For those who are called by God to lead His people into His presence, they are called among the ranks with the Levites of old. The Levites were a proud and respected tribe of the Israelites who took their responsibilities seriously. They carried their calling, as priests and leaders into God’s presence, with honor. They served God in this way with dignity. They recognized the privilege of being entrusted by God to show others Him, without themselves getting in the way. Being identified with the Levites, today’s worship leaders should do the same. However, being born of flesh – with a sin-nature – we often need to be reminded that worship is not about us.
Fact is, worship leading is not about our talent, our ability, or how well we can perform. Leading worship is not about our level of performance at all. At least it shouldn’t be. There is a vast difference in musical performance and leading worship through music. It’s not about talent, but it IS about giftedness.
We’ve all seen many a singer and/or musician who had incredible talent yet were not gifted by God to lead others in true worship. Their talent is what carried them to the stage, yet without His gifting and Spirit, the music never carries any farther. They sing well. Play well. Look great. Sound great. Yet things feel cold, unconnected, and the same as if attending a great concert at the local arena. It can be a great performance that widens the eyes and inspires the listeners to clap their hands and tap their feet, but never reaches the hearts and souls of the hearers. Without the heart of worship then the “sing with me” part of any given church service can be a great performance, but it is about the musician, and not about the God who designed music to be a tool for worshiping Him.
On the flip side – we’ve all also seen singers/musicians who come to lead others into worship and are unemotional, apathetic, and sloppy. This is as ineffective and man-focused as attention-seeking performers. Those who truly have a heart of worship, who bear the responsibility of leading others into worship, should recognize it as a privilege and carry themselves as such.
Muscians who sit – or stand – behind their microphones and/or instruments each week, mandated to lead others into the presence of God should carry themselves with dignity. Honor. Excellence. The appearance of apathy, disheveled attire (or hair and make-up), rolling eyes, stifled yawns, and distracted texting (or side conversations) during scripture readings or prayer draws attention to the lack of respect these “leaders” have for the honored position of guiding others into the presence of an Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Loving God of the Universe. Those who enter the stage late, unmotivated and unrehearsed, would serve Him better by staying at home… or better – sitting in the congregation and recovering their passion and pride for Him and His presence.
Leading others in worship should be considered an awe-filled privilege – to be counted among the ranks of the Levites. If it is not, perhaps it is time to take some time and rediscover your passion and calling. Else you cannot lead others into that place of reverential wonder. If it is more about your being in the spotlight than about you diminishing and Him being magnified, perhaps it is time to step out of the limelight and get back to the heart of worship.
Leading worship is so not about you. It is ONLY about Him.