no longer a worship leader and at peace with it.

I dug out an old notebook a few weeks ago and within the first couple pages I found a list of nine things I had wanted to accomplish that year. I recorded these things in 2003, when I was 20 years old, in the final semester of my polytechnic days.

  1. Get grounded in the Word.
  2. Learn piano and guitar intensively.
  3. Stay single until 21st Oct 2003.
  4. Transfer captaincy of TeamR-AGE.
  5. Record FhLY album.
  6. Record Castor & Pollux album.
  7. Attain driving licence.
  8. Cultivate a lifestyle of punctuality.
  9. Learn to be more pastoral.

It’s interesting to note that the items that I’ve made little progress on are #2, #5 and #6, which are incidentally all related to music! Well, seven years have passed and with each passing year the likelihood of accomplishing these three items diminishes. Perhaps I’m not all that passionate or serious a musician after all. What a sad thought.

All right, that silly introduction above has little to do with what I am about to share.

Music is a big part of my life; I’d like to believe that while I’m not musically trained, I am musically inclined because I pick things up pretty quickly – be it percussions, strings or even song-writing. I’m always attracted to worship teams and as I peered into the 3rd Level Hall tonight to check out the worship team in action, I reminisced my days of being a worship leader and how that I spent most (and the early) parts of my ministry in church in CAMY. I progressed from a 14-year-old backup vocalist to a worship leader in both the youth and adult services.

God called me into worship leading when I was 15 years old, at a “Bondage Breaker” conference in Trinity Christian Centre, and I’ve always pursued this area of service. I was confident that I had the anointing of a Spirit-led worship leader. And God is faithful; throughout the years of worship leading, God always sends at least one person to affirm and to encourage me in my calling, usually by someone who was in the congregation; God has never missed out affirming me on any session and I am most thankful for it.

When I went to Shanghai and saw the “state” of the worship atmosphere in my church, I immediately felt compelled to join the worship team to “rescue” and “value-add” it. The Holy Spirit rebuked my prideful self and I quickly dismissed this arrogant attitude of wanting to “fix things” and to “show them how it’s supposed to be done”. I could easily enter the ministry under the pretense of humility but what good would it do if I served with a wrong heart? For months, it was an internal struggle because I knew that I could contribute positively and to even make a significant difference!

I didn’t feel that God was calling me into worship leading for that season of my life in Shanghai so I avoided the music ministry completely and just waited for His prompting of where I should serve in church. I did continue to lead worship, but only in my cell group. (This sounds really haughty and I apologise for it but) word got around of my skill, effectiveness and experience “This worship leader is pretty anointed!” and a couple of months later, as if to perpetuate the already dire situation with my pride, I was approached twice by the worship pastor and one of the key worship leaders; they invited me to join the ministry. (It must have been painful to read such words dripping with arrogance but I’m just being honest with my struggles and being real with my journey.)

Yet I’ve never moved into the worship ministry ever again because I was convinced that my season of being a worship leader is over. I felt the peace when I rejected both invitations and I also found the non-entry necessary for the development of my own humility as I stepped away from this area of ministry. I wanted to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and I believe I did the right thing, even though becoming a worship leader again felt like the right thing to do by my own logical deduction! (This isn’t a good gauge but worship leading no longer gave me a kick – I didn’t find it a challenge anymore.)

Instead, I felt the Spirit calling me into mentoring and preaching; in fact, I find that mentoring, preaching and leading are my three primary domains of ministry at this point in my life. Just as how God has prospered me as I pursued His prompting in my worship leading days, I believe that God will also give me success as a mentor, preacher and leader, simply because I desire to be obedient to His will for my life. I humbly ask you to pray with me, please; I only want to be a vessel.

Why do I share these inner thoughts tonight? I believe that it is more important to recognise the divinely-designated season of your life directed by God than to do what the ministry demands or what you’re naturally good at or gifted in. It may not make much sense at first but the satisfaction you get when you review your step of faith is immense. I desire always to walk by faith (to do what God directs) and not by sight (to do what Man demands). And the only way to do so is to remain connected with God.

Oh Lord, thank You for reminding me about John 15:5. Indeed, apart from Jesus, I can do nothing and I am absolutely nothing without Christ! I desire to be near You so that I will do the things that You desire and become the man You have designed. I love You.

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About Joey Asher Tan

Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing; I am absolutely nothing without Christ.

Posted on June 25, 2010, in A Walk To Remember, Affirming Faithfulness, Attempted Provocation, Leadership Lessons, Quote & Unquote, Retrospective Reflections, Simple Pleasures, Top Ten & Other Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Amazed at how God has been working in your life, your growing maturity as well as the diametric shift in your perspectives — (though I must admit I only had a vague inkling — based on hearsay — of your attitude then).

    Continue taking refuge under the shadow of His wings.

    Best

    • hello! i can only give glory to God and His amazing grace that changes lives from the inside out. thanks for your encouragement… i couldn’t make out your initials though. you are? (:

  2. Thanks for sharing, Joey. It is evident from your life that you desire God’s will above yours, even when things seem ‘right’ or befitting your talents. As I read your heartbeat, I am really inspired to follow the calling God has in store for me too. It is really awesome to see how you’re flourishing in what you do now – seems like God made you exactly for such a time as this. Watching you fulfill God’s call in your life makes me yearn to do the same in my life. Keep abiding, bro. You make the greatest impact when it’s not about you, but all about Him. =)

    • hi esther! wow thanks for such an encouragement! that really means a lot to me sister! (: let’s continue to spur each other on to fulfill the unique calling that God has in store for each of us. i’m praying with you! so glad that you’re a part of the GII team! let’s also continue to remind each other that it’s really all about God and not about ourselves. press on!

  3. Abit late for this, but just to reaffirm. My cell leader of many years ago used to call this the “David profile”, as in King David. As musicians and worship leaders, this is a very real issue as we grow in the worship ministry. Its difficult to adopt a servant heart when people look to us as a valuable resource and sometimes an inspiration… but still, it is okay, to accept thanks for the recognition when we are given-so. By doing so, we are also able to acknowledge our dependence on His grace that continues to bring us through.

    Lord, make me an instrument.

    Be blessed

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