Republished with permission from Tyler Braun at ManofDepravity.com.
For some reason, worship leaders have a bit of a bad reputation. Whether it be in classes, on blogs, or just in conversations, I hear all the time about how most worship leaders just try to look cool without really knowing anything about leading a corporate gathering of worship. The rock genre of most worship music being written today probably doesn’t help, nor does many churches hiring young men who they won’t give enough training or support.
Recently I read a post put up by a fairly well-known and well-read blog titled “How to Tell If a Worship Leader is a Superstar Wanna-Be.” Oh joy, another post tearing a part worship leaders. It was everything I had hoped for. Here’s a couple of my “favorite” lines from the post about superstar worship leaders…
- You changed your Church 7 times in the last 3 years as your “God-given” ministry of becoming the hottest worship leader / songwriter did not find the best of support.
- You can’t understand why your Pastor is not willing to give a makeover for your Church to look and sound like Hillsong.
- You believe worship is not complete without young ‘worshipers’ in front of the stage with clenched fists up in the air, moshing and cheering.
- You don’t believe there’s any real difference between ‘worship’ and ‘music.’
- You spend more time sending demo recordings to recording labels than in personal prayer/Bible reading/worship team rehearsals/planning.
At first I read this and thought there must be some sort of sarcastic element to it. I thought that because I’ve never met any worship leader who is even moderately close to this sort of behavior and attitude. But no, it wasn’t sarcastic. I don’t know the author personally, but I’ve read some of what else he has written and he has a lot of great things to say.
A post like this does nothing but fuel the anti-worship leader mentality that so many in church have. This mentality is nothing more than a me-first attitude about getting what we want out of our times of worship as the body of Christ.
I’ve always thought that perception is reality. And while this post paints worship leaders in a completely unrealistic and unfair light, the more people post about worship leaders being like this, the more people will believe it actually to be true.
What we really need is more people who are willing to extend a hand and word of encouragement to their worship leader/pastor. By no means am I a perfect worship leader and often I am my harshest critic and I never take criticism lightly. There are many people who say thank you or good job after a worship set and I am grateful for those people. Instead of taking time to complain about what didn’t go right, take some time to give specific encouragement, I promise it will mean so much to the worship leader.
Here’s what I know to be true of most worship leaders I’ve met and know well:
- They would shudder at the idea of someone thinking of them as a superstar before being a leader of worshipers.
- They are constantly trying to be creative with how their church can worship together beyond just singing.
- They spend hours in thought and prayer for how to be lead their people on a weekly basis.
- They understand the importance of them being servants to their church and worship team in order to lead well.
Anyone can make fun of the worship leader.
Doesn’t mean you should.
Tyler Braun is a seminary student, worship leader, and writer from Portland, Oregon who is passionate about worship within the context of the local church.