This past week I was honored to host the New Life Worship Team from New Life Church in Colorado Springs at our 4th Annual Worship 4:24 Conference at Cedarville University. There were MANY things that the team did very well, but perhaps the things that impressed me the most were their humbleness, authentic love for Jesus, and genuine care for people. All of these things we try to embrace as individuals, but as a professor, it is often hard to try to teach. It was great to have this modeled well in front of our students.
We have a motto at our school for our touring groups: “Impress from a distance, impact up close”. That is exactly what New Life did. I would say that they went beyond that, and both impressed and impacted from a distance. Their heart for God and compassion for people was aided by quiet and gentle humility, resulting in a great weekend of worship and building interpersonal relationships.
The “impact up close” of New Life Worship was also very good. I was struck with the whole team, but their leader, Brad Parsley, set the tone for humility and being personable. Some observations on leadership and people skills from what I observed this weekend.
1. Great leaders are humble.
The team this weekend showed great humility. Their intent was clearly was about exalting Christ–not anyone person, church or ministry. Some commented this was the most humble group of musicians that had ever seen. Luke 9:46-48 says
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
2. Great leaders make everyone feel special.
The team’s interaction with our students was amazing to watch. They engaged our students on every level. Within 10 minutes of their arrival for sound check, the leader knew every student worker’s name (which I didn’t having even worked with them in the past). Knowing someone’s names validates them as a person, and getting good remembering people’s names is an art unto itself. I was amazed to watch the team call people’s names in the hall between classes of people they had met only the day before. Dale Carnegie notes in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that “a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Phil. 2:3 reminds us to value others more than ourselves:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
3. Great leaders take time to listen.
Great leaders also make people feel special by giving up time for people by being good listeners. To listen well takes time and attention. Good listeners ask probing questions and show concern by asking good followup questions. Urging people to talk about themselves and interacting sincerely is a great way to show that you legitimately care about them. Good listeners aren’t in a hurry. We often had to move Brad to the next activity as he was engrossed in a conversation with someone. This is also a part of making people feel special and valuing them above yourself–all marks of being Christlike and ministering to others.