Psalm 119:11
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Reading/understanding the Bible is supremely important to being a well trained worship leader. The Good Book is God’s word for us today. Each page speaks the name of Jesus while each story, whether true or a parable, leads to a greater understanding of who God is. It’s a manual for living directly from the One Who made you. It has stood the test of time, culture and translation. It’s the best selling book of all time. Most American homes have more than one. The Bible is so ingrained in daily life that we can overlook how it’s impact is far and wide the most influential book of law of all time. It’s flawless.

So, the question: do you read it? Probably the most tragic thing in church world today is how Biblically illiterate church staffs have become. I’m not saying that they don’t know more than their congregations they are leading, but that Biblical knowledge isn’t what it used to be. There are fewer MDiv’s or Doctorates of Theology’s on staff. That certainly doesn’t disqualify their effectiveness for the Kingdom, but it does mean church staffs have to step up and KNOW their Bibles.

Worship leaders are pastors. They are pastors to their teams and also the congregation. Most of our worship services begin with worship. In some churches, half of their service is worship music, thus the pastor is only seen during half of the stage time. The worship leader/team is seen the other half. That means we have a responsibility to be able to pastor. We have a great chance of being recognized and asked questions about the Bible from our congregations. We have to be prepared. You cannot give to someone what you don’t have.

I’ve made it a priority to not miss one day of reading the Bible. I have been systematically reading through the Bible cover to cover lately. I began in 2006. God says that we need him like daily bread (Matt 6:11). How long can we go without eating? The answer is: not long. We cannot starve ourselves. If you’ve been committed to planning your Bible time I bet that you have better Biblical comprehension than someone who hops and skips around with no plan and no purpose. It’s just how it works. I can’t imagine reading “A Tale Of Two Cities” by opening to page 146, reading some, then closing it up for the day. The next day open up the page 57 and try to grasp what’s been happening with the plot. While the Bible isn’t a narrative like Dickens’ novel, it is intertwined, telling one Great Story.

If you haven’t been reading “as much as you should”, it’s time to start. If you are keeping up daily, are you encouraging your team(s) to be reading each day? In one group that I lead we keep track of where each other are reading. I write it down in a notebook. Other groups don’t need that stringent of accountability, but they do need reminders.

As far as our personal reading time, do you have a reading plan? When I first began reading everyday I asked one of my pastors for a reading plan and he suggested I start reading cover to cover. This is to get perspective and context. After you’ve exhausted reading cover to cover you may want to turn to a more in depth study of a single book. Remember, the best work out is the one you’ll do. The best reading plan is one that you can keep up with.

I’m often asked by folks that haven’t been reading their Bibles where is the best place to begin. While for you as a pastor, reading cover to cover is important, it shouldn’t be your first suggestion for a new Christian or an out of shape Christian. The goal here is to help them identify God and a love for his Word. I’d recommend beginning with Matthew or John. Both tell the Jesus Story and both get to the heart of the matter quickly. After they’ve completed those, and I would follow up with them. I’d move them into Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. There they will gain some perspective for everyday living. After they’ve completed these they are off to the Spirit’s leading (and your coaching if asked).

Special note: if a team member tells you they are reading a Christian-self-help-book instead of their Bible, I’d push back. While they certainly can read those materials, never let them replace God’s Word. They are a great supplement, but that is the benefit: supplementation. Self help book’s fallibility is that they are someone else’s opinion of God’s Word rather than the real thing. I’d encourage them that their venture is noble, but to also include daily time in Scripture.

All in all, we have a responsibility to see people grow. See them grow in worship, but also in character. The Bible works like a mirror and when the words are applied, begin to develop our spirits. Take some time this week to plan how you can better equip your teams. Consider what you are currently doing to lead them and ask the Lord if he would like to add something to it. You can never overestimate the power of evaluation.

What do your teams do to encourage Scripture reading? What do you do personally? I’d love to hear from  you! Comment or private message. Blessings!

-Micah Brooks