Craig Gilbert

Worship in Worship

Craig Gilbert asks: As a worship leader, how much worship can I actually do while leading?

I was asked this question: As a worship leader, how much worship can I actually do while leading? It seems like my mind is always on the band, or the flow, or the time, or something other than worship. Aren’t I supposed to be worshiping the Lord up there? What a great question. I thought and prayed for a long time before I decided it was time to tackle this one. Before I get going, just a heads up to those who may be new to these articles: I am a working worship leader of more than 20 years and I believe in speaking straight; no generalities couched in “spiritual lingo.” So if reading a straight, honest, from the heart point of view makes you nervous, you might want to skip this one. Sometimes I get kind of elaborate, almost academic in my answers. Not this time. The answer to this question is too important. So I will keep it honest and conversational.

I have heard many worship leaders speak on this issue and there are several points of view. It is so interesting that these points of view can be so contradictory. On the one hand we are supposed to lead by doing, so obviously all of our attention should be focused on our own relationship with God and Christ as expressed in our music and leadership. BUT, if we get too wrapped up in our worship that is bad because then no one can follow us. BUT, if we work really hard on making what is happening on our platforms accessible to our congregations and we don’t feel like we are worshiping, well then that is bad because now we are not leading by example. Now add to that all of the noise surrounding scriptures calling us to excellence and practice as was the Levites call, AND YET, we are supposed to be loving and accepting to all as Jesus said, so that could mean we have people on the platform who need to be nurtured and who might make mistakes that distract us. Now of course we can add the pressure of a pastor who is not the ideal partner to us, or a congregation who is not receptive to what we do no matter how well and inclusive it is done, and, well friend, you have a recipe for questioning yourself, not just the amount and quality of your worship on the platform, but in all aspects of your leadership responsibilities. So why does this hit us so hard?

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