A few years ago, I was on staff at a church in a small, college town in Virginia. Our membership was made up of both college students and townies, but our worship team was strictly college students. There was nothing intentional behind building a worship team that only had college students involved; but that’s just how it happened. Maybe it’s because I was in college and I attracted people my age or maybe it’s because I was just a terrible leader that didn’t see the necessity of having older, wiser believers involved in our ministry. Either way, it didn’t take long for us to put together a tight-knit band of six people that were tasked with leading worship every Sunday. We were becoming best friends and getting to that point where everything would just ﬂow so naturally on stage. We were in step together and completely on the same page when it came to leading worship. This time period was amazing until Jesus started doing something we weren’t ready for…growing His church.
As our church grew, more and more people wanted to serve on the music team. It was a season when talented musicians who loved Jesus were rushing through our doors and into our small groups. I’ll never forget the ﬁrst “new musician” that we brought into the group. I told one of our members that we were going to give her the week off so that another girl could step in and lead with us. The response was enlightening: “Wait, what? Are you serious? I thought that was my role!?”
To be honest, we’ve all probably felt this at some point or another. I was a really good basketball player in elementary school, but in 8th grade “my role” went from being a starter to being a kid that fought for minutes. Growing up, my friends and I would spend all day after school playing basketball in the driveway until it got dark outside. Every week was owned by practice, sweat and suicide sprints, but I kept doing it because I knew that it would help me “earn” my spot in the starting lineup. In the same way, we are so quick to build up a sense of entitlement in our worship leading. We think that we have the right to stand on that stage and lead our church families in worship because we _______________ (your reasons here). Maybe it’s because we have degrees in music or touring experience. Maybe it’s because we’re mini-theologians. Maybe it’s because we’ve been here longer than anyone else. Or maybe it’s just because we think that this is our position and that it won’t get done if we don’t do it.
The truth is that God hasn’t asked us to do something that He can’t do on His own. God is worthy of worship just as He is and He will be praised and exalted by His people, even if they don’t have a polished and trendy worship team leading them.What you and your team members need to remember is that our worship leading is our act of worship. We’re so quick to allow being in the limelight and the praise that we receive from our congregation to invade our hearts and draw them away from Jesus and to ourselves. Our wicked, self-serving hearts will eat this stuff up and end up sending us down a long road of idolatry and entitlement. Because people say we “did a great job,” we will believe that we actually deserve to be on that stage leading our people, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. We deserve death because of our sin, but Jesus saved us from that. Jesus saved us so that we could turn from our idols, to Him and to serve Him and His church.
We were not saved so that we could rob Jesus of the worship that He deserves in our lives and in our churches. Worship leader, repent and turn back to Jesus. You’re not entitled to your position, you’re entitled to a relationship with Jesus that consists of continual repentance and faith. Let your worship ﬂow through repentance and grace, not through the praises of man or your role on the team. It’s a daily battle, so make repentance a part of your daily relationship with Jesus.