When you’re the leader of a group of people, no matter how large or small, you are feeding them spiritually.

You may not be giving them five-point sermons three times a week, but you are sowing into them simply by the way that you lead. Who you are, your attitudes and your actions are all speaking to, fashioning, and forming the people around you. I’m reminded of the verse in Jeremiah: And I will give you shepherds after my heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15).

One aspect of this verse that I love is that we are feeding the people specifically with knowledge and understanding.

What does this knowledge and understanding look like and how do we use it to feed our teams?

This verse is not talking about mere head knowledge or the ability to rattle off Bible verses. It speaks of an experiential knowing that our teams receive in part when they interact with us. No one wants to be led by a walking concordance or a mere preacher of sermons. We already have preachers who preach and we have concordances to help us study the Word.

When you’re the leader of a group of people, no matter how large or small, you are feeding them spiritually. Click To Tweet

Instead, Jeremiah is talking about feeding people from the place of our personal knowledge of God. We need to know through experience that He loves us. We need to know through experience that He delights in us. We need to be changed by that revelation and allow it to overflow into the lives of those we lead.

Each one of us, through our life experiences and history with God, has formed beliefs about who He is, who we are, and what life is all about. Whether good or bad, we each have a worldview that becomes evident to our friends, family, and those we lead.

My ability to feed those I am leading with the knowledge of God comes down to a lifestyle of wholeheartedness. Shepherds after God’s heart are people who get back up when they fall short. They set their hearts to press into God more and more. They don’t let their shortcomings define them, but choose to receive the gift of forgiveness and move forward towards the calling God has placed on their lives. As I pursue Him wholeheartedly, I grow in my own personal knowledge and understanding of God, which then becomes the substance that I feed to those I am leading.

My ability to feed those I am leading with the knowledge of God comes down to a lifestyle of wholeheartedness. Click To Tweet

In my early days of worship leading, although I felt reasonably confident that I could lead my team on the platform, when it came to off-stage leadership, I was lacking greatly. Just as I fell short so many times and hurt a lot of people along the way, you too are going to mess up and hurt people in the process.

I think back to my early days and cringe at some of the things that I did or didn’t do and the pain that those things caused to people under my leadership. I clearly remember a season where I honestly looked at the people on my worship team through the lens of how they could benefit me as a leader or make the team better. Thank you, Lord, for Your mercy and for people around me who were and continue to be gracious towards me in my weakness. 

Maybe you have a few stories like mine. I want to encourage you, don’t spend your time looking to the past, but invest in the people you are leading today. Ask God to help you with your leadership. My hope in sharing these experiences with you is that from my mistakes, you’ll learn how to do it right.

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Deception Pass, WA. Check out more of his work here.


I’m Justin Rizzo. I’m a worship leader, songwriter, and recording artist. I want to help you achieve your highest potential and walk out with confidence everything you’ve been made for.









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