Dear Worship Leader,
Here’s something to remember this week: It’s not about you.
That’s what I thought as I walked onto the stage last week at my church.
I was thinking that because of what happened two weeks prior: After I had finished performing a certain song in the first service there was thunderous applause. The band was great. I was in full voice. The music and the visuals we used came together to create and amazing moment in the service.
We performed the same song in our second service. The band was even better. I was as strong or stronger vocally. It was another amazing moment.
And when the music was done… crickets. Nothing.
When I walked off stage I was reminded of a conference I attended a few years ago. A young band was invited to lead worship. The conference was comprised primarily of worship leaders and artist. The worship times at this conference were amazing. Everyone could sing – and they did: loud, strong, and in multiple parts. It’s pretty cool.
This band-that-shall-remain-nameless had it made.
The worship time was cooking right along until the young front man for the band made the mistake that I was in danger of making last Sunday. As we started to sing a song, he stopped the music and said something to the effect of:
“Wait a minute. The song says, ‘Raise your hands.’ If we’re going to be authentic this morning then we need to do what the song says. Let’s start again and this time let’s really raise our hands.”
I remember thinking a couple of things. The first was, “If this is all about being authentic, how are you going to raise your hands while you’re playing the guitar – or does that not apply to you?” But that was just me being a grumpy old man.
The second thing I remember thinking was, “What right do you have to judge what is going on in our hearts by what we do with our hands?”
And that, my friends is the rub.
As a worship leader, the thing I want most of all if for people to respond to God. I want their hearts to experience the heart of God.
And I can’t see that. I can’t judge in a few minutes on stage whether that’s happening or not.
I love it when people clap and raise their hands. I love it when they sing loud and proud. But that doesn’t mean they are connecting with God.
In some of your churches this Sunday people may raise their hands. In others they may not. In some they may sing really loudly. In others… not so much. In some churches they may clap like crazy after a great song. In others they may hear the same song performed in the same way by the same people and sit quietly. And all of these things might even happen in the same church in different services.
The point is this: you can’t use any of that to measure if a person is connecting with God.
So stop getting worked up about it.
Do what God has called you to do with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Leave the rest to God.