When Charlie Hall began in his late teens leading music and writing songs, he realized very quickly that he knew very little about guiding God’s people as a Shepherd. He didn’t know what worship leading even meant. Today, Charlie Hall still believes God is birthing something new in him even though he’s been leading music in Baptist, charismatic and de-churched settings for 25+ years.
For much of his ministry Charlie admits struggling with the idea of “church.” He says, he even “labeled church as the problem.” Today, however, Charlie feels that there’s less pessimism in his calling, as he feels deeply compassionate about God’s Bride, and feels he is to be a Father in the ministry—taking sons and daughters under Christ’s wing in order to help them better use art, music, and liturgy to be an anchor for people in the gospel.
This heart to be a Father is what has birthed Charlie’s current Conferences. Charlie says that we live in a culture …
… where people are be tossed to and fro, and worship is supposed to be an anchor, not just a cathartic release. It’s not just singing and how to pick songs etc. Worship is the process by which we are crafted into a people in the human story by a heavenly King. This shaping collides with the gospel in worship and liturgy.
Because of the aforementioned reality, Charlie wants to develop the following mentality into the next generation:
Pastoral Thinking …
Pastoral thinking should relate to what Liturgy is, and what rhythms and forms in life circumstance may war against a person’s heart. A Pastor must ask:
- How do we as a people work this passion for Christ-like formation into more than just singing?
Since the whole of life is ordered around and by Jesus, true Pastors must labor to equip people with a mindset to build a life of habits and rhythms. Embodied in these practices should be rhythms that equip them to lay down their hearts and their loves to welcome new affections.
Charlie says that part of developing new affections is to engage the Church Calendar, and church seasons, which have shaped the global church for thousands of years. This overarching form, shape, and liturgy helps us to rehearse the Gospel in the grand scheme of the year, and provides a pattern for us into times of confession, assurance and sending in the corporate gathered form, or in our own faith and walk.
What is the church?
Charlie also carries a passion to help others consider, “What is the church?” and “Why does Jesus graciously lead worship through us?” One of the main metaphors used of the church in Scripture is that of the “Bride of Christ.” If the church is Christ’s Bride, we must quit standing back and pointing our finger at her. Rather than accusing, we should think of how we can stand back, fill her, refocus her affections, and care for her. “Yes, we are leaders and Shepherds, but we are under a perfect Shepherd that cares a lot more about this Bride than we do,” Charlie says.
The metaphor of the Bride, engages our compassion for those we lead in a different way. It drives us to choose planning with a different perspective. If we are not there for the Bride, but rather our career, we are using Jesus’ wife. These metaphors address our attitudes and motives.
Dependence on the Holy Spirit …
Because this Bride is under the care of Jesus, then only the guidance of the Holy Spirit can truly aid in maturing and building her up. This means, that the Worship Shepherd must consider how planning ahead and being in the moment work together in the will of God. “We must learn how Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit as he spoke about the kingdom of God. This will help us to consider and bless other churches and ministries.”
God is a sovereign God, and he leads us into particular moments. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to detect his sovereign hand. The Pastor must consider how to long for these things in the moment, and in their singing—desiring what one is singing, not merely leading what we are singing.
This impacts the truth in our lyrics and songs. Everything we do should encourage an explosion of desire, angst, frustration, and wrestling with truth.
Indicators that Pastoral ministry is happening …
To conclude, Charlie endeavors to develop good indicators that measure Christlike growth in the church and in those who Shepherd. He says that good Pastoring must; “teach people roots, identity, and how to navigate through life while also doing something expressive (perhaps musical) … shooting them like an arrow into the mission of God.”
Overall, Charlie envisions people around a meal, growing in community. For him, “being on stage is just a bridge to give one’s life to people and their stories.”
People should not attach to the ministry of Shepherding because it feels “about them.” They should be directed to “sink back into the bigger picture of weeping over and caring for the congregation without losing artistic expression.”
This is not just for the artists, mind you. It’s for all those made in the image of God, who are by nature and identity, creative (after their heavenly Father). True Shepherding is about shaping people vocationally—giving them a trajectory of laying their life down for God.