A few months back I read an article about “Rock Star Worship Leaders” and why they are failing in megachurches. The article basically defines Rock Star Worship Leaders as worship leaders who look and sound good, get paid a lot to do a little, and who basically have little to no actual formal training in music.
When I think about this topic two pictures come to mind, a shooting star and an enduring galaxy. Let’s take a look at both of these visuals and see if we can learn something from them.
A shooting star is a meteoroid that has entered earth’s atmosphere (becoming a meteorite if and when it hits the ground). According to dictionary.com, a shooting star (meteor) is a transient fiery streak in the sky produced by a meteoroid passing through the earth’s atmosphere.
A shooting star burns brightly, but it burns out quickly because it is moving so fast. The word transient in the above definition means “not lasting, enduring, or permanent.” It basically means that it doesn’t last.
The thing about shooting stars is that they are brilliant. They can capture our imaginations with their brilliance. But just as quickly as they light up the sky, they burn out or fall to the ground.
As worship leaders, we should be careful not to fall into the shooting star category. Folks can be dazzled by our talents. They can be wowed by the way we sound and the way we look. We can put on a show to rival any concert. We can even move people emotionally.
But the problem with shooting star worship leaders is that they fizzle out. They don’t connect with people. They are highly talented, but lack character. They don’t make others better for being around them. They don’t pour their heart and talents into others around them. They don’t coach, mentor, teach or disciple others. And sadly, many times they don’t actually help others worship our worthy God either.
Shooting Stars are self-oriented. It’s all about them (because there is only them).
The word enduring means “lasting, permanent.” It means “patient and long suffering.”
A galaxy is a collection of stars. Dictionary.com defines galaxy as “a large system of stars held together by mutual gravitation.”
Both shooting stars and galaxies give off light, but the shooting star burns brightly and then disappears. Galaxies are enduring. In fact, in relation to our human lifespans, the lifespan of a galaxy might appear to be eternal. Galaxies are not ONE light, but a gathering of many lights. In some cases millions and billions of lights.
As a worship leader, we can be part of an enduring galaxy. We are pulled together by a mutual gravitation – the worship of our worthy God! It isn’t about our brightness (our talent), but it’s about our community, our family. Generation after generation of Believers can be impacted by a single star in a galaxy that is connected to the millions of other stars in that galaxy because it isn’t about a single star, but about the one who created the stars!
An enduring galaxy is Kingdom (God and others) oriented. It’s all about shining the light of God to others.
Shooting Star vs. Enduring Galaxy
The Kingdom of God is not a fleeting shooting star, but more like an enduring galaxy.
God knows every star by name, because He hung them in place (Psalm 147:7 paraphrased).
He created us to be stars in the infinitely bright Kingdom. His Kingdom…not our own.
A worship leader that isn’t a shooting star will lock arms with others. They will pour their hearts and talents into younger generations and less skilled worship leaders to help them grow and develop. They will work on their own personal character and not just on their own talents. They will put others first and lead from preferring others, instead of leading from their personal preferences.
A worship leader that is a real leader will be a follower of the Holy Spirit. They won’t be consumed by their own image, because they will be committed to humbly bearing the image of Christ. They won’t be intimidated by sharing “leadership.” They will raise up other leaders who could replace them, but they won’t be afraid of being replaced because they are confident in the process of discipleship and they know that what they humbly contribute in the name of Jesus will be a part of a bigger, eternal work.
Now don’t read too much into this. It’s not a theological treatise or something on which to build a doctrine. It’s just thoughts splattered on a page.
My hope and prayer is that one day I can look back over my life and all the opportunities that have been placed in front of me in ministry, and that I can confidently say that I was Kingdom minded and not me minded. Lord, let me be a piece of Your bigger puzzle. Let me find work for my hands that allows others to see You in and through me. I don’t want to burn brightly and fizzle out. I want to be a star that endures, that, joined with the light of other stars, shines the light of the Kingdom.
Russ Hutto is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.