"Don't they love God?"
If you've been a worship leader for any amount of time, you'll experience and/or ask questions like these eventually.
I know I have...MANY, MANY times throughout the last several years.
There's been times where I've walked away from a service and felt defeated.
I've felt like a failure.
Because the church, for whatever reason, just wasn't into worshiping together in song that day.
It's discouraging...it's hard to grasp, especially if you're a worship leader that's passionate about this crazy, awesome and sometimes frustrating thing called corporate worship.
Well...I want to...need to write this post.
Not just for other worship leaders, but for this worship leader.
One thing that has been consistent throughout my years leading worship is the inconsistency of focus and intensity in worship services and churches. It would be easy, if we could just walk in every Sunday to an atmosphere and crowd like the ones that flock to Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United concerts. It would be fun and effortless, but that's just not the reality of a church.
A church is like a family. Some days are better than others. Some days I come home from work and my wife, kids and the dog meet me at the door like I'm Ward Cleaver, so glad to see their Husband and Dad, as I walk into the sweet aroma of a delicious dinner.
Then there are days when I come home and the kids are driving my lovely wife to near insanity and the dog pukes on the carpet, because he got into some chocolate left out.
It's not always ideal, but it's real.
Church is the same way.
Some Sundays you'll strike the first chord of the first song, and it will strike an ever-flowing chord through the crowd and spawn an intense, emotional overflow of worship.
Some Sundays you'll strike the first chord of the first song, and you'll look out and realize that the crowd has formed an organized strike against corporate worship that day.
It's not always ideal, but it's real.
As a worship leader that cares about people beyond the emotion and expression that they bring to corporate worship, I've learned that if I want people to eventually experience the love and grace of Jesus in their life, I need to, in turn, give them love and grace in their journey toward freedom in worship.
I want them to get it. I want them to embrace freedom and express their adoration, because I know the power in it.
So, how do we see that happen, when it feels hopeless?
I'm writing this post, because God, once again, has been reminding me lately that if I want to truly lead worship, then I need to lead in worship.
I need to approach each Sunday with a heart so full of God that it will overflow in song, even if no one else is. I need to lead in worship if I want to truly lead worship.
It never fails. Every time that God reminds of this and I'm obedient, I see Him do amazing things in my church.
As worship leaders, we can't expect to take our crowd to a place we haven't been. My dad always told me that the only way you can give chicken pox to someone is if you have them first.
I need to lead the way. I need to lead in worship.
This is so important, because if I am authentic in my personal worship, that means that the Holy Spirit is leading me. When that happens, worship happens in me and God is leading worship through me.
"...no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit." - I Corinthians 12:3
The pressure is off at that point. The intensity of corporate worship isn't up to me anymore. It's based on and in God's power and not mine. There's a ton of freedom in that.
There's so many other things and people I can point the blame to...
..."This crowd is a bunch of shallow, consumer Christians!"
..."My church just doesn't get it!"
..."The pastor is limiting me!"
Like the saying goes, "To blame is to B - LAME."
When I truly worship God...when I truly am focused and recognizing His amazing presence, there is no distractions or limitations bigger than Him.
It's much easier to look out the window than it is to look in the mirror. What am I doing? How's my heart? How's my worship? These are the questions and areas that I need to tackle first, as a worship leader.
I need to lead in worship, before I can truly lead worship. God can do so much more than I can do in corporate worship and I need to make Him the Lord of my life as I lead others in worship.
This is something that God continues to remind me and teach me.
It never fails. Every time....it always goes back to me and my worship first.
The best leaders were at one time great followers.
As a worship leader, I need to lead in worship, which takes following the Holy Spirit.
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." - James 4:10
The next time I'm down, I need to kneel in His presence and lead in worship.