Our view of people can dictate how we treat them.
Think about it. If we’re honest, we tend to treat people who can’t help us less favorably than others we view as valuable to us. The person who just washed your car? They get a casual glance and a half-hearted “thanks,” because anyone can wash a car. The person who you kind of know at church? They get a handshake if you’re sitting close during the meet and greet, but you don’t really care to know them.
But what about the person that can help get you into that program, or can help you get a discount on that item you really want? Roll out the red carpet, use your best manners, and make sure they get all your respect.
While this is a bit exaggerated (and maybe not so much for some), I felt this tension in my early days in ministry. I treated the players and people who could help me accomplish what I desired better than I would others who might not be as helpful.
Its ugly, but it’s true. And I don’t think I’m the only one in this club.
But this speaks to an even deeper problem: I was viewing people for what they did for me rather than who they were.
I was seeing Steve as the Electric Guitar Player, rather than as Steve, the single-dad who works 50 hours a week to support his son, all while in the middle of a nasty custody battle with his ex. Oh, and Steve also happens to play electric guitar at his church.
I think that this is an easy hill for worship leaders to slide down. Not because we’re narcissistic people or even selfish people, but because we are simply people. Human. Fallen.
Our humanness dictates our selfishness. But the good news is that the Holy Spirit working in us can cause us to change how we view others—especially those on our teams.
Part of our job as leaders in the Church is to love people as we lead them. Our view of them is the beginning of how we learn to love people by leading them.
We have to first see people as children of God, spouses, parents, employees, volunteers, and friends far before we view them as an “asset” to our team.
If this is an easy place to fall into, how can we protect ourselves from having an unhealthy view of our teammates? Here are a few ideas:
1. Pray that the Holy Spirit Will Change You.
I don’t mean to Jesus juke anyone. But honestly, that’s the only way any real change will happen.
Pray specifically and often that God would change your heart and help to point out practical ways that you can appropriately view and honor your teammates.
2. Get to Know Your Teammates.
Take time to really get to know your teammates. I’m talking about knowing who their spouse is, how many grandkids they have, and how much they love the Carolina Panthers. Details matter, and people notice when you take notice of them.
The caveat here is to exercise caution with teammates of opposite gender, to guard both of you from getting to know each other in an inappropriate way. However, I can say that you can get to know someone really well in a group setting. And I’d say that I have a good relationship with all of our female team members without ever being in a compromising situation.
3. Pray for Your Teammates Often.
This one goes with #2, but it is the next step in knowing them well. “What can I be praying for” should be a very common thing that your team hears from you. And not just at the beginning or end of rehearsal either.
Take the time to know how you can be praying for your teammates and do it a few times during the week. Check in with them to see how God has been working in their lives, and watch how your team changes.
4. Say Out Loud How Your Teammates Matter
If you say it often enough, they might just start believing you. I think that most team members are so used to being used up, burnt up, and spit out that they don’t know what to do when they are treated as a valuable person beyond what they can do with their talent.
I can’t tell you how often I say this to people, specifically when they have to let me down, something comes up, or in the on-boarding of new team members. The more consistently and clearly you communicate how you view them, the more easily they will accept and appreciate it.