We as worship leaders are participating in a divine symphony that has been playing for an eternity and will be playing forever. Some of the greatest pieces of music ever written are classical symphonies that have stood the test of time and continue to move people. Most of them were written for God’s glory, and many of the composers were solid believers who used their talents to give Him all the glory and left us with incredible works that continue to inspire hundreds of years later. It’s not a great surprise then that an orchestra works as a great analogy for us, our teams and our churches as a whole.
In the divine symphony, God is the composer. The orchestra follows the sheet music, which is the Bible. The Senior Pastor is the conductor, who is called by God to train and lead the orchestra in performing the symphony. We, the servants, are playing different instruments, following the sheet music and the conductor to play in harmony. When the orchestra works well, the result is beautiful music that reaches the audience, the lost people. The music is the message of the gospel, and when it’s played correctly, it becomes all the more powerful and reaches the audience, changing lives and saving them into eternal life.
A single instrument sounds beautiful in the hands of a skilled player, but the sound doesn’t carry very far. Like in the orchestra, it takes a team to make a difference. If there is even a single player missing, you notice the sound getting weaker. In 1. Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul wrote about the body of Christ, which needs different parts working together to function well. In the orchestra, all parts can’t be the same, and players can’t all play the same instrument. We need teams just like the orchestra needs sections of different instruments, and teams need people with different skills and personalities, but a common love for Jesus and a desire to serve unselfishly. When all sections are filled and work well together, the result is a full sound that reaches far. When we all find our place in the church and in the right team, the message echoes further out and reaches more people.
When a player is playing off key, it sounds bad like a clanging cymbal and symbolizes a Christian without love like Paul said in 1. Corinthians 13:1. Love is the key God wrote the symphony in and we play in. Just like the sound of an orchestra, we need to be in harmony, because disharmony sounds awful. We need to keep growing in love to find harmony and sound wonderful to those who are seeking God.
For harmony, we need to learn to play our instruments. Like in real life, young musicians may sound horrible when they first pick up their instrument. They need lessons from pastors and those who went before them, they need to learn their sheet music (the Bible), and their leaders need a lot of patience to not discourage the young, budding players. They need to practice their instrument daily on their own. It becomes a student orchestra that will start rough but gets better through unity and working together to achieve harmony.
So what is your instrument? What is your role in God’s divine symphony? What instrument do you play? How do you practice, who is playing around you, and who exactly is your audience? Are you familiar with the sheet music, are you listening to the conductor, and are you enjoying your part? God wants to teach you to think more about the audience and the orchestra and less about yourself. Like C.S. Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Are you helping other players to master their instruments, and even more, are you teaching those who play your instrument to raise them up? Are you making beautiful music to reach the audience?
Don’t get frustrated or discontent with your role. When the season is right, God can move you within the orchestra after cultivating different skills. You might learn to play a new instrument and move to another section when the season is right. Until then, concentrate on mastering the instrument you have been given by him and accept the challenges as preparation for the new thing He will be doing through you and for you. Join the divine symphony!