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Why Lead Worship? – Part 4 – God is Serious About Shepherding

Written by Jonno Warmington

I argued in my previous post that the particular trait David exhibited which was ‘after’ God’s own heart was that he was first and foremost a shepherd. He was commended because he dealt well with God’s most loved possession – His people.

If His people are God’s prized possession then the shepherding and leading of His people is naturally an important thing to God. This is why He places such an emphasis on the care with which the role must be handled. In fact, scripture says that those who would lead His people will be held to account for those they lead (Heb 13:17, Ex 34:10). It is also why scripture doesn’t pull any punches in its harsh treatment of false shepherds. Ezekiel 34 gives us a good picture of a God who sets Himself against false shepherds who would use the flock to their own benefit, requiring a reckoning for their abuse. It also shows us how He will rescue His sheep from these false shepherds. A shepherding role is not something to be taken lightly but when we are motivated by love in obedience to God we are taking on His own heart! We love what He loves.

I believe that this is an important part of what made David a worshipper that pleased God. He loved God and proved it by how he loved and led God’s people.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
– 1 John 4:20-21 ESV

So what does all this have to do with “leading worship”? Well, quite frankly, I believe it points to the role that must be adopted by anyone who would step up to lead a gathering of the local church in any of the things that we gather to do – including worshipping God in song. We must first take on the role of a shepherd.

Life Groups: Our Discipleship Shepherding Wineskin

TITLE: Life Groups: Our Discipleship Shepherding Wineskin
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 29 AUGUST 2012 – Wednesday PM

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In Part 4 we showed the qualifications and functions of a deacon. In this part we will look at shepherding in more detail.

 The motivation for shepherding

Matt 9:35—38

35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them.” That’s our saviour. But it’s amazing how differently it’s been with leaders throughout the ages, where rather than being moved by compassion they’ve seen the crowds and sought to take advantage of them.

When Jesus feeds the five thousand and the four thousand (Matt 14: 13 – 21; 15:32) the Scriptures re-iterate how he was moved by compassion.

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Why Lead Worship? – Part 3 – Why David? Looking at God’s Heart

Written by Jonno Warmington

In my last post in this series I asked what it was exactly about David that was ‘after’ or ‘according to’ God’s heart. In answering this question we obviously need to look at both God and David and look for some similarities in their character. I believe a clue to at least a portion of the question is tucked away in the use of this phrase elsewhere in the Old Testament.

In the first 11 verses of Jeremiah 3, Israel and Judah are accused of spiritual adultery and prostituting themselves to other gods… then God calls and commissions Jeremiah:

“Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say:
“Return, faithless Israel…
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.
And I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
– Jeremiah 3:12-15 ESV.

There is actually quite a lot more in the Old Testament that talks about God as a Shepherd of His people – the most famous probably being Psalm 23.

Over in the New Testament Jesus calls himself “The Good Shepherd” and dedicates a good chunk of John 10 to this teaching about himself. Jesus uses more shepherding language as he approaches Jerusalem in Luke 13:34 saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Now, when we look at David, we know he was a shepherd as a young boy but there’s actually a lot more to it than just that. When it comes to the Bible’s teaching on worship and David’s leadership a commonly used portion of scripture is this one from Psalm 78:

“He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him
to shepherd Jacob his people,
Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skilful hand.”
– Psalm 78:70-72 ESV

I’ve often heard and, in turn, used this portion of scripture to introduce the concept of two aspects to leadership and service in a local church: the heart and the hands of service. These are important concepts for us to understand (and we’ll come back to these in a later post) but we often get caught up on those points and miss out on something that is actually the main key to this scripture. I believe that this key is also vital to understanding the Biblical heart of “leading worship” and, in fact, to the heart of any kind of leadership and service in the church.

David is saying that from when he was a young boy right through to being the king of Israel his job description didn’t change, just who he was looking after. He went from shepherding sheep to shepherding people.

We always teach about the importance of an upright or integrous heart and skilful hands in service but miss the actual point of this verse. The integrity and skill are the ‘hows’. The ‘what’ of the scripture is shepherding!

So what makes David a man after God’s heart? I don’t believe scripture honours David with this acclaim because he was a great leader or because he was a very talented writer, poet and musician. I don’t even think it was because he had some amazing measure of desire for God. I’d like to argue that it is for this reason: from the hills and sheep pens of his childhood right through to the height of David’s illustrious political career, at heart he was a shepherd. And God likes that because that what He has in His own heart.

Click here for part 4 of this article.