There’s a fine line for a worship leader to walk between being a ‘worship boss’ on one extreme or a ‘worship organizer’ on the other. Are you a worship leader, worship organizer or a worship boss?
Leaders lead the willing. They can sometimes convince the unwilling to submit, grow or learn but when they can’t they learn to repel such mindsets. Leaders learn how to meet people where they are as opposed to meeting people where THEY are. As a result, leaders learn to ‘feed the hungry’ by teaching the teachable, equipping the child-like to mature, and leading those who are willing to submit. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Leaders learn to do the same. Proud people never grow because pride never admits to weakness or any sort of lack.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 (NIV)
Leaders always try to speak the truth in love.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15
The Worship organizer is someone who merely plans the music, makes sure the appropriate worship team members are scheduled and organizes rehearsals. The worship organizer does the ‘backbone’ work of a worship leader but stops short of anything that risks making anyone uncomfortable.
Hospices make people comfortable because they’ve generally lost hope for their patients. Hospitals, while valuing comfort, will sacrifice it for long-term healing. Worship Organizers would make great Hospice workers but lousy doctors.
Sometimes worship team members don’t want their leader to be anything more than a worship organizer. This is because they want to serve on the worship team only on their own terms. They don’t want to admit that they might have room for growth. They are closed to learning, unteachable and therefore unreachable.
The same things that hold these people back musically, hold these people back spiritually. The worship leader who gently and lovingly challenges these folks, is not simply teaching musical concepts, they are teaching spiritual truths.
When it comes to musical skill, IF a team is full of members who have professional-level, ‘top shelf’ skills, the worship leader can THEN sit back and lead more like a worship organizer. But IF your church is like most, and has untrained volunteers, it will need a worship leader to bridge the gaps between mediocrity and excellence IF it values the worship music as an essential element for growing kingdom communities.
Sometimes a worship leader is instead a worship organizer because they lack the musical skills to correct or even discern the musical gaps. If you are in that boat, find a mentor, a teacher, workshop, conferences, and training. The growth has to begin with you before it can flow outward to your team in your ministry.
The worship boss goes to the other extreme of the worship organizer. This person lacks the sensitivity and soft people skills necessary to direct people without being crass. A savvy worship leader is always guarding themselves against the danger of being a worship boss.
A worship boss corrects people publicly instead of privately (when possible). A worship boss calls individuals out instead of attempting to preserve anonymity. An example might be if the bass player is dropping the ball on the bridge of a song, the worship boss will specifically correct that bass player in front of everyone while the worship leader will say something like, “we’re a little lost on that bridge, let’s rehearse it again.” The worship boss will directly address the rushing drummer in front of everyone while the worship leader will say something like, “WE are rushing, let’s try it again….” The worship boss will say, “Sally, you’re flat on that verse”, while the worship leader will say, “we’re a little pitchy, let’s try it again….”
WHO are you offending
Even worship leaders will offend people.
“Woe to you when everyone speaks good of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.“ (NIV) Luke 6:26
It is better to suffer for good than to suffer for doing evil
“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (NIV) I Peter 3:17
It is impossible to please everyone. So the question is not whether you will offend someone but WHO will you offend and WHY are you offending them. IF offending people is inevitable, make sure you offend people for being a worship leader, not a worship organizer or especially a worship boss.
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.