Brand Equity: Developing the Next Generation of Worship Leaders
Brand equity. If you live and breathe you are exposed to this marketing strategy.
Brand equity is “the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself. Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable, and superior in quality and reliability.”¹
What a great idea. Your product sells itself because of its past performance or because of its perceived value. As worship leaders we use this strategy all the time. We imitate the sound and style of the most current worship artist because of their brand equity. I’ve done it. Google — show me christian worship songs…About 629,000,000 results (0.66 seconds). The most airplay over the airwaves, or the most hits on Spotify, or the most views on YouTube, or the most requested songs through praise charts or CCLI, generates a list. Popular, wins, and it moves your visibility closer to the front page of the search engine. Is there a strategy here to make our message of the gospel more visible? For example, one of the most anticipated playoff games of the entire year is the College Football National Championship. On January 13, 2020, two hungry tigers, Clemson and LSU, both with a perfect season, were scheduled in a head to head battle at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the beginning of the ceremony — there to sing the national anthem — the belle of the ball. A sweet girl from Lafayette, Louisiana, Lauren Daigle, a hometown hero from LSU performing before an estimated audience of 25.5 million viewers. Wow. This was a God moment. He planted the seeds of faith within her and then with his perfect timing he used her gifting to create visibility of her brand equity — her Christian faith.
Lauren Daigle’s remarkable testimony comes out of trial and tribulation. Music was not even her first choice for a career. When she was still a teen she contracted a debilitating immune deficiency disease that kept her homebound for two years during which time her mom enrolled her in voice lessons as a way to keep her from depression.² Finally able to function somewhat normally after her isolation she graduated early upon completing a year and a half of class work in six months at a local charter school. Following a year off from school while she served in missions work in Brazil she began attending Louisiana State University for Child and Family Studies. Included in her glowing resume, Lauren is also a worship leader and it’s how I became aware of her inspiring talent. Her influence on my life in Alpharetta, GA, made it very obvious that God was using this young woman to reach another generation. So, how do I link the development of the next generation of worship leaders to this idea of brand equity? Lauren’s character revealed what was inside — and it pointed to Christ.
“What you think might overcome you, is actually just the place you’re supposed to launch from.” Lauren Daigle
Developing the Next Generation of Worship Leaders
Pray that God would raise up leaders within our church communities. The words of Jesus speak very clearly to this subject in John 4:35.
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
It’s why we study as worship leaders to understand music theory, theology, education, and leadership techniques so that we are prepared as shepherds to inspire the next generation. God may have placed sheep in our care that he is preparing to use for his glory and he has gifted us to be the hands and feet of his message to get them there.
We have to develop a long term plan of action for talent that provides opportunity to lead. We are cultivating the soil and planting seeds of faith, teaching young worship leaders to stretch out their wings as artists and fly in the safety of the local church. Teaching the art of communication, learning how to bounce back from mistakes, and providing feedback will make them more effective as they mature. This is a great environment to show them how to use the tools and equipment of our craft. This is the place to invest time into their talent so that they are equipped to bring glory to God as their opportunities arise.
We have to be extremely clear in our message that we desire purity over popularity. Our calling is to lead people to worship Christ, not to worship us. When a person’s theology in their lyrics or their life do not equal the sum character of the Bible — our only source for definition of the qualities and character of a Christ follower — then we have to have permission to speak into their lives and keep them aligned with the truth. We are, each one of us, subject to the same temptation of choosing ourselves over the holiness of Christ. This is not a yes/no/maybe multiple choice question. If we are going to wear the label of a Christ follower then it’s the character, the attributes, the label of our outer self that match the Christ that dwells within us. This is brand equity. The quality of our light, the pureness of our life, the surrender of our pride, altogether leading people to drink the refreshing living water from the source. This is our only marketing strategy.
How do we develop the next generation of worship leaders? It begins with prayer. We are asking the God whom we worship and adore to make us aware of the ones he is calling into service and to shape their lives through the ministries of the local church. Having a vision and a plan to prepare the hearts and lives of the next generation of leaders begins by cultivating the soil, planting seeds of inspiration and following through by shepherding. We have to require accountability. Our theology must focus on the work of Christ and not our popularity. Our only role as worship leaders is to glorify the one who is worthy of all praise.
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”