The title of this post is the first sentence of Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life”. It is also the first thing I believe every minister of music and church musician must realize. Our job often seems to be the one thing besides preaching that affects the weekly service the most. If we are skilled, anointed, and on the ball, God seems close and the service is high. If we have an off day, or worse, if we are ineffective, uninterested, and ill-prepared, we can drag the service down. But focusing on our performance distracts us from the entire point of worship.
No matter how much we link our human intuition and talent to the presence of God, we do not determine alone whether God shows up in our service. We are simply a part of the mechanism God uses to bring us into contact with his presence. Prayer, praise, and proclamation work together in congregational worship as we seek the full presence of God, and music can not become a catch-all or substitute for worship.
The good part for musicians is that you need not bear the blame every time the service fails to produce expected results. While we have a responsibility to worship God through music with a spirit of excellence, we must never make the mistake that Lucifer made and think that we are either the object or the main conduit of worship. It’s most important that musicians have a private worship life without the accolades or congregational response. Constantly remind yourself of the purpose of corporate worship – to bring attention to Christ and not to yourself, either negatively or positively.