It occurs to me when I walk into most Pentecostal churches and the music is playing and the team is up the front doing their "stuff" that the average age of those presenting the worship is mid- to late twenties. (At least they all look very young to an over- forty -year-old!). I look at this sight and it causes me to ponder: Am I too old to lead worship?
The First time I was Too Old
The first time I ever felt like I was too old was about ten or twelve years ago. My wife and I had just made a decision that it was time to leave the church which we had been a part of for the past 5 years to help a friend launch a new church at another end of town.
Our friend was in his early twenties and he gathered around him a number of other young people as well as some middle aged couples (of which we were a part).
I initially joined our young friend to help with the worship team, and though he frequently asked me to play guitar for him, he only once asked me to lead the Worship. This "rejection" of my abilities and anointing really messed with my head and brought much self-doubt into my thinking. I felt all of a sudden that the Worship Leading ship had sailed, and I wasn't on it, I was too old.
The thought of being too old when I was just about to turn forty, really shook my confidence. I became very unsure of myself and what God had planned for me for the rest of my life. I couldn't believe that I could be dropped so quickly and so unceremoniously from being a Worship Leader one week to a has-been the next.
I’m Not Ready, I’m Not Too Old!
I went to God on this matter and complained bitterly. Surely this wasn't the end? Surely I wasn't to be relegated to the pews for the next 60 years without any musical input? (I plan to live to at least 100).
God showed me that he wasn't finished with me yet. One of my favourite Worship Leaders in the world is Robin Mark of Revival in Belfast fame. I have a number of his records and was privileged some years ago to attend a meeting in which he led Worship. God showed me that he is one of a number of Worship leaders in the world who have been around a while and fall among the Not-so-young. This was greatly encouraging to me, especially at that time.
It was in the midst of my turmoil that I visited a local Anglican church one afternoon and the priest asked me if I would be interested in helping him out with the music once in a while. His only musician had busted up with her husband and left the church and he was desperate. Well, we were an answer to each other's prayers. He had a need for a musician and I needed an outlet. I said I would love to help him out. The next week I turned up and did the music for him and for the first time in a while I felt truly appreciated for what I brought to that church. The priest came to me at the end of the service and said:" That was great Erick! I really would like you to pray about coming to help us out once a month to do the music at our church. " My response was that I wouldn't have to pray about that, I would love to come and help once a month! "In that case," he said, "I would like you to pray about coming once a fortnight!" We were hooked! I had instantly gone from being retired to being the main event. Not only that, but we were a package deal. My wife is a singer as are our daughters. One of them played keyboards and in time our son joined the team to play drums. Moreover, we had gone from being the oldest people in the Church to the youngest. God is Good!
I became the music director at that church and we saw the church double in size over the next 5 years, with many young families joining our fellowship. It was a great time for us as a family and for me personally as a worship leader. We were more than tolerated, we were celebrated!
The Next Step in The Journey
Why do I tell this story? For this reason: if you feel like you are too old to lead worship, God may just be preparing you for the next place. Worship leading is not about age, it is about relevance. If you can bring the anointing to the fellowship, using songs that appeal to all generations across the church, including some of the great new songs that are constantly being released then you are not too old to lead worship.
Let me say here too, in my humble opinion, worship leading is not about conforming to and following the latest trends in what songs are being recently released. It is about following YOUR anointing. I said before we are to remain relevant to our audience/ congregation. But this mustn’t be constrained to the latest releases. A good friend of mine is music director of a large church with 7 music teams and worship-leaders. He tells me the one thing that keeps the worship fresh and alive in his church is the variety that each individual worship-leader brings. Not one of the worship leaders is a copy of anyone else. Each one brings something unique. That is God. He gives each of us a unique set of fingerprints. He wants us to be different, that's how He created us. Let's use that individuality to His glory in leading worship too.
When are you too old? When you decide you are...And I figure on leaving that decision until I'm in my late eighties.
Have a great week.
Thank you for your encouraging post. I've been leading worship for 28 years and it didn't dawn on me until just recently that I might be perceived differently than I was years ago. I am a 56 year old female and although my husband is the pastor of our church and my position is somewhat "secure", I don't want to become old fashioned in my craft . I don't like the shallow trends I see in worship today and have a strong conviction to find and introduce to our church Biblically rich worship songs and modern hymns. I like many styles but the lyrics have to be God centered. So because I haven't bought into the pop worship, man centered trend I may be perceived as "old". Heck, I am old (I guess) but who cares. I can still sing and play with the best of em and I have a young sound. My husband and I were just talking about this and I think as "older" worship leaders we need to make an extra effort to be musically relevant but not compromise on content. We need to cater to all the ages within our congregation not just the youth. We are to serve all of them not just our musical preferences. We need to be mentors to the younger up and coming worship leaders and musicians and incorporate them into our ministries. A church where all ages are seen serving together is the ideal. Thank you for this subject. It needs to be talked about and seen through the lens of scripture.ReplyDelete
I have to be honest. I just googled am I too old to be a worship leader and it led me to this blog. I thank God that he led me to your blog and thank you for writing this. This has just recently come up at our church. We had a dinner meeting on Tuesday and they basically said to those of us who were older that maybe it is time to start thinking about heading north leaving more room for the younger people to be on the team. We do have 3 services at the main building and one service on the beach. I am a vocalist but at the beach I lead with my husband. I always read scripture and give a testimony when God has put it on my heart. I have been told the elders that God is using me big time down at the beach. The meeting this week threw me and others who are older for a loop. We were then sent an email letting us know only the young people would be on the team at our upcoming Women's Retreat. The thing that I love to do has brought me to a week of tears. I am seeking God with all my heart trying to understand this. I am so young at heart. My husband has long hair and a beard and everybody loves him. We are kind of a cool older couple and some times I forget that I am that old. I love to ski and keep in shape by running. People come up to me after worship and tell me that I helped them to worship because they can see how passionate I am while I am worshiping. I am praying that this will all work out but maybe it is time to move on after the 17 years I have spent at this church. I cannot even fathom that but if they want us older people to head North maybe there is a place to the North that needs an older contemporary couple to lead worship. May God continue to bless you at your new church.ReplyDelete