Reality Check for Worship Leaders

Blue FrenzySearch me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24

As I went through my Instagram feed this morning, I made note of the worship leaders in a church setting. Quite a few of the pictures reflected the famed big lights, the admiring worshipers, the band, and the worship leader on stage who seemed to have an air of coolness in some kind of way. And it was all archived by one image. I am not against big worship teams, great bands, lights, fantastic sound systems, highly skilled and trained musicians, etc.

But I sometimes wonder and feel that maybe I am missing out if I am a worship leader that doesn’t have a similar following, budget, equipment, band, clothing, hair, glasses, etc. And then I see the heart of a broken servant bowing in worship before the Lord and I think, no, none of that is needed to bring one heart closer to God. God can use whatever and whomever He wants to draw a worshiper to Himself.

Which goes to my main point in sharing this. Any of us in leadership are going to be held accountable for how well we took care of God’s sheep as we attempted to direct them (or didn’t direct them) to His throne of grace. How well do we get out of God’s way though, so we can allow His Spirit to actually do the work in drawing the worshiper? Or did we secretly admire some of His worship and hold onto it for ourselves thinking we are the ones who deserve it? Just a little?

I don’t think any of us are immune from wanting to feel important and accepted within the church and amongst other believers in our circles that we move in (myself included). We want to know that we make a difference in the lives of others. But is this the praise of man that we seek or are we willing to defer it until the end when we hear “well done, good and faithful servant?” If we seek the praise now here on earth, that’s it. It’s not waiting for us anywhere else. We’ve already received it. But if we store it up, we allow God His moment to glorify us in due time and pass up the temptation to take it for ourselves in the here and now.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

-Matthew 6:1

I am sure this is nothing new and it has been asked before in previous generations, but are we getting away from where our focus needs to be with the way we do music in our relatively small time of corporate worship? How does this impact the believers that are in desperate need to meet God in a real way? How are we setting examples for smaller churches with very little budgets, players, etc. Are we becoming a stumbling block? Is this the picture of the church God wants? I wonder sometimes if the poorest church and music ministry program is one of the richest in joy and heart.

Yes, it’s great to see so many people worshiping with “cool songs” that have been written out there. Even “cool people” that sing and play the songs. But who really gets the praise? Even in small churches it’s not so different. I hear people build up their worship leader and the ground that they walk on. And it is very tempting as a leader to bask in that for just a brief moment, that we almost come to expect it every time we play. And if we don’t hear the accolades, we wonder if there is something wrong we did.

I am sure that there are many mindful churches that try to keep this in check. It’s such a fine line to walk. What are we willing to do as worship leaders to also be a part of keeping this in check? Has pride and self-glory subtly found their way in? Is it time for us to check in with our Savior and allow Him free access to examine our hearts? And if He finds anything out of place are we willing to be led in the way of everlasting by Him? Would a picture of your music ministry and worship time look different as a result?

If we want to see change in the heart of our churches, then the heart of a lead worshiper and servant of Christ needs to be found here.


Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

-Psalm 95:6