My husband said that I should blog about my recent experience as a temporary worship leader at my church.
This is a pretty fresh subject for me at the moment, and I’m not really sure I can sort it out enough to write about it just yet, but I’ll try.
Basically, the story goes like this:
Girl (me) learns to play guitar at 17. Loves to sing. Scattered experience leading worship over the years including Bible studies, mission trips, and rarely leading for church service. But mainly just loves to worship alone or with hubby or sisters.
Over the years girl starts to feel pretty wary of being a worship leader. Doesn’t want to get caught up in the science of leading worship well. Wants to worship whole heartedly. Afraid of self-worship.
Girl is not serving at church and wrestling with that fact. Struggling to know how to serve with nursing baby and tantrum-prone toddler. Some one is always either napping or nursing.
Worship leader at church leaves and there is a huge need for both an interim and a permanent worship leader. Girl prays for a new leader and doesn’t consider filling in. After all, the Lord knows she has no idea how she could pull it off.
A couple people close to girl challenge her to consider serving by leading worship. Girl reminded gently by sister that gifts are given by the Lord to bless the Body of Christ. Girl prays about and considers it, and because she feels like she ought to, she brings it up to hubby. Hubby also has no idea how it would work out with the kids. Subject shelved for the time being.
Holy Spirit proceeds to “nudge” girl about it. Girl goes to hubby again and asks him to pray about. All the while, girl is uncertain that she is even fit to lead worship. It’s not like she’s had much time to play her guitar in the last 2 years….
Hubby decides to move forward on it and goes directly to Senior pastor at church. Girl is dumbfounded by that. Pastor calls girl to discuss it. Girl begins to lead worship.
Girl leads worship, out of obedience only. Girl ends up enjoying it much more than she ever thought possible. However, she also learns some lessons (more about that below).
Full time worship pastor hired, and he will start next Sunday. Girl is overjoyed to not be leading anymore!
So that’s the story. As I’ve shared in my Day 1 post, I’m a people-pleaser. And not only that, but one with rather thin skin sometimes. I wish I had thicker skin, but if it’s going to happen without bitterness, it has to be a process that can only take place as I choose to listen to truth and through the Lord working in me.
Serving as a worship leader definitely exposed some of my unrest over the idea of displeasing people. Our church is small and it’s not uncommon to get immediate feedback. Although the feedback was usually positive, there were definitely suggestions. Occasionally the suggestions were not presented to me in the gentlest manner. The Lord reminded me that my aim was to please and praise Him — no one else. At the same time, I also wanted to help our congregation move into a place of worship as quickly as possible and not be distracted in any way. I learned to listen to and consider suggestions but to also be able to say “sorry” if it meant that I would not be able to lead well. This was not easy for me.
We also had all kinds of sound issues and I learned a lot about that – what a time sucker that can be! There were many times that singing a capella without worrying about mics, guitar pick ups, or words on a screen sounded heavenly to me. I reminded myself often that we could easily be worshiping in another country with none of those things (or with A/C!) and be just as content and joyful while worshiping the Lord. Sometimes, I wished we could scrap it all just for the sake of remembering that worship is an act of obedience and not about whether or not we “felt” like worshiping.
One of my favorite songs that I played was the song Behold Our God (you can listen to it here). Such great, true lyrics that have resonated in my mind over the past few weeks. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed, I would think to myself “Behold our GOD! He is seated on the throne, and there is NOTHING too great or too hard for Him!” It was a reminder I needed constantly. And I think that is one of the perks of being a worship leader, if you happen to pick really great songs with good theology– the songs will minister to you throughout the week as you sing them while practicing.
In the end, I’m glad the Lord allowed the experience… but I’m also glad it’s over.