June 19, 2005

To be a Worship Pastor

So as I mentioned in my last post, I got the chance to be a worship leader last weekend. Whether or not our church is desperate for people should be obvious, since I was onstage, but that's not the issue - I really enjoyed it, for the most part, and it was way cool to be back on stage playing and singing and leading people to worship the God of the universe.

That said, as I'm sitting in the worship arts office this morning, it made me think about the role of a worship leader. Why are we here? What are we supposed to do? What are our responsibilities?

I think the first thing is that worship leaders are here to not be noticed - it's on the list of "least prestigious jobs" ever, somewhere just ahead of "nursury worker" or "janitor" or "building committee secretary." At least, it's supposed to be, which doesn't (of course) mean that it always works out that way. Another way to say this is that worship leaders are here to point to God, to say "there's God, watch/worship/adore/praise/love Him!" and then go about what they were doing as people do that.

This means that people will never notice a worship leader. Just as my piddly attempt at composing in theory III pales in comparison to a Mozart symphony or a U2 concert, so does watching a worship leader (or even the whole worship team) pale in comparison to worshipping and watching and being loved by God. Why, then, would people want to watch the worship leader? Only one thing comes to mind - that the worship leader isn't pointing people towards God as he or she is supposed to. But they really look like they're leading worship.

It worries me that I got a lot of compliments last weekend - "oh you did so great!" or "it sounded phenomenal!" or "you guys looked so great up there, thanks for being back and leading worship again!" I mean, I felt great at first - who doesn't like compliments? - but the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I was like ... did what I did detract from people noticing God? I mean, if I'd really led people towards God, I would think that I'd have heard comments like "man, worshipping God was awesome this morning, you wouldn't believe what He told me!" or "thanks for showing me towards God today, I got to talk to Him."

Or even ... "I hate you, why did you have to go and ruin my little secure bubble by allowing God into the room?" I think anything could really be better than "YOU did a good job" ... and no mention of why we were there.

What would a church be like if its worship leaders were dedicated to getting out of the way? What if they went into a service asking God "how can I point people towards you and not towards myself?" What would it look like if they did?

Just so we're clear, I'm not saying that it's always a show, nor am I saying that what we do doesn't impact some people in a positive way, inspiring them to meet God. I know of some people who really do meet God with the way we tend to do things.

I'm just saying we should always be striving to do it better.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I was there the weekend before when you led worship and I said to Liz that it did sound good,but mostly...it was a team that altogether got out of the way, and allowed worship to happen, I think. At least for me. And you're right, that doesn't always happen.
Your presence in leading was solid(again, the whole team) but it did not call attention to itself.