I’ve been leading worship at my church for three years now. This fall, I will approach my fourth year as a worship leader at my church. This fall I will, temporarily, leave my position to explore what God has for me at Cedarville University in Ohio. This has made me reflect on my time at CBC quite often as of late. Between my personal reflections, some recent experiences, and the new series of devotions that my praise team and I have been doing together the past month or so, I’ve really felt it in my heart to share some of my discoveries with you, so here I go.
The first and foremost thing that I have learned during my time as a worship leader is that leading worship is not about the vocalists, or the guitarists, or the entirety of the praise band. Leading worship is not about making a name for yourself, nor is it a performance for an audience. This is misconstrued so so often. Leading worship is solely to give honor, glory, and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Soli Deo Gloria.”
It is so easy to forget this. I’m disgusted at how easily I become distracted during the worship service. I become so engrossed in “sounding good” by hitting the right notes and making sure that my harmony blends just right that I forget to actually worship. Mrs.Reed, the head of our praise team, reminds us constantly that you can not lead people where you yourself have not been.
This brings me to my next point. You can’t expect to lead people into the presence of God if you aren’t spending time with Him, or living your life according to His Word. This sounds ridiculously obvious, but it is overlooked far too often. If I don’t spend time talking to God in prayer or digging into His Word, then how can I encourage others to do the same? If I am not doing my absolute best to live a Christ-centered, righteous life, then I am nothing but a hypocrite. People will look at me and say “Well, she’s a Christian, and she leads worship at Calvary Baptist, but she’s no different than an unsaved person.” The last thing I want to do is become a stumbling block to my fellow believers, or someone who has yet to come to Christ. The apostle Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 8:9-13:
“But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
Later on in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul says:
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ,) that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might, by all means, save some. Now, this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”
The point that I (or even Paul for that matter!) am trying to get across by bringing up these passages is that if you are in any position of leadership in the church or even a Christian in general, you should live your life in such a way that you do not cause others to stumble. No one is perfect, trust me, I am far from it! But that should not stop us from striving to live a life that is pleasing to God, and different from those who are “of the world”. After all, we cannot lead people where we ourselves have not been.
While I could go on forever about the things I’ve learned from being on the worship team at CBC, the last thing I want to talk about for now is how important it is to balance confidence and humility. I have immense trouble here. My close friends would tell you that, on a scale of 1-10, my confidence level is exactly a -5. On a good day, it’s maybe a 4. That being said I am nervous anytime I have to be in front of people. Ironically, that includes almost every Sunday morning for the past four years.
I never thought of myself as having a pride problem, because, in everything I do, I berate myself until I believe that I am absolutely no good at it. However, this past March during my school’s play week, I learned that being so self-conscious that you are afraid to do something is putting yourself before the message that you are trying to get across. You know what that sounds an awful lot like? Pride. It can fall on both ends of the spectrum. You can be so egocentric and arrogant that no one wants to listen to what you have to say (or sing), or you can be so self-conscious that no one will properly hear what you are trying to get across. The key to overcoming this is relying on God. That’s it! Realize that He is in control and that your gifts and talents come from Him. Whatever happens, He is in control, and He has a reason for what happens. Taking a deep breath and saying “Alright God, I know You’ve got this” is so much easier than relying on yourself or panicking because you’re afraid you might do something wrong! Trust God, He knows what He’s doing.
Sometimes, when we are put in a position of leadership we take it for granted or think that we have nothing to learn, but that isn’t the least bit true. In whatever you do, ask God to show you how He can grow you and use you in whatever position you are in. Whether you are a pastor, a worship leader, or even a Christian out in the everyday world, there is always something that God can teach you. Sometimes we just aren’t willing to listen. Today I want to encourage you to seek God’s face and ask Him what He might be trying to teach you, wherever you are in your life.