Most Christian leaders worship, but aren’t worship leaders per se. So how do you lead your team to actively honor God when you don’t have a degree in music? And, more importantly, how do you follow God’s lead during a time of worship? Let’s take a look.

A small group of leaders gathered for a retreat on top of a 9,000-foot mountain in Colorado Springs. Between the six of us, there was a guitar player, some tune carriers, and some favorite You Tube songs. Most of all, there was a desire to connect with God.

One morning, we interspersed You Tube and guitar-led songs. In between the musical worship, God placed Scriptures in our hearts and we read them out loud. A theme began to emerge. “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Ex. 33:14). “Truly my soul finds rest in God” (Ps. 62:1). “Come to Me… and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).  

A gentle quietness wrapped itself around us. Occasionally, someone lifted a prayer of thanks to God for His presence. We lingered with the Lord for many long minutes. No one wanted it to end. Our facilitator eventually asked, “Does anyone else have something they’d like to share from the Lord?” No one did, but we continued to be still. We were like “weaned children” (Ps. 131:2), content to be held in our Father’s embrace.

The worship extended far beyond the allotted time on our written agenda. God was leading, and He knew we needed that deeply satisfying, sustained intimacy with Him.

5 Keys to Spirit-Led Worship Leading

1. Gather some songs. If you’re not savvy with worship music, invite another team member to prayerfully choose a few singable and meaningful songs.

2. Choose some Scriptures. God may lead you to prepare a few verses to read with the group, or you can ask another person to do so. It’s not so much giving a devotional as it is laying a focused foundation of truth through God’s Word.

3. Set the tone. Give the group an overview of what’s been prepared, but let them know it’s not scripted and that each person can be led by the Lord as they worship—whether they stand, sit, pray out loud, share a Scripture, etc.

4. Genuinely worship. As the leader, you’re tasked with overseeing the worship time, but you also want to turn your attention to the Lord. Engage with the words of the songs and Scriptures. Truly enter into worshiping God.

5. Tune into the Spirit. As you’re worshiping, be aware of God’s promptings. Is He putting a verse in your mind or giving you an encouraging word to share? Does He want the group to wait on Him in silence or perhaps intercede on a specific topic?

6. Give space for God to move. Allow the time to be Spirit-led and organic. Maybe God wants to bless your group with His manifest presence. Maybe He wants to minister through Scripture. Maybe He has fresh vision to impart.

7. Bring closure. As the leader, people will look to you to know when the worship time is finished. If you’re not certain, ask if anyone else is sensing something from the Lord. After a season of silence, close with a simple prayer. 

Leaders lead their teams to many places – toward God-sized vision, new territory, and greater passion for reaching people with the gospel. While there are many important places to lead your team, the premier place is into the presence of the Lord.

“There are many important places to lead your team—toward vision, new territory, greater impact in lives. The premier place is into the presence of the Lord.”

- Lisa Hosler

What are some keys you’ve learned about leading your team(s) in worship? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

The other day I dumped a forgotten bucketful of damp rags into the washer, and they smelled like crazy. The same can be true of our strengths. Left unchecked, they take on a foul odor.    

One of my leadership strengths is vision. I readily see into the future and have lots of ideas about how things can be improved. But God showed me how being visionary can run amuck when I’m in the flesh. Here’s the story—

My husband and I had to euthanize our dog, Maddy – the “dog of a lifetime” for both of us. The appointment was made, and the vet’s staff provided sufficient information. But still, I found myself picturing how it would go (aka worrying). Would they take their time with Maddy? Would she feel pain? Would we be crying our eyeballs out? In the midst of those thoughts, I sensed the Lord saying, “I’m not there yet.” In other words, “Stop thinking ahead, Lisa. Stay with Me here in this moment. I’ll be with you in that moment too.” And of course He was.

God’s words gave me new insight into my visionary gifting. As helpful as it is for picturing possibilities to advance the ministry, when I’m not in sync with God’s Spirit, I start picturing problems.

How about you? What are your strengths, and how do they play out when you’re not in tune with the Lord?

Do you see yourself in this list of strengths with stench?

1. If you’re gifted at management, do you ever become over-controlling?

2. If you usually see the bright side, do you sometimes underestimate bonafide difficulties?

3. If you’re gifted as a teacher, do you ever discuss details ad nauseam?

4. If you’re strategic, do you find yourself giving input when it’s not in your area of oversight?

5. If you’re good with words, do you tend to monopolize conversations?

If your particular strengths weren’t in the list, jot them down and play out the carnal version. And think about its negative impact on both you and others.  

How to Keep Your Strengths in Check

1. Be sensitive to the Spirit. Ask God to alert you when you operate in your strength outside of His grace. Have a humble, prayerful heart – listening to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and cautions. 

2. Keep your identity in Christ. It’s tempting to take stock in our gifting, since it’s something we’re known for and applauded for. But it’s far better to bank on our security in Christ, as blood-bought children of our heavenly Father.

3. Stay aware of others. Moving in our strengths is easy. So easy, we can motor right over others and their giftings. Let’s heed Paul’s admonition to “count others more significant” than ourselves (Phil. 2:3 ESV).

But thanks be to God,

who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession,

and through us spreads the fragrance

 of the knowledge of him everywhere.

2 Cor. 2:14 ESV

“Self-driven strengths can be a stench to others. God-given strengths, when yielded to Christ, are a fragrant blessing.”

- Lisa Hosler

In the Comment Section below, describe how one of your strengths gets off-kilter when you’re in the flesh.

Leaders are doers, movers, and shakers. But if that’s all they are, their efforts can amount to shadowboxing. Thankfully, God has a one-two punch that’s powerfully effective and worth learning.

It was our monthly retreat to plan state-wide initiatives. Given the scope of our outreach, we could’ve felt the pressure and packed our agenda. But since God was carrying the load and designed us for relationship, that’s where we started. We took our time honoring Him through worship, Scripture, and prayer. And then we honored one another. We listened and prayed, as each person shared their latest challenge. With hearts alive in God and soft toward one another, we delved into discernment and decision-making.

By the end of the day, our relationships were deeper and our mission was advanced. One woman observed, “This feels like a support group.” Someone else added, “Yes, the best kind—a support group with purpose.” Combine authentic relationships with kingdom purpose, and you have a powerful one-two punch.

“Combine authentic relationships with kingdom purpose, and you have a powerful one-two punch.”

- Lisa Hosler

Remember C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, that gives voice to the enemy’s devious plans? If Satan was scheming against ministry leaders—and he is—it would sound something like this:

Satan’s Diabolical Schemes Against Leaders

1. “Let’s make them think they’re at their best when they’re super busy.”

2. “Yes, and let’s use that load of busyness to short circuit their devotion to God.”

3. “Perfect! Let’s take it a step further and keep them self-protective and reluctant to open up to their brothers and sisters in Christ.”

4. “Hahaha! That’s brilliant. We’ll keep them from the two sources of greatest help—their Lord and the so-called body of Christ.”

5. “Right! So busyness is their king, and they’re operating solo—apart from their real King and their brothers and sisters.”

6. “Sounds like they’ll be doing a lot of shadowboxing!”

7. “You gotta love it!”

As Christian leaders, we have the Spirit of Truth to combat the enemy’s lies:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…

and, love your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 10:27 (NIV)

Share each other’s burdens…

Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

Two are better than one,

because they have a good reward for their toil.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 (ESV)

…standing firm in one spirit,

with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.

Philippians 1:27 (ESV)

For we are God's fellow workers.

1 Corinthians 3:9 (ESV)

There is never a shortage of work in leadership. Because of that, it’s tempting to keep our noses to the grindstone. But leaders who do that lose their vitality and productivity. Let’s take God’s Word to heart. Let’s actively love Him and our co-laborers, and advance God’s kingdom together. In the process, the enemy will be on the receiving end of God’s one-two punch.

How do you reconcile incessant busyness with God’s invitation for relationship? Please share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

The only thing that’s fun about the word conundrum is saying it. Otherwise, it’s a “confusing and difficult problem or question”—the kind leaders face every week. But God’s got a cure.

We recently said farewell to a long-term board member at a special dinner. One member expressed his appreciation by saying, “When I come to our meetings, I’m all hyped up from the day’s work. I try to set that aside, but I’m always grateful when you sit down beside me, Karen. You exude peace, and I try to steal some of that from you.” We all laughed, but we knew what he meant. Karen does exude peace, and she’s a woman of prayer.

There’s a quiet calm that accompanies a person anchored in God. And it’s the best posture for dealing with ministry difficulties.

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
    loving look at me, your High God.”

Psalm 46:10 (MSG)

Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,

letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,

everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.

Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)

Natural Human Response to a Conundrum:

1. Panic.

2. Worry.

3. Brainstorming.

4. Frenetic activity.

5. (Or for some of us) Frozen in fear.

Godly Response to a Conundrum:

1. Pause. As the leader, take time to get your bearings and get God’s input on how He wants you to walk with Him through this challenge.

2. Wait on God. For me, this usually involves meeting with my leadership team. But instead of charging into spirited conversation, we settle into God’s presence through worship, Scripture, and being still.

3. Spirit-storm. This is a term we coined to replace brainstorming. Since we greatly value God’s wisdom over our own brain power, we spend plenty of time talking and listening to Him through prayer – mulling over the problem and discerning God’s pathway through it.

4. Take measured, Spirit-prompted steps. Conundrums, by their very nature, are complicated. It’s important to take the next step according to God’s leading, and to check in with Him along the way for course corrections.

5. Move forward in peace and boldness. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop being amazed at God’s storm-calming ability—especially the ones within our own hearts. Time and again, when we’re stranded in high seas, God not only leads us out, but gives us remarkable peace, joy, and confidence in the midst.

Conundrums in leadership are a given. But so are God’s presence, perspective, and peace. When you’re in a conundrum, gather a few associates, hunker down with God, and then follow His leading straight through it.

“When you’re in a conundrum, gather a few associates, hunker down with God, and then follow His leading straight through it.”

- Lisa Hosler

In the Comment Section below, share about a challenging situation God led you and your team through.

Staff meetings can be as satisfying as homemade bread or as stale as yesterday’s toast. As a leader, you want to serve up valuable meetings. The key is using the right ingredients and keeping it fresh.

The word meeting has gotten a bad rap, and for good reason. Tell someone you’re going to one, and they’ll say, “Oh man, sorry about that,” or, “Hope it goes quickly.” And it’s true! Meetings are notoriously boring, lop-sided in participation, and way too long. But they don’t have to be.

How can you ensure your organization’s Staff Meetings are worthwhile?

It’s natural to put on your CEO hat and plan Staff Meetings that are informative and productive. But put on your “BOC” hat instead, and plan from a Body of Christ perspective. Think of your staff members as brothers and sisters in Christ engaged in kingdom work. Realize they’re ultimately serving their King, the true CEO of your ministry. And remember their King is also their heavenly Father, so He wants to nurture them as they serve. With this perspective, your meetings will be informative and productive, and they’ll also be replenishing and inspiring.

3 Primary Ingredients for Great Staff Meetings

  1. Connect with God. As our Father, God is relational and longs to spend quality time with us. At our ministry, we engage with God for about 45 minutes of a three-hour Staff Meeting. We invite staffers to lead the time, and it might include musical worship, an inspirational story, drama, a creative activity, a scriptural focus with journaling, etc.

We also talk with God throughout our meetings. If we discuss an important area of outreach or a new dimension to a fundraiser, we ask a few staffers to pray for His blessing. When staffers join or leave our ministry, we gather around them for a special time of prayer.

  1. Connect with One Another. As sons and daughters of God, we’re family members. We want to know each other as people, not just as coworkers. We devote portions of the meeting to a thought-provoking question or spiritually-encouraging topic. Sometimes we do this is as a whole group; sometimes in small groups. Or we may engage in an activity or lesson from a client curriculum, or work through a spiritual gifts inventory.
  2. Connect with Mission. God is purposeful in everything He does, and He invites us into His specific mission for our organization. We discuss the latest initiatives within our ministry – whether client-related, employee-related, or new resources we’re developing for the Church. Often, staffers from various departments provide updates, so we can value each aspect of the ministry and stay current with what God’s doing. Occasionally, we watch a pertinent video, allowing God to stir our hearts anew.

3 Secondary Ingredients of Great Staff Meetings.

  1. Fun and laughter. Get a bunch of people together who love God, love each other, and love their shared mission, and there will be lots of conversation, laughter, and heartfelt tears.
  2. Breathing space and flexibility. Keep your schedule open-ended, with room for some segments to go longer and others to be omitted, and your staffers will appreciate the relaxed pace.
  3. Coffee and treats. Nothing fancy. Just a few essential beverages and a few simple snacks will go a long way in providing the “comforts of home.”

Meetings can be content-heavy and relationally weak, or lightweight and frivolous. The best meetings have ample time for connecting with God and one another, on mission together.

“The best meetings have ample time for connecting with God and one another, on mission together.”

- Lisa Hosler

What elements or activities do you most appreciate in your organization’s Staff Meetings? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

The phrase “all systems go” harkens back to the era when space ships and missiles were in their heyday. It describes the pre-flight phase when all aspects of their complicated mechanisms were in sync and ready for launch. As leaders, we want every aspect of our ministries to function at optimal effectiveness. Since God is our source of wisdom and power, our best shot at this is “all systems pray.”

In 1998, when God taught our ministry to actively honor Him, we made an incredible discovery: as we spent time with God, He revealed His strategies for our ministry through the Word and the Spirit. When we implemented His strategies, they were far more effective than ours. We soon began to pray, “Father, show us where there are man-made structures and programs within our ministry, and show us Your superior ways.” He’s been faithful to do that, and it’s motivated us to establish prayer throughout our ministry.

8 Ways to Incorporate Systemic Prayer

1. Board Meetings. Think beyond opening and closing in prayer, to praying throughout the meeting whenever more insight is needed. Jesus is right there at the table with you, and talking to Him can become as natural as talking to one another.

2. Staff Meetings. Again, opening and closing in prayer is good, but stay attuned to opportunities to pray together as a staff – new ventures, upcoming events, special needs, etc. It’s encouraging to hear others’ passion in prayer, and to follow God’s prompting as themes emerge.

3. Department Meetings. These prayer times can be even more specific, because you’re gathered for a narrowed focus. Spend time talking to God about upcoming projects and events. The team’s faith will be built as God speaks through His Word and His Spirit.

4. Corporate Intercessors Gathering. Secure a small group of intercessors who pray with you and a few key associates for the ministry’s top priorities and new initiatives. These initiatives are often breaking into new territory, and prayer will provide much-needed direction.

5. Location-based Prayer Meetings. Gather a small group of intercessors who join with the director to pray for the specific needs of your service locations. If you have multiple locations, you know that each one has unique challenges and opportunities.

6. Monthly Prayer Sheets. Compile a list of prayer requests covering the full scope of your ministry – from corporate issues to department projects to individual client needs (kept anonymous). These can be snail mailed or emailed, providing a powerful way for prayer partners to engage with God on the ministry’s behalf.

7. Prayer Flares. Send emails or texts to a designated group of people who want to intercede in the midst of a client crisis. In our ministry, this would typically be prayer for an abortion-determined woman who’s currently at one of our locations.

8. In the Moment. Seize the chance to pray as needs arise – whether personal or ministry-related. These impromptu prayer times can be one-on-one or with a small group. Create an environment where it’s second nature to turn to the heavenly Father in prayer.

Imagine your ministry as a space ship, and think through all of its various mechanical systems. In ministry lingo, think of the critical success factors – those areas that need to perform well for greatest fruitfulness. Those are the places you’ll want to shore up with ongoing, focused prayer.

God says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jer.33:3). Let’s take Him up on it.

What are some of the ways your ministry implements prayer? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

How many times have you said to an associate, “I’ll be praying for you,” and went on your way without really doing it? If you’re like me, more than you’d like to admit. But our prayers are an invaluable gift to the people we work with. So as leaders, let’s not just say we’ll pray. Let’s do it now.

When I was 26, my mom passed away. She was in her early 50s, and – like every untimely death – it hit people hard. Our mailbox bulged with cards from extended family and friends. Almost everyone said they were praying for us, and I could tell they were. But there was nothing quite like the prayers I experienced in person. I was the only employee in our ministry back then, and my closest associates were volunteer “shift leaders.” A few of them became Rocks of Gibraltar for me through my mother’s illness and death. As we talked together, their prayers soothed and strengthened my grieving spirit.

As much as we all value prayer, there can be a reluctance to pray for someone in the moment.

Why We Don’t Pray In the Moment

1. We don’t want to intrude or put the other person on the spot.

2. We’re not sure what to pray, especially if it’s a particularly difficult situation.

3. We don’t want to appear super spiritual.

4. We don’t want to stir up the person’s emotions, or ours.

5. We’re a little shy about putting our prayers out there.

While some of these may be legitimate and we do want to be led by the Spirit when we pray – prayer is simply talking to God. And talking to God on behalf of someone else is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

Ways to Pray It Now

1. In person. Whenever possible and appropriate, instead of ending conversations with, “I’ll be praying for you,” say, “Do you have a minute right now that I can pray with you?” Most people will say yes, and you can easily shift the conversation and direct it toward God.

2. In an email. Let’s say an associate sends you an email with an update about a personal concern he’s shared with you. In your response, take a moment to include a simple prayer for him: “Father, give Glenn wisdom and the reassurance that You’re with him.” Write a longer prayer if you’re led.

3. In a text. Even in the brevity of a text you can write a phrase of prayer for a person who’s just texted you about a challenge they’re facing.   

4. In a card. It’s easy to close our correspondence with words like, “Loving and praying for you.” It’s a bit harder to tune into God’s heart and handwrite a brief prayer. But it’s worth it.

Praying in the moment doesn’t mean you won’t be led to pray later. But it’s an opportunity to lift a brother or sister to the Lord where their spirit can hear from God’s. Because of who God is, praying for someone in person is one of the most powerful things you can do for them. Let’s push our reluctance aside and go for it!

“Because of who God is, praying for someone in person is one of the most powerful things you can do for them. Go for it!”

- Lisa Hosler

In the Comment Section below, share about a time you’ve given or received prayer in the moment.

What?! Who would purposely put their weakness on display – especially as a leader? After all, isn’t it best to lead with your strengths? In many instances, yes. But there’s a case to be made for also leading in your weaknesses. 

Triple jumping is a great example of literally putting your best foot forward. I triple jumped in high school, and it was the closest sensation I ever experienced to flying. Triple jumpers sprint down a runway to a takeoff mark, bolt off their dominant foot, leap through the air, land on that same foot, leap again, and then use their non-dominant foot to make one final leap into the sawdust pit. They use their strongest foot twice and their weaker foot once in order to clear as much ground as possible.

As leaders, we have a “dominant foot” – our God-given strengths – and wise leaders operate in these frequently. But in God’s sovereignty, we also have weaknesses. And wise leaders share these as well. 

This is a lesson God’s been drilling into me since my early days of leadership. And while it still isn’t easy, when I embrace and share weakness – it’s always worth it. Recently I was on a retreat with a group of leaders who spend time in worship, prayer, and relationship building before delving into the work of our mission. We’ve known each other for years, and prior to the meeting I felt prompted to open up about a long-standing personal “thorn.” I shared it, they listened with love in their eyes, expressed understanding and words of wisdom, and we prayed together. It was beautiful. I was strengthened. Our foundation for ministering together was strengthened.

6 Benefits of Sharing Weakness with Trusted Associates

1. The experience of others’ love for you in the midst of your weakness, not just your strength.

2. The freedom to be your whole self, not just your public self.

3. The joy of being accepted for who you are, warts, wounds, and all.

4. An opportunity to receive prayer and grow in an area God wants to strengthen.

5. Watching God use your own vulnerability to give others the courage to open up.

6. A deepening of relationships that leads to increased trust and ministry advancement.

God’s love for us drew Him like a magnet toward our weakness. Romans 5:6-8 says that God loved us while we were still sinners, and Jesus died for us while we were still weak. Jesus never recoiled from weakness, He ran to it.

Paul boasted about his weakness – knowing that sharing it was the first step toward receiving God’s strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

It’s natural to let our strengths shine and keep our weaknesses in the shadows. But like mold and mildew, weaknesses fester in darkness and Satan has a heyday with them. Bring your weakness into the light, and experience the contentment of being seen, known, and loved “while you’re still weak.”

“Bring your weakness into the light, and experience the contentment of being seen, known, and loved ‘while you’re still weak.’”

- Lisa Hosler

As a leader, how have you grown in being vulnerable about your weaknesses? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

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