WMB 4.1 — 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: worship leaders are about themselves, since they get to play music and be in front of people.
Better said: sometimes, worship leaders, like any leaders, might enjoy leading more than the purpose of their leading.
What is being said here is that worship leaders–drummers, guitarists, vocalists–are being self-gratified by what they do since it is fun for them and they get to be in front of people. Often, unlike other volunteers in the church, this suspicion festers. No one questions a teacher that way. No one says to a children’s worker, “you are in this for yourself.” But, partly the truth is that all of us give because altruism is partially selfish.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with having any joy or satisfaction in serving. There is nothing wrong with enjoying doing something you are good at and partially being motivated to do that because it is your gift, skill and calling. I want to serve a leader who loves to lead. Who would want the opposite?
I think “emotional asceticism”, to coin a phrase, is at work. In our Christian life, we prefer to feel bad as an indicator of godliness. While godly sorrow is indeed important, it is not required that as we give an offering of service that we flagellate ourselves with a whip in order to prove we are OK in doing the service.
What makes sense is that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. And, if worship team members have joy, then that is a good thing. I pray for joy in my team and in my worship leadership. If Job can praise God after what he went through, so can I…and, so can our church! So, I choose to shun the idea of “emotional asceticism” in general as not a good strategy for our Christian walk.
What happens as well is that people think because you are a musician or artist that you love it so your reward is already in your love of doing your thing. I want to remind my non-artistic readers that any artist worth his/her salt works years of torment to be able to have facility and excellence in their craft. While a teacher of a class can be trained to follow a lesson plan, try picking up the bass guitar or running a sound console in the same amount of hours?
What I am saying here is that an appreciation for the investment might help people realize why most of the masses love hearing a great group of musicians play or enjoy a well-written reading. Sure, gifting is involved, but the skill is seen because of humble, dedication. Here is a statement that boggles the mind, perhaps…
The more talented and gifted and skilled the artist, the more likely that artist is truly humble about their craft.
Why? Because to get that good, you have been through more than most people would ever know. I often find mediocre musicians more testy and defensive. Of course, you know the exceptions, and you and I have names for that guy, too! But, I think the point is clear. Being an artist is a tough calling.
I love what I do. I also hate it at times. I get in the way. I am not as good as I should be. And, being in front of people is not as glamorous as you might think. All that you do is on a stage from grocery shopping to people seeing your bright green Honda Element drive around town. So, really, I think it is a myth to say the public nature of this role is a plus at all. It is just what it is.
Yes, I know many who love the limelight. I would say that over time those people are found out and that it eventually becomes an issue. However, that is not the norm. Most worship leaders want you to connect to God and they are putting themselves on the front lines. You gotta love them for that, I think.
- When you love the activity of serving others, it is still an appropriate offering to God.
- Your reward for serving is not defaulted because you love to serve.
- Being in front of people and being and artist are grueling and difficult roles that need appreciation and a proper perspective.
- Worship leaders and team members are on the front lines. Are you?