Worship Mythbusters 4.4: The Role of the Worship Leader

WMB 4.4 — I am taking WMB and writing a few posts in this series about the ROLE OF THE WORSHIP LEADER.  This is part of a series here

MYTH:  The role of the worship leader is to help me the individual worship.

This myth centers around the idea that we as worshippers put a responsibility on a worship team to help us as individuals worship.  Really, worship is the responsibility of the individual.  The role of the worship leader is to provide an environment for the enitre congregation to worship, not just the individual.  I like what I heard worship leader Brian Doerksen say a few years ago to worship leaders:  “We provide a safe place for people to meet God intimately.”

Meeting God intimately does not mean it is just me meeting God.  It is “us” meeting God.  It is my individual choice to worship, but I choose to express that as part of a group at church on the weekend or at my small group.  A worship leader’s role is the environment to facilitate that.  That really is all we can objectively do for others as worship leaders. FACT:  Worship is my responsibility, not the worship teams

Really, my job as a worship leader is to not worship for you as a vicarious expression of worship.  Watching the worship team go at it and feeling something from that does not mean I have offered anything at all.  Really, I have to consider that the time I am there for “worship” is to give something, not watch something.  That is more up to me than what is up on the platform stage.

I cannot give to any other person the responsibility of my heart.  My heart needs to be offered by my will as well as my sincere devotion. Otherwise, it is not me worshipping.  It is me watching someone else do it.

FACT:  Feeling personally moved in worship services does not mean I am worshipping.

We can experience inspiration in a worship service without ever offering worship.  We can tear up, and feel moved yet never decide to give our heart.  Just like going to a movie or concert may impact us deeply, it may not be part of us making actual life choices.  When we come to a worship service the hope of the worship leader needs to be to facilitate life-changing decisions rather than simply being effective offering an experience.

As a worship leader, it is easy to feel great by the engagement people have with what you are doing and that indeed is important.  However, if people engage it does not always mean what we think.  We need to hope to see that we are leading people in that experience to focus on following Jesus completely.

FACT:  Worship leading involves me worshipping as part of the community.

If I put my individual wants over offering something as part of a community I am asking the worship leader to make the service only about me.  That is just silly.  The more mature you are, the more you realize that you come to gatherings for the gathering to offer a worship expression.  It is not just about you having an opportunity, it is about “us” having an opportunity.

In this age of mass customization, no worship team can really succeed with pleasing your needs exactly as you see them.  Even with churches that offer multiple styles or times to worship physics demands limitations on options.  I need to give up my entitlement and realize that Jesus is entitled.

What is better is to see how you and I can contribute to the group’s worship expression.  The better a worship leader actually aids a person in contributing as part of a group, the better leader he or she is of a worship service.  How that happens is not easy.

OK.  Join in on the conversation and let’s hear your thoughts.

Share:
Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

17 comments

  1. Dude, great quote here: “I need to give up my entitlement and realize that Jesus is entitled.”
    I think we as worship leaders may often be guilty of manipulating “the evils of entitlement” in our favor. In justifying our use of particular styles of music that people sometimes don’t “get,” we’ll say (and may actually believe) that they need to let go of their desire for entertainment (and entitlement, as you say). It may be, however, that we’re the ones attempting to exercise our own entertainment or entitlement.

    Very good post.

  2. Dude, great quote here: “I need to give up my entitlement and realize that Jesus is entitled.”
    I think we as worship leaders may often be guilty of manipulating “the evils of entitlement” in our favor. In justifying our use of particular styles of music that people sometimes don’t “get,” we’ll say (and may actually believe) that they need to let go of their desire for entertainment (and entitlement, as you say). It may be, however, that we’re the ones attempting to exercise our own entertainment or entitlement.

    Very good post.

  3. Dude, great quote here: “I need to give up my entitlement and realize that Jesus is entitled.”
    I think we as worship leaders may often be guilty of manipulating “the evils of entitlement” in our favor. In justifying our use of particular styles of music that people sometimes don’t “get,” we’ll say (and may actually believe) that they need to let go of their desire for entertainment (and entitlement, as you say). It may be, however, that we’re the ones attempting to exercise our own entertainment or entitlement.

    Very good post.

  4. Dude, great quote here: “I need to give up my entitlement and realize that Jesus is entitled.”
    I think we as worship leaders may often be guilty of manipulating “the evils of entitlement” in our favor. In justifying our use of particular styles of music that people sometimes don’t “get,” we’ll say (and may actually believe) that they need to let go of their desire for entertainment (and entitlement, as you say). It may be, however, that we’re the ones attempting to exercise our own entertainment or entitlement.

    Very good post.

  5. Dean, I am not sure I have truly met too many worship leaders that feel entitled to their music as you say, but I do not doubt it. Generally, that part is so visible to the church that if that was so it would be pushed back. Unless, it “works” and connects. Then again, some people will NEVER “get” what a worship leader does because they feel entitled to have their individual wants met and see the worship leader as doing that rather than leading the community.
    I sure hope that point is not missed. Thanks.

  6. Dean, I am not sure I have truly met too many worship leaders that feel entitled to their music as you say, but I do not doubt it. Generally, that part is so visible to the church that if that was so it would be pushed back. Unless, it “works” and connects. Then again, some people will NEVER “get” what a worship leader does because they feel entitled to have their individual wants met and see the worship leader as doing that rather than leading the community.
    I sure hope that point is not missed. Thanks.

  7. Dean, I am not sure I have truly met too many worship leaders that feel entitled to their music as you say, but I do not doubt it. Generally, that part is so visible to the church that if that was so it would be pushed back. Unless, it “works” and connects. Then again, some people will NEVER “get” what a worship leader does because they feel entitled to have their individual wants met and see the worship leader as doing that rather than leading the community.
    I sure hope that point is not missed. Thanks.

  8. Dean, I am not sure I have truly met too many worship leaders that feel entitled to their music as you say, but I do not doubt it. Generally, that part is so visible to the church that if that was so it would be pushed back. Unless, it “works” and connects. Then again, some people will NEVER “get” what a worship leader does because they feel entitled to have their individual wants met and see the worship leader as doing that rather than leading the community.
    I sure hope that point is not missed. Thanks.

  9. I liked what you said about emotion of worship not actually being the worship. This is where the spiritual warfare can be so deceiving. Whether I am singing on stage or sitting in the congregation I have come to realize that being moved emotionally just isn’t worship. Trying to open up my heart sometimes gets bogged down by all the emotion, although it is part of a process of opening up.

  10. I liked what you said about emotion of worship not actually being the worship. This is where the spiritual warfare can be so deceiving. Whether I am singing on stage or sitting in the congregation I have come to realize that being moved emotionally just isn’t worship. Trying to open up my heart sometimes gets bogged down by all the emotion, although it is part of a process of opening up.

  11. I liked what you said about emotion of worship not actually being the worship. This is where the spiritual warfare can be so deceiving. Whether I am singing on stage or sitting in the congregation I have come to realize that being moved emotionally just isn’t worship. Trying to open up my heart sometimes gets bogged down by all the emotion, although it is part of a process of opening up.

  12. I liked what you said about emotion of worship not actually being the worship. This is where the spiritual warfare can be so deceiving. Whether I am singing on stage or sitting in the congregation I have come to realize that being moved emotionally just isn’t worship. Trying to open up my heart sometimes gets bogged down by all the emotion, although it is part of a process of opening up.

  13. rich,good stuff as always, I’ve loved the whole Mythbuster series – keep’em coming!

  14. rich,good stuff as always, I’ve loved the whole Mythbuster series – keep’em coming!

  15. rich,good stuff as always, I’ve loved the whole Mythbuster series – keep’em coming!

  16. rich,good stuff as always, I’ve loved the whole Mythbuster series – keep’em coming!

  17. Thank you for the myth buster especially about the worship leader not being responsible for the individual to worship but rather to provide a safe environment for them to meet with God. That worship is the individual’s responsibility rather than the worship team. I lead a congregation that compose of many non-believers and new young adults believers who are from China. Do you think culture can influence how we lead worship music?

Leave a Reply