I am an experienced worship leader and choir director. My husband relocated to a new state and joined a church that does not allow female worship "leaders". So, I sing background vocals and occasionally lead a song. We LOVE the church and the teaching but I am so hungry to be used more in worship. I really don't have a relationship with the team. We practice, then worship. The men worship leaders do not mentor women. And the women in charge are really singers with an admin role. We've had a few "stage training" sessions on how to clap, how to have eye contact, what to wear, how much makeup to wear. But nothing spiritual. No team worship time. I am used to having deep worship time with my team members and strong spiritual friendships. I have none of that on this team and it really hurts. I know they value me for what I contribute, but at the same time, I'm spiritually being really STUNTED in this ministry.  How do I know when it's time to step down? Am I being selfish?

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Can feel for you.

I think there are two issues here, your dissatisfaction with being denied a leadership role, and your expectation of being spiritually fed in the worship group.

For the first, it can be difficult, but study the Bible for yourself, and pray. There are opinions on women's roles, all over the place, on the Internet. The big danger I have seen in Men-only leadership churches is that women end up manipulating things behind the scenes, via their husbands. This church might be a waystation for your family, not a final resting place.

About your spiritual hunger - lots of praise groups barely have enough time to get through the songs once or twice, so encouragement and pastoral oversight of the team members goes by the wayside. It may be that you can get that need filled through the church's Bible study, prayer, or other groups.

But if you feel led to go outside the four walls to minister, then I would network with other musicians in your area. If your recruit from your congregation, that could be taken the wrong way by your leadership.

"your dissatisfaction with being denied a leadership role"

I had no expectation of leading in this church. I joined KNOWING that women do not hold leadership roles in my church. My desire to be more involved and grow as a worship leader is becoming so strong and I feel that I will never grow on this team, spiritually or in skill. I'm not sure if God wants me to stepping down from me team where I don't feel really need or valued is disobedient. 

Lyssa - IMO this is a subject that you and your husband BOTH need to spend some serious prayer time on. Perhaps even a season of fasting.   God is clearly trying to get your attention on something.

Once you and he have a complete agreement on what God is saying to you, you probably want to schedule an appointment with the pastor to discuss how to proceed from there.  

Having been (in the past) a worship leader in a congregation I had certain doctrinal and cultural issues with, and then God started taking me in a TOTALLY unforeseen direction, I learned first hand how important that the senior pastor and I were in agreement, even if we were not going in the same direction.  The last 3 or 4 years there would have been a total disaster without that.

Sounds like the experience is making you hungry, and sharply aware of a burning desire.  

This is good.  Probably "good", spelled with one "o".

There's only one currency that God gives us: time.  How you spend it is what is important.  Do you decide that you are wasting your time here, find a church where you can better use your talents?  Will this time with this church cause you to become better?  Or will it cause you to become bitter?

While you pray and wait on an answer with your husband on this, let me encourage you: 

1. Use the time to grow musically. 
   When you're leading, you get busy exercising administration skills, and musically you'll get in a rut.  Let's face it, there's very little room for classical or jazz or punk rock while you're the worship leader.  Use the time to DIG and push into new areas.  Learn about sound systems / how to run the board / graphics and other parts of worship; become hugely well rounded. 

2. Enjoy your quiet time.
    Use this time of digging deeply into new music venues to worship God even more deeply than you've ever experienced. Turn the lights off, light a candle, and just worship Him one-on-one.  

3. Don't drift.
    A sailboat has a rudder to make it go where it's supposed to go.  But if it's not under power (wind in the sails), it just drifts, going where the wind blows it; the ruder is useless.  Do stuff, perhaps stay involved with the church music ministry; perhaps get a home group that meets every other week, or once a month.  Join a bible study.  Write a bible study...  

I promise you, if you have wind in your sails and you're growing musically and spiritually, you may go through a period of being hungry.  But you won't look back later in life and say, "wow, I wish i had ...".  This is not name it and claim it theology, but more like a "blanced James" approach.  

God Bless... 

Thank you so much for your reply.  I have been very involved in other areas of ministry and I serve a lot within the church. I'm totally being fed but I'm just not growing in my gifting. If it's just a season....but I just don't know why I'm so affected by it. :)

This subject makes me sad, but it's nothing new. God calls the ladies just like He calls men.

I totally agree with you brother Timothy. 

Because the Holy Spirit can teach all men and women to lead and serve the Lord with gladness.

In worship leading, I don't personally have an issue. But there are gender specific leadership principles mentioned by Paul and others in the NT. But those are very specific and centered around Elders and Deacons. So to me, that means there is plenty of latitude elsewhere.

However, there are many who feel that the biblical principle should extend to any form of leadership in the body. It's not about prejudice or subjugation of women. It's just about trying to follow what God has expressed in His Word.

Amen! Or Awoman ;-)

One of the hardest things I've found to cope with is accepting that God may (for a season or forever) take away the opportunity to use your gifting. Humanly, it doesn't make sense, and many teachers will advocate that if you are not pursuing your "gift" strenuously, then you've being disobedient. I don't think it's that simple.


Is it possible that the term "a sacrifice of praise" could once in a while mean that we need to lay it down and let it go, so that we can pick it up again later with a different perspective? I've had to do that over the past few years, and believe me, I didn't like it. But my view on my "gifting" has changed and I'm (very slowly) becoming much more humble about it. Praise be to God, for it was not within myself to do that.


In the meantime, I think the advice to grow musically on your own is good counsel. Find some musicans (not from this church) to hang out with and just have some fun and fellowship. You never know where God might take it. Let peace reign.

I too have a a couple of those seasons in my life, mostly when I was first starting out as a worship leader.

I actually tuned my guitar down and did not touch it or any other instrument for 6 months at one point.

I don't think you're being selfish at all.  My wife is a very capable worship leader, but for certain periods in our life has had to take a back seat to a long-standing (2000 years) interpretation of Paul's instructions regarding women in leadership -- meaning that men are to be primary leaders, unless the job involves things they don't want to do (backwater missions stations, children, etc. ) or things they are incapable of (singing harmony).  Listen to the radio today -- practically everything is boy bands + female backup singers (and sometimes even the backups are male, going woh-oh-oh, just weird). 

Our own experience in our previous church was similar to yours, except we were the incumbents.  A pastor's death, then resignation of a successor brought in a new leader -- a very fine person, wonderful teacher and leader, except that what he called "contemporary" didn't seem to involve ladies over 30.  We really wanted to stay in that unique and wonderful church, but I will say that when we left, my PRIMARY feeling was that now my wife could find purpose in ministry in music again.  We had no job, no nothing, but the relief was overwhelmingly beautiful.  And the Lord led us to a very different sort of church, of the opposite end of the spectrum; but we found Jesus alive there, and they didn'[t care whether you were male or female in any part of the church. 

Teaching respect for those of the other gender is part of the Gospel, too -- and if it is not "taught" by life example, then I personally find it a deficiency in the teaching of a church, which in Christ is not a thing of Hebrew or Greek, male or female, free or slave.


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