So how do we keep worshiping in the face of that, when all we want to do is roll our eyes…

Do you know the official term for a group of alligators? Congregation.

As a former worship leader, I remember the cruelest email I ever received from someone in the congregation. No, it’s not the reason I’m a former worship leader. And I’m not scarred for life. In fact, when I tell the story, it’s usually with an incredulous laugh. I still can’t believe anyone could be that obnoxious.

We don’t expect that in church, but maybe we should. Because in church, there are messed up, selfish, insensitive people who have been well-trained by our ME culture to want what they want. And when they don’t get it, they squawk.

OK, I’ve delayed long enough… here it is:

Dear Worship Leader,

During your worship set this morning, I prayed for a power outage.

Yes, it was a real email that someone really sent. And yes, that person had an agenda. They usually do.

So how do we keep worshiping in the face of that, when all we want to do is roll our eyes, shake our head and just lash back at someone?

Maybe a passage of scripture will help. I’d advise you not to go immediately to the “pearls before swine” passage. Better suggestions might be “…be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” [Matthew 10:16] or “…do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” [Micah 6:8]

The biggest problem with cruel emails is not the sting to our egos. The biggest problem is that these emails may cause us to instinctively bristle at any further critiques. Even heartfelt, well-meaning ones from people who really do love us. Because in church, there are also truly loving, caring wonderful people who have our best interest at heart and who are touched deeply each week by the Spirit of God through what
we do.

It’s all a messy, beautiful mix. That’s church. The Bride that Jesus loves with all His heart. So serve your people well. Love them well. Remain open to honest critiques. Filter out the mean-spirited, agenda-driven ones. Be wise as serpents. Harmless as doves. Do justly. Love mercy. And walk humbly with your God.

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