It’s a given that nobody will ever "arrive" as a worship leader. But if you or someone under you is responsible for weekly worship and is displaying several "worship performer" characteristics, some decisions must be made and made quickly. Corporate worship is the single, most life-impacting activity of the church. Are we going to sabotage God’s work just because we don’t have the courage to face reality?

And the reality is this: before any of us can engage people in the authentic, interactive adoration of God, we must first of all become worshipers. That may mean stepping down off the platform and getting our lives in sync with God. It may mean sitting in the pew and learning how to worship for the very first time.

One of the distinctive features of the contemporary worship movement around the world is worship teams. The trend toward teams is found in small and large churches, in both traditional and contemporary settings.

In the early years of my ministry, when we started Coast Hills Community Church from the ground floor, I didn’t understand the value of teams. I thought that being a leader meant working hard and being responsible for everything. I didn’t understand then that my ultimate goal as a leader is to equip others for ministry, not to be a doer of ministry. But as I studied the scriptures and watched effective leaders, I learned that my role is not at the forefront of ministry, but to identify those who can minister and equip them to be effective leaders. Hebrews 10:24-25 is a favorite passage of mine: "Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

Perhaps the best defense against ministry burnout is continuous learning and growth at the theological level. It is commonplace for ministry professionals, especially music ministers, to play down the importance of theology. Many worship leaders tell me, "theology is irrelevant to me. I need practical stuff." But how irrelevant is theological understanding, really? Several years ago, Ray Anderson of Fuller Seminary wrote that "clergy burnout is a symptom of theological amnesia. Many pastors and ministry professionals discover only too late that deeper theological roots might have prevented pain and frustration.

Not long ago I attended a workshop taught by a veteran contemporary worship leader, in his current position for twelve years. At one point he mentioned that several other worship leaders began their ministries at about the same time as he did. Painfully he recounted how one after another dropped out of ministry due to extra-marital affairs, divorces, burnout, or an inability to lead and manage effectively. Of the several he began with, only two were still in their positions.

Few worship leaders think their current job will be a short-term ministry or that their careers will be a series of brief stints marked by crisis, conflict and burnout. Yet this pattern is increasingly common. Why is this happening?

Teil 8 einer 8-teiligen Audio-Seminarreihe unter dem Titel "Discover the Worship World"

Berufung und Bewährung des Leiters
Der Anbetungsleiter als Hirte, Kämpfer, Diener und Leiter
Vom Umgang mit Widerstand, Neid und geistlichem Kampf

© G. Baltes / T. Schröder

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