Don’t Believe Your Own Hype

You have a fan club, whether you realize it or not.

Maybe it’s small. A few old ladies who think you’re just adorable and ask when you’re going to make a CD.

Or maybe it’s larger. Gushing Facebook posts, lots of Twitter followers, people recognize you at the grocery store, and your church bookstore carries your very own CD.

Most worship leaders are somewhere in between. You don’t have a CD to sell or Twitter followers of any substantial number, but you do have a significant number of people at your church who see you up front regularly, have an affinity for you, and think you’re much more terrific and wonderful than you actually are.

In any case, it can be tempting to start to believe the hype that naturally surrounds anyone who stands on a stage in a position of leadership and possesses musical gifts. Before you know it you’re demanding only Evian bottled water, yellow M&Ms, and the auditorium a constant 72.4 degrees (that’s in Fahrenheit for my European friends).

Don’t believe your own hype. It’s a slippery slope to arrogance and pride and there is nothing that will hinder your effectiveness in ministry more. God isn’t exaggerating when he warns us that he “opposes the proud” (James 4:6).

Here are three practical ways you can keep the “hype” around you in check.

Be approachable
Avoid the temptation to cloister yourself away in a back room before and after the service. Rock stars do this. Worship leaders shouldn’t. Be available and approachable before and after the service. This is an easy and tangible way to demonstrate to your congregation that you love them, and to deflate the inflation of your ego.

Be humble
For anyone seeking to pursue humility, C.J. Mahaney’s book Humility: True Greatness is an absolute must-read. You can read it in one evening, but if you’re smart, you’ll take some time to read through it and allow the Holy Spirit to convict you and help you see where you need to grow.

It’s easy to say “be humble” but it’s hard to do. “Pursue humility” is a much better way to phrase it. Every morning, every day, and every night, resist the fleshly pull toward pride. Laugh at yourself. Encourage and honor those around you. Remember your sinfulness. Rejoice in Jesus’ work of redeeming you and covering you with his blood. That’s the only thing worth boasting in.

We start to believe the hype when we believe there’s something about ourselves that’s worth boasting in. Unless that “thing” is the cross of Christ, we’re off base.

Be cross-centered
Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1-3,

“…you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

You. We all. Our. By nature.

Verse 4:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

But God. Two of the greatest words in all of scripture.

The hype tells us we’re wonderful and adorable and a really big deal. The cross tells us we were children of wrath but are now objects of God’s mercy.

As a worship leader, to be effective you have to be deflective. People will sinfully want to praise you. You’ll sinfully want to receive it and believe it. Don’t. Deflect the praise of man and direct your own need to make much of something great onto the One who is rich in mercy and worthy of every bit of hype we can muster.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Believe Your Own Hype”

  1. Thanks for this post. I have a question…

    I get a lot of comments that tend to lean to the “entertainment” side. I get a lot of “we love your music” or “we love the energy that you bring” or “you are doing a great job up there.”

    Any deflection techniques you could recommend? I want to point them to Jesus, not me.


    1. Hey Scott- I used to wonder the same thing, wanting to
      deflect every comment people made to me toward Jesus, and a
      more-experienced worship leader told me that it was OK to just say
      “Thank You”. Not really a need to give a lesson in worship theology
      eveerytime some gives a compliment. But there are those occasions
      where someone is “gushing” or going on-and-on where it might be a
      good opportunity to teach/correct/deflect a bit.

      1. Agreed. When we are really being humble, we’re not thinking of ourselves at all. Jesus said that when we have done what we’re supposed to do, we should remember that we are just servants doing our duty.

        Some people have a spiritual gift for encouraging others, and it can really hurt them to be deflected or lectured when they are sincerely offering what they have. The workmen are worthy of their wages, and for me that means if someone in the body wants to bless me with encouragement, I should accept it humbly as a gift from God.

  2. I know that as I’ve timidly approached people to offer them heartfelt encouragement, something stupid comes out of my mouth like “Your teeth were gleaming white today”. As an occasional worship leader I’ve received some comments (not nearly as odd) that seem superficial but might just be a weak expression of a deeper heart felt love for God, sprinkled with brotherly intention to encourage me.

    Knowing the congregation, and seeing the pattern of fruit exhibited by the ones offering the comments, gives a good indication if their eyes are God focused or you focused. Just keep stepping aside and with the same grace of God that makes you humble, He will make them into the creature the adores and magnifies only Him.

    This is a wonderful and concise article. What strikes me is to remember that the ONLY thing that makes ANY thing about us acceptable to God (including our praises) is Christ. THAT is a perspective grabber! Our technology, guitar chords, and tossled haricut do not make us worthy to praise the Father – only Christ’s finished work on the cross that reconciled us to him gives us ANY merit.

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