I think the first thing to realise here is that you’re not on your own if you don’t feel totally prepared or right with God. Often when I lead worship I feel so inadequate. Sometimes as I’m about to lead I’m convicted of a wrong attitude or an inappropriate comment. However we must realise that we don’t draw near to God because we’re good enough. We come because through the blood of Jesus a way has been made to come before the Father. We can now boldly approach the throne. I find this truth incredibly liberating. For me if I’m aware of anything that is not right in my life before God I will ask His forgiveness. When you prepare to lead ask God to search your heart and then spend time getting right before God. Then go for it. Step out and lead God’s people in worship.
The other reality is that sometimes we don’t feel like leading worship. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe you feel distant from God. At these times we have to chose to worship. God is worthy and all deserving of our worship at all times. If you are struggling long term and have felt it’s been a constant battle to lead worship then perhaps it would be appropriate to talk to your pastor.
Great thoughts, Tim. I would add that I think the most dangerous times for a worship leader is when we feel totally prepared and totally confident that we can pull it off. Leading musical worship is a big deal and should be approached as such.
There have been times when I was empty and exhausted. At those times I knew I could only lead the people so far and hoped that they would go on without me. I think that is possible. I can remember some instances where I was just leading and thinking "this is as far as I can go guys. I will lead the best I know how, you go on. Don’t wait for me."
Thanks Tim for sharing your thoughts. Thanks also for some great songs!