The Miserable Life of the If-Only Worship Leader

It’s hard to be happy in church ministry when you keep a never-ending, never-satisfied list of “if-onlys”. This applies to people in all sorts of roles, but particularly to worship leaders.

If only I was at a bigger church with more money and more musicians.

If only I got to lead ALL the songs at a service – not just a measly four.

If only we had better equipment.

If only my pastor was more with-it.

If only people would let me do it the way I want to do it.

If only my congregation worshipped better.

If only my drummers were good.

If only I got paid a better salary and had a more impressive-sounding title.

THEN I’d be happy.

THEN my ministry would explode!

THEN my church would finally see my giftedness they’ve been missing all along!

THEN I would be satisfied.

No you wouldn’t.

The problem with jealousy is that it’s dangerous. It can’t be satisfied. It always wants more. Even if your list of if-onlys gets completely checked-off, you’ll find fifteen more things you “need”. You end up spinning your wheels in ministry – always waiting for that one missing thing – that one missing musician – that one missing pay raise – that one great worship set – and never really thrive.

Proverbs 27:4 says: “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” Jealously is uniquely destructive and paralyzing, and a never-ending list of if-onlys is a symptom of that paralysis.

It’s one thing to have God-birthed dreams and hopes and longings for your ministry and the church you serve. These are good and important and helpful. I know that I have clung to these – and prayed fervently for these dreams to finally come true. I still have dreams and still pray for needs to be met and struggle with growing in wisdom regarding how and how long to wait.

But it’s another thing altogether to either wait until every single thing is in place to finally be able to minister effectively – or to stoke prideful jealousy by always wanting more – or to mask symptoms of your real need for growth by blaming them on something you need that you don’t have.

To each and every worship leader reading this post: let me encourage you and challenge you.

You have been placed exactly where you are by God. He is faithful. He knows your needs. He knows your desires. His timing is perfect. Trust in and wait on him.

So get your eyes off of other churches and other worship leaders and what cool gear they have and how much farther along they are and how much more their congregation really gets it. Stop waiting for that one elusive missing thing that will make you happy.

Churches need worship leaders who will love them, stick around for the long haul, have a high tolerance for drudgery, and faithfully serve them through easy and difficult seasons. We do our congregations a disservice if we’re always waiting for one last thing to fall into place or looking for a better gig.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

If only we would do that more! Then we’d be happy. Then we’d be satisfied.

3 thoughts on “The Miserable Life of the If-Only Worship Leader

  1. Cyrus W. August 21, 2010 / 3:25 pm

    Thanks for these great words of encouragement. Must continue to fight the “We’d be great if we only had XYZ” mentality that wants to creep in so often.

  2. asaph August 26, 2010 / 10:54 pm

    thanx brother u really helped me out with this post!

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