Confessions of a Former Worship Leader

Kevin Carr explains why he left corporate worship:

Corporate worship, about two years ago I walked away from it. Praise music on Sundays, youth on Wednesdays—after years and years, I said goodbye to it all. I didn’t loose faith, nor did I sin my way into shame, I just burned out. My feelings, my doubts, the weight of it all just bubbled up.

Like so many others before me, I was hurt by the church and left because of it. Hurt, though, is part of any relationship; it’s what we sign up for. As time went on, I realized my hiatus was less about mending hurt feelings and more about uncovering hidden ones.

This blog offers some food for thought about worship. Issues that bug me, stuff I’ve come to terms with. While I don’t wish to offend anybody, I do wish to start a conversation. So, here it goes.

This Isn’t a Concert?

Worship leaders deal with a lot of weird stuff. There’s this pressure, this weight. We’re told that God is the priority, that Jesus is the reason. “It’s not a performance,” we’re told. “It’s a Godcert.”

Then, we’re given a microphone and put under lights. We’re in a room, with a stage, built like a performance center. Songwriters exist in just about every church, yet only Top 40s worship is allowed. Keep the drums low, pick familiar songs, fill your time slot.

Isn’t worship so freeing! No, no, not really.

Since Christian musicians can’t call what they do a concert, or performance, or take any credit, they look for confirmation where they can get it. In my day, I’d count raised hands, or note those having an “experience.” Every worship leader does this. They’re lying if they say they don’t. The problem with this system is that we inevitably pander our services towards gaining such responses, both consciously and subconsciously.

Things get shallow, fast.

Continue reading.


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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