How do you think a worship leader might like to be remembered?
"I remember him. He challenged me to think creatively and explore the tonality of my instrument, and encouraged me to retain a humble attitude while avoiding a formulaic approach to accompanying our worship sessions."
"I remember him. He always had directives about how everyone had to sound and behave while up front, and didn't think instrumentalists were capable of appropriate behavior without extensive, detailed instructions."
How will people you've worked with describe you? Are you an encourager? Are you critical and dismissive? A micro-manager? Do you tend to encourage the vocalists at the-expense of your instrumentalists? Are you one who relates and includes and allows the results take care of themselves, or are you focused on the end product rather than the relational?
Self assessment is hard. It can be tempting in the age of LinkedIn to discuss things using résumé language, because of course we are all perfectly Christlike in every way and do all things well. So here goes.
As a guitarist, I do like to receive positive feedback. Sometimes in the absence of compliment or criticism I wonder if what I'm doing matters at all. How will I be remembered? "Was he playing Sunday? I couldn't hear him at all." "He was really good at practice. What happened?"
Band members: "I remember Charles - I wasn't a great musician / singer, but he took care of preparing things so that I felt like I succeeded at being 'in the band.' Weird guy, most of the time it seemed like he didn't really want to be in charge (or even there) at all, but you could count on him to make the music happen. Wasn't entirely surprised when he retired from the band and stopped going to church altogether..."
Pastors: "He wasn't very flexible... he had something he wanted to do in the service, and when that wasn't what I wanted, he stepped out of the way and told me I should find somebody who was interested in that..."
As a worship leader, I've served in a handful of churches over the last 20 years. When running into someone from an old church or previous band (usually on social media), I have fortunately received many positive comments from people as they reflect on our worship ministry together in years past. That is always encouraging of course, but just keep things in focus knowing that there are people that I've already had my opportunity with... and good or bad, I can't change how they remember our ministry time together. It's already over. There are no doubt some that remember me in less than a positive light for one reason or another. Maybe I let them down. Maybe I didn't give them a fair shot or opportunity to be a part. Maybe I didn't do enough to connect with them beyond the worship team.
Either way, it brings into focus how much I need to keep things in check and make sure that I do my best to make sure people can look back at times I lead the band or congregation and have positive things to say about it.
The main thing is that we are pleasing GOD is what we do. That is ultimately what matters, not so much man's opinions. However, our role in ministry should not be taken lightly. Our role is a shepherding / pastoral type of role, whether your church gives you that label or not. We do have a responsibility to lead our people beyond just singing and playing well.
I want people to remember me as someone that taught them how to be a worship leader as they played their instrument or sang... teaching them the importance of what they are doing as they use their gifts in that way. Encouraging them to grow in their abilities through practicing and such of course, but also growing as a worshiper, realizing that is more important.
I want people to remember me as someone that lead them into God's presence through praise & worship. Not due to how well I sang or some cool keyboard licks, but due to simply leading by example. Getting into the presence of the Lord is what will change someone's life. While I appreciate the cool guitar solo (and am all for it and have my guys do them regularly!), that's not going to make an eternal difference for anyone. I want the music that I play to be quality, to utilize the training I have, to express my creativity as an artist, yes... but keeping it all in perspective knowing that I'm not trying to get people's attention or the glory. I'm using that music to draw people in and towards God.
I want people to remember me as a worshiper. Not someone that just played well or sang well... or could fill 30 minutes in a service... but someone who loves to just worship.
I'd like to hear these someday:
"As an instrumentalist, he tried to provide what we needed, a thing that we ourselves rarely knew."
"He always made himself available for rehearsal when many on our teams for some reason had scheduled events that regularly prevented their attendance."
"He was in tune and encouraged others to do likewise in spite of our eyerolling."
"We often asked him to turn up - even though his chosen instrument, the electric guitar, would seem to have rendered such a request stereotypically unnecessary. No one has ever played the electric guitar that well while being that excessively considerate."
"We considered him a nuisance, though we eventually adopted most of his ideas after someone else brought them up."
"He actually could sight read quite well though we felt it necessary to pretend he couldn't in order not to challenge our own default assumptions about electric guitarists."
Haha nice :) To be remembered as playing in tune would be great! I can't stand when guitarists / bass players are out of tune and seem to be oblivious to that fact. Always blows my mind! :)
I'll always remember leading worship one Sunday in a small space where the bass player was pretty much right behind me. We start and he's way out of tune! I turn around, mid-song, and say "tune your bass!". He says "I did!" I say "then do it again!" hahahaha
I'll probably be remembered for being that difficult bloke who wanted the songs to have a bit of content and objected when the primary aim of the words and music was to create an emotional response in the audience rather than focussing on a bit of truth about God, or wanted the lyrics to be about stuff that was true rather than 'aspirational'.
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments on this discussion.
I racked my brains but couldn't for the life of me come up with anything I thought I would be remembered for....so I'm left thinking that I won't be remembered full stop. Not feeling sorry for myself or anything like that but this would be an interesting question to ask members of your own worship bands. You might be surprised at the answers, however, I'm too scared to ask!
Lorraine, I highly doubt that would be the case. I don't know you personally, but I do know that anyone that serves in any type of ministry role affects many more people than they even realize. Your impact goes further and is deeper than you know. Those aren't just nice words... I'm just stating a fact. Unfortunately, most people in the church fail to give credit where credit is due. They are quick to complain about things they don't like or agree with, but when things are good, many fail to put the time and effort into letting someone know.
So just keep that in mind. You would definitely be remembered. All of us will be remembered for the roles and impacts that we had on the lives around us. Whether we realize it or not, we ARE impacting people.
I had a "how will you be remembered?" moment last Sunday. One of the families in our church is moving away, so I told them to send me a list of songs they'd like to hear one last time and we'd use that for our setlist on Sunday. One of the songs on their list was "that song about playing cards with the devil," Original studio recording (from about 1988) is attached, the song is called "Strip Christian" and it's kind of a "taking off the whole armor of God, take it all off" song.
Anyway, before I sang the song (during the offering), I mentioned that it was nice to have somebody remember a song I wrote and probably haven't sung in a few years. Well, when the family was standing up front with the preacher at the end of the service, the husband mentioned that it wasn't "a few years" - I had done this once around the time our contemporary service was starting (1993) and maybe once since...
So, ya know, to have a song I wrote make that much of an impression on somebody that they remembered it after hearing it twice in 25 years... that's how I want to be remembered. For the songs...