Month: January 2015

Leadership and Calling… Part 2

In short, the first part was about my current struggle with knowing what exactly is my “calling.” I have been praying that God would give me wisdom and that he would help me understand what he might be calling me to do. What I am coming to understand is that the underlying and root factor of my uncertainty is insecurity. I look at the congregation during worship on Sunday and see people who are disengaged. I ask myself “What am I doing wrong?” I compare my skills in songwriting, voice, musical talent, and leadership abilities against others who are far more developed than mine and become discouraged. Through this I have learned that in order to fulfill God’s calling on my life I need to have clarity of vision – I need to know what God is calling me to – and I need to be confident about it trusting that God will equip me for the calling. Without clarity and without confidence, when circumstances that are everything but perfect it is so easy for me to question whether or not I am in the right place and doing the right things.

Insecurity is something I have always struggled, but I never realized how much it would hinder my ability to lead and be who God has called me to be. After spending some time in prayer. I “stumbled” across an article entitled “The Art of Leadership is Not Without Struggle” by Lolly Daskal. In it she gives a break down of the life events of someone we know as one the most influential leaders in American history. Failure after failure, rejection after rejection, and loss after loss Abraham Lincoln was persistent and never gave up. Finally, at the age of 51, he became the President of the United States. Daskal says “Life has a way of throwing us into situations that test us, evaluate us, and assess us. Leaders who do not waver in times of struggle, those are the leaders who are truly exceptional.” Lincoln faced much struggle. Yet, even in the midst of less than perfect circumstances he persisted and is now a figure that is regularly studied in American history.

God is teaching me that leadership has amazing rewards but it also brings significant struggle. Ultimately, it is how we handle the struggle that will determine what kind of leader we are. He is also teaching me that insecurities are a detriment in the life of a leader. They will not only hinder leadership but will devour from the inside out. Quick side note… I just got an image of gigantic termites wrecking shop haha 🙂 Confidence is a key component in a leader. In order to fulfill what God has called me to do I need confidence. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The confidence I am speaking of is a confidence in knowing what God is called me to do and walking in that calling even when it feels more like hiking a mountain than a smooth road. I am speaking of having confidence in God to equip me for the work he has called me to. I am speaking of having confidence in God to see me through my many failures.

If you get a chance, I would encourage you to read “The Art of Leadership is Not Without Struggle.” It is a short and easy read. The link is below.


Old Post I Found

I have always been a man of very few words. I never have much to say about anything. Writing long college research papers were always a daunting task because no matter how much research I did I never had much to say. I started this blog in the hopes that I had finally discovered my voice – music, melody, and words through song. I soon found out that making consistent posts is a lot harder than I thought.

Lately I have been doing a lot of reading and I have stumbled across some pretty interesting ideas and concepts. One of those things was on the power of words. The argument was based on John 1 which says

The Word Became Flesh
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

This passage suggests that Jesus is the Word of God. Through him everything in creation was created. He is our light and he is our life. Therefore, to doubt the power of words is to doubt the power of God and last I checked he is not lacking any power.

I began to consider that maybe the reason I am a man of few words is because I have not listened enough, read enough, and experienced enough. Maybe, in time, through experiences and other things, my few words, might turn into many. Maybe as I seek the Lord earnestly, and immerse myself in the Word of God, the Power of God would begin make itself known in me through words.

On a different note, I stumbled across this post from a few years ago on a blog that I had forgotten that I created. It’s interesting to me that the words that were relevant to me then are still just as relevant to me now. I copied and pasted the post below.

My name is JohnMatthewWillis. I am 20 years old. I am a junior at Ouachita Baptist University where I study Worship Ministry. I believe God gave me a passion for leading his people in worship. Worshiping God brings me joy unexplainable. I also have a passion for writing worship songs. I started out writing songs that were my own personal words of worship to The Lord and words that I would pray through song, but lately I have felt lead to write songs that other people could latch on to. The work of God is evident in my life. It is because of his plan that I am where I am today and the work of the Holy Spirit continues to shape. One word that would describe how I feel is undeserving. I don’t deserve the grace that has been shown through Christ Jesus. God has brought me through a rough past but the beauty of it is that it was a part of his plan. For through the hardships my eyes have been turned on my Creator even more strongly. The hardships highlighted the good times and in the end brought me joy. The hardships ultimately glorified God because of the growth that I underwent. Another word that describes me is blessed. I am undeserving, yet I am blessed beyond measure. WHY? Because I am a child of God.

Leadership and Calling… Part 1

THE STRUGGLE (Well…my struggle)

Lately I have been struggling with what exactly God is calling me to do. I know that I am called to make a difference in peoples’ lives – to pray for them, be there for them, lead where I can, and teach where I can. A few years ago, I felt God calling me to ministry, specifically, music ministry. So, I began praying. God answered. Over and over in different ways God confirmed his calling on my life to do ministry. So, I began praying about how I might begin preparing. I transferred schools. I changed my major. I changed my entire focus. I have learned a lot and experienced a lot.

I love what I do. I get to lead people singing every single Sunday. Why is that a big deal to me? Picture this. You watch your favorite sports team get hammered by the opposing team, but then something in the game changes. Your team makes a pivotal play. The energy begins to shift. Play after play your team begins to gain ground – making a comeback. It comes down to the last minutes of the game. Your team is losing. On defense. Your team intercepts the ball, runs it down the field, and scores. The band plays the fight song as loud as they have ever played it. Your team wins! In celebration you jump up, raise your hands, and joyfully shout.

Scripture suggests that it is totally normal to worship God in much the same way.

Psalm 98:4 says,

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;

BUT….let’s be honest. Most of the time it seems like people seldom ever get excited about singing praises to God. I look out at the congregation hoping to see smiles, people singing, hands raised, maybe even some swaying back and forth. But mostly what I see is people with blank looks on their faces, not singing, and are ready to “get on with it.”

I pray. I prepare and plan. I schedule the musicians. I rehearse the songs. I work on smooth transitions so that the songs feel like one unit rather than a series of awkward intersections with unseen stop signs. I consider where and if a “pastoral moment” might fit in somewhere. I think through places I can pray and what I might pray so as to make connections for the congregation in regards to theme. Then, Sunday happens. I look out at the congregation while I lead them in singing and I become discouraged. Self-doubt creeps in. I begin to wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” Is all the “work” I do worth it?

I write music. from a young age I have had a strange attachment to putting words together in a poetic form. My desire is to write music that glorifies God and would encourage the church to sing praises to God. I write music in hopes that it would cause change in someone’s life to begin loving their spouse more and even more importantly, loving God more. I write music in hopes that it would create an avenue for someone to express their prayers and praises to God in ways that they feel but might not know how to express.

BUT….let’s be honest. Every time I turn around there is another worship song written by people with much more influence thus, making a much bigger impact than I could ever hope to make. Again, I begin to wonder, “Is it worth it?” I spend a significant amount of time writing songs – lyrics, music, arranging, and recording. Is it time well spent? Or should I begin pursuing other things.

These are hard questions for me because these are the things that I love to do. So, I began praying and I am continuing to pray. That God would give me wisdom and discernment. That he would give me clear vision of what to do moving forward. That if I am not called to write songs that he would reveal that to me. And That he would once again confirm my calling.