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Dear Worshiper

 

 
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Author: Gary Durbin
 
Leadership Category: ,
 


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Posted December 7, 2016 by

Dear Worshiper,

Thank you for coming to church. You don’t have to be there, and we sometimes forget that as leaders. The fact is this: You don’t have to be at church. You choose to be at church. My prayer is that you will be blessed because you came.

Please know that you have another choice. That choice is what or whom you worship. Worship is not an optional activity. Everyone is always worshipping something or someone. That’s why I’m calling you a worshiper and not an attender. As much as you may want to just attend a worship service, you’re actually in some sort of act of worship 24 hours a day, every day of your life. My hope for you is that you give all of that energy and attention to God every time you come to a service.

As you come to church, relieve yourself of the responsibility of inspecting our God presentation. You will always find flaws because we are flawed. Instead, come expecting the presence of God. God is not flawed. He is perfect. When you seek God in a fresh way every week, He will show you something new every time. His presence is way better than our presentations.

When I ask you to raise your hands, don’t assume it’s a stick-up. I’m actually encouraging you to be biblical with your expression. It’s a great thing to express your love for God and get excited. God has also asked us to sing, clap, shout, bow down and even dance. If you do those things at a concert or sporting event and not at church, you should probably do some introspection regarding your worship.

I truly appreciate your song requests. Keep those coming. Sometimes, you have some good ideas, but not all of the good songs are on Christian radio or even on your radar. There’s actually a whole bunch of incredible songs written for the church that just don’t get the airplay or exposure. I have a pulse on that, and I strive to prayerfully consider all the options. Give me some trust and don’t get mad if I don’t sing your favorites, but please keep requesting, because you enlighten me at times.

Speaking of songs, you may want more old songs, but they probably won’t be predominate. Maybe you want more new songs, but just know it’s not about staying up to date. Maybe you just want more of the same, but please realize it’s important to “sing a new song,” at least according to Scripture. As long as we are all focused on God, the songs should play second fiddle at best.

If you could be on time to church, that would be great. This may seem insignificant, but it can be an impact. We actually practice and rehearse the set list every week, including the FIRST SONG. When you habitually come in late, it tells me that what we do is not that important to you. More importantly, it says that worshiping God in song with the gathered church is low on your priority list. Not everyone has this punctuality problem, but some do. You know who you are.

Perspective is huge. Make sure you have the right perspective of your role. Look in the mirror and say this to yourself: “I am not a part of an audience.” An audience is a gathering that needs to be entertained. The gathering of God’s people should not be an audience that comes for a show. You are way more than an audience. You are part of a choir of children who call God their Father! We’re united in lifting up anthems of praise to an audience of One – the One true and worthy God. When you keep that perspective, you won’t settle for merely being entertained by our talents. You will intentionally strive to join the praise to our Almighty Audience of One!

It’s one thing for me to give constructive criticism, but I’m not perfect. So, let me take a moment to apologize. I’m sorry for bringing my ego to the stage at times. I’m sorry for judging you based on your expression or lack thereof. I don’t know your heart, so I’ll trust that it’s in the right place. I’m sorry for occasionally choosing songs and neglecting to pray about it. I have fallen short at times and will fail in the future, so I greatly appreciate your grace as you continue to come.

Finally, please know that I love you. When I play and sing songs every week, I am also praying that you will be inspired to not see me for very long. My hope and prayer is that the songs will inspire you to look to God and love Him more and more.

I really want you to be a part of what God is doing in our midst.

I LOVE GOD and I LOVE YOU!

Sincerely,
The Worship Leader

 

Gary is the director of worship and creative arts at Redemption Chapel in Stow, Ohio. He is also a blogger and a songwriter and is passionate about serving the local church. He has released two full length albums in the last several years and two EP’s in the last few years with songs that are completely geared for corporate worship – “Kingdom EP” (2010) & “Jesus EP” (2012). Gary has had his songs recognized by Myrrh Records, WorshipSource.com, the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CCLITV and SongDiscovery. 


2 Comments


  1.  

    Dear Worship Leader,
    Thank you for leading worship. You don’t have to be there, and we sometimes forget that as worshipers. The fact is this: You don’t have to lead worship. You choose to lead worship. My prayer is that you will be blessed because you do and continue to do so.
    Please know that you have another choice. That choice is to not lead worship or lead worship. Worship is not an optional activity. Everyone is always worshipping something or someone. Thank you for using your gifts to be a worship leader and not a singer or performer. As much as you may want to just lead worship service, you’re actually in some sort of act of worship 24 hours a day, every day of your life. My hope for you is that you give all of that energy and attention to God every time you lead a worship service.
    As you lead worship, relieve yourself of the anxiety that you may feel while you put on your God presentation. Don’t worry about the leading the perfect worship, we really don’t expect you to be perfect, though sometimes it may seem that way. Instead, lead worship in the presence of God. God is not flawed. He is perfect. When you seek to lead our worship to God in a fresh way every week, He will show us something new every time. His presence is way better than your presentations.
    When you ask us to raise our hands, we don’t assume it’s a stick-up. We just might be a little uncomfortable sharing in your style of biblical expression. It’s a great thing to express your love for God and get excited. I’m glad God has asked you to sing, clap, shout, bow down and even dance. I bet you do those things at a concert or sporting event and not just at church, you should be grateful you don’t feel awkward when doing so, especially when leading worship.
    Thank you for accepting our song requests. We will keep those coming. Sometimes, you have some good ideas, but not all of the good songs are on Christian radio or even on your radar. There’s actually a whole bunch of incredible songs written for the church that just don’t get the airplay or exposure. We are happy to offer input, and we strive to prayerfully enjoy all the options. Give our songs some consideration and we won’t get mad if you don’t sing our favorites, but please keep taking our requests, we hope we enlighten you at times.
    Speaking of songs, you may sing old songs, but they probably won’t be predominating. Maybe you will sing more new songs, but we know it’s not about staying up to date. Maybe you just will sing more of the same, but please realize most of us understand it’s important to “sing a new song,” at least according to Scripture. As long as we are all focused on God, the songs should play second fiddle at best.
    Is it a distraction when we are not on time to church? To some of us, it always seemed insignificant; we didn’t realize it made an impact. We understand you practice and rehearse the set list every week, including the first song, but we have accepted the first song as a period of time we use to check our kids in, mingle with others and maybe grab a cup of coffee. We had no idea it bothered you when we habitually come in late. Please don’t think we come in late because we feel what you do is not that important to us. If it bothers you please let us know, and we will make an effort to be on time. We hope you don’t think we feel worshiping God in song with the gathered church is low on our priority list. That was never our intention. For those of us with a punctuality problem, we’re sure we can work on getting here before you start your set, now that we know it bothers you. We know who we are.
    Perspective is huge. Make sure you have the right perspective of your role. Look in the mirror and say this to yourself: “I am not being called by God to lead worship?” God’s people come to your church every week not looking for a show or to be entertained, but rather to worship God. Yes we understand that Christianity is changing and less and less people are attending church. That is why when we occasionally offer our input; it’s just us trying to help the body of our church. We are trying to HELP create a worship service that more of our friends and family might like to attend. Worship leaders should not be entertainers that put on a show. You are way more than entertainers. You are part of a choir of children who call God their Father! Our church is united in lifting up anthems of praise to an audience of One – the One true and worthy God. When you keep that perspective, you might realize God didn’t give all of us the talent s he gave you. He made us all different. We do not wish to be entertained at our worship service. We come to service to intentionally strive to join the praise to our Almighty Audience of One!
    It’s one thing for us to give constructive criticism, but we’re not perfect. So, let us take a moment to apologize. We’re sorry for not letting you know how much we appreciate your work. We’re sorry for not being as open and extraverted as you are with your faith. We don’t know your heart, so we will trust that it’s in the right place. We are sorry for occasionally suggesting songs and providing input, and neglecting to pray about it. We have fallen short at times and we will continue to fail in the future, so we greatly appreciate your grace as we continue to come and worship with you.
    Finally, please know that we love you. When we listen to you sing and sing songs with you every week, we are also praying that you will inspire us to not see you for very long. Our hope and prayer is that your songs will inspire us to look to God and love Him more and more.
    We really want to be a part of what God is doing in your midst.
    WE LOVE GOD and WE LOVE YOU!
    Sincerely,
    Worshiper




  2.  
    Heather Arnold

    This is awesome….all the things I’ve thought and wanted to say, but never penned. You have summed it all up!





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