At WorshipU on Campus this year, we had the privilege of hearing from Bethel Music artist and worship leader Paul McClure known for his songs “Jesus We Love You,” “Faithful To The End,” and “How Great A King,” featured on previous Bethel Music live worship albums. Paul shares about the breakthrough he received when he decided to live authentically and be honest with people around him. Paul presents 3 ways to to live a healthy life as a leader and walk in a manner worthy of God’s calling.
People often ask me what I would tell myself if I could go back 10 years. I would tell myself that no amount of tours, albums, or promotion is going to make me happy. I have chased after things that I thought would bring happiness and identity—none of it did. As I walk through life I am becoming less impressed with someone’s gifting and talents and more impressed with how they live their everyday lives. I’m more impressed with the dad that never sees the stage, who’s present with his kids. I’m impressed with good husbands, good wives and people who live their life well.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Ephesians 4:1
Leading worship being on a stage is easy compared to living a life worthy of the calling I’ve received.
It’s easy to blow up a room and get an applause, but are we living a life worthy of the calling we’ve received? Our calling is to be true worshippers of Jesus, chasers of God, good husbands, good moms, and good fathers. I want to live a life worthy of the calling I’ve received. I want to be a healthy whole person before I pursue anything else, and I want to be in ministry for the next 25 years. Over the past few years, I’ve been asking myself, “What does it look like for me to be a healthy person?”
Here are three ways to be a healthy leader, living worthy of the calling you’ve received.
Maybe this sounds boring, but if I’m healthy and living the life God has called me to, I’m serving. A number of years ago I was living in anxiety and questioning myself, and it was more than just jitters on stage. I actually thought, “I don’t know if I can do this.” I would pray “God get rid of this anxiety, I just want to be able to get up there and do this.”
That’s when God said, “What if it’s not all about you?”
It’s true, I thought leading worship was about me, but serving is not about us at all. I would get on stage and think that everyone was watching me, when they weren’t.
I thought that people were thinking about me after worship when they weren’t, and I thought that the success or failure of a worship set was up to me—and that’s not true.
I don’t think we can even quantify as humans what God does in a room every time we worship.
He uses your yes to serve for the sake of His name. Some of our best worship sets have happened when practice went terribly beforehand.
“Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Promotion should not be the reason why we serve, but through service we can gain long-term promotion as we show ourselves faithful with little.
We can never outgrow serving, and I believe if we’re going to live healthy whole lives we have to be serving.
2. Live Authentically and With Integrity
I was a homeschooled pastor’s kid who played in a family band. I came from a culture and an environment where being vulnerable wand getting counseling wasn’t a thing. When I came here and heard people talk about knowing your heart, thought, “What are you talking about?”
It is vital for us to understand and be aware of what is going on in our hearts in order to live healthily.
If you aren’t sure how live authentically around people, ask for help from someone, don’t be afraid to get counseling and learn what it means to be vulnerable.
I lived in a lot of shame for several years, and no one knew who the real Paul was—including my wife. All the shame started coming to the surface when my first son was born. I realized I was responsible for another person now, and I could see that God was opening up a new door of favor for me at Bethel Music. I couldn’t live under this favor unless I changed some things about myself.
I did something really scary one day: I sat in a Mexican restaurant with my friend and told him everything about my life—things that no one knew—and then I set up a meeting with Jason Vallotton, our church counselor and told him everything. I remember riding my motorcycle home from work and just crying, because I realized that I wanted to be known and loved for who I really was and not who people thought I was. The reward of that is worth any amount of pain you go through, because we can’t afford to live in a place where people don’t know who we really are.
I sat in the car with my wife at the bottom of the hill at church and told her everything I’ve done and the shameful things about my past. I was terrified, but she just told me who I really was, that those things don’t define me. No one said the things to me that I said to myself in my head. Everyone met me with love and understanding. Brian and Jenn met me with love and told me who I was.
The majority of the people you’re afraid of actually love you and are for you more than you think .
I wasn’t miraculously be healed from shame, I had to work really hard and have scary conversations. I had to go to Brian and Jenn Johnson’s house and tell them who I really was and what I’ve been living in. I sat in the car thinking, “What if I lose favor with them?” But honestly if you’re not living in purity and genuineness who cares?
Who cares if we have position and influence but we’re not living free?
Sometimes you have to fight to be free, but the reward is worth it. Doing the scary thing is worth it, because the reward is worth it. The reward is living in freedom and living healthy for our families.
3. Commit to People
Another key to living healthy whole lives in the long run is commitment to people.
Bill Johnson once said, “Offerings of praise void of value for people are empty noise.”
Do we love and value people? The point of all this is Jesus and His people. When I run and run on my own and I don’t stop to think about other people, I’m not living healthily.
We just finished writing our first solo album, The Way Home. In the process of writing we realized this is less about the songs and more about the people we’ve lived life with along the way. Someone recently asked me, “What does that song on your album mean to you?” When I saw the name of the song, I saw the face of the person we wrote the song with. David Leonard was our producer, and one of the most exciting parts of making our album was just to meet David and be friends with him. Another person I think about is Joel Taylor, the CEO of Bethel Music who had us over for pizza one night and said, “Hey, I believe in you guys, I want to hear your songs. Let me help you.” He and his wife prayed over us in their little apartment.
If we’re not present to the process and aware that it’s all about people and relationships, we’ll miss out on a lot of things in our life.
If you want to be a great and healthy leader, put into practice these 3 things: serving, vulnerability, and commitment. It’s the things that you do when no one else is looking that matter most, and the Lord will reward you and your faithfulness to Him.
Hear more teachings and worship song tutorials by Paul McClure at WorshipU Online!