Dr James Michael Stevens: The Jesus Driven Life

"Can Rick Warren Save the World?" These were the words the Fox News announcer said in a recent advertisement for an upcoming news special focusing on the work of Rick Warren in Africa. Of course, I'm sure Mr. Warren had nothing to do with the blurb that was selected above, but it does draw attention to an interesting phenomenon that is becoming very prevalent among the Christian church: worship leaders who have achieved celebrity status.

It is only natural that certain leaders will become well known because of successful ministries. However, it might be good to remember the man who Jesus said was the greatest prophet of all, John the Baptist. The goal of John's ministry was to point people to Jesus Christ. John said, "He must increase and I must decrease." Besides, no person can save the world, only God can.

There are many religions in the world today. Political correctness suggests that we all need to accept each other's faith as legitimate and focus on the common goals and values we have in common. In so doing, the name of "Jesus" is often left out so as not to offend. When this happens, we leave out our most critical distinguishing factor and the only way the world can be saved.

These issues are especially important for worship leaders. Here some questions to ponder:

1. Does our worship focus more attention on the worship leader or the object of our worship, the Eternal God?
2. When people see us, are they more likely to say "What a great man/woman" or "What a great God?"
3. In our hearts, do we wish for ourselves to "decrease" and for Christ to "increase?"
4. Do we ever leave out the name of "Jesus" in order to make our message more palatable for the masses?
5. Are we more concerned with sharing a message that will not offend the world and attract the most people or are we sharing the message of Christ as found in scripture?

These questions need to be considered for every area of our ministries: our music, our worship, our sermons, our teaching, our community programs, etc... These questions need to be considered by every leader, from the largest mega church to the little church in the country with less than a hundred members.

Despite the question in the newscaster's quote above, only Jesus can save the world. We need to live lives and perform ministries that ultimately drive people to focus, not on ourselves, but on Him. In other words, a Jesus driven life!

James M. Stevens
Christian Today
Senior Music and Culture Advisor

Dr. James Michael Stevens is a prolific musician and published composer of over 200 songs. Winner of numerous ASCAP Standard Awards for Composition, he has formally served as President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee as Chairman of the Music Department at Free Will Baptist Bible College.