Editor’s note: Yet another backlash article about Rock Star Worship Leaders. Joseph Mattera has come to the conclusion that many involved in Christian worship seem to have a very superficial relationship with the Lord and His Church.
The past several years there has been no shortage of prominent contemporary Christian leaders denouncing Christ either with their words or their actions. One time I ministered to a young man involved in the gospel music scene, and he confided in me that he almost lost his faith because of what he experienced when he went on tour with a band. (He said other gospel music performers regularly propositioned him!)
That being said, as a pastor and trans-local minister for more than three decades, I have come to the conclusion that many involved in Christian worship seem to have a very superficial relationship with the Lord and His Church. (I thank God we have had a strong process for ministry involvement in our local congregation. Hence, we usually have worship leaders with a solid walk with the Lord.)
Also, I write this in the context as one who was a professional musician who served on the worship team of our local church for more than twenty-five years.
The following are some of the reasons I believe why many worship performers are spiritually bankrupt:
(Based on my personal observation, not based on hard data)
1. Many are hirelings and not committed members to one church.
I have been shocked and dismayed to see how many large churches just hire out their worship team members, even if they are not committed Christians and/or committed to their local church. Consequently, when a gifted singer or musician first comes to Christ, they are sucked into a culture of play for pay and go where the dollars are rather than where the Lord is truly leading them.
2. Pastors do not enforce the same standards upon talented singers and musicians.
Many pastors turn the other way when it comes to the immoral or unethical behavior of their most talented musicians and singers. The reason for this is obvious, these performers help draw crowds into their congregation.
3. Often talented people get ahead without being deeply rooted in Christ.
Many people in this field find they get promoted, idolized and celebrated in their church merely because of their talent. Consequently, they have a superficial lifestyle and rarely see the need to die to self, seek God, and allow God to penetrate their soul.
4. Gifted Christian performers are idolized in the church.
We, evangelicals, have created a culture of entertainment that empowers and promotes the most gifted among us. These very gifted singers and performers are admired and celebrated for their abilities in a way that is not different from “The Voice” or “American Idol”. With all this adulation in the environment, it is no surprise that many Christian bands and performers are lifted up with pride and never mature in their faith.
5. The focus of worship is more about them than about Jesus.
The church usually puts talented singers and performers front and center during Sunday services. Hence, a service is largely judged by how good the band performed. This is the kind of setting that engenders man worship instead of Jesus worship. Worship leaders and performers often have big egos to match their talent and many erroneously (subconsciously) think that the service is all about them.