Once upon a time I was having a conversation with a musician/singer/songwriter who was having a hard time breaking out in the Christian music market. I asked him what he thought he would do in a few years if his music didn’t take off, and he said that he might just end up leading worship at a local church somewhere.
Another time, once upon a time, I was having a conversation with a worship leader in a local church. In his free time, he was in a band that had started to be invited to play at some youth retreats and other events. I asked him what he thought things would look like for him in a few years, and he said he hoped that he could end up touring, recording, and moving to Nashville to live the life of a musician/singer/songwriter.
Two different people with two different stories, each of whom viewed the role of a local church worship leader as if it were just a safety net, there for them in case they couldn’t do something else.
On the one hand, it’s understandable that a Christian with musical gifts who’s looking for a way to support himself with those gifts would explore the world of worship leading, and on occasion find that the world of worship leading isn’t where they sense a calling. And that’s fine.
But on the other hand, it’s unfortunate when local church worship leaders see their job as merely a holding cell, or a launchpad from which they can soar into mainstream success one day.
Leading worship in a local church is a privilege, an honor, and a great responsibility. Walking alongside a congregation from the vantage point of the person charged with leading them in song throughout the different seasons, ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and attendance fluctuations is certainly challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. And if you’re always looking for greener grass or a brighter spotlight, of if you’re always resenting having to serve in this capacity, then you’re forgetting what a privilege it is.
Being a local church worship leader can be incredibly hard, whether you’ve sensed a call to it since you were 13, whether you’ve fallen into because you didn’t make it the music business, or whether you’re still doing it and hoping to do something else one day. But it can be incredibly sweet. Don’t miss out on the sweetness.