Worship Leading in Real Life

The piano’s out of tune again. The sound board is possessed. The drummer’s belt pack just died, and over in his plexiglass space pod, he can’t hear a thing. The alto section decided to take the day off. The second verse of the opening song vanished from ProPresenter. The bulletin accidentally printed last Sunday’s hymn numbers.

And it’s only 8:45 am.

This is worship leading in real life.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to spend a little over 24 hours with worship leaders from all over the country at a little get-together we had in Atlanta. Over the course of our time together, as I sat with them at meals or while making a cup of coffee, I lost track of the number of times someone said how encouraging it was to hear real stories from real worship leaders, dealing with real issues, and to be reminded that we’re not alone.

Worship leading in real life isn’t all that glamorous. It’s a weekly exercise in humility, servanthood, leadership, patience, direction-giving, fire-extinguishing, and sometimes crisis managing, with a little bit of music thrown in.

It’s like this at my church, and it was like this at my previous church. It’s like this at your church too. And that other guy (who you think has it easy) deals with real life issues as well, and if you could have lunch with him you’d hear his own stories.

The airbrushed images of worship leading that we see presented to us can warp our expectations of what we will experience in our own local-church contexts, and lead us to think that we’d have it easier somewhere else. Just like airbrushed images of a man or woman in a magazine or on the internet can warp our expectations of what a real relationship with a real person will actually look and feel like, and lead us to think we’d have it better with someone else.

Real husband and wife relationships are messy, involve a lot of dirty dishes, require a lot more laundry than any pre-martial counselor ever told you about, and are more difficult than either party thought possible. Only Jesus can sustain a real marriage over the long haul and make it fruitful and joyful. Forget the airbrushed images. They’re fake.

Same deal with worship leading in real life. It’s messy, involves a lot of meetings, last-minute Planning Center cancellations, and maybe even a lady in the fourth row who scowl at you. But you’re not alone. Your brother and sister worship leaders are in the same boat as you. And once we realize we can’t get through this ministry thing on our own, we will see Jesus sustain us and remain faithful to us over the long haul, making us fruitful, and yes, even joyful, for his glory and our good.

Now to get that piano tuned…

6 thoughts on “Worship Leading in Real Life”

  1. and humility also reminds us that most of life for most of humanity is similar. no glory, just a lot of hard work. If we ALL can keep our eyes on Jesus , He is the one who turns the water into wine, and confirms in our spirits that serving others is really what life is all about.
    so it is not just worship leaders who are in the same boat, we ALL are in the same boat. We are the body of Christ. Crucified.

  2. Uh-oh #3468

    “… And, point Three. He sustains us!…”

    Uh oh… Look! The CD burner isn’t recoding! No, I thought you started it….

    Nothing in life is free, and the work and pressure of running worship services is no different. We serve so that others can focus on him. And if we get a good quality recording on CD too, all the better.

  3. Hello Jamie, I enjoyed reading your recent post discussing performancism. Please check out this post from last winter… https://knowtea.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/bring-back-the-organ/

    We work with churches across the spectrum of denominations. Outside of the Catholic Church, the ones that are most successful are those that embrace both traditional and contemporary worship. I would enjoy a conversation if you are interested. 🙂 Look me up on CentralMusic.biz


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