Episode 88

Darren Mulligan Devotional: A Call to Care for Worship Leaders

The Gospel Isn't Glamorous

A Heartfelt Reflection on the Role of Worship Leaders in the Modern Church

In a recent episode of “The Walk” podcast, Joshua Swanson, Editor-in-Chief and host, welcomed Darren Mulligan from the band We Are Messengers. The discussion brought to light some compelling concerns about contemporary worship practices, particularly within large church movements and megachurches. Darren Mulligan’s thoughtful reflections offer a timely reminder of the true essence of worship and the responsibilities that come with leading a congregation.

We Are Messengers Where The Joy Is

A Growing Concern in Worship Culture

Darren Mulligan opens with a poignant observation about the current state of worship music, especially in large church settings. He points out an “unbiblical obsession” with the personalities and styles of worship leaders, which often overshadows the true purpose of worship. Mulligan notes that these movements frequently rely on their music to bolster their brand, seeking broader influence, wealth, and prestige. This, he asserts, is a troubling trend, as the gospel was never intended to be glamorous.

The True Nature of Worship

Mulligan emphasizes that worship should encompass our entire lives, not merely the songs we sing. He cites Romans 12:1 to remind us that presenting our bodies as living sacrifices is our spiritual worship. Leading worship should be seen as a humble act of service, akin to foot washing, where the talents God has given are poured out to edify the church and glorify God. This stands in stark contrast to the self-promotion and pursuit of status that can sometimes be observed in modern worship culture.

The Role of Worship Leaders

A critical point raised by Mulligan is the elevation of worship leaders to a status that implies a distinction from other service roles within the church. This is often reflected in the structure of worship services, where the worship leader becomes the focal point as the house lights dim and the stage lights illuminate them. This subtle yet significant distinction can lead to a misplaced emphasis on the individual rather than on God.

Mulligan calls for a biblically informed understanding of worship. He stresses that worship leaders are not responsible for ushering in the presence of God or leading people into the throne room. God’s presence is already among us, and every believer must approach the throne of grace individually through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

A Call to Authenticity and Service

While acknowledging the many worship leaders who serve faithfully and humbly, Mulligan issues a gentle warning against falling into the trap of celebrity culture within the church. He encourages worship leaders to evaluate their motivations and ensure they align with God’s desires. Singing biblically accurate and cohesive songs is crucial to avoid furthering the spiritual immaturity prevalent in today’s church culture.

Mulligan’s reflections extend a heartfelt thanks to those worship leaders who inspire and edify the body of Christ through their service. He reminds us that the true call of a believer is to lose one’s life for Jesus and to serve others, following the example of Christ who washed His disciples’ feet.

Engaging in the Conversation

Joshua Swanson concludes the podcast by inviting listeners to engage in the conversation sparked by Mulligan’s reflections. The community’s feedback is valued and often turned into articles, providing a pulse on the current trends and concerns in worship.

Final Thoughts

Darren Mulligan’s insights serve as a sobering reminder of the true purpose of worship and the sacred responsibility of those who lead it. As we navigate the complexities of contemporary worship culture, let us strive to maintain a focus on Christ, serving with humility and authenticity.

– – – – – – – – –

Please subscribe to our social channels for more information and great content surrounding building a lifestyle of worship. This podcast is brought to you by Authentic Media and Worship Leader. More episodes can be found at the links below.

– – – – – – – – –


More About Planning Center

Who is Darren Mulligan and We Are Messengers?

We Are Messengers has over 450 million career streams, over 2.7 billion airplay audience, and a multi-week #1 Billboard radio song (“Come What May”), along with six Top 5 and ten Top 10 Christian Airplay hits with “Image of God,” “Power,” “Maybe It’s Ok,” “Magnify,” “Point To You,” “Love,” “Everything Comes Alive,” “God With Us,” “This Is Jesus” and “From Heaven To Earth (Joy To The World).” The band has had multiple sync film and TV placements on major networks including Lionsgate, MTV and CBC. We Are Messengers has played for a live audience of over 2 million people across 40 states and 5 countries, including selling out shows in the Netherlands, England, and lead vocalist Darren Mulligan’s native Ireland. Following consecutive USA arena tours with TobyMac and Casting Crowns, the band headlined the Wholehearted Tour in 2022. From March to May of 2023, We Are Messengers was on Casting Crowns’ The Healer Tour, and among festival dates during the Summer of 2023, the band was also on the Summer Worship Nights Tour with Phil Wickham and Brandon Lake. The Dove-nominated and K-LOVE Fan Award winning group’s new album, Where The Joy Is, releases April 5, 2024. 

Scripture References

Keep Listening

Darren Mulligan Devotional: A Call to Care for Worship Leaders

A Heartfelt Reflection on the Role of Worship Leaders in the Modern Church In a…

A Conversation with Sarah Kroger
A Conversation with Sarah Kroger on “A New Reality”

Exploring the Depths of Worship with Sarah Kroger In a recent episode of The Walk…

Kim Walker-Smith Devotional
Kim Walker-Smith Devotional: Mama

The Walk Podcast Celebrates Mother’s Day: An Inspiring Conversation with Kim Walker-Smith In a heartwarming…

All Episodes