This guest blog is from my new friend, Kyle Cantrell. He is the worship leader at Falls Creek this week as well as Associate Pastor of Worship at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. Kyle read my blog called "Confessions of a frustrated preacher (when it comes to worship leaders)" and appreciated it. I jokingly asked him to write a "rebuttal" from the worship leaders point of view. He did and made some good points.
"This pre-service meeting is going so long! This speaker has to fill us in on every illustration and lay out his message in its entirety. For our part they just want to make sure we aren't doing any "new songs,” and that we know our time to hit before we get to the sermon, "the part of the service that matters.” I wish we could finish this meeting so I could spend time with the Lord alone before we lead these people into his presence. I wish they would value what I am doing! I wish this guy with 15 theological degrees remembered how to be with God and not just talk about Him!
So I confess, I've felt that way on many occasions; partly because it has been a real experience and partly because of lack of unity with some of the speakers I've worked with in past (with much of the blame on me). The reality is that I have worked with many speakers in the past who have not valued God's presence in worship. Many have come across as egotistical and only concerned with what they are doing. The interesting thing is that teaching and worship go hand in hand, and the places that are most vibrant are doing both well.
I believe that our understanding of worship is governed by what we know of the character of God. A false view of God will give a false tone to our worship. If we view God as a wrathful, disciplinarian we will approach him as such. If we view him as a loving God we approach Him in a totally different way. Without strong teaching and theology how can we worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH?
So what can I do as a worship leader to help this situation?
First off is to HONOR my leadership! In my church I honor my pastor and submit to him. It is his vision I serve, not my own. Not that I'm a robot who can't bring value to the vision, but as Worship Pastors we are to come alongside our leadership and support what God has called US to do through our pastor.
Second, I must make sure there is substance and strong theology in what I do. Let's face it: we as worship leaders have been misrepresented by some less theologically sound guys with guitars and skinny jeans. We have to be intentional about the lyrics we sing, the prayers we pray, and about leading people in Christ-centered, Bible-focused worship.
Lastly, be a servant! Jesus came to serve, not be served. Just because you are on a stage with some cheap lights pointed at you doesn't make you a big deal! Worship leaders need to serve their pastors, the people they lead, and their band. The day of the rock star worship leader is long gone.
We exist for God. We exist to magnify God, to reflect Him, to reveal Him. How do we do that? How do we respond to God? God has uniquely gifted and anointed people to usher in His presence and lead people in the praise and worship of the King. Praise sets our hearts on things above. It takes our focus off of ourselves and puts it on our Creator. When we meet with Him, we are changed.
Let's let worship and the Word work in unity to share and worship the whole truth of who God is!"