Rockstar Monk – The role of the worship leader?

I will be periodically posting a series of essays this year: “How We Worship Matters: Essays on the Worship Battles We Should Fight.” Here is the third essay in this series.

At least two extremes exists when describing the role of the worship leader. Today, we ask for rockstar-monks to lead us in worship. I have heard an influential leader say repeatedly at conferences, “Your role is more important than mine as the preacher.” Really? This made me feel important at the moment, but reality says something else. As a worship leader we prepare people to hear the word, lead them in prayers, but how is that more important than leading and forming a congregation spiritually through preaching? As a worship leader, my role is surely significant as I serve the whole congregation and have a part in the spiritual formation, but not a superior part. I am simply just a part. And, to put that on me or any worship leader is to raise this role to monk status.

Did you know that the role “worship leader” is not even biblical? You will not find it next to pastor, preacher, evangelist in the Bible. It is more biblical to be called “musician” than “worship leader” and so I must protest all the hoopla. We seem to want a rockstar-monk person to be our worship leader–an extremely humble, super-spiritual people magnet. In reality, the calling might often be prophet, musician, and servant. The rockstar-monk is born.

I must draw attention to the fact that being a musician is a high calling. The discipline, skill, and leadership all contribute to the congregation in significant ways. Yes, theology is expressed. Yes, people are prepared to meet Jesus. However, to place the onus on the worship leader to “bring people into God’s presence” is to over-amplify reality. Congregants should be held responsible to grow mature enough to own their listening and meeting with God together. The worship leader’s music simply assists in this process. We set the table, but surely are not the meal. Christ is the meal.

The often unspoken reason many leaders have is that they want the worship leader to attract people to fill the pews. This is where the rockstar side of the rockstar-monk takes hold. Not only does a worship leader vicariously worship for the people in the seats, he or she must keep and add butts in seats. And, he or she must assist in filling the offering plate. When I asked one very sincere leader I served how he measured worship, he admitted with clarity that my music and his preaching should bring in more people and money. I was not there to help people confess, pray, and refresh. I was not even there to help the worship team grow in maturity. The congregation became consumers and I became one of the stars of the show.

These competing extremes in part raise this role up to the highest pedestal and potentially reveal ire for musicianship in general. For those who think their calling is greater than the music, I applaud you. You can contribute like few can. You can surely be called to be a pastor and a worship leader, and shepherding people is something any church leader should be a part of. We all share in caring for the flock. Not every worship leader can or should be fit into an unmanageable role. For the majority of the worship leaders out there our job is to be the best musician and servant to our churches we can be. Simply put, music matters in this role even though it is not the sole aim. This simple calling of being an artisan-musician to our church is important. Indeed, this is one of the “hows” in worship we should fight for.

We should also fight for biblical preaching and use of music that comes from biblical foundations. If we are preparing the table for a meal, that table should be set in a way that is attractive and meaningful. However, we are not the meal. We help center the attention on Jesus not on attracting people—we spotlight Christ rather than the pew. This is the role of the worship leader: lead congregational singing and music to point people to Jesus.

The worship leader is not a rockstar. The worship leader is also not a monk, better than the rest of the crowd because he or she magically makes the congregation feel goose bumps. We serve. We lead. Nevertheless, we are just that—servant-leaders. And, the other extreme of disavowing value of the work of a worship musician has to be challenged as well. Do we put too much unrealistic spiritual responsibility on the person who leads worship? Do we value enough the craft and humble work musicians perform for us and God in our house of worship?

Both extremes cripple us in our efforts to have vibrant, healthy worship expressions in our churches. Fight for the true role of a worship leader and you may be in the worship wars for the right reason. Let’s put a stop to the idea of rockstar-monks who bring in the cash and stroke our egos. Honor worship musicians who simply serve us by pointing us to Christ.

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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.

47 comments

  1. This is exactly where I am right now. The constant balancing act of not being too much of a rockstar, or a monk. And it gets exhausting, especially when my heart is to assist the people to re-enact the Christ story.

    I will say, the quote at the beginning about the worship leader’s role being more important than the preaching makes sense to me. We learn our theology much more through song and art than through lecture. Now to say this role is more important to the congregation than the person who cast vision and leads them on would be categorically wrong. But the preacher and the vision-caster aren’t always the same person.

    1. Alan,

      The pressure is on both sides! This is something that few in leadership understand, even though usually there are good intentions. To simply set a table that points to the meal–Christ himself–through our music is really all we do. The context of the comment that you are more important than the preacher came from good motives. The consequences, however, are of pressure to be something that really is not in reality.

      What worship leader truly has institutional pull in his or her church in comparison? Are we called to do that, even? So, we have huge asks of us with little input and conversation at times. This is not for all, but for a lot of worship leaders the reality.

  2. I view it as the ministry of exhortation (encouraging others to understand the truth of God’s Word). This shows up in spoken word (preaching), creative videos, music, singing, drama, testimonies, etc. Both roles (in my opinion) are just as important.

    I’ve never liked the thought of the music being ‘what prepares you’ as if it’s a warm-up routine for the "real ministry". Everything we do in our services should be worshipful, and instructive or inspirational and based in truth. Our terminology has been so flawed for so long that we now find ourselves trying to explain how our new models fit the terminology, as if we have to develop some new theology in order to do it.

    Kept simple, EVERYTHING should "preach" and lead hearts to "worship". The orator just happens to be gifted at public speaking. The musicians/singers just happen to be gifted in music…and so forth.

    That’s just my opinion. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and time in writing a thought provoking article. It’s really good to see others "thinking" and not just falling into the typical mold based on what they’ve heard others say.

    1. Johnny, thanks for the comment.

      Is preparing people for the main thing–being with Christ–ministry? Preaching, eucharist, and prayers all are not created equal. Or, do they have to be? I do not worship for people. I am not the show. Christ is what is consumed, not our music set. Think about that. We are the only religion where we are not the actual offering. Christ is the offering! We mistakenly put that on music or even the act of preaching. We (pastors, worship leaders, etc) lead people to Jesus, not worship of Jesus. The parishioners have to decide that on their own.

      1. By "main thing" I’m referring to the spoken word, or "preaching". For years I’ve heard people talk about the importance of the music or "worship" being that it prepares your heart to hear the word. That’s not the purpose of worship…nor should it be the purpose of music. The purpose of worship is to honor God…not "get me ready for something else".

        The music, preaching, prayers, etc. should ALL point people to Christ. Words with or without music, should exhort. The observance of eucharist should point people to Christ. In my opinion, it "should" all be considered equally as important because the goal of each is ONE thing…to point people to an understanding of Christ and the Gospel…not to be entertained or lined up at the spiritual consumption buffet.

        I’m not sure if that makes sense. I think for the most part, we’re saying the same general thing…thought our perspectives may differ a bit on some.

        Again, thanks for the open forum and your heart for wanting to honor God!

        1. So, why not be satisfied being a warm-up act? Is preparing hearts for Jesus not enough? We all must be careful and accept playing second fiddle at times. We are more like John the Baptist in this regard. We indeed prepare the way because we are not the way. Levis prepared by polishing the temple furniture. I think we are like them as well.

          Our music has a place. To be second is not to be unimportant is it? Are there not spiritual gifts that are higher than others? Does that make a person less important?

          The only thing to consume is Jesus. That is a tough concept to chew on for all of us. Everything else is the warm up act–if it is doing its job properly.

          1. The Spiritual Gifts and earthly talents are two different things my friend. Second fiddle? As you’ve stated, only Christ if "first fiddle"… making everything else, and everyone else the "John the Baptist" in your analogy. And on that, I agree. To think that one man or one talent is somehow greater or more important than any other, I disagree. It should ALL point to Christ. The WORD doesn’t become more WORD when we remove melody from it.

            For the record, I am satisfied in whatever role I play; whether that’s preaching, teaching, singing, or mixing sound. It’s not about Me Me Me..MORE ME. But I’m also tired of others (no matter what their talent is) saying it should be more of them them them.

            More Jesus. Magnify Him, Present Him, Lift Him Up…through words, songs, etc. etc. etc. and let Him draw men to Himself.

          2. The fact of the matter is, we are servants and below others in that regard–especially so if leaders. So, equality is not an entitlement we should worry about. This is the undercurrent of the"rockstar" analogy I am talking about. The subtlety here is that some do take second chair to other men or women in our role. Embracing this will change everything, I believe.

            Also, role versus gifting versus value has to be cleared up. I am greater than my children in authority, but their value is not lessor. We should not equate platform or status to value.

  3. I view it as the ministry of exhortation (encouraging others to understand the truth of God’s Word). This shows up in spoken word (preaching), creative videos, music, singing, drama, testimonies, etc. Both roles (in my opinion) are just as important.

    I’ve never liked the thought of the music being ‘what prepares you’ as if it’s a warm-up routine for the "real ministry". Everything we do in our services should be worshipful, and instructive or inspirational and based in truth. Our terminology has been so flawed for so long that we now find ourselves trying to explain how our new models fit the terminology, as if we have to develop some new theology in order to do it.

    Kept simple, EVERYTHING should "preach" and lead hearts to "worship". The orator just happens to be gifted at public speaking. The musicians/singers just happen to be gifted in music…and so forth.

    That’s just my opinion. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and time in writing a thought provoking article. It’s really good to see others "thinking" and not just falling into the typical mold based on what they’ve heard others say.

    1. Johnny, thanks for the comment.

      Is preparing people for the main thing–being with Christ–ministry? Preaching, eucharist, and prayers all are not created equal. Or, do they have to be? I do not worship for people. I am not the show. Christ is what is consumed, not our music set. Think about that. We are the only religion where we are not the actual offering. Christ is the offering! We mistakenly put that on music or even the act of preaching. We (pastors, worship leaders, etc) lead people to Jesus, not worship of Jesus. The parishioners have to decide that on their own.

      1. By "main thing" I’m referring to the spoken word, or "preaching". For years I’ve heard people talk about the importance of the music or "worship" being that it prepares your heart to hear the word. That’s not the purpose of worship…nor should it be the purpose of music. The purpose of worship is to honor God…not "get me ready for something else".

        The music, preaching, prayers, etc. should ALL point people to Christ. Words with or without music, should exhort. The observance of eucharist should point people to Christ. In my opinion, it "should" all be considered equally as important because the goal of each is ONE thing…to point people to an understanding of Christ and the Gospel…not to be entertained or lined up at the spiritual consumption buffet.

        I’m not sure if that makes sense. I think for the most part, we’re saying the same general thing…thought our perspectives may differ a bit on some.

        Again, thanks for the open forum and your heart for wanting to honor God!

        1. So, why not be satisfied being a warm-up act? Is preparing hearts for Jesus not enough? We all must be careful and accept playing second fiddle at times. We are more like John the Baptist in this regard. We indeed prepare the way because we are not the way. Levis prepared by polishing the temple furniture. I think we are like them as well.

          Our music has a place. To be second is not to be unimportant is it? Are there not spiritual gifts that are higher than others? Does that make a person less important?

          The only thing to consume is Jesus. That is a tough concept to chew on for all of us. Everything else is the warm up act–if it is doing its job properly.

          1. The Spiritual Gifts and earthly talents are two different things my friend. Second fiddle? As you’ve stated, only Christ if "first fiddle"… making everything else, and everyone else the "John the Baptist" in your analogy. And on that, I agree. To think that one man or one talent is somehow greater or more important than any other, I disagree. It should ALL point to Christ. The WORD doesn’t become more WORD when we remove melody from it.

            For the record, I am satisfied in whatever role I play; whether that’s preaching, teaching, singing, or mixing sound. It’s not about Me Me Me..MORE ME. But I’m also tired of others (no matter what their talent is) saying it should be more of them them them.

            More Jesus. Magnify Him, Present Him, Lift Him Up…through words, songs, etc. etc. etc. and let Him draw men to Himself.

          2. The fact of the matter is, we are servants and below others in that regard–especially so if leaders. So, equality is not an entitlement we should worry about. This is the undercurrent of the"rockstar" analogy I am talking about. The subtlety here is that some do take second chair to other men or women in our role. Embracing this will change everything, I believe.

            Also, role versus gifting versus value has to be cleared up. I am greater than my children in authority, but their value is not lessor. We should not equate platform or status to value.

  4. I view it as the ministry of exhortation (encouraging others to understand the truth of God’s Word). This shows up in spoken word (preaching), creative videos, music, singing, drama, testimonies, etc. Both roles (in my opinion) are just as important.

    I’ve never liked the thought of the music being ‘what prepares you’ as if it’s a warm-up routine for the "real ministry". Everything we do in our services should be worshipful, and instructive or inspirational and based in truth. Our terminology has been so flawed for so long that we now find ourselves trying to explain how our new models fit the terminology, as if we have to develop some new theology in order to do it.

    Kept simple, EVERYTHING should "preach" and lead hearts to "worship". The orator just happens to be gifted at public speaking. The musicians/singers just happen to be gifted in music…and so forth.

    That’s just my opinion. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and time in writing a thought provoking article. It’s really good to see others "thinking" and not just falling into the typical mold based on what they’ve heard others say.

    1. Johnny, thanks for the comment.

      Is preparing people for the main thing–being with Christ–ministry? Preaching, eucharist, and prayers all are not created equal. Or, do they have to be? I do not worship for people. I am not the show. Christ is what is consumed, not our music set. Think about that. We are the only religion where we are not the actual offering. Christ is the offering! We mistakenly put that on music or even the act of preaching. We (pastors, worship leaders, etc) lead people to Jesus, not worship of Jesus. The parishioners have to decide that on their own.

      1. By "main thing" I’m referring to the spoken word, or "preaching". For years I’ve heard people talk about the importance of the music or "worship" being that it prepares your heart to hear the word. That’s not the purpose of worship…nor should it be the purpose of music. The purpose of worship is to honor God…not "get me ready for something else".

        The music, preaching, prayers, etc. should ALL point people to Christ. Words with or without music, should exhort. The observance of eucharist should point people to Christ. In my opinion, it "should" all be considered equally as important because the goal of each is ONE thing…to point people to an understanding of Christ and the Gospel…not to be entertained or lined up at the spiritual consumption buffet.

        I’m not sure if that makes sense. I think for the most part, we’re saying the same general thing…thought our perspectives may differ a bit on some.

        Again, thanks for the open forum and your heart for wanting to honor God!

        1. So, why not be satisfied being a warm-up act? Is preparing hearts for Jesus not enough? We all must be careful and accept playing second fiddle at times. We are more like John the Baptist in this regard. We indeed prepare the way because we are not the way. Levis prepared by polishing the temple furniture. I think we are like them as well.

          Our music has a place. To be second is not to be unimportant is it? Are there not spiritual gifts that are higher than others? Does that make a person less important?

          The only thing to consume is Jesus. That is a tough concept to chew on for all of us. Everything else is the warm up act–if it is doing its job properly.

          1. The Spiritual Gifts and earthly talents are two different things my friend. Second fiddle? As you’ve stated, only Christ if "first fiddle"… making everything else, and everyone else the "John the Baptist" in your analogy. And on that, I agree. To think that one man or one talent is somehow greater or more important than any other, I disagree. It should ALL point to Christ. The WORD doesn’t become more WORD when we remove melody from it.

            For the record, I am satisfied in whatever role I play; whether that’s preaching, teaching, singing, or mixing sound. It’s not about Me Me Me..MORE ME. But I’m also tired of others (no matter what their talent is) saying it should be more of them them them.

            More Jesus. Magnify Him, Present Him, Lift Him Up…through words, songs, etc. etc. etc. and let Him draw men to Himself.

          2. The fact of the matter is, we are servants and below others in that regard–especially so if leaders. So, equality is not an entitlement we should worry about. This is the undercurrent of the"rockstar" analogy I am talking about. The subtlety here is that some do take second chair to other men or women in our role. Embracing this will change everything, I believe.

            Also, role versus gifting versus value has to be cleared up. I am greater than my children in authority, but their value is not lessor. We should not equate platform or status to value.

  5. I view it as the ministry of exhortation (encouraging others to understand the truth of God’s Word). This shows up in spoken word (preaching), creative videos, music, singing, drama, testimonies, etc. Both roles (in my opinion) are just as important.

    I’ve never liked the thought of the music being ‘what prepares you’ as if it’s a warm-up routine for the "real ministry". Everything we do in our services should be worshipful, and instructive or inspirational and based in truth. Our terminology has been so flawed for so long that we now find ourselves trying to explain how our new models fit the terminology, as if we have to develop some new theology in order to do it.

    Kept simple, EVERYTHING should "preach" and lead hearts to "worship". The orator just happens to be gifted at public speaking. The musicians/singers just happen to be gifted in music…and so forth.

    That’s just my opinion. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and time in writing a thought provoking article. It’s really good to see others "thinking" and not just falling into the typical mold based on what they’ve heard others say.

    1. Johnny, thanks for the comment.

      Is preparing people for the main thing–being with Christ–ministry? Preaching, eucharist, and prayers all are not created equal. Or, do they have to be? I do not worship for people. I am not the show. Christ is what is consumed, not our music set. Think about that. We are the only religion where we are not the actual offering. Christ is the offering! We mistakenly put that on music or even the act of preaching. We (pastors, worship leaders, etc) lead people to Jesus, not worship of Jesus. The parishioners have to decide that on their own.

      1. By "main thing" I’m referring to the spoken word, or "preaching". For years I’ve heard people talk about the importance of the music or "worship" being that it prepares your heart to hear the word. That’s not the purpose of worship…nor should it be the purpose of music. The purpose of worship is to honor God…not "get me ready for something else".

        The music, preaching, prayers, etc. should ALL point people to Christ. Words with or without music, should exhort. The observance of eucharist should point people to Christ. In my opinion, it "should" all be considered equally as important because the goal of each is ONE thing…to point people to an understanding of Christ and the Gospel…not to be entertained or lined up at the spiritual consumption buffet.

        I’m not sure if that makes sense. I think for the most part, we’re saying the same general thing…thought our perspectives may differ a bit on some.

        Again, thanks for the open forum and your heart for wanting to honor God!

        1. So, why not be satisfied being a warm-up act? Is preparing hearts for Jesus not enough? We all must be careful and accept playing second fiddle at times. We are more like John the Baptist in this regard. We indeed prepare the way because we are not the way. Levis prepared by polishing the temple furniture. I think we are like them as well.

          Our music has a place. To be second is not to be unimportant is it? Are there not spiritual gifts that are higher than others? Does that make a person less important?

          The only thing to consume is Jesus. That is a tough concept to chew on for all of us. Everything else is the warm up act–if it is doing its job properly.

          1. The Spiritual Gifts and earthly talents are two different things my friend. Second fiddle? As you’ve stated, only Christ if "first fiddle"… making everything else, and everyone else the "John the Baptist" in your analogy. And on that, I agree. To think that one man or one talent is somehow greater or more important than any other, I disagree. It should ALL point to Christ. The WORD doesn’t become more WORD when we remove melody from it.

            For the record, I am satisfied in whatever role I play; whether that’s preaching, teaching, singing, or mixing sound. It’s not about Me Me Me..MORE ME. But I’m also tired of others (no matter what their talent is) saying it should be more of them them them.

            More Jesus. Magnify Him, Present Him, Lift Him Up…through words, songs, etc. etc. etc. and let Him draw men to Himself.

          2. The fact of the matter is, we are servants and below others in that regard–especially so if leaders. So, equality is not an entitlement we should worry about. This is the undercurrent of the"rockstar" analogy I am talking about. The subtlety here is that some do take second chair to other men or women in our role. Embracing this will change everything, I believe.

            Also, role versus gifting versus value has to be cleared up. I am greater than my children in authority, but their value is not lessor. We should not equate platform or status to value.

  6. I view it as the ministry of exhortation (encouraging others to understand the truth of God’s Word). This shows up in spoken word (preaching), creative videos, music, singing, drama, testimonies, etc. Both roles (in my opinion) are just as important.

    I’ve never liked the thought of the music being ‘what prepares you’ as if it’s a warm-up routine for the "real ministry". Everything we do in our services should be worshipful, and instructive or inspirational and based in truth. Our terminology has been so flawed for so long that we now find ourselves trying to explain how our new models fit the terminology, as if we have to develop some new theology in order to do it.

    Kept simple, EVERYTHING should "preach" and lead hearts to "worship". The orator just happens to be gifted at public speaking. The musicians/singers just happen to be gifted in music…and so forth.

    That’s just my opinion. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and time in writing a thought provoking article. It’s really good to see others "thinking" and not just falling into the typical mold based on what they’ve heard others say.

    1. Johnny, thanks for the comment.

      Is preparing people for the main thing–being with Christ–ministry? Preaching, eucharist, and prayers all are not created equal. Or, do they have to be? I do not worship for people. I am not the show. Christ is what is consumed, not our music set. Think about that. We are the only religion where we are not the actual offering. Christ is the offering! We mistakenly put that on music or even the act of preaching. We (pastors, worship leaders, etc) lead people to Jesus, not worship of Jesus. The parishioners have to decide that on their own.

      1. By "main thing" I’m referring to the spoken word, or "preaching". For years I’ve heard people talk about the importance of the music or "worship" being that it prepares your heart to hear the word. That’s not the purpose of worship…nor should it be the purpose of music. The purpose of worship is to honor God…not "get me ready for something else".

        The music, preaching, prayers, etc. should ALL point people to Christ. Words with or without music, should exhort. The observance of eucharist should point people to Christ. In my opinion, it "should" all be considered equally as important because the goal of each is ONE thing…to point people to an understanding of Christ and the Gospel…not to be entertained or lined up at the spiritual consumption buffet.

        I’m not sure if that makes sense. I think for the most part, we’re saying the same general thing…thought our perspectives may differ a bit on some.

        Again, thanks for the open forum and your heart for wanting to honor God!

        1. So, why not be satisfied being a warm-up act? Is preparing hearts for Jesus not enough? We all must be careful and accept playing second fiddle at times. We are more like John the Baptist in this regard. We indeed prepare the way because we are not the way. Levis prepared by polishing the temple furniture. I think we are like them as well.

          Our music has a place. To be second is not to be unimportant is it? Are there not spiritual gifts that are higher than others? Does that make a person less important?

          The only thing to consume is Jesus. That is a tough concept to chew on for all of us. Everything else is the warm up act–if it is doing its job properly.

          1. The Spiritual Gifts and earthly talents are two different things my friend. Second fiddle? As you’ve stated, only Christ if "first fiddle"… making everything else, and everyone else the "John the Baptist" in your analogy. And on that, I agree. To think that one man or one talent is somehow greater or more important than any other, I disagree. It should ALL point to Christ. The WORD doesn’t become more WORD when we remove melody from it.

            For the record, I am satisfied in whatever role I play; whether that’s preaching, teaching, singing, or mixing sound. It’s not about Me Me Me..MORE ME. But I’m also tired of others (no matter what their talent is) saying it should be more of them them them.

            More Jesus. Magnify Him, Present Him, Lift Him Up…through words, songs, etc. etc. etc. and let Him draw men to Himself.

          2. The fact of the matter is, we are servants and below others in that regard–especially so if leaders. So, equality is not an entitlement we should worry about. This is the undercurrent of the"rockstar" analogy I am talking about. The subtlety here is that some do take second chair to other men or women in our role. Embracing this will change everything, I believe.

            Also, role versus gifting versus value has to be cleared up. I am greater than my children in authority, but their value is not lessor. We should not equate platform or status to value.

  7. I agree w/ Johnny here — it grieves me deeply when people want to regulate musical worship and praise to nothing more than "preparation" to hear the Word. It is a sacrifice, an act of praise and worship, it can (and should) absolutely help prepare our hearts to be receptive to the spoken Word .. or the Eucharist … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that.

    Ultimately, regardless of what title you slap on the person in charge of leading the musical portion … our overall goal is to present Christ, as Rich says. Even though the philosophy of the corporate gathering has seen some change in the last decade or so … overall, it’s Biblical purpose is to bring together the saints for worship and edification. It’s two-fold: we sacrifice and worship and surrender with the God-Head, and in doing so, we are edified. That sacrifice and worship can be through song, through the spoken Word, through silence, through prayer, through the Sacraments … all which should also accomplish a third, glorious purpose: lifting Jesus high, so that those who do not know Him will see Him exalted and be drawn to Him.

    1. Hi Fred,

      " … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that."

      Not necessarily.

      You see, the importance we carry in reality is measured not in people worshipping–as we could not do that for them–but in offerings and butts in seats. So, if something is harder to get a response out of people in worship we rather not put it in there even if it is something that overtime is better for them. Music is judged by popularity. Worship is not. For this reason, we need to stop calling musical worship worship. And, if all the other things are important too, shouldn’t we teach that to our people?

      The bar is both too high and too low. This is the conversation. What church musicians do is important. But, are there aspects we raise up that really are fallacies? Is it wrong to be someone who prepares? Are we OK with being second fiddle? Imagine a Levite complaining that he has to sweep the temple.

  8. I agree w/ Johnny here — it grieves me deeply when people want to regulate musical worship and praise to nothing more than "preparation" to hear the Word. It is a sacrifice, an act of praise and worship, it can (and should) absolutely help prepare our hearts to be receptive to the spoken Word .. or the Eucharist … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that.

    Ultimately, regardless of what title you slap on the person in charge of leading the musical portion … our overall goal is to present Christ, as Rich says. Even though the philosophy of the corporate gathering has seen some change in the last decade or so … overall, it’s Biblical purpose is to bring together the saints for worship and edification. It’s two-fold: we sacrifice and worship and surrender with the God-Head, and in doing so, we are edified. That sacrifice and worship can be through song, through the spoken Word, through silence, through prayer, through the Sacraments … all which should also accomplish a third, glorious purpose: lifting Jesus high, so that those who do not know Him will see Him exalted and be drawn to Him.

    1. Hi Fred,

      " … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that."

      Not necessarily.

      You see, the importance we carry in reality is measured not in people worshipping–as we could not do that for them–but in offerings and butts in seats. So, if something is harder to get a response out of people in worship we rather not put it in there even if it is something that overtime is better for them. Music is judged by popularity. Worship is not. For this reason, we need to stop calling musical worship worship. And, if all the other things are important too, shouldn’t we teach that to our people?

      The bar is both too high and too low. This is the conversation. What church musicians do is important. But, are there aspects we raise up that really are fallacies? Is it wrong to be someone who prepares? Are we OK with being second fiddle? Imagine a Levite complaining that he has to sweep the temple.

  9. I agree w/ Johnny here — it grieves me deeply when people want to regulate musical worship and praise to nothing more than "preparation" to hear the Word. It is a sacrifice, an act of praise and worship, it can (and should) absolutely help prepare our hearts to be receptive to the spoken Word .. or the Eucharist … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that.

    Ultimately, regardless of what title you slap on the person in charge of leading the musical portion … our overall goal is to present Christ, as Rich says. Even though the philosophy of the corporate gathering has seen some change in the last decade or so … overall, it’s Biblical purpose is to bring together the saints for worship and edification. It’s two-fold: we sacrifice and worship and surrender with the God-Head, and in doing so, we are edified. That sacrifice and worship can be through song, through the spoken Word, through silence, through prayer, through the Sacraments … all which should also accomplish a third, glorious purpose: lifting Jesus high, so that those who do not know Him will see Him exalted and be drawn to Him.

    1. Hi Fred,

      " … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that."

      Not necessarily.

      You see, the importance we carry in reality is measured not in people worshipping–as we could not do that for them–but in offerings and butts in seats. So, if something is harder to get a response out of people in worship we rather not put it in there even if it is something that overtime is better for them. Music is judged by popularity. Worship is not. For this reason, we need to stop calling musical worship worship. And, if all the other things are important too, shouldn’t we teach that to our people?

      The bar is both too high and too low. This is the conversation. What church musicians do is important. But, are there aspects we raise up that really are fallacies? Is it wrong to be someone who prepares? Are we OK with being second fiddle? Imagine a Levite complaining that he has to sweep the temple.

  10. I agree w/ Johnny here — it grieves me deeply when people want to regulate musical worship and praise to nothing more than "preparation" to hear the Word. It is a sacrifice, an act of praise and worship, it can (and should) absolutely help prepare our hearts to be receptive to the spoken Word .. or the Eucharist … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that.

    Ultimately, regardless of what title you slap on the person in charge of leading the musical portion … our overall goal is to present Christ, as Rich says. Even though the philosophy of the corporate gathering has seen some change in the last decade or so … overall, it’s Biblical purpose is to bring together the saints for worship and edification. It’s two-fold: we sacrifice and worship and surrender with the God-Head, and in doing so, we are edified. That sacrifice and worship can be through song, through the spoken Word, through silence, through prayer, through the Sacraments … all which should also accomplish a third, glorious purpose: lifting Jesus high, so that those who do not know Him will see Him exalted and be drawn to Him.

    1. Hi Fred,

      " … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that."

      Not necessarily.

      You see, the importance we carry in reality is measured not in people worshipping–as we could not do that for them–but in offerings and butts in seats. So, if something is harder to get a response out of people in worship we rather not put it in there even if it is something that overtime is better for them. Music is judged by popularity. Worship is not. For this reason, we need to stop calling musical worship worship. And, if all the other things are important too, shouldn’t we teach that to our people?

      The bar is both too high and too low. This is the conversation. What church musicians do is important. But, are there aspects we raise up that really are fallacies? Is it wrong to be someone who prepares? Are we OK with being second fiddle? Imagine a Levite complaining that he has to sweep the temple.

  11. I agree w/ Johnny here — it grieves me deeply when people want to regulate musical worship and praise to nothing more than "preparation" to hear the Word. It is a sacrifice, an act of praise and worship, it can (and should) absolutely help prepare our hearts to be receptive to the spoken Word .. or the Eucharist … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that.

    Ultimately, regardless of what title you slap on the person in charge of leading the musical portion … our overall goal is to present Christ, as Rich says. Even though the philosophy of the corporate gathering has seen some change in the last decade or so … overall, it’s Biblical purpose is to bring together the saints for worship and edification. It’s two-fold: we sacrifice and worship and surrender with the God-Head, and in doing so, we are edified. That sacrifice and worship can be through song, through the spoken Word, through silence, through prayer, through the Sacraments … all which should also accomplish a third, glorious purpose: lifting Jesus high, so that those who do not know Him will see Him exalted and be drawn to Him.

    1. Hi Fred,

      " … although I would say that oftentimes, our corporate response in song seems even more authentic and robust as a response TO the spoken Word. I think we’re all in agreement on that."

      Not necessarily.

      You see, the importance we carry in reality is measured not in people worshipping–as we could not do that for them–but in offerings and butts in seats. So, if something is harder to get a response out of people in worship we rather not put it in there even if it is something that overtime is better for them. Music is judged by popularity. Worship is not. For this reason, we need to stop calling musical worship worship. And, if all the other things are important too, shouldn’t we teach that to our people?

      The bar is both too high and too low. This is the conversation. What church musicians do is important. But, are there aspects we raise up that really are fallacies? Is it wrong to be someone who prepares? Are we OK with being second fiddle? Imagine a Levite complaining that he has to sweep the temple.

  12. I definitely feel this struggle of both sides, rockstar and monk, weekly. Some of the worship team are always excited about how awesome the songs are going to be and I have to remind them that the content is as important or more so than the music. And I receive compliments and comments about the music from the congregation on both sides. Sometimes they say they felt like they were at a concert rather than worship (a huge let-down personally as this is NOT our goal as WLs) and other times they say that a certain song really led them into worship and touched them personally (YES!!!). Yeah, bro, you hit the nail on the head.

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