I’ve been hearing a common statement recently. It goes something like this, “That worship leader is too self-centered” or “That worship leader is doing nothing but putting on a show.”
I agree on the issue that we need to get the focus off of ourselves and on God. However, I’m worried about the response from pastors and the congregation.
A few requests I’ve heard are:
- Sing songs in a key that the whole congregation can sing
- Sing your original songs very sparingly
- Don’t do songs that only hype people up
- If I pay you, you’ll only look at this as a job
- Just sing the songs like the CD. We don’t need your extra artistic flair
- (Insert your own churches preferences on what worship leading should look like)
While there are helpful tools in all of these suggestions, they have become more like rules. These expectations have suffocated worship leaders inside of a little box and we wonder why it all feels genaric. I’m more concerned about worship leaders falling in love with Jesus and learning how to lead people to worship Jesus than trying to fix their “pride” issues. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m done trying to gage someone’s pride level based on how they look while leading worship. I’d rather focus on my issues of only being able to focus on Jesus when the mood is just right.
Here are my suggestions for pastors on how to treat your worship leaders/musician
- Don’t give them a list of “don’ts” for what they shouldn’t do in worship
- Help develop them as a worship leader
- Disciple them and give them tools to help them grow in the knowledge of God, lead people, and love God more. Serving them will teach them to serve the congregation.
- Encourage them to write their own songs.
- Pay them. If you don’t, they’ll go get a “real job” when they grow up. It breaks my heart to think of all of the God gifted musicians that gave up on their dreams because they couldn’t feed their family while doing what they love.
- Remember that they aren’t cover band robots. They are humans designed by God that have a unique gift that the NEED to express. They can lead a congregation while being themselves I promise.
- Don’t be afraid to let them have fun during worship songs. Sometimes it’s good to connect on a surface level in order to go to a deep level
- Listen to their ideas and don’t be too controlling
Worship leaders, don’t be afraid to BE YOURSELF. God created you to worship Him. He doesn’t want everyone to worship Him like Chris Tomlin. He wants you to worship the way YOU worship. When you’re on stage, worship an audience of One. But don’t forget to lead the others to worship as well. Also, while I’m at it, leading in front of thousands of people isn’t a sin. If The Lord calls you to lead the nations in worship, don’t let anyone stop you. If you have a dream in the will of God, don’t let anyone stop you. That being said, not everyone is called to a big audience. Wether you lead a lot of people or a small congregation, keep your heart alive in God and in music and don’t quit.