Confessions of a Former Worship Leader

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.

It’s not us, we say. It’s God. Then we pat ourselves on the back for having a good show, I mean set, I mean God is good, all the time.


This is the part of the conversation where someone reminds me that worship doesn’t have to be in musical form, in a church. I agree. In fact, I’d counter back and say that worship was never meant to be in musical form, in a church, but a life-long commitment. Singing in church, I believe, is just an act of unison between believers, an act of commodore.

Singing brings us together. It builds bridges. It reminds us of the hope we stake our claim in. It blurs out the differences and clarifies the similarities. It’s for us!

Why have we labeled it worship?

Fellowship, our meetings, is about loving and learning from each other in the name of Jesus. It’s about community, communion, and communication. It’s about learning HOW to worship.

There’s this individualistic “experience” in worship that everyone wants now. People my age flock to church in hopes of getting spiritually high so they can last another week. Ultimately, this is what pulled the plug for me.

We, us worship leaders, hypnotize our churches with chanting and self-indulgent “improvisation” until our congregations are blue in the face. We execute drum build-ups in musical bridges like clock-work—always before the last chorus—for a high user “experience” return rate. We have it down.

Then we say, “God did it,” and I punch a figurative hole in a figurative wall.

Rain Down on Me

The quality of Christian musicianship has never been better. It’s not uncommon for me to buy a CD from time to time. I’m not asking for churches to stop what they’re doing. I’m just saying we call it what it is, a Christian concert. No weird pressure, no mental breakdowns, no expectations. Let church be church and concerts be concerts. People can skip the concert if they want to and not be chastised for it.

After all, worshiping God is a life-long sacrifice, not a thirty minute music set. Washing feet, serving in love, praying for others, this worship is true.

Worship God on your own time.

What are your thoughts?

Further Reading:

Killing the Program: Further Thoughts on Worship

Please Support My Twitter Ministry

Please Support My Two Week Hawaiian Missions Trip



  1. Worship is both. In Hebrew there are two words that we translate worship. One means to bow down. The other, to serve. Over and over again they are used together. “Come let us worship and bow down.” “Worship the Lord, serve Him in His sanctuary.” etc. Both are used in both public and private setting. Corporate worship, including corporate worship through praise is an important and vital part of church life. I am sorry that for you it had devolved into nothing more than a performance.

    1. BJ, thanks so much for contributing. I think musical worship is important. Some seek an “experience,” others just want to simply sing as a family. I’m not saying we stop, I’m just saying we label a concert a concert, a show a show, and a meeting a meeting.

      It’s worth noting that either of the Hebrew definitions you brought up include music.

      1. I know where you are coming from Kevin, I am about to step down from worship leading after about 15 years. I have really struggled of late with the formulaic arranging of songs to get the best response from a congregation. It feels very manufactured like that. i find it much easier to sing/play in worship on my own. Some of my songs got published by a worship record label a few years back and it turned out to be a real problem for me. I wanted to write the next big worship hit, I got jealous when other people’s songs were chosen over mine. I would think about the money I could make out of worship songs. Maybe to some people this will sound like i am a selfish and ambitious person but i tell you it is very hard not to get into that mindset once you have a bit of “success.” 30 years ago the worship scene was much smaller and I think purer in lots of ways. Now everyone is writing songs and the big companies promote their worship stars! It would be just like the Lord to raise up some people who don’t really want to write and sell a big albums but simply want their songs to bless their own congregations but that their songs are so good that they go global without even trying. That’s what I’d like to see now – people who refuse to sell out like i did.

      2. Yes, for that, we would need to expand into the Hebrew concept of praise. Thousands of men in David’s day made music… praise… their full time paid career. It was definitely a part of the Temple “industry” during the years and kings that were doing it right.

    2. while having a conversation with a prominent figure in the denomination I grew up in , I pointed out that just about every one in my generation that I knew left the church either because they were born again and went to a more contemporary setting or just left all together. His answer was “of course they did, because of all the youth oriented churches that catered to the young.” My reply was, No. The message was different than what we grew up with. It is more about a daily sincere relationship with Christ rather than one of formality and tradition. And that simple message happened to be more appealing to the youth at a time. Musical worship can be of sincere communication rather than just another PR trick, to inspire emotion. Churches do create Marketing Monster Fakery that suck the life out of sincere communication with father. My suggestion, Find your OWN form of non performance musical communication with the father for now and get away from the Marketing machine. Been There.

      1. Have been on both sides of the equation. People must worship in an intimate private place with God before they ever put a foot in a sanctuary! Only then can they give proper attention to the Lord of all. It is too easy to use music to manipulate people into thinking they have had a spiritual connection with God. Worship begins and ends with the relationship between an individual and God himself. It does not require music in such a case but a mind prepared to yield to God’s desire and omnipotence! I am the drummer for the praise team, the pastors wife, and a long time worshiper. I still have to fight off the temptation to take credit for the presence of God falling into our midst. Long ago I learned you don’t touch God’s gold or his Glory. I pray that the congregation will have a true experience and not a manipulated one.

    3. “in his sanctuary”.

      The Body of Christ is His sanctuary.

      Worship… in Spirit and Truth. 🙂

      “the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands”.

      … “and when you pray do not be like the hypocrites…”


    4. I have been a worship leader on and off for 20 years. I have done this in four churches,gone to a lot of seminars, read a lot of books. I can tell you without any doubt that God totally transformed me and Worship when i stopped expecting to be paid for it. For many years i argued that we should be paid, and just 3 or 4 years ago i realized what problems that caused and roadblocks MONEY put in between God and myself. I refuse to take any more money for Worship to God. I know you all will try to justify it as i did for many years, im telling you what ive learned and you can agree or not. I never thought it was wrong for the vast majority of my time leading.

  2. Hey Kevin! First of all, I understand where you’re coming from. You’re right, all worship leaders feel the pressure to BE Chris Tomlin while leading the Chris Tomlin song. You know what’s crazy though? I just went to a, for real, Christ Tomlin “concert”–I paid for the ticket, it was at a “secular venue,” there was a professional light show–we called it what it was. But it felt like church to me, and I mean that in the best possible way. There was lots of opportunity to sing out, and even be heard while we sang (Chris led from just his acoustic for awhile), and most importantly, Louie Giglio preached the real, unadulterated gospel and that gave us all a REASON to sing. To me, that’s the difference between corporate worship and a concert.

    I’ve been to youth conferences where the worship leaders do all the same things Chris Tomlin did, but leave out the gospel. They flawlessly execute the songs/transitions/light show, but there’s no worship because there’s no Jesus.

    Okay I’ve gone on long enough, but one last thing. I’m very sorry that the church(es?/ministries?) you were leading worship for put that kind of pressure on you and didn’t help and guide you. I feel blessed to serve a church that isn’t expecting me to be a concert leader. So, I’m sorry you burned out, but I’m glad you still love Jesus 🙂

    1. Tricia, thank you for your kind words. I loved hearing about your experience at the Tomlin concert. I feel like that is a perfect example of what I mean! You showed up expecting a concert, having the right mind and heart for it. When I show up for church, I wish to learn about Jesus, interact with other followers, and possibly sing a few hymns. Why should I be forced to sit through thirty-forty minutes of rock’n worship? (I understand everybody’s church and style is different. This comment is directed towards Bethel/Hillsong style worship sets).

      As you mentioned, concerts without the Gospel are empty. I believe church without singing could also feel the same. They should never be completely separate.

      It’s hard for us (musicians) to understand that not everybody reacts to music in the same way. While musicians think there should be more music, there are plenty of people sitting and wondering, why is music the only way we worship?

      Also, (real quick), I really liked that twitter link you sent. That video shows my perfect “corporate worship” experience. Notice that they were in a small room, no stage, no lights, no rock n’roll band, just the people singing together? I don’t have a problem with “corporate singing,” I just have a problem when we turn it into a production and put unfair pressure on the congregation and the band to “worship.”

      1. I respect your opinion my fellow brother in Christ. Though, I do not think it is right to debate the “correct way to musically worship Jesus”. With no instruments from one side of the spectrum to those who draw close to him in what you call “self-indulgent improvisation” why does the way one musically worships matter to you at all. If what really matters anyway is washing feet, serving in love, praying for others why are different musical styles a “problem in the church” worth discussing.

        You ought to instead judge a fellow brother or local church body by it’s fruit and whether it is focusing on Jesus and glorifying his precepts. If they are solely focused on staff paychecks, stage design, having to have a certain length of musical worship, and various other material aspects then it is of the flesh and yes, that is wrong. But the Israelite’s many times used drum builds, trumpet blasts, silence, repetitions, singing, shouting, and numerous others displays to glorify God.

        What did Jesus mean when He said His people will worship in Spirit and Truth? Worship not based off of some certain way we are “supposed to worship” or one generation’s “form” of musical worship compared to another. (Jesus told the woman that in her circumstance worshiping on that hill or at the proper Jewish temple would no longer be the basis) But whether in a room alone, with others shouting and jumping with joy, in sober silence under the drone of an electronic synthesizer, with an organ or piano under hymns, proclaiming the Good News, being intoxicated by his love as in the Song of Solomon and not by the things of this world, reading aloud the Word, speaking in tongues, feeding the poor, healing the broken hearted in His name, laughter, or the giving of our finances, let it ALL be done to the glory of Jesus and beckon Him to return as we stand not as a lamp under a basket but as a shining city on a hill united as a body.

        May the day of unity and equity with all fellow brothers and sisters in Christ come quickly and personal opinions of truth become one as I am sure it is something every true lover of the almighty YHWH desires. Jesus is Lord.

        (I personally enjoy some Gaither Homecoming followed directly by spontaneous worship by Jesus Culture on my iTunes, but who am I to judge and what fruit do I seek to establish by displaying how much I don’t agree with another believer who is captured by a different flavor of “musical worship”. Every tribe, tongue, and nation will inhabit Heaven and fill it with generations of worship styles and it will be a beautiful sight glorifying Jesus, a sight my heart aches to see and be a part of)

      2. You could look into a Lutheran church with liturgical services. We sing God’s Word in the liturgy, and we sing hymns teach Christian doctrine and/or comfort us in this life.

      3. This hits me because recently I was told to do the same as you were and I feel too conformed to worship in a constrained way and it doesn’t feel right. I don’t want to stop singing yet I feel it’s pointless to continue in this way. Another singer came up and did a solo and suddenly some others were insulting the way I was singing and acting as if I should step down. But the Pastor told me there’s a stuggle for my position. I don’t even understand why that should be happening if everyone is allowing the worship to be Holy. I feel those who want to help lead should be helping lead rather then criticizing. And if I need to stop to allow for prayers at the Alter, it should be allowed. The pressure to perform seems like it’s taken away the reason I stepped up to begin with. I don’t know what I should be doing now. I asked for help and no one else seems to want to lead yet they want to be spot lighted for a song or two performance. It really seems unfair to me but I know it’s a spiritual struggle I should have been more prepared for.

      4. Sorry to hear about that. I am familiar with the criticism of the regular leader. The commitment to show and serve several hours on a Sunday typically are not appreciated. The grass is greener seems to be the order. “That other worship leader would be good” until that other worship leader is not new. Then the grass is greener starts to happen again. A respected friend and mentor of mine warned me of Churchianity. Now I serve with the full knowledge that I could be asked to step down at any time. I have become okay with that, in the Lord. I say give them the limelight. Jesus said, “They have their reward.” If any of us died today, many who we thought we knew, would not make our memorial because they were simply “too busy.” John Chapter 4 states in one of the verses that Jesus did not regard the opinion of man because He “knew what was in man.” (or something like that, read it you’ll see).

    2. I hear what you are saying here and agree. But I do wonder about which youth conferences you have gone to. Maybe its just that we serve in different circles but I ave served in youth ministry full time now for 20 years and have never once been to a conference where it felt like Jesus was left out. Even in music I didnt personally care for he was always central. This wasnt the case with every “christian concert by any means. But certainly every worship time has been focused around HIM. As to the article’s point….We need to continually examine all elements of a worship service. Whether it be our hearts as leaders, or the tools we use to lead the service…if something is not drawing us into humble worship of our King over all…and this minimizing self not maximizing it…its should be done away with.

    3. Yup,

      Worship is made up often of pop star wannabees. They will deny it till their dying day . I also feel some pride when i play. Maybe i should leave the worship team.

    4. Quite honestly i think that every worship team member has pride. If they deny it they re lying.
      I stay away from worship “concerts’ becoz of this, Chris Tomlin Michael w Smith, the whole lot of them. They re full of pride. God says I will OPPOSE THE PROUD but give grace to the humble. It s the same as christians who drive flashy cars, the latest cellphones and gadgets, they r full of pride and it s time we stopped it. We should go back to just having an organ in the church.

      1. God says we must be humble enough to wash each other’s feet. So singing on stage or off stage doesn’t mean a thing!! Considering others better than you are just as Christ asked us to do is what matters!!! The ones on stage are tried by the lime light, the ones off stage are tried by the the inferiority complex. Sadly it’s difficult to identify pride or jealousy when we have it! But the correct measuring rod is our love for one another! This love drives out pride and false humility and inferiority complexes and what not!!!

      2. Says who? U? Whose jealous? U? I am def not jealous of those so called worship “stars”!!
        They r an abomination. Read Why I Left The CCMM. Or can we rock the gospel. U r severely deprived of common sense. I have just left our worship teams becoz of the pride and two facedness i see. And it s in nearly all of them, it s just a pity u dont see it.

      1. Yes, i must admit i view Chris Tomlin and a lot of other s with high suspicion. I think there s a lot of pride involved. I too have walked away after many years in worship as a drummer and bass player. I realized i couldnt lie to myself either, there WAS pride and i think anyone who steps up onto a stage to play a musical instrument and tells me there is not one little feeling of pride is probably lying. It s becoz of the culture we have been brought up in, a self seeking culture. I hated playing on a stage, it makes it look like a performance, especially at the evening service when the auditorium lights are turned off and spotlights are on the stage – Yugh!! ….It becomes a performance. Yes, there is genuine worship, but it s still a performance with pride. I wonder what God thinks of that because He says, I will oppose the proud. Thats scary. Look i may be wrong about Tomlin and others but knowing mankind, i dont think so. Also, have u noticed that there is no mention of musical instruments AT ALL in the NT? That worry s me……it says sing songs but NO mention of instruments like in the OT, where God dwelt in the Ark, whereas now he dwells in us. Something to think about…..?

      2. Wow you guys are all crazy!! What makes you think that pride doesn’t exist in anyone at all in the stage or pulpit. How about a preacher then? Has he too got pride because he is on a stage? He is preaching the word of God for goodness sake? How blind can you people be? If you have pride all you have to do is get rid of it in Jesus name!! That’s all!! God is faithful to answer your prayer and give you a humble heart!! I am a song writer musician. It’s been my joy to see people hear my songs and be blessed!!! I search my heart each time! Pride is a terrible sin and the stage can be one good tool to deal with it. That’s how I see it because if I don’t then for me anyone at all talking singing preaching or even teaching must be full of pride because when they sing, preach and teach others must listen!!?? All who get on a stage has pride so no one should because this is ‘pride’, so then who could sing so that others can learn the songs? Who could preach or teach so others could learn!!!! No one because all have pride so NO ONE gets on stage!!! How weird does that sound for an instant!!! I believe a person who has jealousy can never see the pride of another and vice verse!

      3. Get rid of the stage!! Full stop! I m so sick of worship team members and their pride, i see it in every church thats why i wont play in a worship team. Dont even TRY to deny it!
        I play in a band that plays secular cover music too – that s where i show off!!!

      4. The version of pride that is on God’s hate parade in proverbs 6 and demonstrated by Jesus in Luke chapter 18 is the one who asserts that he/she has no pride and notes the faults of others. I would hate to be in your shoes at the Bema seat. I have been a worship leader for 25 years and seen all sorts of individuals flow through ministry. Some maintain the pride God hates without interruption, and some of us fluctuate in and out of it. However, to assert that I am free of it? I think that is particularly dangerously self deceptive.

      5. The version of pride that is on God’s hate parade in proverbs 6 and demonstrated by Jesus in Luke chapter 18 is the one who asserts that he/she has no pride and notes the faults of others. I would hate to be in your shoes at the Bema seat. I have been a worship leader for 25 years and seen all sorts of individuals flow through ministry. Some maintain the pride God hates without interruption, and some of us fluctuate in and out of it. However, to assert that I am free of it? I think that is particularly dangerously self deceptive.

  3. I am slowly coming around to believe that one’s perception of what worship is and has become for oneself is based solely on one’s own knowledge of God and his or her expectations in worship whether in their lifestyle of worship, personal devotion or corporate worship. In spite of the actions of the leader of worship, perception is largely dependent on the reception, or lack thereof, of the Spirit of God as one receives the truth of the lyrics, Scripture, or lecture.

    At the end of the day, no one, I mean no one who assembles with the expectations of God’s presence walks away unchanged. First there is confession, then praise and finally worship followed by the word of God and sacrament. If these things are happening, and if fruit is growing; lives are changing, people are being discipled and the lost are being evangelized and saved, and mission-minded people are developing and growing where I assemble, then I am of the sense and belief that the head of the house, the lead pastor, is truly focused and in tune with God and so are his associate pastors and lay leaders. In this regard, I usually have no complaint.

    Now I do not rule out reform where worship has truly degraded to a show. But again, if one is in tune with God, then two choices emerge: fight or flight. Become and exact that change desired or go to another church. This has been a deep part of my personal philosophy of worship.

    1. Hi, David. I’m a real newbie at this blogging thing, trying to learn the ropes without hanging myself.

      As I read your words on your Merely David blog, I’m struck by the similarities between us. No, I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a church music leader or in the military; I’m twice your age, plus 4; I’ve never been to Florida, but live in SE Wisconsin (an immigrant from Seattle). On the other hand, both of us like to think deeply & learn new things about our faith & theologies; worship is important to us; we enjoy writing & reading; one of our favorite authors is C.S. Lewis; & Jesus is the hub around which the rest of life rotates for us.

      Your comments on Kevin Daniel’s blog dealt with music & worship, where you mentioned the chief parts of a worship service: confession, praise, worship, wisdom from God’s Word, & sacrament. I’m a Lutheran Christian, & those elements are crucial in my corporate worship, as well. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts (providing I can find your blog!), & once I’m comfortable in Blogland, I’ll begin sharing some of mine.

  4. One more thing…

    I wouldn’t say lights and immaculate instrumentation and synths are “unclean” so to speak. All of it is permissible, but to what cause are they being used. Is the gospel being preached? If no, then it’s all a clanging cymbal of worthless gathering and croaking–a swamp of noisy sheepish people. But if otherwise, then we have a chorus of a people, gathered in the unity of one faith, one baptism, one God and Lord over all, offering up sweet incense to a living and present God in that gathering place or venue, in praise and worship, and the study of his word and declaration of his saving cross.

    1. People need to chill on the pride thing. God will take care of those people. I just got burned out dealing with the self promoters. And walked away from it. When I recorded my first album with a major recording artist leadership was so jealous! I performed for my own church one time after the albums release. Friends from there were never supportive. We’re friends as long as I don’t bring up anything in my music ministry. They never encourage ask where I’m singing nothing. It’s rather sickening. I’m lucky I have support from other artists and producers. They know how nasty it can be when your surrounded by jealousy.

  5. Kevin, I wish you could come to Tucson to check out what we are doing on Sunday nights at a church called The Village, I think, based off of what I have read here, you’d find our approach refreshing. THe band is off to the side not right in front, you won’t hear the types of music that you hear on K-Love or any other Christian radio station most of what we use is written in house or we’ve borrowed it from other churches like Mars Hill or we use old hymns, sometimes we tweak the arrangements on them. No lights or fog or any of that noise. Just musicians playing our hearts out and having fun with it. We are a smaller church so I think that helps too but I think larger churches could tweak what they are doing to fit a more organic mold.

    1. Mike, maybe some day I will. Your church praise sounds amazing. I’m seeing, more clearly now, that everyone wants something different. It seems that I would prefer the style of The Village. Big churches, in their services, can only do one thing: stay corporate. There’s just too many people. I think smaller churches have the advantage in this situation. Thanks for the input!

  6. I re-read your post and I would like to encourage you to read cover-to-cover, two books that changed my understanding and view of worship. I believe that you will come away with some compelling conclusions, assuming you have not already read them.

    The books are “Worship through the Ages” by Elmer Towns and Vernon Whaley, and “Worship Old and New” by Robert Webber.

    They are long, historical, and philosophical dry reads but nevertheless dynamic in scope about how we protestants have come to worship as we do in the evangelical tradition today.

    I confidently believe you will glean deeper understanding and perspective on your past as worship leader and even now.

    I pray this suggestion meets you well today. God bless you Kevin!

    1. David, thanks again! I’ll look into those books. I feel, despite the tone of my writing, maybe, that I’m at peace about the whole matter. I don’t really respond to corporate, band-rock’n, worship the way most people do. I guess that’s ok. I plan to worship God with my whole life, and sing with others when the time comes.

      1. One day I came across a video on YouTube where I stopped to listen to Francis Chan speak about the corporatism of the church (that’s my wording of his overall argument ). His argument was, and of I understood it correctly, that the mega church with all it’s campuses (where applicable) is not a model for the future, not if we truly are in the last days and in light of present trends of growing anti-Christian sentiment in America and definitely abroad. We may in coming years and decades a drastic change to all of this. Just a thought. I personally think the days of the mega church are numbered. I could be wrong but I’m not sure it will last.

  7. Kevin! This all makes a lot of sense.. I agree with a lot of it in the way that most worship leaders/teams base their “success” off of how many people are raising their hands or whatever. But at the same time, I think God probably enjoys corporate worship. I mean, while living a worship-full lifestyle is obviously super pleasing to Him, He probably likes it when we sing to Him about how much we love Him or how much He loves us. Or how good of a God and Father he is. I think corporate worship becomes true and sincere worship rather than a concert when everyone in the room (on the stage or on the ground) is only seeking God’s heart. When it is–in the most sincere way–all made about just knowing His presence more and more, then that’s when worship is what it’s meant to be. I think God probably looks at all of our hearts while worshiping and, whether we may be distracted or not, is just happy about us haha. Just excited we’re taking time to sing to him. “He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” I don’t know if this would be considered theologically correct or whatever, but I think worship, whether it’s corporate or not, just gives God pleasure and he just delights in it. From a human standpoint, though, I think a lot of worship teams and churches make it all out the perfect musical quality, the right trendy songs, and the lights that flash in perfect to get everyone’s adrenaline going (thus leading to that too-often-sought-after “experience”). We just need to get back to the basics and seek His face first–no matter what that looks or sounds or feels like.

      1. This is a very old post, but I though I’d throw my 2 cents in. You make some very important distinctions that must be considered when using music and song to serve the Father. Many verses encourage and even tell us to praise the Lord AND “speak to each other in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs”. To keep this sincere and with the right intent, it seems very important to keep money out of it, completely. The music industry, Christian or not, is known to corrupt-its connected to the worldly entertainment industry. They will exploit Christian musicians, and in turn, people who want to break into the secular music industry will exploit the Christian music genre by performing Christian music to get their attention, because it is easier to get heard via the Christian genre on your way to get “picked up” by the secular industry. And we need to get rid of the “rock concert trappings! No stage, and no lights, and why do we even need electric guitars, mikes, etc., when most churches are small enough for everyone to hear the instruments? Instruments should just help to support the singing, because its the singing and words that turn music into praises for God. Lastly, as I studied the Bible about music, it is constantly referred to as PRAISE. I think its very important to distinguish between PRAISING and WORSHIPING our Lord! He likes us to praise Him, and to teach and edify each other, but confusing with worship-humbling ourselves to actively SERVE in some capacity that accomplishes something according to His will, IS different. We’re fooling ourselves to call our “concerts” worship. Remember WHY we sing-to lift HIM up and to TEACH one another. The only one lifted up should be our Lord-I don’t know when churches started using stages, but its very pagan. Father bless you for bringing up a very important issue in the church that does need to be addressed!!!

  8. We are called to be a generation of levites!. Worship is something that we surrender ourself completely as a bride to the bridegroom Christ and live and act from the place of fullness!

  9. As a pastor for 18 years, I fought many “worship wars” trying to introduce contemporary praise (with mixed results). I now worship in a church where we sing with no instrumental accompaniment from a Psalter. At this stage in my spiritual life, I find the poetic simplicity of the Psalms to be most fulfilling.

    I wonder if you have read any of John Michael Talbot’s reflections? He was a Christian musician (from my era) who became a monk.

    1. The “worship wars” are a terrible thing. The church I originally grew up in was about 15 years behind, so I started playing in church right as contemporary was being introduced into a hymn based service. In other words, I’m familiar with the “wars.”

      It’s funny, because all I ever wanted to do was play music in church. I see, now, that this was mostly self-serving. I wish to be apart of a family and play a better, more serving, role (not that it can’t be music, but still).

      I’d love to check out John Michael Talbot’s work. Sounds wonderful. His name is very familiar to me, I don’t know why.

      1. Yes, Talbot has several devotional books. He is thoroughly Roman Catholic, but seems to have a very vibrant relationship with Christ.

    2. Thank you. I wish i could find a church like yours. I love singing the Psalms, and any scripture, but I found myself literally wearing earplugs in church. I finally quit going. I guess I should just go to the sermon and skip the “worship”. I agree that worship is what you do for others, for Christ. And yes, I love JM Talbot.

  10. Reblogged this on Steak and a Bible and commented:
    I have been bothered by this concert-style “worship” for some time, but it was helpful to hear from the point of view of the musician on the stage. I really appreciate Kevin for writing this post and I recommend reading it.

  11. As I’ve gotten a little older, (I know I’m still young) I have been finding myself leaning most towards simple singing. No light shows, we have never had those anyways at our church. I don’t need anyone trying to pump me up with with emotions. I find that I enjoy most of all hearing people around me sing words that glorify God. People singing truth. Not songs with shallow lyrics and loud music, but simple singing. It is such a sign of unity. Just my thoughts, thanks for the post.

    1. hey Mark, I couldn’t agree more. Your post really summed up my feelings toward the ‘Concert Effect’. We don’t need loud rock concerts with lights and all to bring about the mood, emotions and ambiance for the congregation… pure singing to the Lord with light or no instrumentation should bring about the true emotions of the congregation. In a sense, the Lord alone I should be focusing on, not the distractions of the Concert.

    2. I agree with Mark. Simple is best. God does not need loud or showy. He is looking at our heart and our motives. I want to be able to feel God’s presence and I can’t if I am bombarded with lights and noise. I ,also enjoy hearing the voices of others praising God. From the four year old to the older adults, they bring a whole range of notes, praising our Lord! That is more than enough!

  12. Whoa. Great perspective. Few of us know what it’s like up there. Thanks for sharing it… Good point about worship should be a daily, personal thing. I think that’s true..

  13. It seems that younger people are really looking for tradition in worship rather than emotionalism and entertainment. Your post reminds me of what Bach said about his music; that he hoped to “to produce a well-sounding harmony to the glory of God and a permissible delight of the spirit.” The permissible delight is second to the glory of God. I cannot think of a single “Jesus id my boyfriend” hymn written by Bach.

    It seems that the traditional forms of worship, a liturgical worship, a catholic (note the small c) worship are what you’re looking for. The lighting is candles; the fog machine is incense; the worship is focused on God and not sentimentalism.

    1. Erich,

      Thank you for the comment. I feel, as I get a little older, that I’m definitely leaning towards a “traditional” worship service. That being said, I feel that any man made tradition needs to be examined throughout time. Even traditional hymns can become susceptible to human-filled emptiness. I guess I’m interested in a more fluid, different weekly, worship service. I don’t think it exists… YET!

  14. Kevin, spot on. While I haven’t been a worship leader, I have been a part of the team ‘behind the scenes’ as one of those ‘sound guys’. Perfect timing, I’ve actually been writing down my thoughts on the matter as well.

  15. My position is that of someone who stopped believing in any god during 2nd grade. Although I felt I was the only non-believer in the world, that didn’t change my belief that it was all nonsense.

    I was an altar boy, and would watch people acting pious knowing that I had seen them at the church picnic, and that the piety always and only seemed to last about 1.5 hours. I rarely met anyone that I thought believed in hell.

    If you believe in hell, you would live substantially differently than you do. Yet no-one does.

    More importantly, the bible seemed to me, as child, to be full of hate, murder, genocide (although I doubt I knew the word, I knew it when I saw it), rape and other horrible atrocities sanctioned and committed by god and his people.

    I understand the need for community, but not the need to believe in fairy-tales and myth.

    1. I would say so, yes. Thanks for asking. I feel more at peace these days. I do, however, miss the fellowship of being in worship team but that is all.

  16. Haha! I can see why you left! I was raised in a strict church and was very vehemently told I was going to hell cuz I listened to rock n roll. As a child however, one does not control what one’s parents listen to. So, thanks for posting about this! I think we all get bogged down in the rules and laws of the religion versus being who God made us to be and enjoying it. Enjoyment can be found in what we produce and to give God the glory is great. I think both experiences are meant to serve. We enjoy who God made us to be and worship Him through that. Congrats on being pressed and I do agree with you. Enjoy the week.

  17. I really appreciate this post, especially at this time in my life. Born into a family with a Jewish mother and Baptist father, I was never exposed to religion in the way most people are, or really at all. Their feelings were that I should be on my own and away from their influence before I began to learn about and experience religion. To some extent I appreciate that a lot- their letting me make my own decisions about what I believe. However, I’m a college student now and in a very confusing cross-roads where I don’t know what to believe or which way to turn- Judaism or Christianity. During the few Christian services I’ve attended in my life, I’ve felt so confused and taken aback by the focus on modern music. The services were not what I imagined at all and frankly I felt more uncomfortable in those which relied heavily on the performance. Thank you for sharing the thoughts of someone behind the scenes, so to speak. It’s comforting to know that someone so involved with religion shares or at least reflects some similar input on a few of the topics I’ve been so confused by. Thank you so much.

    1. Melissa, thank you so much for sharing. At times, I wish I wasn’t raised in the church and could approach it fresh, like you. I’ve come to realize that church can be different to everyone. Maybe it should be. I don’t really know. It’s nice to hear from you, though. Thanks again!

    2. Melissa, several months out, don’t know if you will read this; There is a term you may have heard of called Messianic Judaism (basically, the understanding that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Jewish Messiah and when He returns He will set up His home base in Jerusalem (scriptures to back it!). As our believing rabbi says ” it is the perfect solution to the mixed marriages of Jew and Gentile. And having little background in your upbringing keeps you unswayed to a certain stylistic. Guess I am saying if you want to read our website information it may further help introduce you to some the foundations of Biblical truth, and as this blogsite topci shares – and I agree – so many ways to express worship, and the reality is that all we do should be out of a heart of worship to honor Messiah King. The greater we understand the Creator God, the greater we can live a life of worship with our work, play, service, behavior while driving, etc. here is the website:
      Yours truly, Teresa (with a huge thank you to Kevin Daniel for his transparency and kindness with each reply!)

  18. I love what you said about getting a spiritual high in stead of focusing on God, i think thats true for a lot of us(including me). We (body of CHrist) are in desperate need of musicians who hear directly from God and whos music come from God and not man or the world, may you be refreshed in Jesus and hear from Him!
    God bless

    1. I’m a worship leader, and I really appreciate your note regarding the Body musicians who hear directly from God. I think that worship leaders have a tremendous responsibility to follow God’s leading. It’s Proverbs 3: 5-7 put into action every week. A faith walk.. Relying on God to become our understanding, trusting in Him completely, staying in prayer, and then He leads us. It is an incredible challenge when we are dealing with the day to day life of family, work etc.. But I do think God does great things through us when we are surrendered to His understanding each week.

  19. When people get up on a stage or stand up before the congregation and sing, with or without music, it it becomes a concert or entertainment. It becomes about them, really. Yes, they may be singing about the Lord, but, it’s really about them. When the church comes together to worship, they should sing together as one to the Lord on the same level. No one up front, no one on stage, and not drowned out by musical instruments. It’s OUR voices together in praise to the Lord. Thanks for sharing. Connie

    1. Constance, to me, the presence of a stage (and stage lights and microphones) feels counterintuitive to Christ’s message. It seems to be with a lot of people. That said, I wouldn’t completely disqualify it. Big church (and their stages) help a lot of people and do a lot of good. I can relate, very much, to your comment, though.

    2. Quite honestly i think that every worship team member has pride. If they deny it they re lying.
      I stay away from worship “concerts’ becoz of this, Chris Tomlin Michael w Smith, the whole lot of them. They re full of pride. God says I will OPPOSE THE PROUD but give grace to the humble. It s the same as christians who drive flashy cars, the latest cellphones and gadgets, they r full of pride and it s time we stopped it. We should go back to just having an organ in the church.

    3. Exactly. It s a performance and they ALL deny it. When the church i was in decided to erect a stage i was the only one vehemently opposed to it. I told them, theyre turning it into a performance.
      Also it seems to me that the same worship team leaders are saying every week during pre service payers,: it s not about us Lord, it s all about u. I am becoming suspicious of those people – it s called reverse psychology. They dont fool me. The church is full of pride, and hipocracy – no wonder we cant raise the dead, make the blind see, make the lame walk etc. People just dont have a clue…..

      1. Hmm, but how about churches like Bethel church…? They have a strong focus on worship in music, as well as healing ministry through which Jesus really does raise the dead, make the blind see and the lame walk….

      2. Haha! Yeah right! If u believe that u ll believe anything. Raising the dead?? Are u serious??
        Plz send me a vdo of that, i d really LOVE to see that! Hehe….

  20. Have you visited a Church of Christ? I joined one (coming from a Baptist/Presbyterian background) when I met my wife and attended her church. While I don’t agree with the ban on instruments as doctrine, I’ve become used to the Acapella singing and the four-part harmony. Unlike my past experiences, almost everyone actually sings and can sing. The music is both worshipful, God-centered, and beautiful! I now feel weird visiting other churches where the instruments make most of the noise and few sing and then usually only the melody or while I have to sit there silently and watch a choir or soloist perform.

    1. I’m glad you have found a home church you feel comfortable at. I have not tried a Church of Christ, maybe someday. I think “unchecked tradition” is what bugs me most, not just the rock n’ roll worship.

      Thanks for your comment.

  21. Wow. I am blown away. You’ve put every feeling I’ve had into words. It is frustrating how shallow worship has become. I think what sticks most is your point that it ultimately becomes about the momentary “high” or “experience” and that worship is a way of life, not so much a portion of the service.
    I think that is exactly what ultimately makes it shallow. God’s Word is supposed to penetrate our lives on the most basic levels. How we parent our children, relate to our peers, love our spouses, give to those in need, all of these things matter. Jesus spoke more about those things than he ever spoke about an experience. In a “Godcert” as opposed to a concert, it isn’t just those on stage who become self serving, but those in the audience. (me) who come seeking what we want, and how we want God to fill us.
    My heart broke last week when a dear friend told me she chose a church for the “worship experience” she told me it was “very spiritual” and that what she loved was that she could go there, feel blessed, talk to no one, and then return home, untethered to anyone in the congregation, or anything she needed to carry around with her all week. She could “just leave it there til next week.”
    We’ve turned worship into a gratifying experience, so much so that in “trying to serve God” in worship, we end up hurting those who come to our churches. We hurt their faith by watering it down to a few songs a week, rather than building it up to a way of life, a changed heart, a new life in Christ. Everything my friend said fits into this. She is dear to me, and I was so heartbroken to hear how she perceived Christ as a result of the example in the church. I would hate to wonder how many souls are still lost because they come for the experience, and miss out on the gospel.

    1. You bring up a really great point! It makes me think of Elijah, who was spoken to by God—not in an earthquake or fire, but in the soft gentle breeze.

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend. The “go-to-church-for-the-individualistic-experience” seems to be a growing trend, a familiar sentiment to 20-somethings. It is what it is though, we all have our paths. Everything has cycles; in the next few years, I feel that worship/praise will probably sway back into simplicity.

  22. Incredible post. As a fellow musician/singer and worship leader of sorts (Catholic Charismatic), I understand your view point. Being a musician and singer is such a public yet personal gift. Everyone knows you as the music leader and you easily identify yourself within that gift. And it’s easy to take too much pride in a gift like that. It’s a gift that causes you to be in front of people. And when you are in front of people like that on a regular basis, it’s easy to keep your focus more on yourself than on God. When you see people having a moving experience and they tell you that the music was phenomenal or they were led to deeper worship, you say “Thanks but it was the Holy Spirit”, but you are tempted to think “But I chose those songs. I played it at just the right tempo. I sang it with just the right softness” and you did and you should take some credit. But when it’s more about you than God, you start to feel the pressure of bringing out the best performance of a song instead of letting God lead you in helping bring others to Him. I always get nervous when I lead worship. I want it to be just right. I want to sing the right song. But if you think about it, when you open any worship book, there is no wrong song. That book is filled with songs that worship God.
    Being a music worship leader is like being in a battle. You have the power (the gift) to lead people to God. Satan will hate you. He will tempt you. He will try to distract you. He will cause disunity between you and your colleges/comrades. He will cause you to doubt yourself and doubt God. Very few people understand this or realize that it happens.
    The power of music is so underestimated.

    1. If you are ever in or near New Brunswick, NJ, try to attend Mass (yes a Catholic Mass!) at St. Peter’s Church on a Sunday at 8 PM (the best is the Easter Vigil – the service on the eve of Easter). Most of the congregation are comprised of college students because the church is linked to the Catholic campus ministry of Rutgers University which has a vibrant community of strong Catholic Christians strongly influenced in the Catholic Charismatic tradition.
      The music that is used is both traditional and contemporary. Sometimes they use Christian songs that we have all heard on Christian radio. Sometimes they sing beautiful traditional hymns accompanied by the organ, and other times they sing traditional hymns using guitars, bass, and drums. But the music is there to support what is really going on – worshiping God through thanksgiving and prayer. I am always moved to tears when I attend Mass at St. Peter’s. I experience God and His love for me so deeply.
      I’m so sorry this is so long! It’s a topic very close to my heart. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  23. Hi Kevin,
    I appreciated your thoughts very much. I am a veteran worship leader and bass player. I led congregational worship for 25 years, starting in a very conservative traditional church, and ending in a very contemporary, heavy rock church. It was a tectonic shift, yet it came in small stages. I still feel most comfortable with hymns, and Robin Mark type worship. It is where I meet the Lord most easily. I wrote about my experience briefly on my blog:

    I think you will find we have much common ground. thanks for sharing.

  24. I know exactly what you mean! Ever since I left the denomination I grew up in my entire life I have been on the hunt to find a church that truly worships Jesus without all the “stuff.” That has proved a lot harder than it sounds! Every church I have gone to tries to pull false emotions out of people with the singing or the soft speaking and quiet humming of guitars and pianos. While I may have felt something for a few seconds, I leave the church feeling empty. I believe many churches may have good intentions when they do the “Godcert” as you have called them I just think that after a while the only focus is on how many people start crying, approach the alter or put their hands in the air and not on changing lives with God for a lifetime.

    1. Some Lutheran churches still follow the worship from the heritage that has been passed on through generation to generation, meaning liturgy from the Bible, law and Gospel sermons, and hymns that have stood the test of time. These hymns teach doctrine and comfort us. I hope you find one.

  25. Wow. Thanks for this.
    “People my age flock to church in hopes of getting spiritually high so they can last another week.”
    I hadn’t realized how much I saw it / did it unless I read those words.
    I used to lead worship in a small church. Different group every week, which meant you were only up once a month. Thankfully it was harder to burn out that way, and everyone got different styles, including a DJ. But I miss the spontaneous worship. Songs people offered in small groups, where we joined in when we knew the words and listened if we didn’t, whatever spoke to our hearts.
    Thanks for your post.

    1. I’ve thought the same things you have about what we call “worship”, but I’ve come to a different conclusion, though I have not experiencd the pressure from others to perform as you apparently have. I despise the “concert” mentality of worship, and I don’t have to conform to it. I think you might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. Sounds like you problem is with others who have expectations about what you’re called to do. Shame on them, and to be honest, shame on you for letting them trip you!

      The first mistake we make is equivocating worship with music. Worship is what we do as we live our lives. And the object of our worship can vary from minute to minute. We are called as Christians to worship God above all, and before all. How we worship as individuals depends upon the gifts and talents and desires that God has given us. If lights and a microphone = concert, that’s pretty simplistic. If a stage = “it’s all about me” that’s on you.

      I have come to a different place in my struggle with the worship ministry. I have decided that whether I’m on a stage Sunday morning for our four services or playing music for four people in a prayer in a prayer group, I am there to serve others and help them to express their hearts to God, as well as inspire them to go deeper in their walks. It’s not about emotions, it’s not about feelings, it’s not about the worshippers at all. “Worship Music” is simply the truth about life and prayers set to music, and the whole point is to help the church worship and commune with God. If I get emotional during worship, it’s because God is touching my heart.

      The music we offer to God must be real, but if we can’t sing “How Great Is Our God” in the midst of a heavy trial, it may be our focus is on the wrong thing, because the truth is that God is great regardless of what we are going through. It’s not about us. He is worthy because of who He is and what He’s done.

      I would recommend a book by Holland Davis called “Let it Rise” that may be refreshing to you and help you gain wisdom and a deeper understanding about the purpose of worship ministry and how to serve with the gifts God’s given you without succoming to the traps that apparently have you on the shelf, even if you chose the shelf yourself.

      22 years in worship ministry and no compromise.

  26. This is an incredible. I’ve had these exact same thoughts and I’ve dealt with them in the same way –
    I left Church when I was 17, because, as a worship leader in a young person’s service I felt that worship wasn’t being done right. I felt that the band didn’t care about God, or each other, or get what it was about; and I felt the adults in charge cared more about getting the job done peacefully than doing the job right.
    I think worship is hard. It’s hard because we’re supposed to be doing this incredibly communal thing but because we’re all broken and fallen we’re limited in our ability to do it the way it should be done – because we know that what God deserves is perfection and a pure hearted congregation, and worship leaders, and that’s just not a reality because of our sin. Leaders have so much further to fall in regards to stuff like this, and so for a long time I was terrified to get back up there and lead again.
    I am now a backing singer in a worship group for my Christian Union at university. The dynamic works well, everyone mucks in and people commit when they’re free. But I’m constantly aware of the traps that you’ve described.
    One thing we’ve started doing is playing in the left hand corner of the room, and having the words in the right hand corner of the opposite wall. It means the congregation aren’t facing the leader, but they can see them, they’re facing the words. It’s one way to help us all keep focused on what we’re singing for.
    The second, for me, is continually praying for God to replace my weariness with energy. He provides for me every time I do this, so although I find public singing in a worship context difficult still, it’s really strengthening my relationship with Him by continuing to do it.

    Thanks for your post, this is such an important issue and it’s obviously very close to your heart.

    1. Ruth, one of my favorite memories of playing worship was when the band had to set up on the floor, to the side of the stage, since the VBS props took over. It was amazing what being off of the stage and out of view of people’s eyes did. Very freeing. Thanks for your comment!

  27. Hello, I quit the church for many reasons ….and the hypnotizing of the congregation by emotional music and all that goes into producing a good concert to move your feelings….it was called being moved by the Holy Spirit, but exactly the same feelings are produced at a “secular” concert. People are fooling themselves.
    As I said there were many objective reasons I gave up on church…I had to finally admit that “the Bible” was not some piece of infallable “word of God”, but a collection of books written over hundreds of years. Do a search on Google on the differences between Kings and Chronicles and you will see what I mean. They are both telling the same story yet the differences are anything but minor…someones got it wrong…both accounts cant be correct…..and this is only one instance of such things in “The Bible”.
    I was an assistant pastor at one time and there too I noticed how like music ….people were looking for some “High” from the sermon to give them a boost. I also noticed that Pastors were getting themselves involved in this committee and that committee in order to justify their salaries ( tbh they could spend a lot of time during the week “farting about”….but women in particular would see them perhaps visiting an old person at night…and that was them seen as “hard working” !! ).
    If the churches really were communities like in the Acts of the Apostles then really theres no need for professional clergy/pastors.
    One area where it was “all words” was in finance…..within the church itself the well off remained well off, and the poor remained poor…but how can someone earning 15K a year have the same experience of life as someone earning 40K….it doesn’t add up at all.
    To return to the music….I felt it was the “sealant” to make people feel comfortable with their faith…doesn’t matter if were “not the perfect church” ( used ad nauseum to justify wrongs ), we still feel good and what were doing is right.
    Im happier away from church and away from the pretence.

    1. “If the churches really were communities like in the Acts of the Apostles then really theres no need for professional clergy/pastors.” I’ve had this thought many, many times. I go back and forth on it, but yeah, many times.

      1. There ARE Acts 2 churches out there! 🙂 I think we still need pastors and leaders though, because the younger and ignorant need to learn from the wiser and more learned. For example, the original Acts 2 church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. Plus, how are we going to explain ourselves to visitors/non-Christians without a resident pastor? But, just because we have day jobs and aren’t “full-time” serving the church doesn’t mean that we don’t have a “full-time” calling to be a disciple of Jesus. Paul was a tentmaker, but that was his side job. We all have our real jobs to love and to minister to people (Matt 28: the great commission) if we are Christians. Churches are full of sinners and saints, all at the same time. If you are involved in a church in which you are growing in your relationship with God, the next step to making it an Acts 2 church lies with you!

      2. Kevin, there is a HUGE difference between a called man of God and a professional pastor. It works best if the professional is called a man of God by God himself.


    2. Hi, I am curious, what kind of differences are very wrong between Kings and Chronicles? There is much to be said about the historicity of the Bible along with archeological evidence. It also speaks to the heart and somehow carries a uniform message through non-uniform personalities of the writers, time periods, and languages. I’m wondering what kind of differences bother you to a point where there’s no going back?

    3. I am reading the entire Bible in a year. While I have done many bible studies over the years, this is the first time I am reading the Bible in its entirety and in sequence.The stories included in the Bible… They don’t leave the ugly out. Woven all through the Bible is the picture of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises, even when “men” consistently follows their own ideas and decisions. God has never changed and we can count on him to be with us and for us.

  28. Oh man, I can feel the subdued sting in your words and I totally feel you. I have served in praise bands myself and there definitely is a confusing mix of having the good kind of pride in your talent and hard work while at the same time dodging the bad pride of thinking that it’s about you and wanting to get an ego boost.

    With that being said though, it’s always been about us serving the Lord and working as hard as we can – on and off stage – while knowing that God is ultimately our strength and deliverer. For example, little pre-king David, without any other weapon or armor, ran at big Goliath with some pebbles at hand. He gave all that he had and trusted God to do the rest. We can’t just be couch potatoes and “trust” God to do everything for us. Neither can we serve in 10 different ministries and think that it’s our own strength that sustains us. Music is a great way for people to pursue the lofty words that they are singing because the progressions and minor chords conjure up such emotion. Moses, Nehemiah, etc. all appreciated music and it’s totally a legitimate way of (spontaneously) praising God! Just as there were talented goldsmiths for those furnishing God’s temple, there were also talented musicians, like the sons of Asaph, who served to lead the congregation in praising God in song. Our service to God in the area of music or “corporate worship” is a privilege and joy when it’s untainted by selfish agendas.

    For me, I always struggle whenever I’m called to go on stage because of the praise that I usually receive afterwards. I always need to pray that God would humble me and remind me that I’m doing this for His glory, not mine. Others may mean well when they give encouragement or when they give warning, but only God and I know the state of my heart. Only I’ll know how hard I practiced for a set vs. how hard I worked at serving in other background ways for Him.

    I’m really sad to hear that you’re “over it” but I hope that this encourages you to re-find the joy that music can bring!

  29. A life long student of world religions and spiritual belief systems, I always found one thing running through all of them that was just hysterical: they all said their way was the best.

    Trick is, if you can hold the belief that your way is the best for YOU and the other guy’s way is the best for HIM, then you’ve got it down.

  30. Worship is: Dance, art, a prayer, thanking God by using our talents, helping people around us, or even singing in the shower. I agree that ‘worship’ isn’t just one singular act of service/praise. I also like your response about being ‘hurt by the church’. Too many people forget that the church is full of humans. We are individuals incapable of perfection. I’m glad it didn’t squash your faith, and that you’re uncovering hidden feelings. I think the mega church culture (as a whole) needs to get back to authentic ‘worship’ – such as bible based teaching rather than topical, and unplugged songs rather than a God-cert. 😉 Well written, and congrats on the Press!

      1. Fantastic, thanks! I applaud you on tackling this touchy topic for so many of those (religious or not). Good luck on the hand modeling. Raise them up high. Lol

  31. Having been a member of a large church where I sang in a choir;nothing short of excellence was accepted; in an extremely small fellowship where I was in an awkward position of trying to lead worship via tracks and a couple of vocalists; and then in a small church that had an extremely talented full band and a few lead vocalists, it has been my experience, unfortunately, that the musicians and singers may times are talented instrumentalist or vocalist whose dreams of someday becoming famous never materialized; therefore, they use their position of worship leader / team member (complete with stage, mic, audience;) as a way to live it out;. Things can easily take a thwarted turn int his arena. I can totally see where you’re coming from on this.

  32. I am stunned and healed by your message here. When it comes to this specific topic I am reminded of the fitting of the camel through the eye of a needle and of the pearl that is hidden in a field – the kingdom of God is like this, this is the secret place. And it’s secret for a reason. That is the worship I seek, not a display. And I don’t think music takes me there. I’m stunned (in a good way) to find another prior worship leader (I walked away years ago) who expresses these realizations, and it is very healing for me. Trouble I have is mainstream churches behave this way and I cannot abide it. I don’t spend my time there because of it, but just maybe I’ll be able to again. May God bless you in your humility, and in your journey.

    1. “…the kingdom of God is like this, this is the secret place. And it’s secret for a reason. That is the worship I seek, not a display.” Beautifully put. Thanks for sharing and nice to meet you!

  33. Enjoyed reading your thoughts & stance..I’ve not much experience attending a Corporate like church; at all. The couple of times I attended I just didn’t feel the “Holy Ghost” was present..It felt staged & very much like a music concert(though I sincerely enjoyed the Gospel songs!) ..One of the churches also had a televised segment..I’m sure many people receive what they’re seeking by attending; it just wasn’t for me. I was seeking a church home; and actually attended with friends/relatives. I’m an active , practicing Catholic..My church home is small & much like a family. I consider those that attend as my church brothers & sisters. And its awesome NOT to have to wait for weeks on end; for an appointment to speak personally with my Pastor. My Pastor knows me & my family personally. I’m in the choir & when we sing? We often get so filled with the Holy Spirit! People come from near & far to our church & its been said our choir naturally evokes the Holy Spirit(along with our Pastor’s sermon) I’m glad though you didn’t let your one experience discourage you as a Believer. Often times, with anything, finding the right “home”(likewise church home..) takes a couple of moves to get there..I , after a lifetime of searching, finally(at almost 50 yrs old) found my church home 2 years ago. God moved many things for me to get here; including me. lol! (moved cross country) So don’t give UP for I’m sure the perfect church home , for you, is out there…Stay UPlifted & blessed!

  34. While I do agree with you to a point, I do believe that singing, and music is part of worship. It’s not the only thing involved in worship, but even when I’m at home, I like/need to sit and sing to the Lord. It’s one way of getting myself, and my thoughts centered on Him.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts. I think of music as a part of worship as well, I guess I think of it as praise. Would you say praise is different than worship? Same thing, different word?

      1. Praise, whether it be in song, or just saying the words, or just lifting your hands up, is all worship. I feel that as long as it’s to Him, and not to make a show of it, then it is true worship. I don’t know what’s in the minds of our worship leaders when they are up there, but I do know what is in mine when I sing with the congregation during that part of the worship service. It’s actually my favorite part of the service. Whether I’m giving a sacrifice of praise, or whether it’s something that comes easy that day, I sit up front so that I can’t see what others are doing, and be distracted by them, and my own thoughts because I can see them, and It’s easier to focus on just HIm.

  35. I appreciate your honesty with where you are at and think it was wise for you to pull back as you did. It seems to me, our spiritual life and our interactions with others and service ebbs and flows, inevitably produces flaws, retracts in disgust and renews itself in purity through the Spirit. It is not just this way in worship of course, but in any aspect we participate in communally. Anytime our faith goes public in service we drag along our personal spiritual fights and encounter those of others and sometimes we just need to pull back and regroup. It was a joy to run into your blog. I wish you the best.

  36. This is a interesting subject I came from a old christian faith actually the oldest and I have seen several ways of worship I was lucky that my mother had an open mind and encourage me to never judge others by what was on display but to research it thoroughly, later in life she became concerned that I would be attracted to different beliefs there is no chance that would happen.
    During my research I found that all religions have expressed their belief via music in some form or another from Catholics, Hindu, shinto,Buddhism and even Islam in its own way what I found is that yes as humans we look for recognition for what we do and there is nothing wrong with that, God gave you a talent and you should be able to be recognised for it with out guilt if it makes you feel good then that is great the lord wants this but think of this also you are getting recognition for making others feel good about themselves that is also great you have given someone joy even if its for only a short while and they look forward to Sunday to feel good once more.
    Worship has many forms some is with music some is with reflection I find peace with both methods so in the end there is no need to define it any way wether we call it concert or worship singing if pulling back made you feel good then you did what was right for you but know this you are denying others of the joy your gift gave them I wish all the best what ever you decide.
    Yes worship shouldn’t be a theatre performance it should be from deep with in I only came to that conclusion after my mother passed away I stared frequenting my church more to be close to her and found in reflection the inner peace she had even at the time of her death Sunday services are for me to share that with others my reflections are for the rest of the time the sermon feeds those reflections I thank you for placing this post and wish all the best God is always with you.

  37. To be unaware of these kinds of issues in the church blissful ignorance. Growing up, I always went to church. Though my family had the least musical knowledge of anyone, they had the “highest” standards of musical purity. To them, that meant hymns only. When the drums and electric guitars moved in, we moved out. We went left several churches that way, and my parents didn’t seem to care how many friends I lost to their preferences. Needless to say, I don’t hold to those “standards” anymore. Still, is attending a half-hour rock concert really the best way to prepare for Bible study and prayer? Can’t music be uplifting without being “too trendy” or “performer centered”? Good questions Mom and Dad.

    For all the in-fighting it leads too, what’s known as “worship” is still the only part of church I ever enjoyed. I guess the sermon is too much of an emotional trigger for me. “God” as we hear about him on Sunday, with His endless blessings and constant care for human interests, is sure a far cry from the God of the Bible, let alone the God I see at work in real life. Yes, cliched as it is I believe that God does help those who help themselves – but some of us are just too short to reach!

  38. I love your post, its very transparent. As a fellow worship leader, I completely understand the pressure you felt standing in front of the congregation. I had to change my way of thinking when it came to worship. I came to the realization that my only responsibility is to usher in the presence of God. When I began to prepare myself for Him, everyone else didn’t matter. I don’t pump people to worship, I don’t make anyone stand during worship. I allow the presence of God to do the work. When we sing songs and His presence fills the room, the congregation responds to Him. This allows me to worship freely and encounter God for myself. I know you mentioned that you are happy with your decision however I hope you decide to return. Many people have suggested awesome books to read, so I won’t add anymore to the list. Continue to worship Him in your personal time and I truly believe He will speak to your heart

    1. “I came to the realization that my only responsibility is to usher in the presence of God.” That, in of itself, is still quite the responsibility—though I would slightly disagree with it. Thank you for your comment and for your genuine kindness!

      1. Please forgive my spelling as this is not my first language. I am nothing special just a Rock guitar sinner who cling to the blood of Jesus for salvation. I use to be a worship leader for a couple of years after I desided to give my life to Jesus and I totaly understand your feelings about it all. There is so much preasure nowadays from every one who actualy are swept away by the whole show thing that is starting to become more and more the norm in churches. However I always refused to be drawn into the fight. If you would allow me I would love to testfy about my experience. I always went to church early in the morning when I was totaly alone and prayed to God to lead me. I would let the worship team practice up to half an hour before church. Then we would go into the prayer room and start praying for the Lord to lead us. We would pray for one another and many times we would just spontaineously start to sing to glorify our King Jesus without any instruments. When we went onto stage we just worshiped in spirit as if there were no congregation. I would pray inbetween the way I was lead by the Spirit of God and glorify His Holy Name. Many people in church would speak in tonges and some would prophesy. If they were thruthfull I can not say but I know that I was in what I did. So many times some of the worship team was not able to be there and it was only me and my guitar. It was not always easy as I sometimes had to bear unbelievable critisism from people who wanted their own type of music. I cried so many times in front of God. I never played any music that was not based on scriptural truth and not aiming to praise or pray to God the Father, Jesus Christ or the Holy spirit irrespective of who wrote the song if it was an old song or a new one. I refused to give people a show. If it was not from God I wanted nothing to do with it. I am glad that the pastor always allowed me to do it in that way. Eventuly I had to leave because me and my wife went to stay in an orphanage raising 15 boys and we are going to a more traditional church which is funding the house now with the boys. Nowadays I just take my guitar somewhere to a quiet place and I would sit and just sing to the Lord. I have so many sins that I can not boast about anything. I am so sorry that you got hurt through the church as it happens so many times. At times I felt that I could rather go back to playing in the pubs as the judgements there was much less. If it were not for God keeping my I do not know where I would have ended up.

  39. Amen! I have served many years mixing at the soundboard and it really irked me as I was walking into “worship” and was greated with a problem instead of a “nice to see you this morning”. No hello. Just “We have a problem…”.

    This may sound strange…I enjoy tinkering in my garage and when I am out there the radio is tuned into KLOVE. Some of my best times of worship have been by myself in the garage listening to encouraging words or songs focused on God.

    On a recent morning, before the service began, the lady in the row ahead of me was playing Wheel of Fortune on her iPad. Maybe I don’t understand the meaning of “worship” (sarcasm).

    I’m no longer mixing.

  40. Although I was not as involved in my role I too had a similar experience. Many of my thoughts parallel yours. Good luck with the blog. I believe your posts will be of value to many.

  41. wow that is really interesting what you say – strange how the church has turned into a market force, that is what it feels like to me, selling god – come to us and you will be saved. Jesus loves you only if you come ever sunday and do what we say is best. I slipped out the side door of organised religion, do I believe in god anymore? I can’t say either way but I do pop in from time to time and while some sermons are great its the varying reasons why people are there and how much they cannot think for themselves, not everyone of course. I remember going into a bible reading with a friend, full of young ones (I’m only 30 but you know everyone under 25 always seems much younger) I was devastated to see that the bible was not anaylised but simply accepted at face value. Through times of difficulty they say, we wont worry because god will deal with that. I’m having a hard time but god will find a way. Too me, if there was a god, he don’t work like that. He might point you in the right direction but you gotta work hard for life yourself. You can’t sit by and expect god to do all the work for you.

    I feel in some ways people turn to religion for a source of comfort believing that finally their is no weight in their life, someone else is taken the burden. This leads to vunrable people being exploited.

    There are some great ones, you know I much prefer the Quakers, there is no defined god, no leader – the meetings are in silence and anyone can stand up and say something or even sing if they want. That is perfection and I can believe in a god that brings this kinda peace. Because I suppose you just needs the focus on the spirit in order to know the way and people around you to share those moments. They call all members friends and this ‘religion’ filters out into the real world of business and community.

    Much better then trying to get that spiritual fix! Sorry I said so much but what you said made all that come out, hopefully you’ll like it and you’ll understand. I am very interested in your perspective, thank you for sharing!

  42. I sang and led worship at my church for several years and like you suffered burn out. I left the church in search of something better and more genuine for me to believe in. I can so relate to your post and agree with it all.

    I am attending a micro church now where the worship music is by most standards poor, but it is genuine and heartfelt and I enjoy it more than the concerts of the past.

    One local mega church is, in my opinion, doing a great job with their corporate worship. Their stage is dark and you can’t see the musicians and singers. Their emphasis is on creating a God focused time of praise and worship and it works well for them. It truly isn’t about the band and I love that.

    Blessings to you for your honesty and vulnerability. I hope you find exactly what you are seeking and that God uses your gifts and talents in a way to bless others no matter what that looks like.

  43. I love the ending, “After all, worshiping God is a life-long sacrifice, not a thirty minute music set. Washing feet, serving in love, praying for others, this worship is true.” And I know what you mean about the “top 40”. I once got a song in the night from the Lord…I gave it to an anointed brother per the Lord’s leading. Soon after, he left the church. He was probably “not allowed” to do something that was not in the top 40.
    Great post, and congrats on Freshly Pressed. I’m out there today on FP too! My first time!

  44. A great article and thought provoker – Thanks.


    It’s almost 2 decades since I was involved in church services, leading worship. I have been involved in a small group, but my wife has to remind me to stop apologising when I make mistakes or try to get it in the right key, otherwise it just becomes about my performance and not about the worship. I’m sorry but my perfectionist nature won’t let me see people struggling to hit the notes, I have to re-key the song (a common problem with current songs – What’s this about using octaves too…we end up staying an octave lower than the leaders and they struggle to hit the notes sometimes – Higher is not always better).

    But even back then, I was concerned about the congregation somehow getting something out of the worship, rather than just worshiping and leaving the rest to God. I remember in the early days getting upset if it went wrong (what was that about). When I was involved in a band in larger context my main problem was not being able to hear myself through the monitor, which kind of ruined the experience somewhat (I don’t think anyone noticed but I felt a bit of an idiot). Why are there so many barriers to worship leaders/teams ?

    However, I have also lived with having to work with a worship leader of lesser ability and sometimes they were out of tune or out of time (and sometimes both).

    It really tested my motives; pride especially; because I eventually admitted what I was really thinking was, ‘I can do better than this’. So if it’s not a performance, then why do so many people set it up to be just that. I do think we cannot excuse poor preparation which exhibits itself in poor delivery, but where are the standards set ?

    I remember a friend at the time getting pulled after the service for shutting their eyes when involved in the worship team. Isn’t worship about a spontaneous response to God. Where is the spontaneity in having to do certain things to please leaders (let’s face it, every leader has different tastes and preferences).

    If I’m honest, pretty much I’d say that one in every three services where the music and worship is just great, I still question whether it’s just playing louder, getting those amazing bass lines really bouncing off the walls and drum build up to the finale so we are in a state of pleasure collectively without really having worshiped God. It’s especially hollow if our week doesn’t reflect a life of worship to God.

    I went on a song-writing course about two decades ago and there were lots of things the Christian Musicians & Artists (CMA) wanted to change about worship (music) in churches.

    For one, we wanted to create forums locally so people could critique and contribute worship songs for local playing. We wanted to take the pressure off the big worship leaders selling records. It’s not always a given that anointed worship leaders can produce anointed songs when put under the pressure of record deals.

    The other thing I definitely felt we were missing was such a variety of sounds. We are still stuck in a sub-culture of music which it is very difficult to break out of. Chris Coleman I think, gave us the most wonderful session but getting us all to sing intervals. I mean 11ths 13ths etc. I would like to have a Jazz Sunday once a month where we rearrange all our songs with extended chords and voicings and harmonies. Not a performance but a chance to express things differently.

    My last example is God’s sense of humour I think..
    I moved to the south of the city where there is a distinct imbalance of church life compared to the prosperous north. However, I served and fellowshipped at a local Anglican church for about 3 years (loved playing bass). But I met God in an amazing way for many months through the format of the service and hymn choices that I hadn’t experienced in a play-it-loud drums etc. high-volume modern I met God through the contenplative worship and some amazing hymns (Isaiah 6) and the amazing tune for communion (Sanctus) ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ .
    I think I made my own interpretation but I sensed like John the Baptist preparing the way for the Lord that this was part of my mission. I loved the piece of music used.
    Actually the reference was Ps 118 but the exact match of this phrase in Matthew 23:39 actually refers to when the Jews will be saved when they recognise the Messiah.

  45. Kevin, it personally made me sad to read your post. It made me sad to see what you had to go through in your church and it made me wonder how things go about in your church that is way different than what I experience as a worship leader in my church. I can relate with most of what you’re saying, especially about the pressure part that we feel as worship leaders trying to lead people into the presence of God for them to experience this feeling they’re hooked on. But I wish you didn’t cave in to this pressure. Worship as you said is not about these 30 min of worship time, worship is a lifestyle first and foremost. The 30 min of worship at church should be a pure reflection of what is going on in people’s lives during the week. Being dependent on these 30 min once a week to keep people sane throughout the week isn’t something that should be falling on your shoulders and isn’t something that you should be trying to deliver. You shouldn’t be feeling this burden at all. Leading worship is taking people to a deeper place inside God’s heart, a place where you have been previously on your own. And that doesn’t happen during these 30 min of worship, it happens throughout your whole week. It looks to me like your church had a wrong definition of worship and tried to mold you into it. I wish you just carried on worshiping God the only way you knew how and people would have followed your lead eventually. It’s not about the music nor the lights nor the transitions, but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t use our sensory points to take us closer to him. I believe that you don’t need any of these to go closer into God’s presence, but I do believe also that music is spiritual. Which means that God gave us music to bring us closer to him. But when people start focusing on the means and forget the end, this is where it starts getting off track. I wish you had just kept on worshiping and didn’t care about the raised hands or the experiences and just closed your eyes and saw no one else than Jesus, because in the end, you are all performing to the audience of One, Jesus. Not just you and your worship team, but everyone is performing to Him.

  46. I think music can be a great tool when it comes to religion, but that’s all it is: a tool. A hymn sung in a church, the chants sung in temples, even the “music” in the reciting of the Koran during a Friday prayer – they put me into a strange state of mind, as if nothing else exists outside of that room.
    I think you’re right, though. These “worship/concert” things really seem to us less fervently religious types as just massive Christian concerts. Nothing wrong with that, and people should pray however makes them happy, but seeing all those people with their hands raised and everything looks a little bizarre to a lot of us. Anyway, didn’t Jesus say in the Gospels that it’s best to do your praying in private, where it’s all between you and God?

    1. A.K., thanks for your comment. Jesus did in fact say that. However, there has always been public worship (a temple, a church) of sorts. I think praise and worship could be different than prayer. Maybe not though; at the end of the day, we’re probably just splitting hairs.

  47. Hi Kevin. You are chosen and anointed by God to be a worship leader. I believe that heartily serving God is not about you. We are taught in our Catholic bible study (wherein we also have praise and worship) that it doesn’t matter if the dwellers are moved or participating in your leading of the worship. It is God’s work or the work of the Holy Spirit to move and change the dwellers. As long as you did your best in leading the worship and you gave your all for God, that is what matters most. And true, some dwellers attend just to get a weekly spiritual nourishment, but we also have to understand that every believer has his own AHA moments spiritually. Different dwellers have different response so to speak. My point here is, I wish you can go back to your being a worship leader. Not all are called and equipped to be one. You have a special talent. Visit or serve other church or groups and bloom where God will plant you. God bless.

  48. I am bashful! (^_^) But I too understand where you’re coming from Kevin. This is exactly how I’m feeling now in my ‘worship’ space. I too am a worship leader at age 22, and I already feel the burn. Just last night I lied my way out of rehearsals just to avoid being chastised by my mom and dad…the Kings & Queens of morality. I’m not running away from God. I’m not striving after a worldy lifestyle. In fact I enjoy my relationship with Hi and I enjoy hearing my voice through the speakers. But currently…I’m confused. It feels so refreshing to know that at least one other person out there understands how I feel. I appreciate this post.

  49. I agree – it used to make me cringe at uni when the Christian Union leaders talked about ‘moving into a time of worship’ (what were we doing the rest of the time?!) and more recently when someone at my church said that he didn’t think we were ‘doing worship right’. A life lived for Jesus is an act of worship – reaching out to someone who is lost or lonely is an act of worship. Music is one of God’s gifts to us (I play and listen to music and feel God’s pleasure in both) but it is hard to stay sincere and focused if it becomes like a performance. I pray that you find the meaning (and possibly simplicity) in wherever you worship now- in the broadest sense possible..

  50. Wow. Thank you so much. A breath of fresh air from the “worship music generation.” I’ve asked many people, “When did the words worship and music become syonymous?” Usually, I’ve just been brushed off. I’m not trying to pick a fight. I just really have never believed that the act of singing is what worship is about.
    I’m old, somewhat of a fuddy-duddy, and I believe we’ve put the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Yes, there is such a thing as corporate worship. Prayer, reading scripture and singing together are all included under that label. I love to sing, always have participated wholeheartedly in the music ministry of my church. I just think we’ve lost focus. Thanks for your outlook and comments.

  51. I completely agree! Most Sundays I arrive to church late specifically because of how the “worship” part of the service is built in. Worship is a life experience, not a twenty minute time slot before, in the middle of, or after a sermon. Nopenopenope.

  52. Hi, first up- well done for getting ‘Freshly Pressed’, writing about faith and worship in a way that isn’t simplistic or self pitying.
    I’m working in a church in the UK, and at times I’d love a bit more ‘slick, professional’ music leading, that intentionally encourages people to enter God’s presence through singing and music… but then there are other times when i appreciate the silence and the light streaming through the windows. For a few years some friends and I coordinated a group called ‘Church Outside’- once a month we went somewhere local and organised something that was a church experience. Only twice in 3 years did it entail music- once we listened to CD’s on the journey (everyone was given the same CD) and we discussed the songs during our walk, and once we sang a couple of songs on a beach… but everytime we met I worshipped God with my friends.

    Take care, keep seeking God and give him his worth in whatever way you can express yourself. Peace.

  53. Been to the burn out heap, and it stinks to know that churches are more than a spiritual harbor. Many will never experience a church being run as a business–money/accounting, budget cuts, hiring and then firing. Some do it well (but it’s rare), others do it fast and under the cover of darkness where the rumor-mill lurks. Best of luck to as you recover.

  54. Liturgical worship might be what you’re looking for. It’s designed to highlight Christ crucified and risen, and His Word — not the performance of individual musicians. Lutheran worship values preaching Law and Gospel and singing time-tested hymns that don’t grow old. And, it’s not all about you, because we draw on the whole history of the Christian Church when we worship. You are right that worship should be lived out every day — but corporate worship on Sunday morning can be about more than just yourself. It should be about Jesus.

    1. Awesome, thanks for the recommendation! I just briefly read it and can totally relate. When I get a little more time I’ll give it the more thorough read it deserves!

  55. Ironic.

    When worship becomes self serving, it never serves the greater good. And it certainly does not serve God.

    Few understand that.

    God bless & keep the faith brother!


  56. i’ve had my fare share of that at my church too. i’ve already stopped leading/joining a “praise&worship band” for a few years now. what i struggled at that time was how people at my church thinks that if someone knows how to sing, he must be a worship leader. for me at that time its not always that. there are people anointed to lead worship, there are people that aren’t. and i thought i must be the latter. (that has something to do with me not knowing how to do those technical things the church asks you to do at the pulpit and the things they want you to avoid) as a matter of fact, i was reprimanded by our guitarist for not being able to sing like the way Darlene Zschech sings! that hurt.

    you know Kev, the way people in the Bible worship the Lord actually is quite different from the way the general christian now perceive worship. The believers back then offers burnt offering and any labels of offering as their worship to the Lord. Their obedience, their tithe, is their worship. They use songs as oral history. Similar to how the Christians in the Roman era came up with the Apostle’s Creed–to make them remember what they believe.

    Just as what has happened to me, you have grown tired yourself of doing all those technical stuff. Just go back to your own heart and let God search for the weary pieces and heal it. As i also did. I am not back yet. And its uncertain if i ever will come back to that place/position, but one thing i know, i can always worship the Lord without those technical stuffs.

  57. I am turned off by these mega-churches that are so big, the pastor has to be projected on big screens across the front of the room. It all seems Hitler-esque to me. I know of a church where the music is so loud, they have ear plugs in the pews. Not my thing. When the production is louder than the message, it just doesn’t ring true to me. I love the singing, but why did it have to become such a production?

  58. Why worship? Because God asks for it? Needs or requires it? Why?

    What should be our relationship with divinity? Should it be a posture of worship? What do you mean by worship? Not singing and shouting in a church, that’s for sure! Why, why,why…

    I consider myself spiritual and entity in search of understanding… Sometimes in awe of the magnificence of creation, sometimes tearing up looking at a petal of a flower… Or an ant, or a spider. Yes, also the human brain and the clouds and the skies… Is that worshipping?

  59. What a powerful, honest account of what it’s like ‘behind the scenes’ sometimes. I may not know you or even be in the same hemisphere, but I really appreciate stumbling upon this because at the beginning of this year I was in the same space and had to trust God would lift me from the “church sinking sand” I felt stuck in. I still have my faith, but stepping back has given me a fresh perspective with the fine line that is sometimes drawn between church ‘cult’ and ‘culture’.

  60. Hey Kevin ! Wow, this was such an excellent moment in discovering your blog on Worship. I just want to respond to say that it all depends on context, in what we call worship – whether it’s Sunday celebration, a concert, a performance . . . etc. I personally prefer calling worship – the act of singing and playing our guitars etc, celebration time ! How are you doing now, by the way ? I read your beginning where you explained the pains and agonies that us as worshipleaders go through from time to time. Would like to now a few more things.

  61. First of all, congratulations on getting “Freshly Pressed.”

    I used to be (maybe still am?) a worship leader. I have grappled with the very things that you speak of in this blog. I am at a point where I pretty much loathe the state of Christian worship music right now. It all sounds the same. I’m currently playing keys in the worship band where I attend, and I’m getting bored with it. I mean, sure, I have a good time playing, and, yes, sometimes I do worship while we are playing. But we do the same eight or ten songs all the time, occasionally adding a new one, but it seems like, every time we add a new one (oh, look, Chris Tomlin wrote a new album!), we drop a not-so-old one. We don’t use any songs that are more than, say, ten years old, which chaps me. I’m 55 years old, and know a honkin’ lot of great worship music from decades gone by that never gets sung any more. Then we got into this thing where we started using “declarative” songs. “Declarative,” apparently is some other language for “say the same thing over and over and over and over.” Not a fan. Yes, I know the “living creatures” are chanting “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” over and over and over for eternity. But they are physically in the presence of “the Lord God Almighty,” too.

    I’ll stop now, but you can see that we have a bit of a kindred spirit. I guess the difference is, I haven’t walked away, because I have this talent, and I like using it. In my mind, I’m still using it for the Lord. If someone out there actually achieves a moment of true worship while I’m playing, then I figure it’s worth it.

    Heh. That was the first time I’ve ever seen “Godcert.” I immediately hate the “word.”

    Grace and peace,


    P.S. I have nothing against Chris Tomlin.

  62. I know what you mean about the “Worship Service” becoming a concert. I am not sure it should be. While the forn seeks the very best musicians and it should be populated by musically skilled people, we must realize that the “concert” and the “worship” are somewhat at cross purposes. The concert centers on the skilled musicians and worship centers around God. Given a choice of whether to perform a song that the whole Church can relate to and join in, or to perform a song with technical aspects that highlight the musician(s) skill, one must know what their purpose is. Am I hear to facilitate corporate worship or am I here to accent musical acumen?
    I do not necessarily agree that “worship” is a “concert”, but I will remain open to discuss that further with you. I truly feel that anything which draws attention to self, rather than Christ at worship time is out of order. I enjoy all aspects of “concerts” in other settings, but I do not go to Sunday “Worship” to experience a “concert.” I want the emphasis there to be on Christ.
    If your experience can enlighten me in these matters, please take some time out of your schedule to share with me. If not, go in peace. Just because we do not agree on everything does not mean we cannot walk this road to Heaven together. They call this, “The Narrow Road” but it is not that narrow. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Cordially in Christ,
    Daryl G Stewart

    1. Daryl, nice to meet you! I apologize for the delay on getting back to you, I’ve been on vacation. (Bad timing to be Freshly Pressed…)

      I’m technically still on vacation, so I don’t have a lot of time. I did want to say hi and let you know that I appreciate your comment. If you’d like to read further thoughts on this matter (a follow-up post to this post you may enjoy) check out “Killing the Program: Further Thoughts on Worship.” It’s linked at the end of this post under “Further Reading.” We can continue this discussion there if you’d like.

  63. I seldom find people like you and i salute you for being truthful. I actually agree with your idea because sometimes people think that the the only way to worship God is through what others are doing. Everyone has their own way in worshiping God and they should respect that.

  64. I’m a not a worship leader. But, I’m a business leader who certainly understands some of your very valid concerns about burnout, and relationships! It happens to so many of us. I think the experience is intensified when you are involved in a service oriented field.

  65. I see you’ve had a truck loads of comments, but wanted to get my two cents worth in. This post struck a lot of cords with me, and the link you put on. I started going to a church like this when I started university. The only churches I’d been to before were catholic ones, so this contemporary church, with it’s modern music, pastors that weren’t strictly in their 70s, and this whole raising of hands when you feel like it thing, was a shock to the system which I enjoyed for a while.

    I rased my hands and closed my eyes like the rest of them thinking I was feeling the presence, when really the tingling in my hands was just because I was thinking about my hands and the emotional upheaval I felt was brought by the emotive music that was playing.

    Maybe some people were having a real experience, who am I to say they weren’t, but I think their is a lot of what you called ‘hypnotizing with chanting and self-indulgent improvisation’ that goes on.

    I don’t know what triggered it, but I became wary of this show and after watching documentaries on religion and emotional highs in my anthropology classes i felt it wasn’t right for me anymore and left. Four years later I still feel too disillusioned to want to get involved in another church. One day i might, but I don’t like the fact some people use emotional tools to suck you in. It doesn’t feel christian-like to me at all.

    1. I’m guessing by you saying you don’t like that people use ’emotional tools’ to suck you in, you don’t like tv either or movies or all of that other emotional junk they use to suck everyone ‘in’. At the end of the day it isn’t the responsibility of the church to win your heart and ‘convince’ you… It’s up to you. Your heart, your life, your choice to get to know the REAL GOD. You ask Him, He will reveal himself to you. He doesn’t need our help, he wants our hearts and us to have a relationship with him. He says if you draw nigh unto Him, He will draw nigh unto you. Although I appreciate and agree ALOT with Kevin Daniel’s blog post, in the end we must remember one thing above it all GOD is GOD and he will always meet those that seek Him. IF you’re at a church where you don’t ‘like’ or agree with how they’re doing ‘worship’ praise/music, that can never supersede God’s power and will to still release his presence on you even in the very midst of a service that’s not ‘up to par’ with each of our expectations of what a ‘church service’ should look and feel like bc in the end it’s a heart matter not necessarily a ‘worship music service’ issue.

  66. I get what you are saying. I have been in church leadership for a while and have been in many discussions where we have asked for certain things from the worship team. Now I am a bass player and heavily involved in the crafting of worship. There is a different picture on each side of the table. I relate to both sides. We are a church that has just moved from traditional hymns to a blended service. So there is that whole discussion also. I look forward to reading more of you work.

  67. Hey, ok so I recently started attending a church where this form of worship (Concert style with all the lights) is practiced. What I’ve realised is that this whole “thing” called worship is very very personal. Its between the worshipper and God. By the time we’re 10 minutes ito worship I’m always in tears. Now I invited a friend along and she said she enjoyed the service, but a week later when I invite her again she says “well nice service but why so much focus on the singing….” basically, she didn’t feel like she was at church, she would have preferred less singing and more word and so on… My point is worship is personal. If you feel that concert style worship is too “secular” or feels too “staged” then for the love of all that’s good, look for another church that offers the style of worship you prefer!. Don’t let your love reduce one tiny bit because, on that beautiful day when we meet Jesus, He wouldn’t listen to excuses of “I stopped worshipping you because I didn’t like the worship style at my church”.

    1. Hello and thanks for the comment. I appreciate anyone who shares from the heart on such a personal matter. I agree with most of what you said. My only counter-point (as it’s stated in the blog post itself) is that worshipping God is not a simple matter of singing in church. It’s a little harsh to assume my worship of God has completely stopped since I left a corporate setting. Know what I mean?

      Thanks again!

  68. I am a tad bit confused as to why you left the church. I understand your arguments and I see why this sort of thing would bother you–I just don’t quite see what you think people should do about this concert/church connection. Do you want there to be less music during “worship” in church or none at all? Or do you just think that people are in general abusing music to make people get on this spiritual high–as you phrased it.

    1. Hello, thanks for the comment. That’s a wonderful question you asked. At the end of this post I linked “Killing the Program: Further Thoughts on Worship” which is a follow up post to the worship one. It better explains my disposition towards “big” church.

  69. Wow, well said. I love contemporary Christian music, but have had an ‘uncomforable’ feeling many times during ‘worship’, like it was too secular even though the intended purpose is to honor God. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  70. Enjoyed what you had to say here. I’ve never been comfortable with the praise and worship sessions at churches. At times I’ve felt guilty because I don’t “get into it” or it doesn’t move me, but I can’t seem to really worship sincerely in that way. Give me a guitar and a quiet room, or a mountain and no guitar…well, that’s a whole different thing now. 🙂

    1. There’s a strange tint of guilt in the air when a worshipper can’t “get into it,” I know exactly what you mean. I don’t think it’s intentional on anyone’s end but a side effect of our system. Thanks for the comment!

  71. Thank you for your sharing. Yes, true spiritual practice is to be found within each and everyone of us. Our connection with God is personal and deep and has nothing much to do with worship sessions.

    1. As written in scripture we are respinsible. for our thoughts our words we don’t know how to pray my new saviour christ jesus who clearly is written. is. god. alone. which in spirit and great persecution. who is responsible. who are his. enemies they are well fed. they are rich. romans 13 clearly states our gov is our god they have made fools out of themselves. is it not written. children without persecution. are bastard. children of theirsaviour heavenly father. clearly written. things do not stay the same they are happy in the old it is good

  72. I have worn earplugs in church for the past six years, ever since the doctor sat me down to go over my audiometer charts from the previous years and told me I needed to get serious about protecting my hearing. (My job involves a lot of transcription of recordings.) At the time it struck me that “worship” was one of the main stresses on my ears. I argued a couple of times with the sound guy, and finally gave up. I do it as a matter of course, no matter where I am (church, restaurants, parties) if the sound level is oppressive.

    I’ve been deeply moved by songs at church, but I’ve also been extremely bored as a trivial song is sung over and over. It was very common to go through only four songs in an hour at the church I attended in Dallas.

    I used to do projection at church, so I’ve been on the production side. The prayer meetings before service were heartfelt, but a lot of strategy was involved, too. For instance, we dimmed the lights during singing, raised them for offering, lowered them for the message. The worship leader would let the team know during practice where he or she would be giving an improvised meditation.

    Recently I attended an Episcopal service and was very moved by the text of the Mass. Everything is very carefully structured and crafted in light of the Scriptures and church doctrine. Many old hymns are brilliantly written poetry, so different from this song we used to sing and that always drove me up a wall:
    What a hope I’ve found
    More faithful than a mother
    It would break my heart
    To ever lose each other

  73. Reblogged this on j19501946's Blog and commented:
    I want the gov to read this their newest secret tecnologys. building is here in orillia ont. theyknow who i am they know i have kept quiet 23yrs. 1950 to1990 i did said done as i wished without wisdom being a fool. the fools asked me for advise why every one likes a winner in bussiness with no inherited money no guidance i beat pissed off everyone in bussiness. women iloved and women. I never had are pissed at me why i a alcohic i had to drink a 26r just to get to sleep. i had a scrap yard doing a $1000 a day. big car dealer 640 sold in last 4months. 100cars every windshield smasheh every tire slashed. federal and prov gov. seized my bank accountsruined me. iborrowed a credit card a truck headed to usa. within two months 20000 every month did i make enemies yes 1990 i broke a spiritual law by asking my employee to forgive. me poooph i did. a no. no and i didn’t even know i had woldly knowledge but no spiritual wisdom i aske any woman to forgive me listened to town drunks hookers crack whores not to be heard called a liar by liars there was no not one i read not me not you iam speaking of 23yrs ago my own dog bit me. the police bragged in newspaper 5 detectives a day. for 20yrs trying to get me on a murder. charge that happened because of a policians toxic mouth. which is clearly written inthe newspaper 8yrs 1982 to 1990 it took for his mouth to be dealt with don cherry s proud arrogant mouth last year caused our canadian boys to lose i have seen my words come true in less than 4hrs. how about your words. as written fools can become wise. they have a mouthful of words. point fingers. interupt those with wisdom want to hear more a fool a non. persecuted badtard child who try. to please their worldly heavenly father whom they cannot will not hear be told as written they are a god. who like to call themselves prudent when clearly written means dishonorable not kjv. but the older gideons bible and they get a prudent wife from their lord god i had some they were told to tend the sheep. no kjv says feed. food bank food they share willingly. if god. alone in christ jesus is good why do the foolish call. themselves good. and yes written scripture says they will spy on the true the one alone and his new children whom the world rejected anderson. cooper ellen degerous who voted in obama are now a majority that can’t be killed bought no judases in this new true kindom of godin christ jesus alone can make a fool out of whom he has already and will continue they say old is good enough these them have no right to. call themselves good if their choice is to not. forgive. so be it theybelieve their holy old holy spirit father and son can. stop the weather all fools being found out. shamed ridiculed how can they stop it. even joyce myers the biggest the best she fired her. employee who tried to correct her. i can’t you can’t their divided house will fall

  74. I too, used to lead worship for children’s church. I worked for a “Mega-Church,” so it was a pretty exhausting job. Three services every Sunday morning, 2 services on Wednesday nights, and work every day of the week except Monday and Saturday. I was never allowed to take a break to “feed” my soul with my pastor’s teachings. I was never allowed to take off holidays to sit in the adult service with my family. Burnt out was an understatement. How can one feed if they are starving? I gave my resignation and began worshipping on my own, and I feel my worship extends into the people I impact daily, not how many I lead into a state of worship at an institution.

  75. The biggest problem I see is the wrong definition of worship. Worship is a 24/7 thing. We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice.. Holy and pleasing to God! This is our spiritual ACT OF WORSHIP (Rom 12:1) it’s an ACT therefore it involves service to God. Singing praises to give God ‘worthy ship’ is the smallest part. In our church the role of worship director has been given a new name of celebration director to try and combat this world wide problem of people seeing the music part of the service as worship!
    I’ve led the music part of the service on and off for years and can honestly say I don’t look to see if people are ‘looking spiritual’ etc. if it has become about ‘you’ and your success etc then you have done the right thing to walk away. One of the saddest things I have observed in years of ministry is when others presume that their journey and experience must be what others battle with and therefore needs to be confronted. We must be very careful and apply the ‘log v speck’ when tented to judge others

  76. Good topic. I’m kind of torn on the whole thing, as a consumer. I used to go to a small Vineyard Community church, and while there was a big emphasis on worship music, it was a smaller church (200) and our leaders got to play their own stuff too. I have one friend who is vehemently against the term “Christian music” because he thinks all music by Christians is music for His glory. He used to work in the industry and said its really no better than mainstream, just a different market trying to sell a product and an image.

    Now I go to Passion City Church, and you may have heard of this guy, our worship leader, Chris Tomlin. Also Kristian Stanfill, David Crowder, Brett Yonker, Christy Nockels…basically, Passion is synonymous with sixsteps records. And sometimes I am torn – these guys really ARE writing the music, and getting creative license, at least. As a volunteer I see how hard they work to prepare for things – especially the conference – the Dome sound check stuff blew me away – and I wonder if it is over the top.

    But Chris himself – all of them – are so humble, so down to earth. They intentionally don’t allow recording on Sundays because its not supposed to be about that, but a place of worship. and Chris has said before, they are there to worship too – like yeah they’re on stage, leading, but they need a church home like everyone else.

    And too, the songs get me through my day. I literally will wake up in the middle of th night singing refrains that I had all but forgotten but really needed to hear in thàt moment. And they have touched SO MANY lives in similar ways.

    Sorry, I’m kind of going on a tangent, but I see the slippery slope, the double-edge sword that worship leaders today face. Being relevant AND authentic can be hard.

    My old pastor said Sundays after church was done, he didn’t want to do anything but sit in front of the TV and watch things blow up (mindless action movies). Our day of rest was his most stringent.

  77. I would say more in response, but it seems i’m sure anything I’d have to say has already been said in a comment above:) I took a Theology of Worship class this semester though and the prof showed us a church that follows a liturgy called the “U2charist” or the ” U2 Eucharist”. This certainly took some discerning as here the line between concert and worship is so opaque.

    I think my biggest frustration in Church is when the person leading music says, “Lets enter into a time of worship”. Like many have said, its an all the time thing. Our culture though has put everything off into time blocks and this is just another thing to be scheduled in.

  78. As a pastor in training the worst thing I ever heard anyone say was “I don’t want the preaching, I just want to zone out and sing.” Your article hit that on the nose. But, even good preaching can eschew the proper focus of a service. I come from a tradition that mixes contemporary/ traditional, but also a down to earth one that realizes even fasting, etc. of the more tradition methods can become ways to get a spiritual fix…

    That said, it sounds like the issues you are running into are part of the “style” of rock and roll worship; even secular rockers turn to drugs/ sex or at least seem to be stressed out by being the front man (think of all the whining they do). Also, the cultural forms are never to far removed from the source when we take them up though, and a quick survey of what rock and roll entails with its harsh individuality and cult of personality has always made me leery to include too much of it (That and I like industrial metal but can’t figure out how to incorporate flamethrowers in a service to make it worthwhile). It gets even worse when you think that most of it is based on alternative styles popularized by a dude who shot himself!

    1. “It gets even worse when you think that most of it is based on alternative styles popularized by a dude who shot himself!” So interesting.

      The zone-out thing is a strange component to modern worship (as we’ve both commented). It’s weird since, to me, the whole idea of 2nd Acts church is based upon the idea of fellowship.

  79. Jesus is the message, plain and simply. Never changing, simple, straight forward easy to understand. Mankind and society may change, but not the word. Man’s wishes to jazz it up, repackage the message isn’t need. It becomes man serving mans needs and desires.
    Isn’t that just like sinful mankind. Jesus message is all that’s needed.

  80. I agree… My husband is also a worship leader musically within the church. he has been stepping away for a lot of similar pressures and no passion from the recipients….We are both heart broken over the religiousness, and control of what God should be doing in the church. As well as the lack of true passion and connection to Christ in the individuals hearts. We feel american church (not all but majority) have moved in this direction that no longer feeds our spirit with true fellowship and encouragement as comrades as you mentioned. To a very comfortable, surface experience, that transforms nothing but our willful actions for a time and not our true heart behind these things. But i could could go on and on about the things wrong with the church, and nothing would change. My husband and i have come to the conclusion that, that we love Christ with all that we are, in all that we do, for we only answer for ourselves. In that alone though we can be infectious to those around us. Like dried twigs that come into contact with a flame. As well as Christ says the church is his bride and he loves her so, so our love should also be after the church and the uplifting and helping be the change that is needed.

  81. I really like this post, as someone who has absolutely no musical talent (seriously sometimes I sing in the car and tell myself to shut up because I can’t bare it), I feel like many churches are focused/depend on a pretty voice and the talent of the worship leaders in order to “feel the spirit.” What we tend to forget is that our lives speak louder than any song we could ever sing whether we sing it well or not. Obviously, I’m not denying that God has blessed many with a beautiful voice and talent, but that does not mean that they are more of a worshiper than I am or responsible my worship experience. I totally get what your saying although I never experienced it from the side of a worship leader before.

  82. Yeah, I’d definitely have to agree with you… Why are only the top 40 christian hits allowed? How STUPID! What about having each member of the group choose or vote on Christian songs they like? I like underground music, myself. Usually because the chart-toppers are SO COMMERCIALIZED. Which is definitely not very… worship-worthy. Yeah, I guess it is a concert. I wouldn’t outright say it’s NOT worship though; It’s an act of worship, but certainly worship extends past just music, as you said–into your entire life. Intriguing post.

  83. I was curious what God’s guidance on this was to you? Was that a part of your decision? Only ask b/c sometimes how we see our situation is turned on it’s head. Other times it’s revealed what we were doing was never truly his guidance? I dunno. Just wondering…

    1. Thanks for the question! I don’t feel my initial decision to abruptly leave the church was God’s guidance. That was impulsive and I do regret how it all went down, to some extent. However, I seeking God’s guidance is what I do everyday. We pray to get it right but it doesn’t always happen, yeah?

      1. Keep seeking God’s will brother. I mentioned it, because it sounded impulsive. For instance I hate my job, HATE it. But I prayed and listened for God’s guidance and he says this is it for now. I can’t imagine why, it’s horrible. But God says this is where I am to be for now. If we are to become less and him more, then we must trust right? So I am obeying til the Lord says NOW. And course we make wrong turns, but those wrong turns we’re meant to learn from and strengthen through. So our resolve to listen and do becomes stronger as our ability to listen. Course we have wrong turns, but we must also look to see if we are ignoring the path of seeking guidance sometimes or if opps! I made the wrong decision. And this is not meant to hammer you either brother. I’m speaking to you and to myself because God is faithful and I want to be more so and want you to be more so in the Lord. Thanks for sharing with us, and allowing me to share with you. God bless and keep you always. xo

  84. Hey Kevin,
    I came across this from a friend’s facebook post.. and I’ve also read your follow-up.

    I can appreciate and empathise with your concerns, but I wonder if you’re throwing out the proverbial bathing baby, though I also sense that you’re perhaps being intentionally hyperbolic?

    Worship is a pattern of revelation and response, and too often we short-circuit that and instead of using revelation of God’s glory in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, we use things like sound and lights to manipulate people to get the response. But the problem isn’t lights or musical styles which connect to our emotions – it’s the misuse of these things. Music is powerful because it connects with our emotions in a way that spoken word often cannot. I believe that this is excatly why we’re commanded to sing when we meet to together (Col 3:16) but see how it’s the outpouring of the word of Christ dwelling within us! I wonder if there are times when we can be unfairly cynical of musical styles or arrangements because of the way they have been misused, instead of seeing them used properly?

    Should we just call it a concert? No, I don’t think see – I’d be critical of meetings where we cannot hear one another sing, or see one another. It’s not a concert, even if there are elements of performance involved (perhaps we need to rehabilitate that word: )

    I’ve no problem with using popular ‘top 20 CCLI’ songs, but I’m also a big advocate of using homegrown material, whether you’re a big church or small one (I was for a while an advocate of small churches, but I’ve come to realise that the body benefits from both big and small churches). Again, I don’t think it’s that there’s an industry that’s the problem per se, but our attitude towards it – are we creating a church where it all has to be the latest greatest Tomlin? Or are we aware of our own people to know when a Tomlin song will be beneficial and when we should sing something written by a church member?

    So, yeah.. while I agree with a number of your concerns, I don’t know that abandoning ship, or blaming popular musical arrangements is the solution – but evaluating why we do what we do will help us incorporate musical and other artistic elements in order to proclaim the gospel in song and deed!

  85. Reblogged this on Worms and commented:
    I recommend reading through some of the comments too. Here’s a great point from Kris: “It seems to me, our spiritual life and our interactions with others and service ebbs and flows, inevitably produces flaws, retracts in disgust and renews itself in purity through the Spirit. It is not just this way in worship of course, but in any aspect we participate in communally. Anytime our faith goes public in service we drag along our personal spiritual fights and encounter those of others and sometimes we just need to pull back and regroup.”

    I cannot imagine leaving my church, because they have been my family for so long, including times when my family wasn’t doing all that brilliant a job of being my family. But, just like family, sometimes the way we do things annoys the heck out of me!

  86. Hi, I don’t feel that I have much rights to say anything cuz’ I’m a 6 months old Christian… I just wanna say that God is forever with you and He is definitely our 100% good God. If you ever want to go on a holiday,would you please come to Singapore? Heart Of God Church is where I was “born”. Hopefully you find new hope or something else better 🙂 God bless

  87. I will say that music can be used to worship, however I completely agree. Somehow we have translated big epic building songs (that have the same structure every time) as a move of God. I experienced this a lot at bible college and asked myself a few times while in chapel, are we really here to meet and interact with God on His terms. A friend of mine told me one time, that sometimes during worship her favorite song might be played and she didn’t want to be distracted by it while trying to worship. My reply to her was basically telling her that God has designed us each as an individual to like certain musical sounds and rhythms, and we should express that to God as an offering of worship.

    All that being said, there does come a point when the routine and motions of “worship music” or “worship time” becomes repetitive and cliche. Sometimes we should be still and wait on God and allow our minds to focus on God Himself. The power of God, and the activity Christ is what changes our lives, not emotionalism. I do believe God uses music, but it’s not the music itself. I personally had to stop and think about this considering I have been there myself. I love music and it is something I believe God used to get my attention. Never the less I had to remind myself that God is really here and I shouldn’t be mindless of that.
    The point I really want to make out of all of this is, that we should be mindful of God Himself and desire to give Him what He deserves despite how we feel and if we receive anything from Him or not. Bring a new and fresh offering to God. Remember the church of Ephesus. They did great works and everything right, but they lost their first love for Jesus. Let’s not forget about Him.

    1. Hey! Thanks for the comment. Those are all great thoughts; I’ve been super blessed with the rich quality of comments on this post. I really liked what you said, “The power of God, and the activity Christ is what changes our lives, not emotionalism.” I can fully identify with that. Let’s stay in touch!

      1. Hey you bet. I’m glad I was able to be an encouragement. Ministry can be trying at times.
        Lets definitely stay in touch.

  88. Hi!

    I really appreciate this. The Psalms talk about “yet I will praise Him still”–even if I get no emotional high off of it. We forget that a lot. We forget that we are COMMANDED to worship God, even if our “heart” isn’t in it. It’s not dishonesty; it’s obedience, and knowing the biblical truth that the heart is deceitful above all things.

    That being said, this doesn’t mean we should turn our back on singing together in corporate worship, or reject emotions entirely. They are good–Jesus wept!–but they are not everything.

    I also think it would be helpful if we used music that was less emotional itself–both musically and lyrically. CCM and worship music is horribly self-indulgent. I commend Latin Renaissance liturgical music and general chant to all those unacquainted with it. And–contrary to popular belief–singing a good old-fashioned hymn never hurt anyone. What was so bad about the original “Amazing Grace” that it needed a new melody or chorus or bridge? (I’m looking at YOU Todd Agnew and Chris Tomlin)

    1. HA! I can relate about the “Amazing Grace” revamp. Why fix something that isn’t broken? You brought up some great points here, especially, “…this doesn’t mean we should turn our back on singing together in corporate worship, or reject emotions entirely. They are good–Jesus wept!–but they are not everything.” That’s a great, balanced approach; I think we need more of this.

    2. What was so bad about the original “Amazing Grace” that it needed a new melody or chorus or bridge?

      I hate to break it to you but, the ‘original’ Amazing Grace tune I assume you’re referring to (i.e. the popular one) isn’t the original at all…

      The first known instance of Newton’s lines joined to music was in A Companion to the Countess of Huntingdon’s Hymns (London, 1808), where it is set to the tune “Hephzibah” by English composer John Jenkins Husband.[44] Common meter hymns were interchangeable with a variety of tunes; more than twenty musical settings of “Amazing Grace” circulated with varying popularity until 1835 when William Walker assigned Newton’s words to a traditional song named “New Britain”, which was itself an amalgamation of two melodies (“Gallaher” and “St. Mary”) first published in the Columbian Harmony by Charles H. Spilman and Benjamin Shaw (Cincinnati, 1829). –


      Fact is that hymns have always been a re-invented or recycled kind of thing. I’d rather that we keep singing hymns of great depth and richness, and if that means sometimes refreshing the music, so be it.

      1. Point taken.

        However, I am a traditional Anglo-Catholic type, so I’m generally against any form of “refreshing” for refreshing’s sake. Moreover, your comment implies that there is nothing “rich” or “deep” about the traditional hymns. I disagree. Indeed, I would find them richer and deeper because they’ve been sung by generations of saints, rather than the sanitized pop-rock stuff we often use in church today.

        (I recognize this response was grumpy. Know I’m more grumpy at the system that assumes “new is better” than you).

      2. I don’t think we ought to refresh for refreshing’s sake, (I’m not a ‘newer is necessarily better’ type – in fact, I’m an opera singer by profession!) and I didn’t mean to imply there wasn’t something rich or deep about some of the traditional tunes (the important depth is in the lyrics, however) – I personally love a good hymn sing. I like old hymns and I like re-tuned ones too.. there’s a balance and there’s wisdom to know when a re-tune would be helpful. For example, there are certain hymns where the tune is profound and moving, and I wouldn’t dare change it (even if I might arrange it in a somewhat more contemporary style for my context), there are other hymns where the tune is, for better or worse, not particularly singable by many in my context.

        The rationale behind re-tuning hymns is to keep the songs of the saints who went before us in our song-books. Now, would they care more about whether we keep their tune or whether we keep singing the glorious truths of the gospel they wrote about? I think (hope) it would be the latter.

  89. This marks my 50th year as a worship leader/minister of music/choir director/songleader/music guy. I am so sorry you felt the need to remove yourself from the position. But, you are by no means alone.

    At least once a month I go through the process, in my head, of pulling out, as well. And chances are, I’ll probably do it within the next year. It’s a catch 22, this role you and I and thousands of other Christian musicians face on a daily basis. Is it worship or performance? Do we need both? Is one more or less worshipful than the other? Can we worship being performers? Man, I can’t honestly say.

    i can say, in my 50 years of service, that I have seen lives changed as a result of someone’s spiritual experience through music. Music may be the most powerful tool in our tool kit, to bring others to a face to face encounter with Christ.

    When people sing, it is a very personal act. Our defenses come down. We are willing to expose parts of ourselves to others, as well as to God. When this happens, we are vulnerable and perfectly poised to be changed. It then becomes our task, yours,mine and all others who have answered the call, to be prepared to facilitate that change, by whatever means we have been given to use. Is that manipulation? Maybe so. I’m just not sure. And even if it is, is it a bad thing?

    Like you, I’m still dealing with it. Will probably never know the answer. But know this, I will be praying for you and hope you will pray for me. Too much is at stake. Oh, I know I’m am just one infinitely minor piece of a huge puzzle. But it takes a village, or in our case an entire Kingdom.

    Be blessed,

    Phillip Adams

    1. Phillip, your comment touched my heart. Thank you for posting your thoughts. In regards to your comment about manipulation, I’d have to say manipulation—despite its negative connotations—isn’t always a bad thing. Writing, for instance, is a form of active manipulation. We construct sentences in certain ways to engage the reader, we’re actively manipulating words.

      I’ve been wondering what this means for music, especially worship & praise music. Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? I don’t know. It’s an interesting conversation though.

  90. Reblogged this on i-am-elimak and commented:
    I agree to Mr. Kevin’s blog. Most of the worshiper keep telling people that they must’ve go to church. But the real thing is, God wanted to be worshiped in His people way. As long as, we, His people are sincere. =)

  91. Being on the worship team in any capacity is both exhausting and difficult to not have it become routine. I was the lead vocalist for years on a team. I went through some serious life difficulties and felt completely alone all the while up on stage singing my broken heart out. I stepped down and walked away for a long time. The pressure to live a perfect life is more than anyone can bear. What I learned now is that Christ alone is perfect and worship is as you say- a lifestyle. Thank you for sharing. It was close to my heart.

  92. I hated Praise and Worship when I went to church. It felt contrived, it was too loud, it was on someone else’s agenda.
    I praise and worship all the time, but it is me and God, it is spontaneous, or deliberate but thoughtful and it is usually very quiet.
    I have yet to find information in the Bible which tells us to gather in a large building and sing the words someone else chooses for us. For what its worth, I think you made the right choice. Just cuddle up close to your loving father and let the cries of your heart run free.

  93. I LOVE worship music. Ive been in churches with it and churches with hymms. I feel guilty, when hymms are being sung Im thinking about other things. As a matter of fact anything but what the hymm is saying. However, when some good worship music is going I can close my eyes and sing and feel closer to God. Is it the music? No its the state of mind it puts me in. I really enjoy it. Im glad its there it seems to prepare my heart. I dont need a production, just some music.

  94. As a Youth Minister, I’ve often struggled with the seemingly manipulative function of our occupation. Trying to get people to “experience God” whether it be through singing, prayer, teaching or some other experiential act. We’re trying to set a tone, a mood… An experience. God will shine through the cracks but there are definitely times where we help break open those cracks… Good thoughts – definitely something to think on. Jared.

  95. Kevin,

    Thanks for the thouthful blog, I’ll echo other comments, and say i’m glad you still believe and didnt write it all off.

    Here’s my questions… as I’ve been in internal personal struggle over the last few weeks. It’s the struggle between being a worship leader, and being a lead worshipper. (I hate how we have made the last “title” a title and so trite) But what I mean is do I lead by leading, or do I lead by worshipping?
    There is a time to lead, and in practice I lead and guide and explain. Then during the service/gathering… I find myself just worshipping. I’m the loudest vocal, but… is that leading?
    Is that ok?
    Do you draw more people into honest worship by worshipping, or does it confuse the crap out of people?
    Im not sure… which is why i am wrestling.

    When i get comments about the sundays I lead i rarely(dont think ever) get comments from people saying… “you lead the body very well this morning. thank you.”
    I get the comments saying… “wow I saw you worshipping this morning and just in love with God. It was so authentic and honest. Thank you, it made it easier to worship.”
    (Not that I am looking for comments after i lead, but as you know they are inevitable. and regardless we take cues from them, both good or bad)

    1. Hey Kurt (it is Kurt, yes?),

      Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate your thoughts; you’re asking some great and serious questions, questions we should all be asking.

      It’s an interesting concept. Are you leading, or just worshipping? I’d say that leading is a defined act. If you are not intentionally leading, then you are probably not a good leader (generally speaking, not “you”). But it’s different with worship, isn’t it? We’re expected to lead, except we aren’t allowed to do any of the things a leader does.

      At the end of the day, I’m still of the position that it should not be any one person’s job to draw someone else into “worship.” Worship is a life-long sacrifice, and what we do on Sundays is “praise” or sing together. That’s different entirely. Your responsibility is simply to lead the singing. Whether people do it or not is their problem.

  96. I didn’t read all the comments, but as a lover of worship and praise and dancing unto the Lord (I’m 67, been a Christian for 34 years, plucked out of new age and before that atheism), I’ve always had a hard time with the worship team up on a stage with lights (maybe it’s my drama teacher background). Why not have the team off to the side with lower lights and just have the words of the songs in front up on the screen? Plus, leave a space in the back for dancing unto the Lord.

    I just watched the Bethel worship team on YouTube where they even had painters up on the stage and someone dancing. Maybe it’s a preoccupation with performing due to the movie star/rock star mentality in America? I’d love to find a church where the musicians are not on a stage and aren’t put in the position of having to look good, do good, and basically perform for the congregation.

    I love corporate worship because I don’t have a good singing voice, so when the worship is loud enough, I don’t have to hear my own voice–plus it blesses me to be in a large group of people who are all focused on worshipping our God. I feel like I’m soaring in the heavens, getting closer and closer to His heart.

    Most of us as children had a desire to be famous–a movie star, an athlete, etc. Now as we raise our Christian children, we put yet another stumbling block in front of them. “Why can’t I be looked up to as a worship leader like those guys up on the stage with all those lights?” And that thought isn’t one that only children have; adults who are wanna-be worship leaders also look up to those on stage with a bit of jealousy.

    I realize most churches need higher stages for programs, etc. but when it comes to worship, it would be so much better when our eyes open to look at the words on the screen that they see a wooden cross or stained glass windows or perhaps even slide shows of God’s glorious creation. If it’s not possible to have the team somewhere other than on the stage, then what about having the stage lights low with the team in a semi-circle, their backs to the congregation? They can hear what’s going on with the congregation, so why do they need to worry about looking to see what they’re doing? (And why is the congregation basically forced to stare at the musicians when they open their eyes?). A place of meeting should encourage people to focus on God, not on the worship team.

    One more thing–it seems to me a worship team should start by leading the body in song, then allow the Holy Spirit to take over, staying in tune with Him and what He’s doing in the congregation. A true worship leader will not only worship personally, but also be aware that he/she can’t just “do their own thing” while leading worship. (They aren’t by themselves in their living rooms.) It takes a lot of humility and skill to truly lead corporate worship.

    Just my thoughts.

    1. You have some excellent points about the band being on stage. I’ve been leading worship for 24 years now, and I’ve been in a very wide range of settings. I’ve tried it several times to have the band “invisible,” and in one setting (typically a setting in which people who know the worship team members), it works great. However, in other settings where there is a wider range of people and spiritual backgrounds, I have found that it is easier to “lose the people” or “move on without the people.” There is the need for someone to lead.

      My first church where I led regularly, we could have just played a cd, and the people would have easily surrendered everything for the sake of worshipping The Lord. I went from that to church that was still a spiritually mature church, but not expressive… not even when speaking the Word. I asked The Lord what I was doing wrong, and He said, “Lead.” In the previous church, I didn’t have to lead. This is where placement is key. No, the band should never be the focal point, but there are key ways to making sure that is not the case even while having them on a stage.

      All this to say, one thing is always true… regardless of how we setup “last time” we always have to setup how The Lord tells us to setup. He was specific with the Temple, He will be specific with our setup.

  97. Hey kevin,
    I was glad to read your post and share many of your ideas. I wish churches wouldn’t get so caught up in trying to have a professional show and call it “worship”. Like my brothers and sisters in the posts above, if its a concert lets call it a concert, but if it is worship then let it truly just be praise and worship. Its like when we combine the 2 we unknowingly lift the service up on a podium and worship it in the process and I don’t think God recieves it, at least not according to psalm 51. I tend to think that God enjoys things that are flawed seeing as though he made us that way right? So why would he expect worship from us that is perfection? That seems a little contradictory to our nature. If he views us as beautiful but we know we are flawed then why would he think of our worship to him any different? Sounds to me as if he enjoys flawed things more than attempts at perfection. We need a movement of worshippers who aren’t john mayers on the guitar or Elton John on the keys to start worshipping with their hearts wide open, missing a few notes, letting their voice crack a little every now and then. To stop laying back on a click track and lean on the Holy Spirit to guide their worship. So what if its not note perfect, when we have engaged our heart and spirit instead of our thinking God responds with the outpouring of his presence. Without the music, worship still comes forth; the music is just a vehicle. Didn’t mean to get on a soap box. You hit a lot of great points that I have seen, as a drummer of 14 years, worship leaders hit and miss and continue to miss when it comes to worship.
    Thanks again brother!


  98. Kevin, I can relate entirely understand. A concert shows boasting, and people can tell if you are entirely authentic in your worship. I am also a worship leader at my local church and have had more lows than highs as a leader in the church. True worship is not done by the self, our confidence is not by us but in Christ. This is fully and entirely leaning on Christ, and as leaders there is a lot of change that has to happen in order for Christ to shape us. It is Christ in us, that will be shown through our worship. Not some build-up or dynamics that makes an experience. For Christ must become greater and I must become less so that he would be shown through me, and this is hard because we want control. Worship is more than just another song that we sing with emotions that may be planned out.

  99. Hey Kevin
    Firstly let me apologize for the length of this response, but I feel it warrants some real conversation.

    I know I’ve been where you’re speaking of and I’ve experienced pressures that are different but similar. I led worship for roughly 15yrs & had particular style and goal in mind and it was always measured the same way you describe… A physical, visible expression. If I didn’t get that, I would ask a trusted friend how it went (before I was bombarded with any negative feedback from pastors) because I rarely was given a thumbs up from leadership. Not because I sucked, but because of their “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.

    But I ended up taking a 5 1/2 yr break when I took on the role of multimedia director. This was a necessary break AND a necessary look at the Sunday worship & church experience from a different perspective.
    In that 5+yrs I went through everything from the typical criticism of worship styles to song choices and performance level to caring more about how smoothly we presented the lyrics, back grounds on the powerpoints and camera cuts than what God was up to.
    I was dedicated to serving my pastors, but had lost all perspective of what Sundays should really look like. (Now that alone is opening a can of worms, but we’ll save that for another time.)

    I became pretty disenchanted with the whole thing, but then as soon as the well was dry, I began to have a hunger for worship again. Only this time I was tapping into my “first love” of worship music that got me into it in the first place. I had loved to worship before I’d ever learned to play an instrument. It’s what led me to learn to play in the first place.

    As the hunger grew, I began to pour into Jesus. I began fasting and praying and falling in love with Jesus all over again.
    Soon after, I knew it was time to step down from my position at the church and let Him begin to really direct my steps.
    The very next Sunday, my wife and I went and visited another church – one that was less chromatic than ours, yet one we’d been wanting to visit off a while. As soon as we walked in, we were hit smack in the face with a refreshing, authentic, heartfelt worship and His Holy Spirit. It was not in the performance (yet they were good). It wasn’t the songs (yet they did intrigue me). And it certainly wasn’t the production… It was Hos Spirit and the level of authenticity. I turned to my wife and she at me…and we knew we’d tapped into what we were both deeply missing.
    Now, we did not go back to that church, because we were not in search of a church. We were in search of His presence during worship.

    At that point, I did make a connection with the worship leader and asked about resources, etc. and set out on a journey to rediscover a lifestyle of personal worship (along with areas of servanthood and outreach, etc) and fasting and prayer.
    Shortly after, I re-entered the area of worship leading and knew that my goal was to first hear from The Holy Spirit and then wait for responses that were ones of real connection with God. This was and is still a long process to gauge, because bears fruit. And fruit is lasting, not a one time experience.

    Now let me say this… after I’d already discovered what I’d wanted and desired and began to press into His Holy Spirit I then discovered what had been going on at places like Bethel and Hillsong (which by the way are two totally different worship and church cultures that breed two, almost opposing worship styles). And they have been very instrumental. BUT I’ve found the key is listening to and writing music while listening to the Holy Spirit, owning a song, leading it from your heart and thereby guiding the people where you believe God is going or wanting to take them. This is what distinguishes a worship leader from a song leader.
    You know the old saying “you cannot lead someone where you’ve never been.” A good worship leader is not merely leading people through songs of worship. He is leading from a lifestyle of worship. When that happens, it cuts through all the red tape. It creates favor because you have favor with God.

    Lastly, just to touch base on the driving drum build ups and repetitive choruses, those aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Everything about music was created to evoke emotion, otherwise it would be useless. Even one annoying note played over a long period of time will drive someone crazy and commit suicide. So when a song of worship has build ups and crescendos at certain points or if “spontaneous choruses” arise FROM an exuberance of real emotion toward God, it’s a good thing.

    So the main question here for all of us this this: Why are we leading worship in the first place? What is our real motivation? If it’s to see people connect with God on a real and authentic level, beyond a one time experience, then we’re doing something right.

    1. Hey, your comment moved me. Thanks for taking the time to share from your heart and speak your history. Your journey is indeed a powerful one.

      “Why are we leading worship in the first place” is a question that deserves our deepest thoughts and considerations, especially before we approach in God in calling out His name.

      Thanks, again! You’re welcome here any time. 🙂

  100. Hi Kevin,
    Thank you for writing this…and keeping up with the responses over time! I understand where you’re coming from, but am coming from a church that kicked me off their “music team” because my membership was revoked in a mass membership revoking. i was told that they didn’t want no members on the music team, but weeks after that, a non member replaced me on the drums. they always say it’s not about the music, and from what they have done, i believe it to be true (putting people on instruments that have no natural rhythm or never touched an instrument). However, the way everything went down in 2009 has left me broken inside and it’s as if the music has died within my heart. when i try to play a little guitar to sing to God, i’m reminded of the pain and lies that happened and it’s so hard to sing to God.
    Maybe i’m brainwashed thinking that if i don’t play there, it must not be of God…i know it can happen by myself.
    one girls uncle visited from africa and said she would be playing bass, and she’s never touched bass…and days later, one of the pastors contacted her and told her she was playing bass.
    sure, other churches will use anyone, but after being at this church, like you said, it’s not a show, and i also don’t want to play with other people who are more or less just playing music and getting caught up in perfection. at the same time, aren’t we supposed to play skillfully? but, worship doesn’t take skill, it takes heart. i wonder if that is what I’m missing, or what has died in me…my heart.
    thanks for giving me a place to vent.

  101. I would like in on this conversation but don’t have time to reply now…so I’m making a marker statement. Sorry…maybe annoying…but it helps me bookmark the place.

  102. I’m speechless, really. My passion is music and I can really express that level of my emotion well to God in other ways that I cannot. I really don’t know what to say, but I have many things to say. As one person said, I am truly discouraged after reading these replies, however, I agree with so many and feel guilty of ‘self-ambitions. or people expecting people on the stage to put on a good show with energy included. Music just causes so much division and controversy, I just can’t stand it! I would love to sing behind the stage if it meant people would be able to focus on God and not me. My strongest desire is to please God and have him smile down on things done his way and honoring unto him.

    Even today as I was singing, everything in my body started to twitch and get hot because I was SO nervous based off people looking at my shoes, no movement, and me being in a new space singing. I know that God weighs the motives of our hearts when we do anything, however….this post makes me question whether I am called to sing, and even if I am, I would really have to wait for God to tell me how he would want this singing done in church. I believe music moves and inspires people when it is done right, or as many said on here….the Holy Spirit is involved. Much of what is done in front of people is pure, when our lives behind the scenes is devoted to living pure…. I’m glad I read this post, however….I will be praying….to see where God will lead. Bless all~

  103. Yes, yes, and yes. Let’s’ name and shame’ church for what is has become: a concert peddling a bloated, self-indulgent religious experience. Perhaps if we were honest about what we do, we could at least pay those musicians / technicians that faithfully give their time and skills to the system – in my church tradition at least, every musician, sound engineer, and most ‘worship directors’ are required to perform with no pay ‘because they are doing it for the Lord.’ This is total hypocrisy, and simply wouldn’t be tolerated for a secular concert of similar size and musical quality.
    ‘Worship’ is one of those words that has changed meaning over time, and is now nothing more than a genre of CCM, and and a tool to create the self-indulgent experiences that now stand in for true faith in God.
    Music can at times, and in balance with other activities, facilitate our worship – which is the overflow of our hearts to God – but it is never ‘worship’ itself.
    Thanks for your honesty about this issue, it expresses everything I have felt lately about my own involvement as a worship leader in church.

  104. Your point about having songwriters in every church, yet only singing songs produced by the ‘big names’ is very valid, and is an issue that constantly grieves my heart, too. ‘Big business’ has defined worship for us, and every church now sings songs written for stadium audiences, whether they themselves are this kind of church or not.
    How does this make local songwriters feel, when their own songs are quietly put to the side by their Music Directors / Worship Pastors, in favour of the ‘latest sound’ coming out of iTunes?
    My dream is to see every church singing songs written by their own songwriters, and developing music styles and formats that reflect their own journeys of faith, rather than the mass produced feel good songs that are easy to follow, but light in substance. This would lead to creative expansion, and much greater honesty in the way we use music to express our worship of God.
    I’ll say it again – every church should write and sing their OWN songs!

  105. I agree with BJ, it is both. I also agree with you that we must worship The Lord away from the Sunday setting as well. In fact, I believe what we do away from church is what makes the difference when we join together in the creative expression of worship. God is a creative God, and we were made in their image. Creativity is built within us, and to use that creativity to express honor and praise for the purpose of glorifying Him… it is worship of Him. It is up to us to choose whom we worship. Truth is, we will always worship because that is built in us as well. The question is, who (or what) will be the object of our worship.

  106. Good article.
    I don’t sing on a stage or play an instrument, but I am a worship leader…because I lead a life of worship. So should all Christians be worship leaders.

    I just recently heard the term ‘Worship Pastor’, does anyone else find that term at bit troubling and biblically inaccurate?

    I think the correct terms are Music Ministry, Music Ministers, Praise Leaders, Praise Ministers.

    How did Praises to Jesus get downplayed to not ‘important sounding’ enough and replaced by the unbalanced view that worship is music. Worship is your life

  107. I’m currently a worship leader at a church. I made the mistake of saying I’d never work at a church years ago because I was fed up with the boring routine:). Ooops. It’s a bummer the way church’s much of the time kid themselves to think they’re anything more than a local business:) Do we hire anointed “called” people, or use resumes and degrees like any other business(not implying it’s either/or)? Do we closely follow the Spirit and walk in intimacy with The One, or do things to appeal to our consumers?
    I do hope the songs we sing and words we put on our lips change us more the we know. I think for some people it’s more impacting than sitting and being talked “at” for 40-50 minutes to hopefully retain 5%. We definitely don’t need more “life changing” meetings where no ones life is changed(think Graham Cooke said that). :). Thanks for making us think!!

  108. When my dh and I first started walking with the Lord as adults (we met at youth group when I was 17 and he was 15) we listened to the radio when Jon Courson was teaching at a local fellowship. He always began by singing acappella songs from the word. Before we moved to Oregon (he was teaching in So CA at the time,) we decided to visit in person. I thought it might be a bit cheesy and childish to sing those songs together as a congregation. But you know what? Singing God’s word back to Him in that setting was incredibly profound and my prideful perceptions were, thankfully, torn down. I love many different styles of music and although I’m not big on “production,” as we’ve only experienced small group worship music for the past 6 months or so, occasionally I crave getting together with a big, loud, large group and singing it all out to Jesus. I will say, though, we were very blessed at our last fellowship, although it was larger, the worship leader truly had the right heart and God did so much healing through the musical part of our worship there.

    1. And I just wanted to add – we’re not looking for an experiential high to get us through – my times of drawing near to Him and learning to abide IN Him, that is what gets me through. Music and dance (although a retired dancer) is part of my soul and song to me is prayer set to music.

  109. Oh, man, this post cuts to the quick. You are certainly on to something prevalent in not a few churches. Every word of your post rings true for me. Keep thinking on this subject. You have more to bring to the table, and the church needs it.

  110. After nearly a year since you originally posted this blog entry, I’m curious where you are now in relation to your strong feelings of 12 months ago.

    I’ve never completely endorsed any of the music at any of the churches with which I have associated. There always comes a time when I say, “What am I hearing and seeing? What is this?” I have come to believe that that is my moment with our Lord. When I am forced to concede that it is my obligation and privilege to worship Him whose Name is above all names regardless of whatever human contrivance has been placed before me on a Sunday morning.

    It is always at that moment when I bow down internally, and kneel the stiff knees of my heart to our loving Lord and Master.

  111. Some of the oldest Christian lineages use lively music in their services, What puzzles me is why the contemporary services in the US always seem to do away with communal prayers and confessions. The service is basically singing then a sermon then a closing song.

    The music may be good but it hardly has the ecstatic effect that you would get from something like a heavy metal concert so I tend to believe that when people are throwing up their hands and swaying they are basically just acting and not feeling anything.

    Nevertheless why does the participatory aspect have to be abandoned? Reciting prayers and confessions helps to keep the content in the front of your mind. To me these are the most important parts of the service.

    Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo spiritual song

    Deje tenahu-Yanten Lante Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo mezmur

  112. Hey Kevin, thanks so much for sharing this. I listen to a lot of Passion Conference and Hillsong United, as well as Gungor, Rend, Kari Jobe… In my teen years (the late 90’s), I was listening more to Steven Curtis Chapman, 4Him, Point of Grace… I don’t know how to describe it, but there is a difference in these two types of music and the “concerts” that came with them. There is music intended to listen to, and there is music intended to participate in. I find that with what we call “Modern Worship”, we are creating environments. The reason this is so important is something I realized recently when I was leading worship in our student ministry. That night, we had a teen guy that was visiting. In small groups, they were addressing sexual purity. You could read it all over his face that he wasn’t buying any of this, and that he would continue down whatever path he was on. Then we went into worship and had a message to sum everything up. During the next week, he sent an email to the youth pastor telling him that he really enjoyed what we have going on and that he would be back again that next week. In other words, inspite of him being possibly offended that we are telling all the students to remain pure sexually until marriage, he was willing to come back and “be offended” again. Was it the music, the lights, the 2000 watts of sound? I don’t know, but at the end of the day, whether it is a performance, a concert, a worship service, a gathering… people coming to Christ is all that matters. I’m not saying any of this to disagree with you. I do feel burn out coming for me as well. Mine is fighting against the idea that although personal preference plays no part in any other area of the Christian faith, people seem to think that church music should depend completely on their own preference instead of what the Bible has to say about worship. In a church in the deep confederate south, it is hard to have to fight this battle every Sunday. The biggest part of that battle is trying to convince church people that reaching non-church people is what we are supposed to do. This is part of what we have always called the great commission. Still, changes have been made, churched people have left, and unchurched people have come. If we could get them into the same church together with the right heart, there is no telling what could happen. But people have to be willing to love others to really see this work.

    Anyway, great post. Thanks for sharing.

  113. I had already been a profession musician for 35 years before I played on my first worship team.
    By professional I mean: read-write- arrange- studio- live performance – multi instrument – player who had worked with some big names. I had to be taught all the lingo and concepts that move a worship team toward being phony. Any Christian man or woman can sense when something is not holy.
    I am writing about Religious – Christian flavored – business. John Coltrane’s spiritual compositions that were written to Glorify Jesus Christ would never be heard in a US church. Why? Because that music won’t fill up the basket. It’s been two years since I excused myself from any worship team music. But just yesterday, I saw a little ad from a small church who needed a guitar player to help them sing.
    The Holy Spirit is working on me. God Bless you

    1. We need to keep our hearts soft, we make music far too important in church don’t we, God is passionate about his word. I like what you wrote at the end.

  114. I think in all things we can honor Jesus whether its in the 50 person church or a mega church. Worship is about glorifying God. And in anything it requires balance, and even checks and balances, a life of repentance, love and continually seeking God. It’s the motivation behind our heart. If you come to lead worship despite all the logistics, criticism, etc. with a desire to serve and honor God, than I say keep on leading!!!! I think the hardest thing is not always thinking we have it right and making room for people’s giftings. Also to ensure we are walking in a spirit of love. There’s nothing wrong operating in a spirit of excellence when it comes to leading worship. We are called to do so. But I think Jesus is after our heart and affection. There are many things wrong, but I pray that Holy Spirit would come to convict, and that His people would keep showing up in love of who He is. There are no perfect churches and no perfect people in churches. I also think its important to be in a church your equally yoked in. I think the enemy wants nothing more than to rip key people off the platform who are faithful servants and I’m tired of seeing it. We can rise above all this stuff to worship and love the one true living God who is more than worthy to be praised!!! I pray many blessings upon you.

  115. Providing you are a Director or employee of a company, these payments are an allowable deduction against the Corporation tax liability of the
    company. You also need to choose a professional domain host.
    Much of what we take for granted today results from technology that has been developed only within the last century.

  116. thank you for posting it answered a question I had made The LORD so many times !
    It must be so hard when the worshiper has to build up and satisfy the audience, the church, his own longings and at the same time offer our LORD something new, genuine, whole hearted. How can we expect that anyone can offer their gift in a unique and wholehearted way , if it has already been divided among everything mentioned above. It must be so hard to come to HIM with your freshest fruits, with your first thoughts, with your purest melody when we asks you to deliver it in a specific formulated way…
    After reading your post I have so much more appreciation and understanding to all the worship teams. GOD BLESS YOU KEVIN !!!!!!

  117. A song may be a “worship” song, but no matter how deeply it leads you to pray or to feel God’s presence, that fails to make it an act of “Worship” as the Church defines it.

    Worship is not principally something that we do: it is the self-offering of Jesus Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit, the fruits of which are received in Holy Communion. Worship is Sacrifice and Sacrament, not Praise.

    Since we cannot offer ourselves wholly as Jesus did, we couple our sacrifice with Christ’s perfect sacrifice actualised at each Eucharist; we do this in His memory – offering our lives as a living sacrifice to God!

    – This is true and the highest form of worship.

  118. เฮ้ มี ! ฉันก็ ต้องการ
    ให้ ขนาดใหญ่ นิ้วหัวแม่มือ ขึ้น สำหรับ ดี ข้อมูล คุณ โพสต์ นี้ ฉัน จะ กลับไป มา เว็บไซต์ของคุณ เพิ่มเติม ในเร็ว ๆ นี้ .

  119. In this game completes the most powerful hardware available for USD 1.
    There is a case of racing rivals hack damage or theft.
    But mobile application delivery, and your multi tasking it can be downloaded on the storage space.
    Parallel Kingdom: Age of Thrones is available to download, game developers.
    They racing rivals hack have complete knowledge about all these games at your
    rescue. Whatever game you enter for a long time to
    conduct a transformational coaching session with your Wii in this field with
    several amazing offers.

  120. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each
    time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?


  121. I agree. I’m a pastor who desires his church to worship God, but the constant pull in the concert direction makes it hard to keep people. 30 years ago the pull was the world now it’s from the church world. It’s like we have to compete with Sunday morning Christian concerts and coffee bar. And if you don’t then you are dismissed as religious. I cannot pastor a Christian nightclub.

  122. Thank you so much for this post and your honesty. Makes me feel better today since I have been getting some negative feedback from the Pastor and a few of his leaders. I hear things like “not enough choir members. with a church our size we should have a lot more in the choir.” and “you need to be more passionate and energetic in your worship leading.” I feel that I am on trial constantly in regards to “performance.” Was your choir attendance good this week? Did the band sound ‘peppy’ enough to compete with other congregations? etc. I have been at the church for 10 years and I love the people here – but I am feeling really worn out. It is really difficult to put your heart and soul into connecting with God and the congregation, each and every Sunday, only to hear your “performance” was lacking. When I put together a set I like to include fast songs (Halal and Shabach) and slow ‘kneeling’ type songs (Barak) to fully connect with the Spirit. But the Pastor only wants fast and upbeat. So that is what I choose. Very frustrated right now. Sorry for the rant and thanks again for making me feel that I am not alone in my frustration.

  123. I don’t think any argument or perception is really new. I have been a worship leader for 25 years. All that has been mentioned recycles quite often. Anything can be “demonized”. In fact, I continue to maintain a negative perception of Youth Ministry as it is nowhere in the bible. However, in the book “The Fight” the author refers to the ability of an opinion to become an idol (much like my opinion of Youth Ministry) I can begin to worship my opinion as an idol. It can be a danger. The Word does not say that His commands are “easy” but “not burdensome.” Jesus’ yoke is easy, and His burden is light, but maintaining a gracious demeanor in this world and obeying the Lord in this world can be difficult. Thanks for bringing up this issue. I was searching for it as I have sanctified my talent to the Lord only to recently start playing non christian music at some events. It is fun, but the jury is still out as to whether it is appropriate. Being a keyboardist, everyone hopes you don’t quit the band. Sticking with it currently out of feeling bad for the band members if I quit. The fear of man brings a snare.

  124. The singing time in the modern, wealthy church is well staged, professionally executed ,The “worship time” in today’s pentacostal church is mostly led by , what seems to me, to be carefully selected young beautiful and disarmingly confident young women. Yes sir, it’s a chick business is the “worship”. Done this way really pulls the crowds; by the hundreds- people desperate to belong to be loved, to be cared for ; cared for the first time in their lives. Some women and men in the 60’s can truly draw near to God and worship in spirit and in truth in a public setting, and are not taken in and moved by the euphoria, or how many hands raised or by women having dreams and visions in the service. But does the board want a man of 60 leading “worship” Certainly not. It is not lucrative. This will diminish the financial proceeds, and not increase them! So worship is dominated by confident, attractive women under about 35 years.

    I was in one conference and they had about 8 TV monitors. The monitors had close ups of this prominent woman’s face and upper body, and she contorted her face and oohed and ahhed and chanted the same phrase repeatedly, like the tribes do in Africa. I felt she was talking about her new boyfriend and hoped he would take her out on Friday night and not Sally nor Jane but her!! How carnal. What a show that was.
    I had to walk out. I did. and I regard myself as a worshipping man. The bible speaks of chanting. And God is not impressed.


    worship, in the bible is an attitude. Worship is mostly found in the bible accompanied by a bowing down or falling prostrate, and mostly there is no sound. Nope; there is silence. “Let us worship and bow down, let us knee before the Lord our maker” ( Ps 95)

    Worship is big business. Big bucks and fast bucks. Slick chicks with slick hair do’s and slick choreography, to move the masses.( dressed like men, in mens clothes, ooh the tight pants-how awful!)

    One day it will all end.

    1. True indeed. Somehow the older saints are ushered off of the stage, as they are visually unappealing. Never mind the skill that comes with experience, the passion that comes from living years with a God who is faithful. We (and I am 53) are not to despise one’s youth, but certainly not to venerate it either. I have a 16 year old son who loves the Lord with all of his heart, but he is not fooled by the raised hands, repetitions, and young people declaring things they have yet to experience (for the most part, some have, I realize). Nevertheless, it is dangerous to begin worshiping and idolizing an opinion either. God has a way of revealing all of our foolish notions, and foolish hearts.

  125. We are a family first and the focus has to be on Jesus. We should all be facing one way with all our eyes on the King of Kings as music is watching the Bride and groom at a’s all about them. Problem is many times singers and musicians playing together are looked at like bands, idolatry is big in our churches with leaders and we look much like the world around us. No one should take the place of Jesus ever, to many get in the way as we try to see him. The generation called by his name, the family of God, is all ages, family, one voice. When all of our hearts are in the same direction..remembering who this party is for, then the glory will fall and the son is glorified..

  126. Hey Kevin.
    I have to agree with Julia. As a reluctant worship leader myself, I was thrust into it by default when our leader left. He seemed burned out too. I believe that it was God’s choice. I was up there by myself for several months in front of a medium sized congregation. Just me…my mike…and my guitar. Now, I am by no means a great singer…nor a great guitar player. I did my best. As time went on, I learned how to “sing” with passion, and how to play with passion. I believe that God was sharpening me for what was to come. At present day….we have a full band. However, my philosophy for worship was that the band had to have fun doing it. We had to like doing it for each other, and for God. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem to work very well. Fortunately, my Pastor calls it what it is. A performance, a concert that is God driven and from the Heart of the Band to the Heart of God. I agree with some of what you say. It is a VERY difficult and unappreciated job, in that the congregation has no real idea of how hard you have to work during the week for things to come together on any given Sunday. I also don’t allow us to fall into the “mold” that you refer to. 5 songs….1 original…2 slow…2 fast….same order every week. I stay away from that and alternate songs and song styles. We also have a “coffee house” sort of worship where the band leaves all their cases and wires out….and it gives a “backstage” feel. We actually talk to each other about God, and invite the congregation to talk, if they like. Then we play a song, sitting….acoustic with coffee and donuts available on stage. It gives a nice intimate sort of feel and brings us back to the Center of God and Worship. Sort of a musical compass, if you will. Anyway….keeping the “our style is NO style” approach, and changing the presentation seems to help me work over the rough spots that we all encounter as focal points in the church.
    Thanks for allowing me to speak.

  127. Dear former worship leader:
    Before the advent of the modern Christian Rock stadium church, there was a model for worship. Developed over centuries and refined and defined by each generation until the current one. It’s called “the Divine Service” embrace it. Follow it. Confess, be forgiven, hear the words of the prophets and of Jesus, profess the ancient catholic faith, pray together with the whole church across the world, receive the nourishing body and blood of your God and then carry that joy out into the world. You can even still sing throughout it, but nothing is on you. It is all on God.

  128. It’s been interesting to read these responses. What many responses are describing is a kind of worship experience I have no experience of. I know it is becoming increasingly popular around the world, but for me worship is a formal liturgy centered on word and sacrament in which the people participate in the prayers, responses, canticles, and hymns. Most of the liturgy is sung by the people. Music leadership is provided by an organist and a volunteer choir and the music is selected because it supports the readings and the seasons of the church year. I wouldn’t say that there aren’t problems from time to time. Even Bach had problems with his church authorities. But he still subscribed to the idea that worship is done soli Deo gloria—to the glory of God alone. Put man in the center and things fall apart very quickly. I’m sorry for your experience. And the pastors are culpable. But there’s a lot of good solid worship going on in the Christian world and I hope someday you discover it.

  129. I pray that what I share is as good/great as some of the things that I have read so far, I am not judging but I am just sharing my experience. I am on a Praise and Worship team. I am from the Baptist arena. Before I joined the praise team, some saints say things are too loud, other say it’s not loud enough, some say why can’t we just sing hymns that’s what we grew up on and others say well why can’t we add some of the contemporary gospel music to the service, while you have a Pastor and a Chairman of the Deacon board fighting Worship every step of the way because the Deacon wants Devotion and the Pastor when it’s beneficial for him wants praise and worship but majority of the time reverts back to what the Deacon says. So one day God spoke to me as I was sitting in church seeing and listening to the same thing Sunday after Sunday and He said “there is more to me than this.” So I said God what should I do so I began to attend other churches and Spiritual events, and I remember attending the Woman Thou Art Loose conference in Atlanta, and when Juanita Bynum began to minister in praise and worship and I looked around and I saw women in Suits (beautiful suits) laying prostrate before God, worshipping him, not caring who was standing on either side of them, crying out to God, some being delivered right before my eyes and I understood what the voice of God had said to me “there’s more to me than this.” God spoke to my husband that it was time to leave and he guided us to a Non-denominational church where I began to learn more and more about God and what He expects from us daily and in our worship. Then that became tainted by the Wife of the church wanting to be in Control of everything and starting running people away and God moved us to an Apostolic ministry and here is where my world was turned upside down, how time was not a factor, worship and the Word of God was the Agenda for the day, we were allowed to move in our gifts, how praise and worship was not a concert or for show but for setting the atmosphere for the people of God to come in and sit, and worship and praise, etc., in the presence of a living God. So after 6 years my husband said that God wanted us to go back to our first church because there were some things that needed to be done so we went back and things were moving, God was moving, the Holy Spirit moved in that place like I have never seen before, then the complaining started again, people act like they were coming to a concert, to a show, out of a hundred people maybe 10 would lift up Holy hands and reverence God the Father, now without getting into a lot of the details we have gone from 200-250 people a Sunday to maybe 30-35 people a Sunday (on a good Sunday) and when we as the praise and worship team stand before the people asking them to lift up their hands, begin to reverence God, to worship God with the fruit of your lips, because He is God and there is no other, 10 out of the 30-35 people will praise Him the others sit idle looking as if they are in the twilight zone and we are from Mars. And it’s frustrating not because they are not into Me or what type of songs we are singing but because they sit there like God owes them something, like they don’t understand how important it is to Worship Him, to be in His presence, the fact that He woke us up and we still have breath to open up our mouths to say God I love you and I want to be in your presence every moment of my life! We were BORN to worship, we were given the job of Lucifer, to be the worshipper, to praise. God said if you don’t praise me the very rocks will cry out, and Psalm 150 says: Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. This is what we are to do. I am not a theologian but I know what God expects from us, I know what is required of us, if we can go to a football game, basketball game, concert (whether worldly or church), our kids recitals, whatever it is and we can jump and shout and move and clap, why is it when we get to Church where it states in 2 Corinthians 3 that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Liberty (Freedom), free to worship, free to lift of holy hands, free to sing, free to cry, free to dance, free to exhort, free to bask in His Glory, free to be made free from Mans traditional ways and laws we become numb, complacent, arrogant, selfish, prideful, unmoved. I want to be in a place where I am free to WORSHIP and to receive the unadulterated Word of God! I pray that I can experience what I did in Atlanta everyday, not just on Sundays but Monday -Saturday, I live to worship, I sit at my desk and begin to cry because I think of Jesus and how He loves me, I sing songs all the time because I understand that I have to set the atmosphere around me to make it conducive for the Spirit of God to be pleased in. Singing Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, I will Bless Your name, I will Bless Your name, I will Bless Your name, I will Bless Your name!!!!!! Praise Him and I pray that your worship experience from this day forward would be pleasing unto God!

  130. I read the original entry and the last entry! Interesting! I was once a worship leader for two years, since I came down it has never been the same! I have always coveted the position., I have told myself that I am a song writer, made an album of my songs, can play instruments sing etc., but I can never get over that fact that I should be a worship leader once again., someone should recognize me…not just someone, but a leading charismatic church I say….my present church for instance has put me in the choir., I cry inside..but….the truth is….I keep thinking ….for Jesus none of this matter! You need to sing to Him, and sing to be able to truly bless others which is what I truly desire….I think that is what I should do!
    So to all I say this….it’s all very simple. We worship God, we sing to Him and to each other as the Lord commands us…this doesn’t mean, we need to have a ‘super modern music’ worship session….because what ushers the Spirit of God is a broken and a contrite spirit, and for this to happen music is not ‘Mandatory’ I repeat, music is not mandatory…but the presence of God is! Music is not mandatory for the presence of God….but a repented heart is mandatory! So whatever that steals this truth is not right or accepted. So don’t be mocked! Ask yourself always the question, what would Jesus, think, say or do? Just follow Him. His thoughts, His mind..this way you will never lose track and will also avoid foolish arguments that don’t interest Him and thus…should not interest His children either!

  131. My thought about this is,,, it is not important if what they call this,,, the most important is with in it,,,, Example the call it Godcert but the choir there is not truly a worshiper of God it is still nothing in the Eyes of God… The most important is that, the people who worship must have a heart that pleases in the eyes of God and willing to follow the dealing of the Holy Spirit. So if you are a worshiper you must see to it that you worship God not Glory to you… Always give credit to the Lord because you are only a vessel of Gods power…
    Many people failed to be a true worshipers because they never forget the true essense of being a worshiper., remember that Satan is once a worship leader but because he wants also to give credit on Him, they failed and fall into hell.
    Therefore be aware that you must always give the credit , glory and honor to God only, because Only God deserves the true praise and worship….
    you can read some of this stuff in this site…
    Hope it can help…

  132. He did, however, pay for her Harvard education, and the judge lives in fear that he will one day
    call on her to pay back the debt — in money or in legal favors.
    As you move from the ceremony to the reception n and
    the party, you will discover the need for a lighter dress that is
    not restricting. The large waistband is completed with a bow at the back, as the slit detail
    provides comfort as well as elegance.

  133. I am a worship leader. I know what you are talking about. But just as we shouldn’t forsake gathering together, we shouldn’t forget that whether alone or corporately, worship comes from the worshiper. If one is truly pouring their heart out and ministering to God (which I try to do myself at home or in service) then they are a success. It’s people on people, and the pressures that come from trying to put God in a human shaped box that gets us into trouble…
    I am fortunate that my Pastor encourages writing new songs and sharing the gifting, not just the skill, from time to time… having said that we all have a long way to go but God is faithful and His Word is true…

  134. Hello there good brother,
    Ive been where you are, many times in my 12 years of leading worship. There have been hurts, and ive taken several pay cuts in the name of my “calling”. Im so glad to say that these last 12 years have been an adventure. The thing is i feel like im ready for something new, and something that pays a better. I dont want to work for the church anymore, like you im burnt out. I want to travel and lead worship for a little while, its been a great 12 years in the church. But i have always felt confined. Just turning 30, i know what i want to do.

  135. I first led worship in 1970, at the age of 14, mere months after I received Jesus. At 16, I joined a large group of Christian teens who were putting on Godspell and a variety of musicals such as Come Together, Real, Life, Lightshine, etc. We toured in summer and in some churches the drummer and I were benched because guitar and drums were not allowed; “the devil’s instruments used to make rock’n’roll music” they proclaimed. In 1975 the tour bus rolled up to one church in Montana and we found the doors locked with a sign on the door “Concert Canceled” … 40 kids left standing in the heat of the afternoon, wondering where we’d be sleeping that night and whether we’d get fed as we relied on members of the congregation to host us for the night.

    So here I am, nearly 60 and very recently called back to a small traditional church after 15 years in the house church scene (sweet freedom); It’s like a flashback to the 70’s with threats of “if you bring in a cajon, I’ll quit the church”. The pianist has been there for many years and plays in that old Pentecostal style with its swells and billowy arpeggios, which means she also has a gift for making any new song sound old. Imagine “Come, Now is the Time to Worship” in that style! Other musicians have asserted their position with warnings like “don’t step on my toes” and threats to leave when they were asked to yield to another musician for a particular service.

    Then there’s the pastor who wants every song selected to echo the theme of his message which isn’t published until as late as Friday sometimes, which means the worship team (such as it is) has to learn 4 new songs for Sunday morning ON Sunday morning, 30 minutes before the service starts. Rehearsal? Practice? What are these things of which you speak? And of course, 4 new songs means the congregation doesn’t know them either and there is only the lyrics on over head to go by. We also have someone in the congregation who rattles bells while the congregation sings. Did I mention the person has no apparent sense of rhythm? I asked the Lord to rapture the bell player’s clappers, but thus far, He has not. I thought the prayers of a righteous man were supposed to be powerful and effective, Lord?

    Anyway, can you spell CACOPHONY?

    So, sweet brother Kevin, take it form an olde war horse, it could be much worse.

    Love to you for you! 😉

    Sign me,

    Clam Maker

  136. I also recently quit my worship leader job. I was asked to go on Sabbatical instead, with no expectations from the Pastor or congregation as to whether I would return (well, maybe a few expectations). I do plan to return but with renewed willingness to serve and one focus in mind: I’m done with trying to please everyone. I’ve always known it can’t be done but it didn’t stop me from desperately trying. As part of that focus, I will avoid “the formula”, the “start with a slow song and move toward a crecendo of loud and fast and big”. Most of all, I will rely on the leading of God in selecting music (which I believe includes using my educated and informed mind). I will also strive to listen to God while leading worship, trusting Him to guide the flow and will be willing to change directions musically, and use scripture or prayer spontaneously. Thank you for your honesty, it was refreshing and helpful in forming my own thoughts about this tender topic.

  137. I’ve had some of the same frustrations. I don’t agree with these conclusions, though. Every musical situation has unique needs. I won’t sing a song the same way at a campfire and on a stage. Good musicians are always in touch with the audience, and can meet them where they’re at.
    An audience in a church has more specific expectations about this connection. Partly, an erroneous concept shapes expectations: worship is for the benefit of the worshiper. When this error becomes ingrained, people become connoisseurs of worship.
    When we as church musicians seek to satisfy the desires of worshipers as consumers, we compound the problem. And the audience notices the loss of authenticity. That’s the root meaning of comments like, “this isn’t supposed to be a concert”.

    1. Good comment! I never thought of it that way. I am getting ready to play a Night of Worship concert on the 19th and harbored some of the disdain for the Concert feel, but this puts it in perspective.

    2. Isn’t it a congregation rather than an audience? And doesn’t the word congregation mean that there is to be participation in the singing? If your music is all about the worship band and lead singer, maybe you have forgotten the person in the pew. The Divine Service is about God coming to us through Word and Sacrament; not so much about us praising and worshipping Him. He does not need our worship; we need His gifts.

      1. Hi Lois, I used the word audience because it fits sacred and secular contexts. We like to say it’s not about the musicians who are leading, and I get that. But they need to be at least proficient enough not to be a distraction. Personally, I love to see everyone singing, I don’t think I’ve forgotten the person in the pew, sorry if I gave that impression.
        You say on one hand that the “person in the pew”, matters, that they should sing, but then mention the “Divine Service” being all we need. Seems like two opposing thoughts. I’ve never heard that expression, does Divine Service have a special meaning connected to a denomination’s sacraments?
        I’m not sure if I agree when you say God doesn’t need our worship. The Psalms seems to show that He thinks it’s important that we praise Him.

      2. Hi Mike

        How can the person in the pew participate when the music is constantly changing and only the words are projected on the screen?

        Because of our Savior’s substitution for us, the Lord is pleased when we praise Him. But He doesn’t need our praise, we need to praise Him. But more than that we need Him to teach, forgive, and comfort us through Word and Sacraments.

        We as Lutherans call it the Divine Service because God is serving us. He serves us through the Word, hymns, liturgy, and Sacraments.


      3. There is no mention of Liturgy and sacraments in the word of God. Whatever we say or so must be sanctioned by the word of God not by the different denominational standards. There is no argument about singing praises to God! I am surprised that some bring it into question even. The songs help us to focus on Jesus our king! Te bible says ‘being every thought into submission of Christ’ this is what the ‘worship’ should do! Prepare the congregation to receive comfort, strength, encouragement, motivation and the eventual council received from the preaching that follows the praise and worship session at the service. I do believe that the leaders must follow simple rhythmic profoundly worded songs that can usher in the presence of God as e people sing it freely and worship God. When the songs are known by the greater part of the congregation – at least 80%. Then there is glorious full house praise raised to God! I have always loves when the whole group lift heir voices to God. It is such a powerful thing to here almost 80% of the people singing in one voice! The ebony is defeated when the faith is joined by many believers and singing words like….”God is my Saviour’……or ‘He is risen’ or He is alive!!! Etc., etc!!!

        Sent from my iPhone


      4. Dear Lois,
        There is no mention of Liturgy and sacraments in the word of God. Whatever we say or do must be sanctioned by the word of God not by the different denominational standards. There is no argument about singing praises to God! I am surprised that some bring it into question even. The songs help us to focus on Jesus our king! Te bible says ‘bring every thought into submission of Christ’ (2Corinthians 10.5) this is what the ‘worship’ should do! Prepare the congregation to receive comfort, strength, encouragement, motivation and the eventual council received from the preaching that follows the praise and worship session at the service.
        I do believe that the leaders must follow simple rhythmic music with powerfully worded songs that can usher in the presence of God as people sing it freely and worship God. When the songs are known by the greater part of the congregation – at least 80%. Then there is glorious full house praise raised to God! I have always loved when the whole group lift heir voices to God. It is such a powerful thing to here almost 80% of the people singing in one voice! The enemy is defeated (2Chronicles 20:19)when the faith is joined by many believers and singing words like….”God is my Saviour’……or ‘He is risen’ or He is alive!!! Etc., etc!!!

      5. Traditions nullify the Word of God, don’tcha know. (Mark 7:13) Best not to open that door though, Niro, or you’ll have us all back going from “house to house” instead of attending “Church, Inc.” Lemme tell ya, it’s hard to duck-walk across the stage while riffing when there’s a coffee table in the way.

  138. Kevin, thanks for writing this. As a former Worship Pastor for 12 years, I identify with a lot of this. Although I still lead worship, I’ve recently started being involved more in music outside of the church and strangely (or perhaps sadly) have found it more genuine. I’m not sure I agree with your conclusion though… surely we need to reform our worship rather than just re-label it?

  139. True worship is to offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) – this is a continual offering – 24×7 … conversely, the weekly gathering of believers appears (from scripture) to have more to do with teaching and encouragement, than worship … why else would Paul write in Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:16 that the use of Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in the gathering of believers are for the purpose of teaching and exhortation?

    Perhaps our Sunday morning “worship service” paradigm exposes an error in our understanding, whereby we have traded a lifestyle of sacrificial worship (Romans 12:1) for what is in essence the old-testament temple-worship model? Lest that sound preposterous, how many of us have said we “go to church” rather than “we are the church”, or we refer to a church building as “the house of God” when in fact, we are the house of God (1 Peter 2:5, 1 Corinthians 3:16, et al)? The truth is, we never cease to worship as long as we are living for God in Christ. But it’s possible that a “go to church for a worship service” mindset could short change God of our worship by 167 hours a week.

    Concerning songs as worship, a cursory examination of the lyrics will reveal whether or not they are for worship or for teaching, exhortation, confession, etc. How many of them are loaded with “I”, “me” or “we” statements as compared to “you” statements? The former are more likely songs of confession, teaching and encouargement; the latter are more likely songs of worship.

    For example, Amazing Grace is predominantly “I” statements. That, in my way of thinking, makes it more a song of confession than of worship.

    “I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see”

    Conversely, the song More Precious Than Silver is a serious of “You” statements, as if sung directly to the Lord in worship and adoration.

    “Lord, you are more precious than silver … Lord, you are more costly than gold …”

    If we are truly honest with God and one another, can we defend our “worship service” model from scripture, specifically the New Testament? I’ve tried and failed.

    (Rom 12:1 GNB) So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.

    (Eph 5:18-19 LITV) … be filled by the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and praising in your heart to the Lord …

    (Col 3:16 LITV) Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and exhorting yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    1. Take a look at the 7 Hebrew words for praise. It gives great biblical insight for praise.
      I’m a former worship leader as well, but stepped down because of differences with the leadership. They were wanting to move away from excellence into a “come one come all” worship ministry. Nothing wrong with it, just not my bag:)

      1. Very little of what goes on in institutional churches (LLC, 501c3, denominations, et al) are “my bag”; I don’t think they’re the Lord’s “bag” either. 😉 He led me out of them in ’99 and I’ve been practicing a more authentic and organic faith, walking with the Lord alone, and meeting with brothers and sisters ad hoc, in homes, restaurants, the aisles of Walmart, etc. It’s genuinely freeing and joyous! For those who take issue and insist I need the covering and teaching of a professional clergyman, I just point them to 1 John 2:27. They’re welcome to submit to Nicolaitanism if they like, but like Jesus, I hate it.

        I’ve met countless former worship leaders over the years where it’s been my observation that the number one reason for giving it up, is leadership. Like Kevin observes, “fill your time slot, stick to the CCLI top 40, nothing original”. So much for “sing to the Lord a NEW song”. I’d ad wear a uniform, pack up your gear and clear the platform so it doesn’t upset the traditional crowd, etc. All these things bothered me, but it was the little things that finally pushed me over the edge.

        The last big church I attended had a rocking choir until one day when an elderly woman complained to the pastor that she couldn’t listen to us because we didn’t look like a choir. The next week, down came the edict that we would wear robes. That added 10-15 minutes of frustration to every members choir experience – 40 of us crowding in and out of a too-small robe room, trying to find a robe that fit, what color stole, etc. The robes were itchy, hot, some torn and smelled musty and sweaty. That edict prompted several of us to quit on the spot; IIRC all but one of us basses quit.

        Then there was the new sound guy who demanded to insert a DI box between my acoustic guitar and FX pedal / amp, rather than take a balanced XLR out from my amp as we’d done for years. The FX pedal and amp are all part of my sound and together, they virtually eliminated that piezo “quack” common to under-saddle pickups. I appealed to the music minister, with whom I helped build up the music program from a single piano, to 4 rotating praise bands; he told me that the new sound man was “boss”. Very well, I replied, and scratched my name from the rotation. It wasn’t long after that they were pushing for uniforms which prompted others to quit.

        These examples bring up a big issue for many of us who are involved in church music. The program relies on unpaid volunteers for the most part where it is often the intangibles that keep many of us going. One of the keys for me, is a sense of “ownership” (or ‘pride in ownership/excellence’). There’s enough hassle involved with packing equipment, setting up, practicing, tearing down, etc. that when someone comes along and asserts authority / ownership over something so basic as a musicians sound or playing style (fingerstyle or strum, a harp-like pick attack or more aggressive strummage, etc.), it amounts to taking away any remaining sense of pride and ownership. I own my sound and playing style. And I like to be comfortable when I play and sing. In my view, to take those things away is dehumanizing. We are not organ grinder monkeys or human jukeboxes.

        Of course, when a person quits, there’s always someone in the wings chomping at the bit to move up, so leadership rarely sees the problems they create by unreasonable demands and being overly controlling.

  140. Appreciated this very much. What you are saying is where I have been for over 20 years already. There are so many layers upon layers of unexamined assumptions in the whole “church worship” scene that it is mind-boggling. I am a missionary in Ukraine and I DREAD seeing this “worship team” mentality creep into the culture from the West. It’s so alluring, particularly to the young, and it is so packed with lies. It abuses a church, ultimately, distorting their whole notion of spirituality. Also, it glorifies and “absolutizes” the preferences and whims of the YOUNG. One huge thing people fail, appallingly, to realize is this: just like a sixth-grader has, one hopes, grown OUT OF playing with the building blocks he loved as a three-year-old, people who are, say, 40 or 50, can and do grow out of, grow past, move beyond, the kind of music that the prevailing culture enshrines as “cutting edge” (simply because it’s the newest and it’s being cranked out by 20-somethings). It seems to be both cultural AND ecclesiastical heresy in our day to suggest that the most popular music on radio, whether secular OR Christian, strikes older ears as juvenile, trite, whiney, distastefully self-absorbed and shallow. The unquestioned assumption that “we all NEED to just stand up now, raise our arms, sway back and forth and WORSHIP in the freedom of the SPIRIT as you sing along with me: Jesus, oh Jesus, Jesus Lord, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah….” is repellent to me. For one thing, if it’s all in the “freedom of the Spirit”, as you say, you certainly seem to have meticulously dictated (either explicitly or implicitly) a precise recipe for how that “freedom” should look. For another thing, the equally self-absorbed, individualistic, “improv” style the “worship leader” often adopts…while expecting the congregation to “sing along”…is utterly insulting. Even worse when they are trying to recreate some number that just came out on Christian radio, exactly AS performed by some whiney 20-year-old, with all of his/her idiosyncratic warbles and ornamenations, and all the 13-18-year-olds are closing their eyes and “getting into it” (just LIKE, in fact, any teenager hiding out in his/her room grooving along with a favorite album) and the rest of the church stands there feeling vaguely guilty, vaguely insulted, because they really can’t get into it and somehow the message is, if you can’t get into this, you’re just not where it’s at spiritually. The whole thing is SUCH a colossal farce, lie and travesty of “Church”. I have been beating the drum for decades in my own circles that “worship” is a life of devotion to God (in Hebrew, the concept of “worship” is expressed by the phrase “to work for”–in my life I “work for” God), and also that the Sunday-morning-fixated church is a perilously sick church. And perhaps the most dangerously ill of its members are those whose whole “ministry-identity” is wrapped up with being the BIG FISH in that little pond, that pathetically parochial, ingrown pond whose “returns” are doomed to diminish in proportion to the investment of one’s identity in it.

  141. I would rather be in a church where no music is sung at all than be in one where the “music style” becomes (oh, Lord, not again…here it comes…like a flu bug that never goes away) an “issue”. “We have some ideas to help make our church’s music more…well, worshipful.” Where’s the door? I’ve seen this show before, and I’m not into re-runs…. Let me guess, your “ideas” involve a “worship team” and a whole lot of eye-closed crooning with awkward, self-conscious emoting, half-absorbed in how good the experience is being for you and half-absorbed in whether “it’s happening” for your… audience. Is that sort of how your “idea” goes? It’s somewhat understandable when the young come up with “brand new ideas” that they think no one ever had before; what’s appalling is when older, experienced people play along as if the ideas are really new–generally out of fear of offending, or of looking like old stick-in-the-muds (fear IS, actually, a huge and pernicious dynamic in much of this scenario). The prevailing culture of the world around us, particularly its youth-worship and the monolithic Commercial Entertainment Machine, plays a huge role in all this. The American Church surrenders itself to the mind of the world in ways too numerous even, it seems, to try and catch up with. It almost seems a case now of closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out.

  142. Worship on Sunday? What does Scripture say about Worship? I’m no Biblical scholar, but my copy of the Word says in Deuteronomy 6:5-8 we are to worship Him without ceasing! Again in Luke 10:27 we are urged to give Him most of us? NO. ALL of us to Him. So if being a worship leader or anything else requires any part of me other than 100% of me in Him, I’m to stay away from it. If we get burned out serving God, were we serving Him in the first place, or was that a career move (James 3:16) we just got tired of, or became burdened with to the extent we had to let it go? If everything I do is not from a heart of Love then why am I doing it (Colossians 2:8) IF we really live Luke 10:27 will we be compelled by His love? If not we need to hit our knees and ask Him to show us what’s wrong. I’m just sayin.

    1. Interesting perspective Forrest. Personally, except for rare, narrow slices of time, I’ve done a terrible job of giving God everything. Wish I could say I’m less self-focused after all these years, but I doubt it. Still, I try.
      Your comment seems to say that worship leaders should quit if their motivation is anything less than 100% consecration to God; if that’s what you meant, do you think many men are able to achieve that level of purity? Also, does that standard apply to all vocations?

  143. How about the fact that most of these companies that produce worship songs are actually owned by non-Christians? How do we trust what is written? How do we know it is truthful, do we not want to worship in spirit and in truth? There is something to be said for a hymnal where the songs are added after closely looked at for true sound biblical content. New age singers need to start with God’s words not their own, use biblical passages to make songs not use their own feelings for then they can run into error. I am worried that the church is allowing too much new music that has not been looked at as truthful, or biblical. Most songs don’t even mention God or Jesus, and many speak of Jesus in a romantic way. Then there are those that have rap in them, rap is from a terrible culture and should not be in the church. I feel we have become so seeker friendly that we put songs in that a non christian could sing and not have to mention God. It frustrates me also the repeating of the chorus over and over and over and over and over again, Wouldn’t this annoy God? It annoys me, I can’t imagine how annoying it is to God to hear someone chant like if they keep saying it God will hear them better on the 15th time they sing it! urgh I am completely utterly frustrated by church music today I miss the hymns I grew up with and I think they should do away with all these new songs and go back to the basics! Take away the entertainment and you will get rid of the ones that aren’t there for God!

    1. Colleen, you are on the right track. Vain repetition is not pleasing to God. Call 507-344-7777, Bethany College Bookstore if you would like a wonderful hymnbook full of teachings in accord with scripture and hymns that teach and comfort the believer.

  144. Wow, I stumbled on this looking for something else and it made me really sad that you believe all of this. ‘Worship’ should never be a performance and if you truly think and feel all the things you have said then you definitely did the right thing by not leading or playing anymore. Personally in 15 years of leading worship I have never been told it’s a ‘Godcert.’ Also to attack and discredit moments of spontaneous worship that are what a worship leader or a musician feels is exactly what God wants them to do is dangerous ground. You cannot make these judgements based on what you feel. These things might happen when you lead worship but you cannot say this is what worship is.

    1. Wow, u must really be someone special, becoz human nature, the way i understand it, is full of pride, it s something that s part of our carnality, when we step onto a stage something happens to us and we are standing in front of an audience. The very fact that we feel embarrased if we make a mistake, is evidence of this. I see it in worship teams all the time, we like it when people compliment us on our playing/performance. Or say the worahip sounded great. As i say, if u can honestly say that u feel NO PRIDE AT ALL then u must be very unique. Humans r full of pride. End of story. I ve just left our worshio teams as drunmer and bassist. I wont play again until i KNOW that there s no evidence of pride or showing off AT ALL! Just take a vdo of someone and watch how their whole persona/personality/body language changes, suddenly they re acting. Same old story. Humans for u. Read: Why i left the Christian Contempory Music Movement and Can we Rock the Gospel, it will open ur eyes. I m not saying that all worship isnt real, but a LARGE part is – Look at me. We need to b honest wth ourselves 4most if we want to even get close to heaven. We need to take heed of scriptures like: I will OPPOSE the PROUD and give grace to the humble. We hear faaaaaar too much about God s grace and mercy and not enough about the fact that God us also a god of anger and jealousy. He thought nothing of destroying Israelites who dissobeyed Him in the wilderness. He says I NEVER CHANGE.

      1. Hi Ian,

        When the Lord begins to show you the nature of the beast and ultimately call you out of it (Revelation 18:4), it can really turn your world upside down. In my case, I find it mind-numbing that seemingly no one ever questions whether or not the modern worship model is even Biblical. The notion that “worship equals singing and singing equals worship” is rarely challenged and on the rare occasion that it is, that lone dissenting voice is swallowed up by the entranced mob that has bought into that paradigm.

        In the OT, the temple was a stone building in Jerusalem. In the NT, the temple is us (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 1 Pet. 2:5).
        In the OT, the priests were the sons of Levi and Aaron. In the NT, the priesthood is us (1 Pet. 2:5, Rev. 1:6).
        In the OT, the Spirit did not indwell the people, He was in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. In the NT, the Holy Spirit has made His home in us since the Resurrection and Pentecost (Jo. 20:22, Ac. 2:4)

        And so between the OT and NT, the worship paradigm changed drastically.

        The people under the old covenant, lived by a great number of external actions to cleanse themselves of sin; ceremonial washings, do not touch, do not eat, do no labor, annual animal sacrifices, etc … Even their worship was an external expression; with instrumentalists, singing, dancing, raising banners, bowing, clapping, etc. Since the Holy Spirit did not dwell in them, their worship HAD to be external because they were worshiping a God who was external to them.

        Fast forward to the new testament. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit now and so the one we worship is within us. Accordingly, our mode of worship has changed. The Lord said we must “worship in spirit and in truth” (Jo. 4:24), and Paul wrote that our true spiritual act of worship is to “offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).

        Paul also wrote in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 that we are to “Encourage / Admonish / Teach one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing to the Lord IN / WITH YOUR HEART to God” (Translations vary).

        So I would ask of those who insist that worship equals singing, WHY then did Paul tell the people that singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is FOR US, for the purpose of encouragement and admonishment and teaching? Did Paul get it wrong? He clearly makes a distinction between the external (audible) expression of singing as something we do for us, while the internal expression of singing IN THE HEART is for God.

        The bottom line is, in changing from the OT to the NT, from the old covenant (Law, Judgment and Eloah) to the new covenant (Grace, Forgiveness and Immanuel), worship changed from the EXTERNAL to the INTERNAL.

        You won’t find any scriptures in the New Testament to support the idea of worship leaders, bands, et al, that comes from the Old Testament, and must be twisted to make it fit for adaptation to our modern culture. About whether that is right or not, please consider what Paul referred to as one of the basic tenets for interpreting and understanding scripture “DO NOT GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN” (1 Co. 4:6). That command is largely ignored, as men have taken gross license with scripture and have created a real beast that demands we serve it. Perhaps that is a large part of what you have felt and discerned, Ian. The modern worship “service” model is indeed “of the flesh” and the “pride of man” which has mostly to do with making a business of the gospel for profit.

        Despite the obvious change from the Old to the New Testament, the old to the new covenant, we have clung to the old form of temple worship and through cultural adaptations have tried to make it new; despite the Lord telling us that we can not put new wine into old wineskins.

        If ever you doubt that believers have been seduced back to the old (and failed) ways, ask yourself how many times you have referred to the church building as the “house of God”, or said that you are “going to church”. The truth is, you are the house of God and you are the Church. When and wherever 2 or more believers gather in the Lord’s name, He is there with them. You do NOT need a building, do not need a man to teach you (1 Jo. 2:27), etc.

        Our understanding and confession, much of what the Church practices and believes, has been co-opted by the enemy to make slaves of us once again and to bring us back under the Law, legalism, Phariseeism, temple worship, etc.

        Why else would the Lord say to us, in Revelation 18:4 “Come out of her, My People”, unless of course she is so totally corrupt that she is beyond redemption?

        Continue on the path to freedom, Ian. And enjoy the journey. The heartache now is well worth the joy of knowing the Truth that sets you Free.

      2. Hi there,
        Thank u for those kind words!
        Yes, a few of us now, are calling the church building and offices what they are, – buildings.
        U know, sometimes i really dont think i can deny the presence of the Holy Spirit at our meetings, i play and sing my heart out (without a mic) ( to God) and the tears flow down my cheeks and i love it, BUT if i m honest with myself, there IS an element of pride there too, so I have taken myself out of worship completely. And, i think u r right, all the references to music are in the OT. I certainly wouldnt say it was sinful to play worship, but that depends on the hearts of the worship team members. It s VERY dangerous ground, and one has to examine one s heart thoughouly in truth. Even some of the clothing some of the girls on stage wear is a problem for me and other men, tight pants or short shorts or tight fitting blouses are too revealing. The way some girls dress these days is crazy. If they had gone to church in the ’50’s dressed like that they wouldve been told to go home and cover their skin!
        But yes, worship and i are not great friends at the moment, i have been suspect of it and my pride for a while now, so it s out until further notice.

      3. Worship is not something we do for God; worship is God acting through Word and Sacraments to bring us the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Worship is not about feelings; it is about us receiving from our loving God what we need for our life and salvation. Please look into the liturgical churches where worship is orderly and not about feelings. If an organist becomes prideful, he doesn’t quit playing. He simply confesses to the Lord or to his pastor, receives forgiveness, and continues serving. There is nothing wrong with a church building dedicated to bringing God’s Word to a congregation. You will still find you struggle with pride no matter where you worship.

      4. You are correct. We are full of sin. We are both saints and sinners this side of heaven. Our only hope is the life, death and resurrection of our Savior. Don’t you think that having a band front and center stage is the perfect set-up for pride to take over? Why can’t the band be off to the side or even in the balcony where organs sometimes are. And perhaps the music is also set up to glorify the singer rather than God or to teach or edify the people. What happened to Psalms and hymns? True humility is a gift from the Lord; not something we can manufacture in ourselves. All we can do is say “God be merciful to me, a sinner” like the publican in the temple.

      5. Hey Ian, Have you ever read the prophetic dream published in 1980 by Robert Burnell, titled “Escape from Christendom”? Don’t let the name frighten you – it’s an amazing dream / vision and speaks much to the difference between “Christian City”, and the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21, for which we are bound. You can find Burnell’s dream for free in ebook / pdf format at
        It blessed me greatly reading it.

        Another book that helped see the nature of the Christian music industry, was called “Snakes in the Lobby” by Scott MacLeod. It’s a commercial book – I think I paid less than $10 for the paperback of it when I bought it 10 years ago … Blessings to you!

      6. Hi there,

        No i havent i ll have a look but i ll try the pdf one 1st. Thanks so much.

  145. I am a keyboardist who plays both on our worship team voluntarily and in the Secular arena for pay. That is 11 hours per week service to our church (practice, ministering and, oh yeah, playing on stage) for the past 25 years. I have seen the “devout” come and go. I don’t play bars or venues that primary purpose is alcohol and fornication. I play County Fairs, Community events, Concert in the park events etc. Some pious church members sneer. Let’s see where you are in 25 years. I have tremendous fun playing the secular gigs. Love the attention, compliments, large crowds, cheering and the permission to jam however i wish. My pride loves it, just like a baseball player, who has practiced hard in private, enjoys when the crowd cheers for playing well. I play Sunday choruses that are repetitive and, supposedly, concert like. If you think that worship resembles a concert, you have been to the wrong concerts. Any worldly person seeing a contemporary worship team would be bored to tears. There is little edge, creativity or excitement like the secular gigs demand. I have heard the banter of the do-good crowds who reserve their talent “for the Lord”. Good for them. However, God’s hate parade in proverbs begins with “a proud look” speaking of the piety of the dirty cup cleaned outwardly. Some of the most disgustingly crafty individuals I have ever met were the saints (still saved) who were “on fire” for the Lord. I just don’t buy it. Are you approachable? Jesus was. To the pious I am not approachable. I am thankful for that.

    1. John O’Brien I totally agree with you! The church mysic cannot in no way compare with worldly music. Because te so ha are sung to he Almighty god not in adoration to people. It is an act of worship, a type of prayer! The standard of excellence in music at church is totally different to gigs outside church. The only thing that is important for me at church for instance is the words of the songs sung at church.
      Pride is a terrible sin. Standing in front of a group and doing whatever preaching, talking, teaching or worship leading all will have a certain sense of fear if making mistakes , this is not pride it is common sense. We all have this bit of shame to make mistakes, even a preacher has this!!! Any time anyone is asked I speak or sing in front of a group will have a sense of nhibition. This cannot be put down to pride!!

      1. Amen Niro. True about the preaching, as well. Never thought of that. We are called in psalms to play skillfully to Him, hence the need for practice in order to sound good. I am glad you mentioned the normalcy of wanting to do well for Him, same as the preacher 9hence, self conscious). That is exactly where my heart is. When someone compliments me on my playing, I say two things to them:

        1) Wow, thanks, that means a lot to me (and it does)


        2) Let’s praise the Lord for the gifts He gives each of us.

        I used to say, “Well, praise the Lord” in response, but sometimes that came off as condemning (why are you praising me? You should praise the Lord), and I see a brother or sister walk away offended, because they were only trying to encourage me in the ministry. The two things above, I think, fall in line with the fruits of the Spirit Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, against such there is no law. Thanks for your comment.

  146. After last nites service i attended and the hipocracy i ONCE AGAIN witnessed, i made up my mind to leave the church and worship for good. I dont think i ll EVER join another church again. I think i d like to get a group of like minded REAL truthfull, God loving people 2gether, and form a small music group and just go and busk on street corners or wherever and spread the love of Jesus!
    I def feel sad about my decision, but sometimes things need to change, and that type of hipocracy grates me and holds me back, so despite feeling sad, there is also a huge feeling of relief! This huge weight off my shoulders. I am excited about my new life so i want to ask all of u to pray for me in my new adventures. Thanks.

    1. Ian, be very careful. You will find hypocrisy in all including me and yourself. I used to think my dope fiend friends were real and the church was arrogant. Now I see my dope fiend ex friends were arrogant and so was the church. Then I found out I was, too. At that time, I came to know a new level of grace our Lord extends to all. A fresh and current knowledge of my sin makes it easier for me to forgive and tolerate others.

      1. Yes i agree, but its the level that varies – we all sin. We try not to but we do. But to wilfully keep on sinning is a death sentence. Same as hipocracy – there s a certain level thats unacceptable. No u dont know the level of two faced hipocracy im talking about – if u did, ud be agreeing with me. Its amazing how many people stand with their hands in the air in worship and yet do completely contrary to Gods word. Thats why i believe the church has no power any more. Thats why prayer is almost powerless – we pray for the sick – they die, we pray for almost everything and our prayers go unanswered. Why? Becoz of the pride and hipocracy thats in the church. If u compare what some women are wearing to church these days to what was acceptable just 100 years ago….? Lots of make up and showing cleavage and skin tight clothes revealing every bulge!? And the flashy expensive cars….the list goes on. No wonder the church has very little power these days. Remember my friend God says ‘I NEVER change’ – but we have.

      2. Wow, profound comment Ian….especially regarding why prayers are unanswered and powerless churches, not good….Lord help us! He’s always helping, but we aren’t willing in the partnership with Him. I really want to stand out for Jesus and be just the way you mentioned in your comment. God bless your heart! Thanks for sharing that profound truth!

    2. Ian – have you found a place to worship? I hope so – I hate that you have such a negative attitude about your previous churches. Churches are full of people = people are flawed but God is not EVERY relationship has hurt as a part of it, including your church relationships. It is not what happens to us, but instead how We handle it I hope you have found those like-minded, REAL, truthful, God loving folks, but just remember, as you help bring others into the Kingdom, as we have been charged to do, that the lost are messy, new Christians esp. are vulnerable and will RUN from negativity and judgement before their seat has even warmed. God Bless

  147. My pastors tell me all the time obediance is the highest form of worship. I agree with you completely, but I wonder if you ever took sabaticles while you were a worship leader. Sometimes it’s good to take a break so you can get refreshed.

  148. I often feel bad for the singers up on stage. To have to stand all that time. It isn’t necessary because the pastor is the rock star. His whole demeanor changes up there. It’s embarrassing to watch. Does that stuff modern singers do with their voice, the up and down stuff, I would say the man has no pride except he does. Loads of it. I am waiting for the fall so we can worship God again. Also, he can’t sing, as in, he has a lousy singing voice, though I’m sure he doesn’t think so. I spend most of the worship service praying for him to be quiet. I don’t think God is deaf, is it necessary to holler into a microphone about how much he loves him? I guess if god is you, you need to hear yourself say so. Horrible. I’m sure this wasn’t the case with you, I wish you would come and lead worship at our church since the things that troubled you about yourself would shine like gold there.

    1. U d swear these people dont read their Bibles. If they do, and they get to the part that says, “I will OPPOSE THE PROUD!” – do they turn off momentarily?? It s absolutely mindblowing how christians just take out of the Bible the parts that they want? Christians and the whole of humanity, r in for SUCH a wake up call. My x pastors (i ve left the church), have started teaching the herecy that hell is not eternal??!! Excuse me??!! I m outa there…..

      1. Hi Ian,

        Concerning whether or not hell is eternal, I’ve pasted 2 passages from Revelation below. My comments are mapped to the scripture passages.

        The Lake of Fire burns for ever and ever (v10). Hell is destroyed in the Lake of Fire (v14), therefore, Hell is not “eternal”. Note also that before hell is thrown into the Lake of Fire and destroyed the dead are called out of hell (v13). Therefore hell is vacant when it is cast into the LOF. Even those who were in hell are judged (v13) and book of life is consulted even for those who were in hell (v15). Only if their names were not found in the book of life were they cast into the LOF.

        So some tough questions need to be asked based on what scripture really says and the sequence of events that scripture describes.

        If those who are in hell are doomed to eternity in the LOF, why bother consulting the book of life for their names? Why stand before judgment if hell is eternal? Why consult the book of life at all for someone in hell? Might anyone who is in hell have their name in the book of life?

        Remember too that scripture says “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:9-11). Even the dead and those who were in hell shall confess Christ is Lord. So will they be thrown into the LOF despite their confession?

        Remember too that Paul wrote in Romans 10:9 “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in thine heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

        For me, the most difficult question is: could it be that hell is a temporary place of separation from God, to show those who refused to accept Him in this life, what it is like to go without God in the next life?

        Revelation 19:20 KJV
        (20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

        Revelation 20:10-15 KJV
        (10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
        (11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
        (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
        (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
        (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
        (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

        Clam Maker

  149. The version of pride that is on God’s hate parade in proverbs 6 and demonstrated by Jesus in Luke chapter 18 is the one who asserts that he/she has no pride and notes the faults of others. I would hate to be in your shoes at the Bema seat. I have been a worship leader for 25 years and seen all sorts of individuals flow through ministry. Some maintain the pride God hates without interruption, and some of us fluctuate in and out of it. However, to assert that I am free of it? I think that is particularly dangerously self deceptive.

  150. Great post! I hear you cutting to the very heart of why we attend church in the first place (is it really about God or is it about us?). These questions require serious self-reflection and brutal honesty. Stay encouraged, brother! This is not a popular message and you’ll encounter some harsh strongholds, but it’s necessary and right. A church that doesn’t ask itself hard questions (even down to it’s most embedded traditions) is a church that starts veering into a prideful place. Praying with you on your journey…

  151. SO glad I stumbled across this blog. It’s great to know there are others out there…I was beginning to think something was wrong with me. Thank you so very much for speaking truth.

  152. Excellent decision! It is good to be true to your own conscience, to follow your path. How you described the behind the scenes & goals are all true & needing to be revealed, its been a long time coming. There are many who understand the whys & causes of said processes which go on in the “worship” arena, these would be proud of your stance & courage. This article is loaded with so many issues it would be a book to address them all. Lets just say, all religions who began with a true messenger of God have been infiltrated & corrupted. Sad but true & Christianity is no different. One of the best prayers to make is, “What is the truth, lead me there and guard me from all deception.” And to never ever stop seeking that truth! Always remember what Jesus did say, “The kingdom of God is within you.” When you hear those who say look within and hear the still small voice you know by your actions in this article what that is. Best wishes & blessings to you. 🙂

    1. Yes, and there are tooooo many on those stages wanting to be pop stars. I utterely loath that with a passion, thats another reason why I’ll prob NEVER be in a worship team again. It s something that needs to be addressed in ALL churches, and for heavens sake lets get RID of those stages and lights! What happened to ” be ye seperate from them (the world)?! The worship team needs to be on the side somewhere where they are not in the limelight. When i see some of these worship “concerts” and they have about 14 people on the stage – what for? We all know who they are – some the big “stars” in the worship world – Yugh. I think we should just go back to having and organist and thats it. Get rid of the rock group on the stage.

  153. The biggest question here is; Does the modern day “church” know who Jesus was and what his real message was? Many would shout a resounding, “No they do not!!!” This is an excellent example if this fact. From my personal research and seeking of the truth, I have never come across any word or reference to Jesus requesting or requiring any type of worship ever. He was not here to gain popularity or accolade of any sort. He was here as an example of love & light, truth & life. He was not here promoting worship of any kind. He was not here promoting the old testament covenants. He was not here representing the old testament “god”. We must remember never cease to pray, never cease to seek & knock because this is what it takes to find the true answers. Today’s church is a box filled with false dogma leading to the other ends of its box corners. The battle is in the mind. It is up to each individual to find his way out of the layers surrounding his inner mind where tge spirit resides. To release himself and free his own mind. Jesus’ message explains this. Living in harmony with ourselves and all of creation and caring for the health and wellbeing of all is a good start. Putting into practice what we know is key. When each individual takes his own responsibility seriously the world will become a mych better place. 🌟

  154. You are do right on! I have been noticing this behaviour for a fee years. There are people, (I call them the “Yippies”). They cannot pray, intercede. And their Christian witness is Tepid St best. Yet they put on a great show during song service, which they call ” Worship Service”. This last week we had a “Prayer and Warship” service. In the parking lot walking into the building, a twenty something girl told us that She had been looking forward to this service, to which I replied, “That My House might be called the House Of Prayer”. She got a totally blank look on her face, and went on in! During the intercessory prayer, which had been preceded by a ,45 minute song service with all the excitement and trappings
    When we were doing intercessory prayer not her or any other of the ” animated singers”, it was like trying to pray through a block of wood! There were only about 6 or 7 of us praying, and none of the Yippies was joining in. I have been observing this behaviour for some time. Thanks for your commentary

  155. I’ve read a lot of the comments here, but not all of them, so I don’t know if anyone’s covered this ground already. A lot of what is said resonates with me, a contemporary worship music leader for 20 years. One thing about worship concerts (Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Bethel, etc.) and even conferences in general that I have noticed is the pressure to respond like everyone else is responding. If a song (or artist) doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t make you swoon in rapturous worship, then somehow you’re flawed, or are missing it. There’s good in all, but the damage/good ratio really needs to be considered, in conjunction with the motivation. Is it really PURELY to give God glory? Anything else is wood, hay, and stubble. In a world dying in sin, we have no time for such nonsense.

  156. Wow, there are so many comments and the post is so old that I doubt this comment will ever be read.

    I used to be a on a worship team, and I remember frequently wishing we could put up a sheet or move to the side.

    I hope by now you have found a church, but if not, I noticed many people offered suggestions about churches with different worship styles to try. One more suggestion for you: a gospel chapel. They’re non-denominational and were born of the Plymouth Brethren. Sometimes they go by different names, like gospel hall or things like that. They’re hard to find because some of them have been replaced by other churches but have kept the name, and also they’re small and not real big on marketing themselves.

  157. Totally agree, its seems to be more performance led than true worship.The sound guys tend to control this form an style of worship, as u are totally at their mercy..
    If they can control the band they can control the praise an worship!

  158. I agree with getting rid of the stage. The best worship I ever led was for a small college ministry. I was in a classroom with just my guitar. The students were singing and praising so loud (honesty praise, not a shout competition) that I had a hard time hearing myself singing. It was amazing. It was true worship.

  159. In China, leaders in the church are simply leaders. They are not rock stars nor do they enrich themselves. Same in Nepal. This type of pride doesn’t exist really because the leaders are simply performing a function in the body. All in the body are honored and used by God in different ways. In America, because we have so much, we want the accolades of man because we are greedy and arrogant. I always wished the worship leaders would just be not on stage but to the side where no one could see them. That way Jesus is front and center. The pastor of a church is an overseer not a rock star made rich by tithes which aren’t even scriptural in the NT. That is perversion. My days of mega church attendance ended in 1995 or so. I realized it was all a scam used to make a man or a man and his wife superstars. Yes God moves in these places because He is God. But I think house churches are best. America wake up.

  160. Kevin,

    Brother, I struggle with this every sunday. I am not a worship leader. In fact, I did participate once in leading worship and it forever changed the way I look at modern worship. I will not ever get up and lead worship that way ever, ever again.

    I am a broken vessel and infected with the cancer of pride. I know that and pray that God takes this burden from me. However, for the mean time, I cannot get up there and be the focus of so many eyes without stimulating that side of me. For me, that is sin. I don’t think that everyone that gets up and sings is the same, but on some level it must be a struggle for leaders.

    I want to propose something a little different. What if worship was being led from the pews? What if it was more like an orchestra in a broadway musical with God as the main event? I realize that churches may not build an orchestra pit, but just by standing facing a symbol of the focus of our worship instead of people, we could truly worship. What if we worshiped in absolute darkness or with blindfolds on to be able to focus only on our God and the adoration that He by His very existence warrants and requires.

    I don’t have a definitive answer to modern worship, but I do believe the focus is too easily lost for the congregation as well as the leaders. We should never be confused on that point.

    Just my two cents.


  161. hmm… I have the feeling that worship leaders are ok as long as they are young and restless and after that, when tired, they feel like they are involved in a wrong thing. They grow old and feel tired. And start to be confused about all this worship staff. Am I right? I used to lead worship for almost 15 years in Romania, Eu. when all was just at the beginning. I do it now from time to time when needed although I am involved more in preaching right now.

  162. It’s actually scary how much I have lived & relate to this post. Thank you so much for posting it. I have just walked away from organized religion & also being on the praise team (church) and find articles like this refreshing in that I know there are many like-minded people out there.

  163. This was a thought provoking article and I think it touches on the deeper issues we experience as humans and the tensions of being fallen human beings and saved saints. It really is a literal spiritual war waging. God loves worship and Satan hates it! And we still have the choice of following the old and the new nature. If we are not putting on the whole armor of God, we leave ourselves vulnerable to be preyed upon by the enemy, I think Satan wins out. We must guard ourselves against the enemy especially as spiritual leaders in the church, and I believe here thy lies the problem. Too many leaders, including worship leaders are vulnerable to the enemy and are not armed for the battle of leading worship. I think this could come in many forms from pride to shame. If we are not secure in our identity with Christ and not seeking him with our whole hearts, I doubt we should be holding any leadership position in the church. This is sticky business because usually even if our relationship with the Lord is strong, their is usually others who we work with whose relationship aren’t healthy and this could lead to challenges in leadership as well. I think the point here is listening to where God wants us and walking obediently. I think your decision was wise as you were doing just that! God has gifted individuals and wants us to share our gifts with others all the while seeking him diligently with our whole hearts, following his lead. If we have any other motive, it will not be a good result. Sadly, I don’t think motives are always pure and people who may be exceedingly gifted are leaving themselves vulnerable to the enemy if they aren’t seeking the Lords counsel.
    This also made me really think about church choirs and why that seemed to be more popular generations ago. I think there was a built in accountability system there. No one seemed to get all the glory on a stage, yet individuals were still able to use their gifts and collectively give glory to God, not to mention sounding beautiful. We hear about a choirs in heaven….makes you think. Modern worship sometimes seems to be as distracting as it is effective! Lots here to ponder!

  164. really great truths here. I found this while googling “idolization of spontaneous worship.” Not that I don’t love having those moments myself, but I see this growing trend of people idolizing spontaneity and believing its the only way to be “Holy Spirit-led” well as idolizing music and sound in general.
    And…all I want to do is to sing together, as a family, in unison, as I suspect most song leaders want.
    I think…when I see a team with singers that all sound the same vocally, dress the same, look the same, play stylistically the same, I began to wonder what went wrong? What happened to the beautiful diversity God has gifted us with? How did this “worship culture” emerge and why do we dumb down the posture of worship to a music set in church, complete with almost every church trying to imitate celebrity worship concerts. Are we not all called differently? TO different communities, people, ministries? Who are we missing as we turn our ministry into industry? Anyhow…too many random thoughts, but thank you for sharing yours. I greatly appreciate it.

  165. An AMEN to the such release of truth. Over the years I’ve been told countless times that I’ve given too much in a worship set. That I’ve “over spiritualized” or “gotten the people in His presence too soon” as if I have control over yelling God what to do. And how.
    Just this week I was told that how I sang a song (the style) was frowned upon with the pastors of our CHURCH. I emphasize church because the world has no problem with going hard after their father of lies, yet we’re given blatant instruction to not give God our all because “people” (Galatians 1:10) may take it the wrong way.

    I’m nearing a place where it will be a much sweeter ride/journey if I enjoy my time in God’s presence at home. Not giving up on God, or on Him having a plan to use me; but finally coming to terms that I’m only fully accepting when I pour out in song and praise, by the one it’s going to. Otherwise it’s looked at as “too much”, or “over the top” sometimes I wonder if they hear the oxymoron that I do.
    I’ve slept in my car before and God did an amazing thing, so I should come and give God a golf clap, and a heart felt somber praise, while I break my back to catch a famous persons baseball…or bust a vocal chord yelling at a ball game. But when I come into
    the presence of The Giver of life…I better not give too much.

    While God is seeking for those who will worship in Spirit and in truth, I want Him to find me.

    Please pray for me as I enjoy Him, and rest in the fact that His acceptance is what really matters. I have a decision to make of if I want to be part of the “worship team” Guitar Hero video game performance we give each week.

    1. You nailed it. Performances seem to be scripted. How DARE you to invoke the deeper things of God, or a higher level of praise before the powers that be, are not ready for it!

      As Kevin asserts, and I have discovered, you CAN praise God in song, but many do not. They merely ape the activities of some they see on the band playing. Much of what I see in the ‘Worship Service’, Is really what I call ‘The Song service’. Worship is possible many times, but not always. It’s all about Jesus!

    2. The best thing you said was “I want God to find me.” He comes to us through Word and Sacraments. Our Father wants us to hear His Word taught rightly. And he gives us shepherds (pastors) who are to look out for our souls. But their are false shepherds too; watch out for them.

  166. i wonder were it all started to fall apart
    surely as a worship leader you know the roots that you are in planted
    i mean some where along the line , the type of worship you led became a show rather than a relationship ( your thoughts not mine ) to look for people’s approval you will always find it harder , then when you simply come before the king and do your thing
    you are 100% in saying it became to much for you and maybe just maybe somewhere over the rainbow you lost touch of what worship leading really is

    sure you got burnt out , if you want exception from people it will happen
    but what if just for a moment it was just you and HIM 1 on 1 how would you feel about worship then
    when last was it for you like the song every body’s singing ” when the music fades ” ( hart of worship )

    you know you say nothing weird happens , well if being called a worship leader by GOD HIM SELF and you walk away from it , i don’t see you as the person that every body is wrong and you are right

    snap out of it
    and get back to where you belong
    you say that people your age only came for the experience
    but what if i tell you , that they may come for the experience , BUT IT IS NOT HOW THEY COME BUT HOW THEY LEAVE THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT


    and whether people see it as concert , well then i am doing a pretty good job for HIM

    1. Amen, I totally agree with you! It should never be about who is on stage or who is not on stage or whether there is a stage or whether isn’t a stage or whatever there is or there isn’t……it should and must be all about Jesus only., that’s all!!!!!!!

  167. Just last night, my Co Pastor (lead singer) and his brother Music Dierctor asked me to step down from playing my guitar w our church band for 6wks. Reasons are the following: “Im the weakest link” “I dont play with confidence” “I dont own my instrument” ” im not playing skillfully” “not aggressive enough” the list goes on. This is not what I hear from people in the congregation. As a matter of fact, the comments I get from people in the congregation are opposite from these guys accusations. And to top if all off, I thought I was doing awesome. You know, I was making sure I learned all the material and all. So now the problem isnt that I dont know the chords to song. Now its all about how to know when I should build up, when to turn up/down the distortion on my guitar to make it less or more crunchy. Ok Yea I understand where they are coming from bc its coming from a musicians point of view. But what about the Spirit point of view? Where is that? I didnt feel that at all when they confronted me about it. Did it mean its enough to sit me down for 6wks? I dont thinks so but I didnt argue with them bc I firmly believe that God was talking through them. Im gona pray for guidance and they dont know this, but Im also giving them 6 wks. Lol

    I feel you and just wanted to let you know u are def not alone sir.

    1. hi you
      sorry to sound so straight forward. but 1 of the things that we all should know ….. . me, you and the rest are learning is to submit to authority.( its part of worship if its not what’s worship all about.) we grow and lead someone, but at the same time we are being led by someone else ( if you know what i mean )

      the word of GOD teaches us to do our very best always , and if you think about it, its not your ability to preform but to worship

      reasons “r” there , not to judge you but make you stronger

      you should see that they see potential in you but you have to work hard to get to your full potential

      people in the congregation are forgiving and will tell you ” it was great ”
      a movie i once watched ( burnt ) was about a chef ——— to make a long story short
      his word ” i don’t want good food
      i don’t great food
      i am looking for PERFECT food”

      and that’s what your worship leader also want from you , not good , not great but perfect . he knows you ability and that’s way he is pushing you
      you are so lucky that you have a leader that believes in you and wants to get the very best out of you
      from my point of view you can do 2 things
      sit at the house ( wondering what do they have against me) or you can ask your self . what ever effort i put in , is it the best that can come out of me

      you have 6 weeks to push your self ( sitting at the feet of JESUS ) but also working on what ever your leader feels you should work on

      we can not say ” GOD WAS NOT talking threw them ” – he still is your leader right , and GOD puts leader there for us

      learn to submit , be the best you can be and one day GOD WILL honor you for your dedication and who knows you might even become on of the most successful worship leader of our time

      it starts with worship ( obedience and submissions )
      and it ends with worship (obedience and submissions)

    2. When I read your post, it seems like leaders have pretty good reasons. As you said-

      Im the weakest link
      I dont play with confidence
      I dont own my instrument
      I’m not playing skillfully
      not aggressive enough

      You added “the list goes on”. I wonder what the other concerns were that you don’t mention here. From a musicians and worship leaders perspective, the issues you did share are legitimate . Especially not having your own guitar. You can purchase a quality Squier tele for about $200. You really need to have an instrument to practice on.

  168. I wonder, vwhat if instead of “stepping down”, we stepped up as “worship leaders” and led others into worship instead of performance? Stepped up as in higher into discovering God’s purpose for personal and corporate worship. I understand that it can become a “concert”, but everything in church can be commercialized if we’re not careful. As worship leaders, let’s return to our “first love” so that in turn we may help others turn back to theirs. If all involved in church. Leadership in whatever capacity began to step-down, the church would shut down. We can do better! I understand burn out, so let’s refuel. He Who called us equipped, enabled and empowered us to completely finish our race NOT to give up half-way and sit-out the rest of the race. It’s all about pursuing our God-given purpose. 🙂

  169. Hi Kevin,

    I read this article and I’m so sorry you got burned out. Maybe you will pick this calling back up another time down the road. You still have your life ahead of you. Many worship leaders step down for their own reasons, it happens. In nearly three decades of being a worship leader, the one thing I can say keeps me going is my love for Jesus, his people, and what I do, deep down. Is it easy all the time? No. There’ve been times I’ve wanted to drop it, feeling ‘the calling’ has become ‘the clink’, mostly from feeling overworked – and now getting on in years. And with many years come many words, so bear with me, if you can…not good at summing up (see, I don’t know how to do everything).

    I learned a long time ago to keep the main thing main, despite any struggles and how they manifest: worship God, not the worship. Feelings are put aside, because I was chosen and appointed by the Lord and my church leaders for this very task. I’m made for this and the congregation recognizes it and is blessed. They want me there. If they didn’t, things would surely change. And I want to be here until the Lord moves me on somewhere else.

    I do the usual things yet push myself to learn new tricks. I’m no ‘pro’. I’m a very good singer and musician, adequate for the task – at least I think so – and have a great team to work with. I make no “paycheck” for my years of enduring faithful service. (News flash – most churches don’t pay worship leaders; only a small percentile and some denominations. I did the research and felt better afterwards. Rejoice if you do get paid, though!) There are a few worship leaders in my church – men and women of differing personalities, styles, and emphasises. Others have moved on, it hurt; we moved on, we grew from our pain. Churches have lives and are not perfect.

    Our task and call: facilitate the music and song portion of the service, so that the people can proclaim their adoration of God through singing and other displays (as long as it doesn’t become a circus act). Outside of the main service, it’s more lax. Every church is different in its own character, but mainly this function serves the body of Christ, we also being part of it. A worship leader loves the Lord’s church. Any worship leader can fill a gap, but the true mark of the Lord’s servant is love and obedience. It’s not just something you feel, it’s something you know and do.

    My church has been through nearly every type of worship movement since the late ’80’s; conferences, seminars, workshops, offline, online and all, only to have come back to the whole point of why we meet – “we have come to share in Christ, the faithful Son over all God’s house”. We devote ourselves to the worship of God first through sharing in our love for Jesus. That’s what drew us together. Thats what the believers want to gossip and ‘chat you up’ about – Jesus!

    Music and order of service are simply functions. However, one cannot neglect the fact that Scripture is replete, from cover to cover, with references of music played about/for/to God – so, yeah – God likes music. Music is our function in the context of ‘worship’. God likes order too (heed the words of scripture “ordain”, “ordinance”), not chaotic craziness and weirdness.

    Make the right confessions: “I will sing and make music in my heart to the Lord”, then, “I will declare Your name to my brothers” “in the assembly of worshippers”; and finally “to the nations”. So let’s “magnify the Lord” and “declare His glories”. Relax, worship is both personal and corporate. But one leads to the other, and one is more important than the other because of where it goes. As worship leaders/teams this response that should lead us to responsibility.

    Whenever I doubt my calling, I go to the Word of God and speak to myself, just as the Psalmists did. It sure helps redirect my soul, which can loose focus and get all carnal-ish at times. Yes, we get downcast. So go rant, rave, vent – get it out of your system (privately). Then return to your senses. Or make a decision to stay or go. Sit out once in a while, too, get tied in to the congregation. It’s good for you! But be happy and at peace – without causing trouble, for the love of God and the church.

    I totally understand the many frustrations, technicalities, and even conflicts of interest that go along with leading a team, a service, working with the pastor, etc. Any of these aspects and dynamics can become a stumbling block. And we will be tested in these things by God, as we all are called to “grow up into Christ, in ALL things”. In the end, it’s my responsibility for how I respond to anything that comes to me and not allow myself to get dragged off course by Satan, who can skillfully play the right fiddle for the right occasion. Just when I think I’ve ‘arrived’ – surprise! – here comes something else I’ve never encountered before.

    Should you ever doubt (and we all do this), just look to Jesus and his example of true struggle and true overcoming victory. Why? He loved us. Love is the most important expression and element of our faith and appreciation of Jesus and the Father. The Holy Spirit will want to lead us in this. Thanks for bearing with me and God’s peace to you.

  170. What i do not understood is in fact how you are now not actually a
    lot more smartly-liked than you might be right now.
    You are very intelligent. You understand therefore considerably when it comes to this topic,
    made me personally imagine it from a lot of varied angles.

    Its like women and men aren’t involved until it is something to do with Lady gaga!

    Your personal stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

  171. I feel ya. It’s like anything else though…people just get bored with the routine of doing something for 15 years and need to learn new skills, practice new hobbies, explore, challenge themselves, find new inspiration, etc. It’s just good for the brain and your health to do that. Most people have about 10 different careers throughout their lifetime. Take the good that you got from it and, somehow, elements of it will make you better at your new tasks.

  172. I agree that leading is challenging. I strongly disagree with the following section- “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.”

    Wow. Three points here lead me to believe at least part of the problem is with the author’s mindset. First, “Christian musicians can’t…take credit”: where does this idea come from? If by “taking credit”, the author means receiving recognition for organizing, arranging, rehearsing and performing a worship set, I disagree. This is a lot of work, and many people are compensated for it. It’s a problem if a leader becomes the focus instead of Jesus, but he can certainly take credit for the work he’s done.
    Second point, “…they look for confirmation where they can get it”. Yes,confirmation is nice, but a mature believer should be moving closer to the place where they are secure in God’s love and grace. Of course it’s better when the congregation and leadership express gratitude, but it shouldn’t be expected. People who like attention are naturally attracted to the stage. If someone is still working out that need for attention and affirmation in a worship team setting, that’s a problem.
    Third point. “Every worship leader does this. They’re lying if they say they don’t”. This is a very troubling statement. Beyond being pure conjecture (how can the author possibly know what more than a few people are thinking about when they lead worship?) there’s this bit: “They’re lying if they say they don’t”.
    In some places I’ve lived, when someone says, “Are you calling me a liar?”, you have two options: backpedal, or defend yourself. It’s never a good idea to call into question someone’s truthfulness. When you are willing to do that to fellow ministers, I absolutely support your decision to step away from ministry. My opinion, your results may vary.

    1. I think a lot of worship team members like the attention they recieve. Not all, but a lot. I play bass and drums in our worship teams, and although i love worshipping there is always that feeling we get being on a stage and part of it is a performance – it is. No one can deny that. So there s pride involved – the scriptures have some scary stuff to say about pride! So are we even doing the right thing? If i had my way the musicians should not be on a stage and shouldnt even be in front of the congregation. They should be on the side where no one can watch them. People change when a camera is on them or when they’re in a stage. Its true. It just is. U can see it. I dont trust Chris Tomlin or any of those so called worship “stars” (sic) There is no place in Gods kingdom for pride. At all. These bands should be making cd s and thats it. NO concerts! That’s just one big show off. A friend of mine went to a michael w smith concert and she said it was so loud she had to cover her ears?? Excuse me? What happened to “Be ye separate from them” ?? These “concerts” look and sound like secular ones. No good. I will never go to one.

  173. Loved reading about ur very honest experience. I am feeling like Elijah at the minute. I have some health issues, but the worship group are rather controlling and other people that once used to sing with them have either stepped down or left. The Holy Spirit is allowed to move only now and if special speakers come etc and the Pastor himself is rather authoritarian. I have been a Christian for 23 yrs but feeling disillusioned help!

  174. At the end of the day it isn’t the responsibility of the church to win your heart and ‘convince’ you of the God we serve… It’s up to you. Your heart, your life, your choice to get to know the REAL GOD. You ask Him, He will reveal himself to you. He doesn’t need our help, he wants our hearts and us to have a relationship with him. He says if you draw nigh unto Him, He will draw nigh unto you. Although I appreciate and agree ALOT with Kevin Daniel’s blog post, in the end we must remember one thing above it all GOD is GOD and he will always meet those that seek Him with the utmost sincerity in “spirit and in truth”. No matter where you are, with or without the flashy lights, with or without the fancy music, with or without a worship leader, with or without a pastor… He seeks a willing hungry heart. There can be churches with possibly more ‘humbling appearances’ but still infected secretly with hearts of pride and discord or whatever else. IF you’re at a church where you don’t ‘like’ or agree with how they’re doing ‘worship’ praise/music, that can never supersede God’s power and will to still release his presence on you even in the very midst of that service even if you feel that service is not ‘up to par’ with each of our expectations of what a ‘church service’ or ‘worship’ should look and feel like bc in the end it’s a heart matter not necessarily a ‘worship music service’ issue. If you TRULY hungered for that intimate relationship and time with the King of kings, YOU would choose to have that intimacy no matter where you’re at or what surrounds you because in the end our relationship with Him is vertical not horizontal. It’s about looking at Him not at what’s in front of you. It isn’t made up of too much more than hearts and life on the inside being surrendered to him. A song of praise without the right heart stance behind it, is nothing more than words and a melody. Many of us like to say “we aren’t happy with what ‘corporate worship’ has come to be” but as individuals do we even have a serious, intimate, committed, Jesus reflecting life behind closed doors?? Behind what no one else can see?? In our hearts?? Intimately with God?? Or is it simply easier to point out the defects of what’s visible on the pulpits? What superficially ‘hinders us’. The real hinderances are the sins hidden in the heart in our day to day lives not the church issues we point fingers at. Trust me when I say the corporate worship and these worship leaders aren’t what and who inhibit our relationship with the Savior or cause our own ‘worship’ of song and praise to be less intimate, WE are the one’s responsible for that in our own hearts. He always gives us a way, a choice, and an answer… It’s directly Him.

  175. Worship. I love it. But the reason why I got interested in the blog topic “confessions of a worship leader” is because I’m curious. I’ve sang in the choir since I was 12 and its a part of my being. But since I turned 21, work and other priorities got the better of my time. Now that I want to go back to the worship team of a church I’ve attended for around 3 years, I find myself crippled by fear, because I am in love with the worship team leader. I’ve dreamt about him, felt I relate to him and just love the “godliness” I see in this man. It’s come to the point where I’m mostly motivated to go to church to hear the music. But I’m TERRIFIED of these feelings, because “how on earth do I give glory to God and be comfortable while a person I have deep feelings for sings just next to me 😐

    1. Hi Lina,

      I am so glad that you posted this! There is a new worship team member at my church; and I literally start liking this guy for the same reasons that you posted about your worship leader! I repented to God and ask that He help me. I am not on the Worship Team yet; but if you want to join, just ask God to remove the thoughts from your mind that are not pleasing to Him. When you are at church, close your eyes and think about the goodness of the Lord. You know that when we focus on God, He will give us PERFECT peace:-). Here’s to finding men like that when it’s time;-)

    2. I can tell you, Sister, that I met my wife (I make this comment 18 years and 3 kids later) while preparing for a live Christian music recording! Loving a person has nothing to do with your love for The Lord! It’s okay that you have feelings for the young man as long as neither of you is married!
      Here’s how you overcome the conflicting feelings: GET UP EARLIER! Right now, you’re saying “What?” Let me explain; Get up earlier, especially on Sunday, and allow yourself some private time to worship God in song, along with your morning prayer. The early worship allows God to fill you up, so that when you arrive at church, you are there to pour out, rather than seeking to be filled! It will help put things in perspective for you, I believe.

  176. What is worship? Is it devotion, giving one’s self over to Jesus, is it just singing and making merry, or is it quietly serving God unnoticed? All of the above.

    I think of those poor oppressed African slaves meeting together in the fields of the Old South to honor Jesus. No worship team, just each other. How about the earliest Christ followers hiding out in the catacombs beneath Rome? They most likely couldn’t sing out loud, or they’d have been dragged off to prison, or just be killed on the spot by Roman soldiers. We need to answer our own worship and devotion to Christ for ourselves.

    How do we want to be measured? By performance? Then Christ came for nothing. “Am I pleasing God or men”, as one apostle put it? Are we conforming to Christ or to the standards of others? What if a ministry leader believes the Lord is calling them to simply take care of their own family (what could be more Christ-like anyway)? We can leave or change ministries, just don’t change Christs. Though we are free to even do that. But who’d want to??!!

    For fruitfulness in Christ, sometimes “unless a seed falls into the ground and dies” there’s no fruit produced. Change is sometimes necessary. On the other hand, changing things that are working well or that don’t require fixing is damaging and wasteful. In that case, leave things to rest a while for some rejuvenation, growth, and strengthening. If we’re constantly cut or pruned back we get exhausted and die off.

    Your own conscience should be free and clear whether to step down or stay, to have a worship team or none at all on occasion. I truly believe God will not condemn anyone and no one will ‘miss out on a blessing’. The real missing out is on Jesus because of the condition of hearts. Isn’t what Jesus offered “rest for your souls” really what everyone truly wants? Take a breather. It’s not rebellious to do so.

    It is the devil to “wear out the saints”. Respect each other, because Christ is able to fill in whatever is lacking when we ask. It comes down to trust & respect on all fronts. Most times things work out fine anyway.

    What is ‘obedience’ to one person may not be obedience in accordance with what’s between you and Christ. So be at peace and let no one condemn you. God certainly doesn’t. That is part of the blessing of the “freedoms we share in Christ” – freedom to live, breathe, and move in Him – even to fail and rise up again. If anything gets in the way of that, I’m gone (in any case, I’d still be in Christ).

    1. Yes, yes. I am in agreement with you.The squabbling over what is right or wrong counts as nothing according to faith in Christ. It is always about the individual believer’s motives foremost then what he or she does with them. No man can know the true motives of another, but God sees and judges the spirit of a man. Very good and Amen. I left my church finally because i could not abide in the worship service without having to deal with anger and disappointment. See my earlier post to get the full impact of what I was feeling there. It is better for my pastor, and the people who do love him, that i left. That is how I see it. I gave it three years and many hours of battle to see things differently. I just could not. The man as an individual was fine, but when he got up before the people he was something else, and I could not find peace with that.

  177. Ok, I had to take this one on: Folks, please understand that the concept of paid musicians COMES FROM THE BIBLE ITSELF. When God instructed Moses to establish the order of tabernacle worship, He commanded Moses to take every person from the tribe of Levi who was skilled in music and dedicate them to tabernacle service. As compensation, yes, I said “COMPENSATION” Moses was commanded to exact a tithe from the remaining 11 tribes! It’s documented! If you, yourself are fine with being a volunteer church musician, or can afford to remain unpaid, do not criticize those of us who have to use our talents to both, serve God, and feed our children!

  178. I really appreciate and agree with this. Self-indulgent. Yes! I have never cared for the phrases “praise team” & “worship team”. They both kind of insinuate that only those ‘on the team’, or, those who have ‘made the team’ (like it’s a sport you have to try out for- and you might not make it) can worship properly enough to be on stage. On the stage where everyone is supposed to be looking. Looking to see how they are supposed to be worshiping. But worshipping who? God? Or those who made the team, and are on stage, in the literal spotlight during. ..worship?

  179. Does the Bible have anything to say about corporate worship that should speak into our ideology regarding singing and worship and music? Can you think of any specific scritures that support your conclusions?

    1. Hiya, I was brought up in a pentecostal church and I am in the same now. The worship has changed and not as reverent and seems like a pop concert. Hardly any hymns now and rather loud! Some of the elderly and us complained it was too loud and one lady singer said ( we will turn it up more then? ???!!!!!

  180. I am in a similar position right now – I have been a worship leader for 15 years.Recently I have placed a big question mark on what we do during the Sunday church service, just asking why we do it all, what purpose does it all serve. I have recently stepped down from worship leading because this for me had the biggest question mark over it – does God really enjoy what we are doing, is he really getting something from this or is it all for us? Is God really enjoying what I am doing here? My worst thought would be to influence anyone reading this in the negative way, please pray and fast about any thoughts you are having but I found myself thinking that the worship part of the service was not only just a performance, but what we had actually done was replace the holy spirit with emotion. The holy spirit comes with power I believe – I seldom see this power in church. I see people including myself believing we were communing with God but what I suspect is that mostly we were riding on an emotional wave powered by the melodies we were playing. When we read about Peter and Paul, yes there is mention of hymns and singing but more emphasis is placed on prayer from what I have recently read. Just look at the world, completely focused on feelings and emotions, from food, to a powerful car, to a theme park, to a holiday by the beach and we seem to have mimicked the world and made church all about feeling and emotion as well because we are just by-products of the world we live in chasing the next feeling and so church should provide this and it is the worship time that feeds our hunger to feel something – you don’t need to exercise much faith to have that feeling just show up and eat the atmosphere, be dazzled by the lights, be whipped into a frenzy or soothed into tearful joy by the music – God where are you….? you mean I have to believe you are here without feeling your presence as prickles on my arms and neck??? no way play another worship song God isn’t here yet I don’t feel him. I feel like we take God out of our services by replacing him with nice songs that make us feel good, are we been sold a cheap watch but paying top wack for it?
    Our focus on our re-invention of what worship is has gone way to far. Just look at a worldly rock concert… why are we copying them? just YouTube any well known Christian artist or band and it looks the same and feels the same. I have not lost my faith and I 100% believe in church after all Jesus is passionate about his bride so we should treat her with respect. I am still trying to work all of this out with God’s help but I have to say I did identify with your post a lot and having written all I have just written I love church and I love to stand in corporate worship and sing out ‘hillsong worship o praise the name (anástasis)’ as loud as I can with other believers but I just wonder at the ultimate point of this when Jesus asked us to make disciples by teaching them to follow his commandments he also asked us to love him and love is more than saying/singing it. God is love and I love him and want to serve him this has not changed.

    1. You are wise to question all that you are questioning. Search the Scriptures for they are able to make you wise unto salvation. Check out the ancient hymns from the church. See how much depth of teaching and comfort they have. Here’s a good one preparing for worship:

      Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word, We are gathered all to hear Thee. 1. Let our hearts and souls be stirred Now to seek and love and fear Thee. By Thy teachings sweet and holy, Drawn from earth to love Thee solely. 2. All our knowledge, sense and sight Lie in deepest darkness shrouded Till Thy Spirit breaks our night With the beams of truth unclouded. Thou alone to God can’st win us, Thou must work all good within us. 3. Glorious Lord, Thyself impart, Light of Light, from God proceeding; Open Thou our ears and heart, Help us by Thy Spirit’s pleading. Hear the cry Thy people raises, Hear and bless our prayers and praises. 4. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Praise to Thee and adoration! Grant that we Thy Word may trust, And obtain true consolation While we here below must wander, Till we sing Thy praises yonder.

      I encourage you to google Paul Gerhardt’s hymns. His hymns are full of Gospel and comfort.

      1. Well said!! I was brought up in a pentecostal church from 6 yrs old. I recommitem my life to Jesus 24 yrs ago and I am now 45! God has been drawing me to an Anglican church local to me. It’s structured but God has really spoken to me there and it’s not like a pop concert.

  181. It’s apparent you have an issue. And you form words to attempt a converstion. But what, really, is it? You don’t seem to prod very deeply with the blade of your words. You obviously have a knife and want to prod, except you haven’t sharpened it very much nor have you pushed it much below any extremely superficial layer.

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

  182. Hi, I love your post. I am a worship leader for my church and they tell me that this is not a concert. I have a very powerful voice and I am a passionate singer. I’ve been told that I’m not allowing the holy spirit in etc. It’s so frustrating. I would much rather just do solos than lead worship and be told that it looks like I’m doing a solo. It’s alot of pressure to do it every Sunday….I just want to do solos…god bless you for writing your truth.

  183. Hello,
    I stumbled on your site by accident while looking for info on a certain songwriter.
    I just want to say I know exactly what you are saying about “worship” in church. My husband, daughter and I write songs and play music together. My husband and I have played music professionally all our lives and came to a place where we wanted to become more involved in serving in our church and finding where we fit in our gifting. I became a deacon and was teaching the young children music in our church and helping with worship assistance to the pastor sometimes, (on a rotation). I loved accompanying the children with just my guitar, and teaching them the joy of singing to the Lord with all of their hearts. I feel that I brought a very “organic” approach to our church, by teaching them wonderful old and new songs, accompanied by just a wooden, acoustic, instrument. No canned music, no hoopla. I believe in the simplicity of loving the Lord and praising Him without restraint and guidlines set up by other people. I also took this approach toward leading worship assistance. Using their service outline m, I spoke prayers from my heart and praised God just like I do in my own living room. There was no “put on”, no “following someone’s program”, as if that person was the only one with a direct line to God and what should be spoken, read or prayed. I received much confirmation from people in the congregation and parents of the children I taught, that this was where I was supposed to be planted. Many of them commented they loved this “fresh” approach and felt led into the the presence of the Lord.
    Then the music director began to give me more and more “suggestions” until finally, I was being handed liturgy and scripted prayers and constant song suggestions to teach my kiddos. I had a candid conversation with the worship committee and him, about letting the Lord speak to each of us individually and not having to read a script. Even the pastor said he wasn’t particularly a fan of liturgy. For some reason though, nothing ever changed, and I found I could not stuff my heart for God inside their little tiny box anymore. I still try to go to that church when I can because the other churches in town are a big rock concert mostly, but am no longer serving there and meanwhile the congregation looks like a funeral home. I can find God anywhere because I know Him and He is in my heart continually but I no longer feel His living presence in that place. The church is after all, not a building but the body of Christ.
    We are planning to take the gifts of the songs He gave us and travel and play anywhere God leads us. We believe He has given us music and these songs as a gift to share and He wants us to bring joy to people with them. He has already placed a vision in our hearts and we are going to follow that vision and seek Him with all of our hearts!

  184. Hello,
    I stumbled on your site by accident while looking for info on a certain songwriter.
    I just want to say I know exactly what you are saying about “worship” in church. My husband, daughter and I write songs and play music together. My husband and I have played music professionally all our lives and came to a place where we wanted to become more involved in serving in our church and finding where we fit in our gifting. I became a deacon and was teaching the young children music in our church and helping with worship assistance to the pastor sometimes, (on a rotation). I loved accompanying the children with just my guitar, and teaching them the joy of singing to the Lord with all of their hearts. I feel that I brought a very “organic” approach to our church, by teaching them wonderful old and new songs, accompanied by just a wooden, acoustic, instrument. No canned music, no hoopla. I believe in the simplicity of loving the Lord and praising Him without restraint and guidlines set up by other people. I also took this approach toward leading worship assistance. Using their service outline m, I spoke prayers from my heart and praised God just like I do in my own living room. There was no “put on”, no “following someone’s program”, as if that person was the only one with a direct line to God and what should be spoken, read or prayed. I received much confirmation from people in the congregation and parents of the children I taught, that this was where I was supposed to be planted. Many of them commented they loved this “fresh” approach and felt led into the the presence of the Lord.
    Then the music director began to give me more and more “suggestions” until finally, I was being handed liturgy and scripted prayers and constant song suggestions to teach my kiddos. I had a candid conversation with the worship committee and him, about letting the Lord speak to each of us individually and not having to read a script. Even the pastor said he wasn’t particularly a fan of liturgy. For some reason though, nothing ever changed, and I found I could not stuff my heart for God inside their little tiny box anymore. I still try to go to that church when I can because the other churches in town are a big rock concert mostly, but am no longer serving there and meanwhile the congregation looks like a funeral home. I can find God anywhere because I know Him and He is in my heart continually but I no longer feel His living presence in that place. The church is after all, not a building but the body of Christ.
    We are planning to take the gifts of the songs He gave us and travel and play anywhere God leads us. We believe He has given us music and these songs as a gift to share and He wants us to bring joy to people with them. He has already placed a vision in our hearts and we are going to follow that vision and seek Him with all of our hearts!

    1. Hi Jenni, I checked out your website then you YouTube channel. Your music is great, please can you put a video of just like it will again on YouTube – I loved the melody but I could only find a short section of it. I’m not sure if you wrote it or not but it sounds like a wonderful song. Anyway just wanted to encourage you take care.

  185. I was saved by Jesus on 11-01-64. After the Army I sang on live radio every wednesday night. This was in Los Angeles. God put me into a recording studio in January 1986 – recording 8 songs written by Bill Franks — it went nowhere. In the 18 years in L.A., I sang solos for several chapters of the Full Gospel Business Men. Also many churches in L.A. let me sing alone. Today it is a real burden over no church lets soloists sing. All I know is I am called by Jesus. Had I gone into show business, I would be well-known today. I am not arrogant. I have the Baptism in the Holy Spirit — in which God pours His power thru me as I sing. I give my Lord ALL the glory and ALL the praise! With the Rapture about to happen, I am sharing just Jesus with strangers He sends me to. I am in love with my Lord! Love Brother Bob

  186. Только что собранные базы данных фирм по разным странам и городам!

    Базы данных фирм городов России. найдем клиентов ремонт

    Собираем сразу после заказа из открытых источников Интернета, БЕЗ ПРЕДОПЛАТЫ!

    Базы данных только что собранные – всегда в наличии.

    Цены с Праздничными скидками от 500 р.

    Наша рабочая почта: bazy-gorodow(собачка)

    Базы данных фирм городов России. нашел клиента нашел машину

  187. First of all, it saddens me to see such judgment on here, but sadly, I have found we Christians tend to be the most JUDGEMENTAL people on earth at times in SPITE of our Father’s admonitions against such behavior. I personally believe that worship plays a very important part in the church service. Just as the Levites, went before everyone else, they did it to encourage those behind them AND to intimidate the enemy. EXACTLY what today’s worship does. It ‘primes the pump’ so to speak and prepares the ‘soil of our hearts’ for the word that God has given the Pastor to impart to us, It encourages and softens our hearts to God to better prepare us for His Word. IT also ‘puts the enemy on notice’ HE HATES when we unite in worship! It unites us for battle. I have been saved for over 20 years, but I still remember when I first came to the Lord. The first few times I went to church, I did not understand 1/2 the words that came out of the Pastors mouth, I was not familiar with ‘Christianese’ yet, but my heart, and soul connected to the Father through the music and seeing the congregation lost in worship, with uplifted hands, or the joy I saw when they jumped around with abandon during the faster songs. I longed for that! I wanted that! and that longing is what kept me coming back It helped in my salvation story. I thank GOD for worship, I appreciate the gift of worship, I love the 2-way communication between me and God during worship. I appreciate the worship bands! The more skillful they are, the easier it is for ME to lose myself and commune with God. The worship band is the accompaniment track for me on my path to the throne room. You never know what seed you may plant with music. I was first saved as a teen and was GREATLY influenced in that decision by the music of the 2nd Chapter of Acts, later as a young adult, I fell away from the Lord, and got into some drug and alcohol use, yet even during those dark times in my life, I STILL listened to 2nd Chapter (often during my ‘highest’ times – I believe it was my soul crying out ~but I digress…and when I had had enough it was because of that, I knew what I was missing and I came bac to the Lord and have never looked back! Music helped keep my soul connected to God. So, for those of you on here that have ever participated in any type of worship band. Please do not devalue yourselves nor your contributions, for they meant the world to me and others like me! Thank You!

  188. Thank you for your honesty. My church has undertaken a big change in music lately and it’s making me very uncomfortable. I’ve argued with the pastor that the push for the congregation to “actively engage” more in the worship is more for his benefit or ego stroking. I have no problem with people who prefer to worship in different ways than me but it doesn’t feel right to me that we are pressured to do so.

  189. Thanks for your honest article.
    I am a member of a Pentecostal church in Lisbon. Recently a secular article has been published: “These Churches are a Spectacle!”. The newspaper article made me uncomfortable. The more we lack the presence of God, the more artificial means we arrange to attract people. Some say “we have to create the environment!”. What environment? The true environment of the Holy Spirit from real parayer and worship or the one we make? This is a subtle tendency and I am afraid that we are doing like the sons of Aaron, lighting strange fire in the presence of God.
    God bless you
    Julio Bastos

  190. I visited a church called cross point and I found out
    They were in the process of expanding.
    I thought wow ! I’m so glad I’m here. I couldn’t wait.
    So I entered, they gave visitor card and a nice gentleman went over that they had a coffee shop .
    I decided to sit outside as I had arrived too early .
    The music was so very loud. They told me they had ear plugs if I needed a pair.
    The whole time I was feeling very uncomfortable in my spirit. I decided to write a comment on the card and saying ” I know you want to get as many young people as possible , but I feel this thing with the ear plugs and deafening music is actually blasphemy to the Holy Ghost. ”
    I left before the music started knowing I would have a blasting headache.
    Knowing I couldn’t worship the Lord Jesus with reverence as he should.

    1. Janet the music was too loud. This has nothing to do with blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
      I find it very disturbing you would write that. It’s a distraction, and a lot of times a cover for a shallow message.

  191. 1 Corinthians 10:31
    So whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, do it All for the Glory of God! 🙂

    We worship God in Spirit and Truth!

    The Holy Spirit Himself is the Worship Leader hence let Him do the leading in and through the vessel…

    Remember to give All Glory back to Jesus Christ!

    God bless 🙂

  192. Romans 12 v 1

    Therefore i urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship. (True worship)

  193. I couldn’t agree more…. I also ask myself, “where did all the hymns go”? If the hymnal music style is really that dated, then let’s do them in a new style, but let’s have those powerful lyrics that cause us to THINK about and MEDITATE on the living word of God.

    Generally speaking, today’s music is more of an entry point into mystical Christianity than to biblical Christianity.

  194. Loved your article! Absolutely loved it! I, too, led worship, stepped down and can’t bear church “worship” anymore.

    The turning point for me and my husband was when church leaders started offering earplugs to those who were pained by the volume. When we asked pastors in over a dozen churches if they would please turn the volume down to a level where everyone could hear without pain or throbbing, they refused and said they were “called” to appeal to the youth or “liked it that way”. What about the rest of us?! These were corporate services!

    That’s not love, that’s selfish flesh. Needless to say, we’ve been heartbroken by all the marketing and light shows, too.

    It seems like a large percentage of churches have lost the essence of true worship and replaced it with something worldly that appeals to the flesh… and sadly, most people don’t know it and would never admit it because they’re addicted to the feeling or the “high”.

  195. Agree. It’s not about the band. The lead singer. The concert. It’s about God and a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s like we are worshipping the band. The band paid themselves on the back. No. No. Not of God. Does not represent the humbleness God has called us to be. It’s a concert. Not worship. Yes. Special music. Fine. But don’t take away true worship and replace with a entertainment concert. Truth

  196. Still happening . I have been asked use click tracks :/ . I told them that someday they will be replacing the preacher with pre-recorded track or some android. The one thing God asks of us is Worship in spirit and in truth and that be our songs of praise to him and that too is being made unreal.

  197. 16 Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
    17 who brings forth chariot and horse,
    army and warrior;
    they lie down, they cannot rise,
    they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
    18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
    19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
    I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
    20 The wild beasts will honor me,
    the jackals and the ostriches,
    for I give water in the wilderness,
    rivers in the desert,
    to give drink to my chosen people,
    21 the people whom I formed for myself
    that they might declare my praise.

    Isaiah 43:16-21

    No matter what , we are called to worship him in every way possible and singing praise songs as a congregation is a big way where we can gather people and worship him together..

    Bro. Kevin , please be reminded that you also have to start the conversation at that church you walked out of . They will remain blinded by the ways of the world.

  198. I have seen so much arrogance in “worship” leaders in the Evangelical church. They think it’s all about them and their performance instead of a time to edify each other. They can be the most divisive people in a church. It’s sad but true. It’s one of the many reasons I am an “Evangelical reject.”

    1. Unfortunately, it is true. Seems the Hillsong paradigm is much like you said above. I have watched several hours of the Hillsong Channel, and I can see where the “worship” is going. It seems that layered backing tracks prop up people with muted instruments, one or two decent singers with 6 other people holding mics that are muted and an actual drummer. Embarrassingly they take the stage with swag and worship looking behaviors. Is this a performance that is about the people on stage? You bet. Much like a dirty, stinky home. The occupants are unaware of the stench that is overwhelming to visitors.

  199. Worship music is for some , and simply not for others ….
    Kevin , I hear you ,
    I’ve been leading for 10 years , a younger couple has rose to the occasion in my church recently and I have passed the torch and stepped away from leading ,
    it’s time for me to find myself now , I too got lost in all of the weird expectations .
    Strange and a little sad how that happens, but it does , I find myself truly adoring God when I’m home alone strumming and singing , far away from all the fancy productions,
    Really , if the churches stripped away everything music , and people attended anyway, just exactly what would your churches worship really look like ?
    When the apostles heard Jesus message at Mt. olive, it says that they “all fell to their knees and Worshipped him” , and it says nothing about music at that moment of worship , So , just what where they doing then ?
    Yup , they were worshipping him without music… what a concept…!!

    1. Have you ever been to a Lutheran church that worships with organ, liturgy and hymns? I think you would find it very meaningful and deep.

  200. You stepped down around the time that i did 6 – 7 years ago. Do you have any thoughts in retrospect?

    My passion for song-leading hasn’t changed, but my passion to follow Jesus away from the stage is greater still. I’d love to hear what you feel now, after 6 years of work done in your heart!

  201. Attractive element of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert
    that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I will be subscribing in your feeds or even I achievement you get admission to consistently fast.

Don't be bashful (reply!)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s