It’s interesting to me that musicians are naturally drawn to be on the stage. There’s something about the affirmation and adulation that becomes part of the experience, and for many it’s truly like a drug. It’s a human condition that we derive some of our identity and security from what we do, and it’s certainly not wrong that we enjoy what we do. But the more associated we become with it the harder it is to separate ourselves from it. It should never be who we are at the core, and if it becomes so… God will always reveal it and deal with it as idolatry when we are genuinely seeking Him.
Our faith in and walk with God is a journey filled with grace as we transform more and more into His likeness, and that is what He’s after. So all along the way we are growing and changing. One of the biggest changes I’ve noted is the moment when a light goes off and we begin not to need to be on stage or to receive other’s praise for what we do in order to feel good about it.
If you’re in a pop band you in essence spend half your career developing a vibe, a look, a sound—an identity, all in order to be immediately recognizable and stand out. It’s part of the marketing associated with artistry. Though there are the few that stand out as being just who they are, like them or not, by in large the ones we all come to know as stars and icons normally get there because there are a lot of $ and effort put into developing the product.
It’s completely understandable that in our humanity we bring many of the ways of the world with us into worship, but it’s exactly the opposite of the Kingdom of God, which is what we seek first. The process of being sanctified through the work of the Holy Spirit is ever present. Yes, we’ve been made worthy to enter the presence of God once and for all, but the work of being changed from glory to glory is ongoing.
We’ve had to deal with hurt feelings for years because people were either not being asked to be on teams or were offended that we didn’t make room for them. There’s truly a whole culture in The Church at large that believe they have the right to serve wherever and however they wish, and an expectation that it is the leaderships responsibility and job to make room for them. That is not a Jesus model of leadership, and many a ministry have run themselves to death trying to operate this way.
For our church in particular we decided we are not going to grow our worship ministry using a cattle call model, meaning any and all are welcome to join. For starters we’re not staffed for that, nor do we feel that’s God’s best for us. Instead, we emphasize relationships and the organic nature of how leaders and teams develop and evolve. In other words we don’t have a real program for you to enter into, but that doesn’t mean we don’t lead and serve. It’s taken awhile for some to get used to it, especially those that were used to being in rotation. For some of our people it filled a real need in them to be on the platform as often as possible.
Again, the point is not to police and judge the motives of others hearts, and certainly not to fault anyone for desiring to serve in worship. Instead it’s to acknowledge that the worship stage is very different than the performance stage. The more we need to be on it in order to feel fulfilled or used, the more we may honestly need an overhaul in our understanding of what worship is really about!