The Spiritual Health of a worship leader will be more important than any song you sing, any chord you strum, any lyric you project or any loop you trigger. I have been on both sides of the coin – both healthy and ‘sick’, if you will – and it can be challenging if you are the healthiest person in your entire church. Imagine trying to lead people into the presence of God when your tank is on empty! We need to be healthy to lead our families and lead our churches in spirit and truth. More importantly we as individuals need to be healthy to model spiritual health for others. The opposite is catastrophic. Seriously.
Here are some disciplines I use to help me stay grounded. My prayer is for all of us to know Him better every day. 2 Peter 3:18 encourages us to know Him. When you know more about Him, He becomes the compass of your soul, the anchor for your life in a sea of uncertainty. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
I’m going to take a wild guess and assume I do not have to convince you into having an active prayer life. But I will challenge all of us to answer this question: Who believes we pray enough? I know I don’t. An infrequent prayer life robs us of a full relationship with God. Imagine if the only conversation you have with someone you love is when they want something? Imagine the only conversation you have with someone you love is when they complain about what’s wrong? Imagine the only conversation you have with someone you love is when that person is in peril?
We should desire to know God. That desire manifests itself in relationship. Relationship has dialogue as a component. Therefore, it is healthy to talk to God and to have Him talk back! That doesn’t happen when we engage in ‘drive by prayers.” I’m pretty busy every day and I wish I had the character to start each day with 4-hour prayers on my knees, but I don’t. And I encourage you not to feel guilty and compare your prayer life with others. I pray shorter, sincere prayers all day. That works for me. I can pray thanking God for my beautiful family. I can pray to invite God into my work day. I can pray a prayer of thanksgiving driving into work. I can pray about a concern I have. What I can’t do for 4 consecutive hours I can break up into smaller doses. Use whatever works for you that honors Him.
Get a Sponsor
I have never been addicted to anything but, to my understanding, having a sober sponsor or coach can help one stay straight. If someone is thinking about using, this is the person they can call day or night for sober support. Ministry work is hard, it is oftentimes lonely. Christ had 12 but about 3 were super close. It is foolish to think you will maintain your spiritual health without help. I have 2 friends I have known for a long time. They know me from when we both were in the same ministry and when we were in different ministries. They don’t know each other. But I can share anything with them. I can call them about Bible, ministry work, music – anything. I can always count on them for support, no judgements, informed opinions and advice for my good. Get a sponsor! It will change your life and it will maintain good spiritual health. If you want to work out consistently, get a friend to work out with. If you want to maintain spiritual health, build a relationship with someone who understands the pressure cooker you’re in. Lastly, I would suggest your sponsor be someone who is not a spouse or family member because you want someone who can unbiasedly evaluate.
If you are social media active, you may find value in joining a community of other worship leaders, worship techs or musicians or just Christians in ministry work. I joined a few and some are more informative than others. I originally joined these groups to troubleshoot problems. But what I found by accident is how helpful some of these groups are for spiritual health! Sometimes a post would simply read “How Can I Pray for You Today?” Sometimes it’s just good to read about other people’s perspectives as it helps give your situation perspective. Sometimes it’s great to thank God you don’t go to that person’s church! The point is spiritual health can be fortified by resourcing yourself with different perspectives. This is one of the rare instances where social media can be helpful.
I need variety. It’s just my personality. Perhaps because I’m a jazz musician but it’s hard for me to color in-between the lines. I’m all for reading the Bible in a year reading plans but Leviticus? Geesh…. that’s some heavy stuff to read before you go to bed or first thing in the morning! Devotionals are fantastic for me. I can access them right on my smartphone and/or handheld device. I can read multiple plans at the same time. I can search random subjects and get informed suggestions. A month ago, I realized I don’t have a handle on the book of Revelations. At all. Not even a little. So I searched it, found a devotional, read it in a week. I have searched devotionals on subject matters like depression, worship leading, faith, family and different times of year. If you like to multi-task, if you like variety, this may work for you! My spiritual health has gone up dramatically using Bible aids. Another sponsor point? You can virtually share your reading plan with others and have others comment or interact with you as you both go through the plan. How great is that?
Feed What Feeds You
Listen to church songs while you take a walk experiencing nature. Sit on your deck while drinking your morning coffee and tell Him how much you love Him. Download a prayer app or type in your Notes people and situations you want to pray about. Download apps that encourage you to start your day with prayer or a devotional. Acknowledge the activities that give you life and do more of that! Decrease the activities that drain you. You have more power over your schedule than you think. If you don’t learn how to say no or how to schedule your time, someone else will do it for you.
My prayer for all of us is for us to maintain good spiritual health. I think it would be appropriate to also mention that if you find yourself in crisis please seek professional therapy. There is no shame in needing proper support. This might be controversial but I personally don’t care if your therapist is a Christian or not. If my child needed surgery I wouldn’t check if every surgeon was a believer or not. My main focus would be if the technicians were skilled enough to perform the surgery excellently. I’ll work on their salvation once my kid has recovered. My point is that while you’re waiting for your health insurance to provide a list of names, figure out how many sessions are covered, how much money you’re allowed to spend on therapy, find a Christian in your health network, your mental health could be spiraling down to dangerous levels. Find someone to talk to. Today. Right now. Talk to your pastor. We need you to be healthy as God’s will must be done on earth as it is in heaven. He’s called us to do the work. We have to maintain our health to get it done.