Church From The Other Side: When The Worship Leader is Led By The Congregation


Reposted with persmission from

The room looks different when standing on the “stage.” (I don’t like that word, because nobody is performing on Sundays, but there’s no better word for it. Except platform. Let’s go with platform.)

The room looks different when standing on the platform. And the room is simultaneously brighter and darker when on that platform. Brighter from all those “stage lights” (there’s that word again) and darker from how everything dims and fades into the background because of those lights.

Every so often I have the opportunity to stand on that platform and face the room. Despite the wash of light that hazes over, I can still see your faces. I can see old and new friends. Familiar faces. Faces that have quickly and effortlessly become my family of faith. I get to see you close your eyes or raise your hands or watch the screen as we sing songs together.

I get to see you slowly file through the line at communion, receiving grace soaked bread and juice. Then I get to see you head to the prayer chapel in the back corner and kneel before that mosaic cross, hands folded and head bowed. And I get to see you stand up, unprovoked, and sing “You Hold Me Now” with all your heart.

And I get to pull that tiny headphone out of one ear and listen – I ignore my own voice, shut out the rest of the band, and I get to hear you sing. I get to hear you lift your heart and voice to Heaven.

And, you may think that we’re up there on that platform helping you meet with God, but at the end of the day, it’s you – my beloved church family – that helps me meet with God.

Thank you for letting me, in all my faith’s failings, do church from the other side,
~ Mandy Thompson