Posted by Aaron Keyes on 10 June 2014

“Aaron can do it!” yelled my buddy.

“No he can’t!” I replied.

And that’s how I began leading worship. 

That was 12 years ago, and I was clueless.

I learned a lot that summer, mostly from doing things poorly. There was one amazing woman though, who - in just a couple of conversations - reached out to me, pushed me and coached me. I’ve never forgotten those conversations.  

In fact I can remember every conversation about worship I’ve had with wise men and women. Some left me in tears, rebuked and ripped apart. Some left me encouraged, filled with a renewed sense of courage to move further forward. But every one of them made an impact.  

The sad thing is that I can count on one hand the number of people who’ve ever taken the time to pour into me in this way.

Maybe that’s why the past few years have become about coaching, imparting, and teaching. During that time my wife and I (and our four sons) have opened up our home to 4-8 younger worship leaders at a time in an effort to intentionally make disciples. We teach, coach, encourage, mentor and challenge these guys. We pray together, write together and grow together. Essentially we do life together.  

It gets messy sometimes. They’re not getting our highlight reel, they’re seeing the real deal. They see our personal issues, our marriage patterns, our parenting frustrations. And this is exactly what they should see: real life, messy and raw. Anything else isn’t really discipleship.

So what is discipleship? Giving your life away so that others can do what you do - even better than you. Isn’t that what you see in Jesus? He tells his disciples they’ll do greater things than Him. Jesus is the greatest man to ever live and yet He plans to be surpassed by His disciples. 

I only know a handful of worship leaders who are intentionally pouring their lives into the next generation of worship leaders. How can this be? The great commission has nothing to do with songs, tours, concerts, or albums. The great commission is very clear: make disciples wherever you go! The emphasis isn’t on going; the only imperative word in the entire great commission is the command to make. It could be translated, ‘as you are going into all the world, make disciples…’  

The sad truth is that it’s easier to write songs, record albums, and play shows than it is to make disciples. Not that I’m against writing new songs and making new albums. But if the end goal isn’t to disciple the church into knowing God better, I’m just unsure of the point of our efforts.

We’ve got to do more than lead songs; we’ve got to lead people. If nobody’s following us Monday through Saturday, we’re not leading worship; we’re just leading songs.

Are there a couple younger worship leaders you could prayerfully pursue? A few cups of coffee, a few minutes in prayer, a few things God’s taught you - and a few months getting to know them - will do more for them than you could ever imagine.  

And I promise you this: it’ll do more for you too.

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