“The Problem With Worship Leaders”

I recently stumbled across a post on the Reforming Baptist blog from a couple of years back called “What Bothers Me About Worship Leaders”. I’m sure the guy who writes the blog is a super nice guy and if we were having lunch we’d probably have a good conversation. This is not me finding a blog another Christian brother wrote and ripping on him or his position on my blog. The concerns he raises are one’s I’ve heard other places and I think they’re worth addressing. The truth is that, aside from his 1st point, all of his concerns have some validity, and he’s expressed them better than most. I think they’re points worth addressing. You can read the original post HERE

1. THE POSISTION OF WORSHIP LEADER IS A MODERN INVENTION

This isn’t on his list but it is found in his opening paragraph and it’s something you hear every so often from certain corners of the Church. The concept of a worship leader isn’t a new thing, no matter what anyone says. There have always been people who God has called and gifted with talents in writing and creating art and song for the purpose of delclaring the praise of God. It has looked different over the years, but the intent has generally been the same. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant of history or is just basing their statement on the relatively recent history of their tribe of churches. WorshipLeader has a quick run down of the “History of Worship Leading” HERE.

That being said, even if the position of Worship Leaders were a modern invention, that doesn’t mean that they are wrong or evil. A “missions pastor” is a new invention, but a church being orgainized and intetional about missions isn’t bad right? What about an “Outreach Pastor” or a church IT guy? Let’s not forget my current position of College and Youth Pastor. Those are all new positions that have been created out of cultural need or an attempt to have better or more effective organization. All are new, none of them, on their own, are bad.

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Personal Vs. Corporate Worship Pt. 1: The Church As A Whole

A while back, I had a conversation with a lady from another church. When she found out I was a worship leader, she asked what worship music I listen to during the week? It’s kind of a tricky question to answer. I find the hip-hop of artists like Lecrae and Thi’sl to be very worshipful. I find that I worship Jesus to heavy metal bands like August Burns Red and War of Ages. But I really doubt that this very nice older lady would find any of these artists helpful for her. I also doubt that the heavy metal or rap worship would go over well at my church.

Why? Because the question of what worship music I listen to is a question of personal worship. This is the music that I listen to on my own that helps me to worship Jesus and turn my heart and mind towards God. What about when it’s not just me, but a whole church full of people? What music and expression should we use towards the same ends. The problem we come to is when confuse personal worship with corporate worship.

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Worship Provides Us With The Chance To Love Another

Whether you know it or not, music in the church has a long history of being a contentious subject. Younger generations think they’ve finally figured it out. Older generations forget that all the complaints they make about the young worship leaders were made about them when they were that age. Is the music of the church “worldly” or “sacred”. Did you know that all of the “church instruments” from the acoustic guitar, to the piano, to the pipe organ to the church singing all at once were at one time or another considered “worldly” or “corrupt”?

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Monoliths

By and large a church’s expression in worship (song, art, prayer, etc) will tend to be monolithic. It has been established by the founding generation who see no reason to change things, and say “wrong if you think otherwise”. Perhaps the style of the church is controlled by a new generation who came, conquered, and put the old ones adrift on an ice berg.

Neither of these are good scenarios.

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