I'm taking a Sunday off in July. It will be the second Sunday I've had off this year. I'm sort of over responsible but there's only one other person that can lead and she only does it to help out. She doesn't really want to be a leader. It's a very small church so there isn't a big pool of musicians to draw on. there must be someone out there that has been through this. I'm working really hard on staying connected to God so I don't burn out but sometimes I'm hanging on by my fingernails.

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A Sunday? LJ, you should book off the whole month! Take it from a burn-out pro, you can't maintain the pace of being on every Sunday. Even most pastors are gone more than twice a year.

Some points to think about:
- Other's won't learn if you don't give them a chance
- Other volunteers won't step forward if you're always on deck
- A great leader is not afraid to let others take the reigns
- When you think you're irreplaceable, it's time to be replaced
- You can't offer fresh water if the well has gone stale

My comments are offered in kindness - you NEED to plan times of refreshment and rest. Otherwise it will be forced upon you...like it has for me. Just suffered my first heart attack, so guess what...I'm not leading worship this Sunday!
I like what you've said Rick. It's so true, there was a point in my life where there's nobody else left to lead but me and the worship ministry at that time was hitting rock bottom, really a mess. I could feel the pressure right up to my nostrils and I'm this close to burning out. So many nights I would just cry out to God for help. And God is really faithful, the whole team is stepping up now. All those points you've mentioned above are all so true. I'm getting married this october with our musical director and we'll be on leave from the ministry for one month. We've been telling and preparing our team for that and I believe when october comes, there are people who will definitely step up to lead. Sometimes you just have to push/force them to see their potential. hehe.
I am a new volunteer Worship Leader/Coordinator and I empathize with you. I have had only two Sundays off this year. What I realized though is that Sunday will "happen" without me!! (LOL!) I also tend to be over responsible, wanting to do everything myself so it would be "right". (umm sense any control issues here?) I have gotten stronger over these last 6 months though and have started to delegate and ask other members of my team to help out more and they have really come through. I also really like Rick's points- I think I will type them up and put them on the front of my notebook I use to plan!! Maybe you and I could be each other's accountability partner :). I need to remember that God is in control, not me!! And what an awesome God we serve. My focus needs to be on leading people to the Lord, not on a "perfect" service. Sometimes it is hard not to get wrapped up in that!
How long have you been leading? I just checked out your page, it must be very busy with a four year old. It would be great to be held accountable to making changes. What sorts of things have you been able to delegate? I really like when someone else sings and I can just play the guitar.

How can I best pray for you?

Love, LJ
I have been leading for 6 months since our church decided for financial reasons to eliminate the paid worship leader position. I was shocked and then even more shocked when I was asked to volunteer!!! Ours is a medium sized church with about 300 plus attendees on a Sunday. Sometimes I can't believe it is me doing it! (The Lord certainly does remarkable things!)

I actually just delegated a whole Sunday's planning and coordination to someone so the that I could focus on the July 4th service and I could not be happier! I have also have other team members read scripture or share testimony. I have the guys figure out and take care of any staging concerns- moving microphones and podiums and such during the service so that I don't even have to think about it. There are many little details that are not really a big deal, unless I am handling all of them, so I have learned to just say "Will you do this please?"

The most work for me is all the planning, coordination, emails, power points etc that have to be done prior to the service . I the harder time delegating those things but I am finding ways to have people help.

I need prayer to help me remember to pray myself about all of this and let the Lord guide my decisions. I know he is waiting there to help me if I ask! Sometimes I get so caught up in my worry and stress over it and I forget to ask Him for help.

How may I pray for you?
That's exactly what I need prayer for, too. I forget to experience the joy of my salvation. When I get worship worried I'll use that as a prompt to pray for you.

Were you on the worship team before you started leading?
Yes, I was on our worship team singing alto for one year prior to being asked to volunteer. When I agreed to do this it was with the understanding that after one year and some financial growth that the church would again hire for a full time paid Worship Leader. So far I see no signs of this being in the works.

How long have you been leading and what brought you to it?
I sang on the worship team for a few years and then God called us to another church. An old friend was getting contemporary worship started and was only there short term. They asked me to take over when he left. I hadn't played my guitar in over ten years and had never led a band so it was super challenging, not to mention the issues that modern worship brought up. We were there for 2 years then God called us back to our first church and I've been leading worship there for two and a half years.

While we were gone one of the worship leaders, a dear friend, got in a bike accident and is paralyzed from the waist down. He tried to come back but it's really hard for him to get out of the house in the morning and he also broke his hand so playing guitar is hard. The other leader, the pastor's wife, was pregnant. She did some leading in between babies but it's been mostly me. We had a great team for a while but we had to get out of our new building for almost a year so then it was only me and my guitar. We were renting schools and hotel meeting rooms and stuff. Worshiping to the smell of bacon is weird!

In the mean time the bass player and drummer left and the pastor's wife, who plays keyboard needs time off to be with her kids. The drummer we have now is leaving for college in a few weeks.It will be a skeleton crew very soon. We're very small, 45 adults, and very casual, so I just need to get a set and sometimes a closing song ready. I used to make lyric sheets when we were at the hotel but now we have the computer at church with all the lyrics.

I was a voice major at UMass in my teens but gave up music happily when I got married and had kids. I never had a great desire to be a worship leader. I love worshiping but was content to be in the background. God had other ideas for me. I generally feel completely inadequate to do this job. It makes me depend on the Holy Spirit and not on myself so that's a good place to be. I know God has plans for our church, maybe to grow it or maybe to close it. It's been a wild ride.

I'm trying to hang in there until He moves and sends more people to help. I've learned A LOT and I'm doing things I never imagined I would, like being able to pray and play the guitar at the same time. I'm avoiding doing music right now as a matter of fact. I'm stressing about picking music so I'm going to pray for you instead! I hope you have a great Sunday.
The issue of taking time off is really two issues (at least). The first and very important issue is the need to recharge our batteries.

Often we don't realize that we've pushed things too far until we suddenly find ourselves flat on our backs in the hospital (as I did two weeks ago) or disolving into a puddle of tears at the slightest hint of pressure. To fulfil the giftings that God has given us we need physical and emotional strength, and that comes from rest. Jesus took time out to draw his disciples aside to a lonely place to rest, so why do we think we can run full-bore without stopping?

The second issue is that our strengths (i.e. the leadership gifts we use in worship leading) can actually become our greatest weaknesses if we don't manage them properly. It was Oswald Chambers who said “An unguarded strength is a double-weakness.”

As a leader, I have vision, ability, a desire for excellence, and the list goes on. But these same things can become my downfall if I'm not careful. My vision can translate into "nobody else sees this as clearly as I do", or my desire for excellence can become "nobody can do this as good as I can". We may not say it out loud, but the thoughts are there. It becomes easy to fall into the trap of "I'd better do it all because, well, hey, I'm the best person for the job. I'm the gifted one, right?"

How do we leaders guard against such things? By purposefully passing the reigns to others at selected times and for certain seasons. That way others can grow and we can remain humble. It's not easy, but it's the way God runs His kingdom, a kingdom of servants.
Wow, Rick!

How are you doing? A heart attack?!! That's scary. I'm glad you're taking time off.

Everything you said is right. I don't really have a problem with other people leading though. In fact I've been trying to encourage other team members to lead. The problem really is we don't have anyone who can do it. Last summer after a long year with few breaks the one other worship leader and I figured out a schedule so that we'd share leading and I'd even get time off. She got pregnant and couldn't lead regularly and now is off the team for a long while. Last summer I took off a Sunday for my daughter's wedding shower and there was no music at church that day. Our team is tiny; me on guitar, a piano player, a brand new bass player, a drummer who has 4 Sundays left before college and a singer. The singer and piano player will lead in July but neither one want a permanent gig leading.

I'd love to have a few people to mentor and work myself out of a job. It's so exciting to see God raise people to serve Him. It's funny, I don't need to be the front person, I don't need to always be in charge, I'm sure that other people could do a better job musically, but here I am. I did start a new program called Worship Team for a Day. People in the congregation are signing up to sing with the team for a Sunday. I thought it would be cool for folks who want to see what it's like. Maybe there are some potential leaders among the 45 people in our congregation.

Thanks, for your input. I feel supported and encouraged. I'm definitely going to make some changes.

Please be well. I'll be praying for you.

Love, LJ
Yeah, the heart thing caught us all by surprise...me included! But I'm doing well.

I didn't mean to imply that you personally had trouble with others leading - my comments were meant in a general sense to anyone reading the posts. That's great that you are constantly looking to help others step forward. The small church thing is tough. May God bring you many people to mentor in the days and years ahead.
I didn't think you were implying that. I actually delt with that issue in the last church I was leading in. I do have a tendency to be bossy and God graciously helped me through that problem. I'm definitely a recovering bossy-pants!

I'm glad you're doing okay? Whew!


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