It's been a little over a year since President Obama famously (or infamously, depending on who you ask) side-stepped a pointed debate question with his "answering that question...is above my pay grade..." response.
This post is not about Obama or politics...it is about knowing what is and is not in my realm of responsibility as a leader. I've heard and read way too many worship leaders recently say something like, "who am I to judge a person?" when referring to the decision of allowing a person of questionable intentions, attitude or character lead worship.
This post is also not about what kind of people (maturity) we should allow to participate in the ministry of leading worship...I'll leave that decision to each church and that debate for another blog. This is about those of us in leadership recognizing that we have been given the responsibility to discern the intentions, attitudes and character of those who call themselves believers and help determine if God would be glorified through their participation.
I know of some church bands that do not have auditions for musicians because, "who are we to judge a person's gifts and calling?" I've heard of some worship leaders who do not set up spiritual values for their band members because, "who are we to judge what's going on in a person's heart?" Seriously? That just blows my mind...
It's not always easy, and it certainly is not always the popular decision, but having standards in ministry and sticking to them is about giving priority to God and others. There are too many church people serving in a ministry that they are neither skilled or spiritually qualified for...by allowing this to take place, church leaders are not helping their church give their best to God, are devaluing the unique gifts and calling God has given each of us, and are giving people an easy opportunity to get bored and frustrated with church.
I believe that every member of God's family has been uniquely shaped to serve the church and the world in an excellent way, and that every church should have opportunities for those who do not yet know God personally to jump in and partner and serve. I also believe that people are given the best opportunity to grow spiritually when they are serving God and others in ways that God has created them for.
If we sincerely love God and value people, we will be willing to be a leader, rise to our "pay grade", make some tough decisions and help people truly experience all that God wants for their lives.