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Paul Guffey - Beware: Satan, The Master Deceiver

  • 2000 1 Apr
Paul Guffey - Beware: Satan, The Master Deceiver
Continuing in our series on student worship, {{Paul Guffey}} focuses this article on helping you recognize How Satan Is Working To Derail You and your student worship ministry.

Paul is the creator and producer of Word Music's "The ==Student Worship Collection==" resource kit and Worship Pastor at Two Rivers Church in Knoxville, TN. His twenty plus years as a conference worship leader spans several denominations, hundreds of events, and thousands of students. His practical insights on student worship will help you build a rock-solid foundation for your student worship ministry.

In this month's feature:

1) How To Discern Where Satan Is Working
2) Simply Singing or True Worship?
3) Satan: The Master Worshiper
4) Immature Leadership
5) Defeat Satan: Make Your Stand

I had an unusual experience the other day. My son and I decided to go out and get a haircut. As I was sitting in the chair getting beautified, I began hearing an alarming amount of filthy language coming from the hair stylist next to us. He was making conversation with his client that was extremely pornographic in nature. They were joking and talking as if this was normal for them and those around them (including my son!). Now get the picture: here I am minding my own business, sitting in the midst of what is promoted as a "family hair care" center and to my shock and amazement comes an outpouring of verbal trash.

I was silently praying that my son was unaware of what was happening. I then turned and saw his eyes fixed firmly on the situation. This was all I could take so I got up from my chair and walked toward them. I looked the stylist in the eye and said "that'll be enough!" He looked back at me as if I was crazy and said he could say whatever he wanted to. I then asked for the manager of the business and he said arrogantly, "I am the manager and I'll do whatever I choose in this place!" At that point I took the opportunity to let him know that he just lost my family's business. He didn't seem to care. I also firmly expressed my disgust at his language and his unkind attitude toward subjecting my innocent six-year-old son to such filth. I proceeded to pay my bill as everyone in the salon looked at me as if I was from Mars. It was clear to me that I was outnumbered and that Satan's domain was well entrenched there. The scripture "we are but aliens in this world" was clear on my brain as I excited the building.

On my way home I asked the Lord what had just happened. Was I out of line? Was I just too sensitive or did He put me in this position so I could make a stand for righteousness? As I thought through it I believe that the Lord allowed me to encounter this for a variety of reasons. The first so I could be reminded of what a degraded culture we live in. Next was to remind me of the need to pray for my community. Next I had the opportunity to model godliness for my son and what it means to stand strong in the face of opposition. Finally, the Lord reminded me how clever Satan is at mobilizing his forces. This led me to consider how Satan infiltrates the church and uses well-meaning Christians to interfere with the mission of the Gospel.

The hair stylist's attitude reminded me of certain people I have dealt with through the years in building my own worship ministry. You see in his mind he was not only entitled to speak any way he wanted, but he didn't even realize the level of depravity that he had sunk to. As I challenged him to reconsider his position, he dug his heels in deeper and defended his position. I was even amazed at the amount of peer pressure levied against me as I made a stand for righteousness in that setting.

The more I thought about this, the more I became convicted that we as leaders need to make an all-out offensive on the territory Satan has claimed within the Body of Christ, especially in the area of worship. Satan's craftiness and ability to weave himself into the fabric of your worship ministry will certainly derail your attempts to train young worshipers. At first, like me, those around you might think you're a little crazy for even suggesting it. But until you deal with this issue you will never be able to set the foundation for student worship success. This is where God's word will take charge and cut through a multitude of wickedness. As you discern where the opposition is in your ministry then use scripture to root it out and cut through it.

How to Discern Where Satan Is Working
Just exactly how do you discern where Satan is working to discourage student worship? Issues such as disunity, defamation, selfishness, pride, gossiping, inferior attitudes, arrogance, envy they all point toward Satan's handiwork. The obvious areas are the ones you can see; everything from people sowing discord among the flock to students and adults not being united toward the same ministry goals. More subtle attacks might be people passing around rumors trying to undermine the integrity of your ministry or lack of support just when you need it most. I've found that Matthew 18:15-20 gives us the best instruction for dealing with these types of problems. It's the only way you as a leader can scripturally resolve issues of conflict. You must go to the source of the problem in confidence and try to resolve it in an orderly manner.

Satan has one goal; to distort, control, and eventually see you and your ministry ruined. If he can successfully defeat you then he will ultimately have impact on your students. If he can affect your parents and cause them to stumble then they can be a source of conflict for you. As a leader you have to model godly behavior and be committed to work through the conflicts that arise. Your response to Satan's attack will set a precedent for how you will handle future attacks. I recommend you look them in the eye and lovingly tell them that their actions are no longer welcome. Give them the opportunity to change and have a fresh start. If they continue to cause problems then you have no recourse but to excuse them from their leadership role. This goes for both students and adults. They both need to be held accountable when their words and actions are causing harm and are contrary to the overall mission of the church

I have found that well-meaning parents and adult volunteers can be the cause of many problems in youth ministry. How Satan manifests himself through them is varied and potentially explosive. Be cautious and humble as you proceed ahead. However, don't let him discourage you from taking the place of leadership God has entrusted you with in your church. Keep in mind that people can be a tool for Satan to use. The Blood of Christ has already defeated him. Don't let him deceive you. He is always on the prowl looking for someone who he can use to bring glory to himself (I Peter 5:8). Try to protect your relationships and deal strictly with the facts, rather than the emotional baggage it brings. Don't make it personal and return the attack. Deal with the allegation or issue, let the truth be known, and let the light of scripture have the final say. Also, remember that the love and grace that Jesus poured out on the cross will cover any conflict that might arise.

Simply Singing or True Worship?
One critical area where Satan has worked his deception is in twisting the definition of true worship. Our churches are full of Christians who believe that simply singing a song is equivalent to worship. Some believe that singing is the final form of worship and that their lifestyle has no bearing on their worship. Scripture leads us to understand that singing can be a form of worship one that pleases the Lord and brings delight to His courts, but His real pleasure is found when we sacrifice our bodies to him as our spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1). I personally believe that we are living in an age where accountability is a crucial part of our Christian life. Be diligent to teach this "lifestyle" form of worship to your students and it will yield a harvest of worshipers. I like to call it "worship without consequence." It's the type of worshiper who believes he can't sing one way and act another. Kind of a "walk = talk concept for worship. Don't worry though there is still much room for youth choirs and other forms of musical expression in youth ministry. I just believe that we need to teach students the value of true worship and not mix it up with popular forms of musical expression.

Satan; The Master Worshiper
Satan is crafty and has done a great job distorting the concept of true worship. Ezekiel 28 shows how he was cast out of heaven with his powers intact. It says in verse 12, "you had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty." In short, Satan was created to worship God and he was a master musician/worshiper. Doesn't it make sense to believe that he still has those abilities today and is using them to draw worshipers to himself? Just a quick look at the mainstream music scene tells us he is still using his powers, only this time it is for his glory. This is why you as a leader must be wise as you develop your student worship team. You can't give any opening to Satan and his forces to circumvent your plan. He knows how to work his way in and will cause all types of problems if you let him.

Immature Leadership
Satan will also masterfully use students and adult volunteers to distract and keep worship from developing in your ministry. Even though the goal is to develop students as leaders within the group, you have to be careful not to project them as worship leaders too quickly. In your desire to see them lead and grow you can actually impede their long-term growth by thrusting them out front too soon. Many of them are not mature enough to handle the instant recognition that leadership brings and they will fall right into Satan's hands. They will over time distract their peers with their attitudes and selfish behavior. This is preventable by slowing down the process and putting them through a six-month time of discipleship and preparation before releasing them into service. This time of "testing and preparation" will go a long way toward keeping Satan out of the picture.

If you are at a church where there are few students who want to lead worship then you might want to recruit adult volunteers to help. But how do you know if they are ready? Look at the maturity level of their life separate from the ministry. Where there is good fruit and godliness, there is evidence of true worship, or at least their understanding of what God is looking for in a humble believer. And vice-versa, where there is discord, pride, arrogance, etc. there is indication of selfishness and Satan's influence. Guard your ministry well against this subtle form of attack and seek students and adults whose lives model gentleness, reverence, brokeness, and humbleness before the Father.

Defeat Satan: Make A Stand
I hope you will be encouraged when you encounter trials in your ministry. Even though it is tough having to work through difficult issues, the Lord can and will use them to His glory. Trials will produce a time-tested, deep faith that will build your character and refine your heart. Remember, Satan will be working his best strategies to keep your eyes and attention off of worship. He'll create as many snares as possible to entrap you and keep you from developing students with a passion and heart for God. With a humble and contrite spirit look the problems in the eye and refuse to let them mow you down. Use scripture as your final authority on divisive issues and work to protect the integrity and unity of your ministry. Even if you are verbally attacked try to not let it get under your skin. Remember, you're not fighting a battle of flesh and blood but rather one that is raging in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6:12). Go to your knees and trust the Lord for victory. Remember Exodus 14:14 says, "God will fight your battles, you have only to be still." Remember you're not fighting your people, rather Satan working through them. Don't engage in personal attacks and pray, pray, pray for them! Ultimately prayer is your best weapon against the attacks of the evil one. Matthew 16:13-14 also has instruction for us, it says, "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."

More Scripture References
I John 3:7-8
Revelation 12:9
Colossians 2:8
Romans 16:20
Psalm 37:1

In Closing
It is a sad fact that Satan in his deception has wrapped this world around his finger. He has mobilized his troops into every corner of the world and even throughout the church. The sadder fact is that many Christians don't even recognize it when they are being manipulated by him. Don't get weary when you encounter this type of opposition. It comes with the territory. Satan is quite jealous and continually trying to divert attention away from the One True God.

Stay in the game and keep pointing students to His throne. The blessings far outweigh the pain. Remember the words of Jesus when He said in Matthew 19:14, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." People who interfere with the Lord's business will reap what they sow in due time. Things have a way of working themselves out for His glory. It just takes time and can be quite uncomfortable for a season. Hang in there and let Him use the fire to refine you and mold you into His image. There will be dividends in the end for both you and your students.

Hebrews 6:10 is good encouragement if you're feeling a bit bruised by the battle. It says, "For God is not unjust so as to forget your work, and the love you've shown toward His name in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints." Be wise, Satan is on the prowl, even within your church body. Be alert and stand strong in the face of opposition where your students are concerned. Pray, intercede on their behalf, and lovingly encourage your students to pursue passionate worship. This is what will result if you remain faithful: students who value righteousness, holiness, and integrity in their lives. These are the same students that in time rise up and charge the hill for you!

Remember, prepare students for eternity... teach them to worship!


{{Paul Guffey}} is a nationally recognized Worship Leader and trainer in the area of student worship. His Student Worship Collection resource kit is used all over the world to facilitate students and adults in worship. He welcomes your comments and feedback. His email address is

Paul Guffey, WorshipHim! and Used by permission. Photocopy permission is granted for local church use only. Not for resale.