language of the culture is an important responsibility for worship leaders (no matter your age). I am sure that's very important being in Southern Cal. Being in a university town also makes that an important reality.

Keep pouring yourself into up-and-comers and never retire!!! Sounds like a plan! :)

Anonymous said...

I have learned that we have a choice in how we age. I am 51, but know I am not the 51 my mother was. I eat better, am more active, in better shape and have many more interests than I did 20 years ago. I see things differently, am more patient and enjoy life more. There is no getting around aging, so grasp it instead of fighting it. If you should happen to lose your job because you think you are too old, perhaps age isn't your biggest problem. Jboats

scooterpastor said...

Wow. Some sage wisdom from a very young 51 year old. Thanks JBoats!

Brian B. said...

I understand what you're saying, Scott. It's too bad that any worship leader or pastor feels that kind of pressure, however subtle.

I think that many churches define "cultural relevance" too narrowly (I don't think this is the case at Parkview).

The gospel is always relevant, of course. It seems to me the only "irrelevant" churches and leaders are those that aren't proclaiming the gospel and living it out.

--Brian