A MINISTRY FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
Stumbling Saints has been a band since 2017 and has led worship for multiple events for organizations and churches. It has always been our hope to be able to offer resources and ministry relief outside of what we do with our band. We want to create relationships with leaders and their churches that help to refresh their ministry, whether that be through a leadership retreat or though us leading a Sunday morning to give the staff and volunteers a break. Our goal is to serve the local church and in doing so build the kingdom of God.
WHY STUMBLING SAINTS?
Our band began in January of 2017 and immediately went through a season of about two years where we were actively attempting to define our vision and goal. We thought from the start that our main purpose would be to encourage and nourish the local church, and for the most part, that is what we have done. But there came a point where our vision was refined, and the phrase that captured us was a quote from Martin Luther, “simul justus et pecator” meaning “at the same time saint and sinner”. This, at least for me, was the thing that focused in on what we were all about.
It has never really been about the music that we played but rather the lyrics and their adherence to scripture. We shy away from songs that present a watered-down gospel, and attempt to lead people in songs that challenge their thinking and drive them deeper into theology. This is one of the things we saw lacking in the mainstream Christian music industry as a whole. From the youth event, “concert-style” band to the top 10 on K-love, it all feels like a positively discouraging let down in terms of biblical truths. There is lots of focus on “me” and “blessings” and not a lot of focus on God and scripture. If our worship is to be built on anything, let it be built on the word of God. Because once our focus, even for a second, is shifted off of God and onto us, it ceases to be worship.
I believe that this problem originates in a wrong understanding of our position in comparison to God. We’d like to think that we are a team of equal part in a way - God doing some of the work and us doing the other half. In this mindset it is totally acceptable to sing songs that glorify your position:
“you thought of me, above all” - Yes God loves you, but his main concern (above all) is his Glory.
“I’m gonna sing in the middle of the storm, louder and louder you’re gonna hear my praises roar” - Yes our praises have power, but this almost feels like arrogance... like we are conjuring up this power from somewhere within ourselves. I get what they are going for, but in the moment this could be misconstrued and ultimately lead someone into a false sense of self security.
“You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down” - As if God was lonely or not satisfied!? He is God, he “wants” for nothing. Again this type of thinking leads to a high view of man's worth which in turn leads to a lesser view of the cross.
After we had discovered the Martin Luther quote, we came across a lyric in a song by the band Citizens that said,
“I am not who I was, now I am who I am a sinner saved, a Stumbling Saint. I don't always believe, that I 'm even a saint, justified with new life, But I'm never the same when I remember the gift, of His grace, builds my faith.”
When this becomes your understanding, the fact that you were dead and then were given new life, not because of anything you did, but because of grace, then you can worship with a heart focused on God.
I think that this understanding, the focus on God's work in us rather than our response, has to be the foundation for our worship. If we are allowed to believe that we bring something to the table necessary to God’s work in us, other than our sin, we will take it and turn it into the same kind of pride that pushed Abraham to sleep with Hagar, or that caused Job to question God. We have NOTHING to offer God outside of his work in us for salvation.
So Stumbling Saints is really just a checks and balances. It is the attempt to bring a fine line to an area that is often clouded. A thanks to the Savior for makings us Saints, and a reminder that we are the helpless, a rebellious child stumbling around in the darkness, that without the grace of the Father, would still be without hope.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.