I was browsing a popular worship music resource website a week ago when I noticed this advertisement, front and center, with the text swooping in and out in order to grab my attention.
“You lead worship every week”.
Is this ad talking to me? How does it know? Amazing!
“You may not have all the musicians you need”.
Well, I guess that might be true. So what’s your point?
“But you don’t have to sound like it.”
You have GOT to be kidding me. Is this a joke?
No, unfortunately, it’s not a joke.
Don’t have a drummer in your congregation? No problem. Just download an audio file of a drummer playing a particular song, and then play along to that file during your service. Problem solved! Now you’ll sound like you really have a drummer!
No electric guitarist? Don’t bother trying to raise one up. With a few clicks of the mouse, your searching can be over. You’ll finally sound like the CDs sound!
Can’t find a 6-piece brass section? You guessed it… Congregation: prepare to be wowed!
This is a bad idea on many, many levels.
First, it buys into the lie that you NEED particular instruments to be an effective worship leader. You don’t need any instruments at all.
Second, it plays into our sinful desire to impress people. So I don’t have a bass player. So someone might notice. So what?
Third, it’s lazy. If you really need a particular kind of musician on your team, pray and recruit until you find them. And until you find them, go without.
Fourth, it encourages fakeness. Instead of a local congregation being served and edified by the gifts from within that congregation, it is now being augmented and entertained by distant and invisible studio musicians.
Fifth, it makes it all about how you sound. The ad says even though you may not have all the musicians you “need”, “you don’t have to sound like it”. Yes, how we sound does matter. But it’s not a matter of first importance. No where in scripture are we commanded to sound anything other than skillful (Psalm 33:3). And this skill is not commanded so that we can sound good!
Worship leaders: lead worship with the musicians you have. Not the musicians you want or the musicians you can download. It doesn’t matter if you don’t sound like the CD, and it doesn’t matter if you do. Ignore the temptation to always want more, the marketing campaigns designed to convince you that what you want is what you need, and the sinful slide to envy what others have.
Be encouraged: even if “you lead worship every week”, and “you may not have all the musicians you need”, all you need to do is what you can with what you have. Be a faithful steward of the gifts God has given you, all for his glory.