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Oct 02

Fire the Worship Leader!

I’ve been thinking about firing myself lately (not that I’m sure that’s possible). I just don’t want to be a worship leader anymore…seriously!

Well, maybe I should explain. I actually don’t have a concrete title here at Nags Head Church…when I came, I was looking for something other than "Worship Leader", but we never really settled on anything. Most people in our church would call me "worship leader" if you asked them who I was, and I typically tell people that "I’m in charge of worship and the creative arts" when they ask what my title is.

But, while I’m not crazy about the title, I have always seen myself as a worship leader…somebody who helps to lead the worship (musical and other). But, lately, I’ve been thinking that this description really doesn’t fly with me. Here’s why:

To be a leader of people, one must have followers.

A follower is basically somebody who waits to do anything until they’re told how, what, when, etc. to do it. At NHC, we do our best to free people from tradition and ritual so that they can truly worship God as freely as they are willing and able. To call myself (or anyone else) a worship leader is to perpetuate the idea that worship happens when and how I say it happens…that’s not what we want.

We believe that God desires NHC to be a church full of leaders…worship leaders, ministry leaders, giving leaders, mercy leaders, community leaders, etc. Of course, there are healthy, Biblical parameters that guide how and when and where we do things as believers in Christ, but we want to equip and release people to be free and creative to take responsibility (with God in control) of their own lives.

I should be constantly reminding our band, through what I say and how I "lead" that, not only on the stage, but every time they find themselves in any kind of group situation, they have the potential to be a worship leader. And, it doesn’t have to be musical worship…anything we think, say or do that brings glory to God can and should be an act of worship.

My vision for our congregational worship is to see each person bringing their own personal worship to our corporate gatherings, adding their individual voice to the song, and then, turning around and taking the worship they experienced during our time together back out into their day-to-day lives. Can you imagine what it might be like if this took place every week at your church? I can tell you one thing…my job as a worship leader would become a whole lot easier (and maybe even pointless).

My goal on Sunday morning, as I explain to our band and our attenders on a regular basis, is to simply get the ball rolling and then step out of the way. There is nothing more exciting for me, as a person helping to lead corporate worship, to see people off the stage taking the step, whether consciously or not, to be worship leaders. It’s a powerful thing to watch one undignified worshipper change the atmosphere of a worship gathering by, without any prompting from me, standing, kneeling, clapping, shouting, singing, lifting their hands, or closing their eyes…they’re never left alone for long, as others see their example and join them.

So, what do you think? Have you ever considered what your roll as a "worship leader" is really all about, and if that title is really the best description? Have you ever thought that you might be trying to teach people to worship one way while subliminally communicating something else by the lingo you use?


If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read the other posts in the Rethinking "Worship" series:

Terminate the Worship Team!

Death to the Worship Service!

Burn the Sanctuary!