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Lessons on spiritual leadership

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column is continued from the article by Larry Davies in the Friday, Dec. 11 edition.

Thanks to my less than inspired leadership, choir members argued, the congregation was mumbling and I was bewildered.

“What’s wrong with our choir?” I wondered. Actually, the problem was not with the choir but with me. I was about to receive a lesson on spiritual leadership courtesy of God and our real choir director. At this point she stood up and said, “Larry, can I make a suggestion?”

“Please,” I responded with obvious relief.

“Will you say a prayer and ask God to guide and lead our choir?” she asked.

With one simple request, our choir director taught the most critical lesson of spiritual leadership.

To be an effective choir you must regularly give your mission and yourself to God.

What could I say? “I will be glad too.”

As I prayed for God’s guidance, I began to feel a sense of assurance that God was in complete control of the choir, of our church and of me. All along, I thought quality spiritual leadership depended more upon me and my talents, my take-charge attitude and creativity. Instead, God was seeking submission to His talents, His attitude, creativity and perfect will.

“Amen,” I said, and for a moment there was silence. First one choir member spoke, then another:

One choir member said:, “I would love to sing a solo if you need me, but whatever you decide is fine.”

Another said, “I’ve been doing an awful lot of solos lately. Maybe it is time for a change.”

“That’s kind of you,” said yet another. “I’ve been a little sarcastic lately. I apologize.”

Another said, “Excuse me. What are we singing again? In all the confusion I’ve forgotten.”

Everyone was laughing by now, but we learned critical lessons.

• To be an effective choir, it helps to know what you will sing.

• To be an effective choir, we should sing from the same music.

• To be an effective choir, we need direction and leadership.

• To be an effective choir you must regularly give your mission and yourself to God.

Could these same principles apply toward other forms of leadership? Of course they can.

Paul wrote in Romans, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (12:1-2)

Here is what I learned.

• Give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice.

• Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you.

• Then you will know what God wants you to do.

• You will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

I said to our choir director, “It was presumptuous of me to think that I can replace you. I’ll stick to preaching and let you lead the choir. Thank you for teaching a valuable lesson. Will you forgive me?”

“Of course,” she smiled and said. “Being creative, searching for our gifts and being submissive to God is what the choir and our church is all about. Now if you don’t mind, we have an anthem to sing.”

“Great! May I join you…to sing?. I would love to sing!”

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.