Someone else’s turn
The other day my daughter led worship, and again she did a great job.
Her song choice was good; her song order was well set out. However, some of the song arrangements were not the way I would have done them.
This of course was a test, not for my daughter but for me; I already said she did a great job. Everything went really well. So what was my problem?
One of the special privileges of being a worship leader is God's ability to use an individual's personality, taste and flavour in a worship service. This means that every worship leader should be unique in their leading. God has given us a unique personality as individual as our fingerprint. He has created us individual to be a unique blessing to this world.
In worship leading this is no different. God is not about cloning the "successful" worship leaders of this world, he never wanted me to be Phil Keaggy. If He did, I would be a really good guitarist. Instead He created me an average guitarist, with an anointing to lead people into His throne room through worship. People respond to the way I lead worship, because of my unique anointing. I can't expect the up and coming worship leader under my tutelage to imitate me in the way I lead (although imitation may be a compliment to my leading); I need to encourage them to find where the Spirit is leading them in their ministry. My ego would like nothing better than if there were a dozen or so mini Ericks running around leading worship just like I do. However I get the distinct feeling this would not go down terribly well in the heavens.
My challenge then, is as demanding as the young bird who is about to learn how to fly. I need to let my apprentice fly: not so I can watch her fail, I am there still and ever to back her up and take over if the situation demands it. No I need to let her find her wings. I need to enable her to find her unique anointing and empower her to pursue that calling in order to bless God and bless the house. In short, I need to learn to let go.
Worship Leaders with personality or Clones?
I was talking to a friend of mine recently who has been a successful worship leader for some decades. He is anointed in bringing the congregation into the throne room of the Most High. He has a unique style and uses a vast repertoire of songs. He was asked recently to lead worship in the church he has just started to attend. "no problem" said he and he proceeded to prepare his worship service. The music director then said to him that he could only do the songs which she sanctioned and those songs just happened to be a group of songs from one particular church and brand new, which meant he wasn't familiar with the songs or their arrangement. And in looking at the songs, he wasn't so sure that they would fit into his unique style of worship leading anyway. He put his case to his music director and in short she replied that he could only do the songs which she said he could do. Out of exasperation he replied: "You don't want a worship leader, you want a clone!" His music director was not prepared to let him go.
How many songs in your database?
Interestingly, another friend of mine is also a music director at a church, and he has no less than 6 worship leaders, each with their own team of musicians and backup singers. When I asked him how many songs he gives his worship leaders access to, he replied that he has about 460 songs in his data base, ranging from hymns to country and Western to modern day worship music. He told me that each of his worship leaders is so different in their approach that it adds a real unique flavour to the worship each Sunday.
He told me that one of his worship leaders loves hymns so she uses them a lot. One of the worship leaders is quite young, and so there's a lot of Planet Shakers songs in his leading, and so on: True worship with individual flavour which brings great variety to the worship service.
How to Let Go!
In letting go, I don't mean we let the new worship leaders "sink or swim" ; we are still teaching them in the art of leading and pastoral requirements like timing, sensitivity, when not to do a certain type of song; and technical aspects like flow, key change, etc.
There's a lot still for you to do, but do it sensitively and encourage your new worship leader to exercise their individuality. Most of all, let go the rope!
God bless you this week!
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