[dropcap]P[/dropcap]astors and leaders, have you considered how much it will cost you and your church if your worship leader truly succeeds at fulfilling the commission you, your church and God have given him/her?
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28
One of the most challenging things many churches face is that they might like sausage but they have no idea how it is made. And should we expect anything different when most people on church hiring teams are not qualified or experienced worship leaders?
In addition to the limitations of the interview process, this is further complicated by the fact that a good worship leader won’t simply be a good musician but needs to be a spiritually healthy person, a good organizer, disciplined, passionate, humble, a good communicator and able to meet people where they are even at the expense of his/her ambitions or desires.
If you ask any church, they are going to say that they want their worship leaders to do the best jobs they can. That’s a no-brainer right? No church is going to suggest excellence be compromised. Granted, differences will arise in the definition of excellence, and excellence should never be made into a ‘golden calf’ where we sacrifice people and relationships in the process.
And why might we value excellence? That reason is found in the story of Cain and Abel (see Genesis 4). It is also summarized in Romans 12:1-2 which says that our act of worship is to give God our all. How does a compromise in what people call ‘worship music’ hold up to communicating such a truth?
Disclaimer: worship is MUCH more than merely music. Again, see Romans 12:1-2.
Is a servant greater than his master? If Christ had to sacrifice, will we not at times have to do the same? Anyone who has succeeded at anything will tell you that success comes by having the courage to stare your weaknesses in the eye without flinching. That is the very definition of humility. You can’t become a great singer without first knowing that you have a pitch issue. Otherwise, how will you know what to practice? Growth starts with working on our weaknesses. When we get offended, not because of the critic’s intentions, tone or sensitivity, but by the very fact that they spoke the truth, who REALLY has the problem?
The tendency that I’ve seen in the church is for us to bury our own weaknesses and to enable others to bury theirs as well. This certainly ensures a ‘feel-good’ experience but it is short-lived and ultimately paralyzing.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – I Corinthians 12:10
It is difficult to delight in our weaknesses. I’ve noticed that both insecure and proud people refuse to look at their weaknesses.
Of course, a worship leader, like any servant of Christ, is supposed to always serve in love.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ – Ephesians 4:15
But often times, I find worship leaders can follow this truth and STILL get burned. Could it be because we sometimes have ‘itching ears’?
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. – 2 Timothy 4:3
So where are you in your ministry? Are you the people pleaser who is afraid to tell people the truth lest you risk offending them? Or perhaps you find yourself indiscriminately firing the truth to everyone without practicing the love prescribed in Ephesians 4:15? Or maybe you find yourself throwing pearls at swine (Matthew 7:6). Perhaps you find yourself lacking the patience and discernment to wait until some people might be ready to hear the truth. Many people will unfortunately never experience such growth. Are you willing to offend them? Does your Pastor and church give you such permission (see Luke 6:26)?
In love, are you willing to take the risk of telling people the truth? If you have a vocalist who is pitchy, are you willing to sit down with them, and sensitively and discreetly address the issue, not with condemnation but while offering a helping hand of hope for improvement? Does your church recognize that truly good things come at a price? Is your church willing to risk losing people in the short term in pursuit of God’s greater kingdom?
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble – James 4:6
After examining ourselves to make sure that we do not have planks in own eyes (Matthew 7:3-4), are we as both a church and as worship leaders willing to take people on the journey of facing their weaknesses so that they can overcome fears and insecurities in order to become the people God has called us to be? The journey can be painful and seems paradoxical but I’ve found in my walk with Christ that paradoxes bear his fragrance.
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39
Greg Jones is a musician, music teacher, worship leader and independent recording artist. On my site you find me sharing music instruction, with an emphasis on worship music and articles on worship leading.