You’re sitting in a window seat, reading the latest edition of Sky Mall, as your airplane leaves the gate and gets in line for take-off. After a few minutes you’re hurling down the runway at 180 miles per hour and beginning your climb to cruising altitude. You look out the window at the tiny cars for a few minutes before turning your attention back to the combination alarm-clock/onion-slicer that you’re debating ordering.
Then a strange rumbling/screeching noise catches your attention. It’s not a noise you’ve heard before. Maybe it’s nothing. But maybe it’s something. Is the plane about to fall apart into a thousand pieces? What is that noise? You begin to sweat. Profusely. Your life starts to flash in front of your eyes. You look around. None of the other passengers seem to be aware of the fact that their lives are about to end. Now you’re really concerned.
You look for a flight attendant. You can’t see up the aisle, so you turn around and look towards the back of the plane. You see both flight attendants… completely relaxed, reading novels, not sweating profusely, and definitely not strapping on parachutes. The noise goes away. The flight attendants, still relaxed, begin serving that delicious trail-mix.
You know you’re going to be OK when your flight attendants are relaxed. You know you might have a problem when they lose their cool. Flight attendants aren’t supposed to lose their cool.
It took me several years to realize that, to my worship team, I am the flight attendant.
Maybe you can relate to one of these worship leader nightmare scenarios:
The service is five minutes away from starting and none of your monitors are working. The sound engineer has no idea what the problem is but he continues to run back and forth from the sound board, unplug cables, turn different knobs, and look around confused.
You’re introducing a new song to your worship team at rehearsal and it keeps sounding really bad. The singers are singing it the wrong way, the acoustic guitarist doesn’t know half the chords, and the drummer is in a different universe than everyone else.
You have 10 minutes to run through 6 songs before the service starts. You could use an hour.
The computer is plugged into the projector.
The computer and projector both have power. The computer is displaying the PowerPoint slides. The projector is switched to “computer” as the input. The projector keeps projecting a blue screen. You restart both the computer and the projector. Still a blue screen. You try a different cable. You try a different input. You press a lot of buttons. Still a blue screen. The service was supposed to start three minutes ago.
Half an hour before the service is supposed to start, the power goes out. No sound system. No lyric projection. No lights. No air conditioning.
In these moments, the moments when you wish it was just a bad dream but it isn’t, you are the flight attendant. Your worship team has heard the rumbling/screeching noise, they’re starting to get worried, and they’re looking around for some reassurance that everything is going to be OK. If you lose your cool, it’s going to be a very bumpy ride for everyone. People won’t think clearly, they’ll overreact, and they may even start sweating profusely.
Without the help of the Holy Spirit, you won’t be able to keep your cool when you hit some turbulence. Galatians 5:22-23a says: “…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” This is one reason why every worship leader, and every worship team member, needs to pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit every single time they get up to lead worship.
Worship leaders: your worship team is watching you, especially when things get a little bumpy. It’s incredibly important that you model a Holy Spirit-enabled “coolness”.
We might not have monitors. We might not sound polished. We might have to sing from memory or from 30 year-old songbooks lying in a closet. We might not have electricity. None of that matters. We’ll do what we can, in the power of the Spirit, all for the glory of God.