I've had a little thing come up.  I'm trying to decide what, if anything, I need to do about it.  It's related to the visible demeanor of one of my singers.  She has a very serious air about her most of the time on Sunday morning.  She is a very committed member of the team and has been for quite some time.  She is a very good singer, a single mom of two working her way through college to be a teacher and is almost there.  She has a very strong faith, a strong work ethic and is a strong team player.  Outside of Sunday morning she loves to have fun and rehearsals are a blast.  But on Sunday morning she takes on a somewhat serious and aloof demeanor.  She doesn't often smile and never physically engages in worship.  That contrasts greatly with the other singers that are smiling, clapping, raising their hands, etc.  Every so often a member of the congregation will ask me about her, if she is ok, does she not enjoy praising God like the other singer?  Is she just up there to satisfy her own need to sing?  I talked to her once about this and her reaction was something like...

"That IS how I praise and worship God. My relationship with God is a serious and reverent one.  Is it right for others to criticize or judge me based on my style of worship?  Is it ok for me to fake my style of worship to make someone in the congregation happy?  It's not in my DNA to fake my relationship with God."

  Hmm..... some good points.   Since then I've let it go, worship has been fine, the congregation is engaging, yet this past week a different member of the congregation brought it up again.  The first time I talked to my pastor about it she felt it was a problem and I needed to talk to the singer about it.  This time I mentioned it to my pastor and she felt it was good because the members of the congregation that worship in the same way could connect with her instead of feeling inadequate by not worshiping like our more energetic members.

Anyone have any experience with this?  Thoughts?  Advice?

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Pete, I would accept the premise that this is how this person feels comfortable and real in their worship, at least at this point in their walk with God. To make her act differently (i.e. be exuberant, raise hands, sway, or whatever) would come across as fake, and not only would the congregation eventually notice that, but she herself would begin to hate what she's doing. She would feel like a hypocrit.

I am not a demonstrative person, so I can relate to your singer. And there are for sure others in the congregation who feel as she does. So I wouldn't let comments from one or two people direct your policy on this one. In fact, I would just tell them straight up that people are different, and this person is sincerely worshipping the Lord in her way, so quit focusing on what others are doing and concentrate on the Lord.

This doesn't negate the need for the worship team to at least appear alive on stage, but fake smiles always turn people off. I know a worship leader who always has the same smiley expression on their face whenever they sing, and it really came across as fake. You don't want that.
Thanks Rick. That's pretty much how I've been feeling about it and handling it. I've always pushed my team members for authenticity over charismatic cheerleading. We've just evolved to the current mix of 2 or 3 other singers that love to dance, clap, etc. and the contrast seems to be a distraction for some. Being a home grown worship leader working in a vacuum, I thought I would ask for input in case my assumptions and feelings might be off base. Truthfully I'm an introvert and if I didn't have a guitar in my hand I would probably worship more like she does.
Anone who would insist that I dance on stage would soon regret it...Michael Jackson I'm not. :)
.......nor am I Madonna - same age though!
Hi Pete,

To be honest I have great admiration for this lady's true and genuine worship and I think she is an prime example to all of us. I thank God for people such as this lady...............

God Bless. Lorraine
Hi Pete,

I'd like to offer a contrasting opinion, not a right or wrong one, just contrasting. At our church, we have between 4-5 worship team vocalists at each service and the age ranges are from 16 to 50+. Obviously, this means there are a bunch of different expressions of worship that people are comfortable with. While we would never expect a 50+ year old to jump around the way one of our 16 year olds might, we do ask that every person be engaged. That is a part of their service. We want our worship team to reflect what we want to see in our congregation. It sounds like this wonderful lady on your team has a very specific concept of what worship looks like, and that is perfectly ok and she has every right to. However, this calling goes outside of personal preference; not to mention that things like clapping, raising our hands, singing joyfully are all things that we are commanded (not suggested) to do as a part of our worship.

How we've addressed this same issue in our teams is regularly taking them through studies of the different physical expression of worship found in the bible, what they mean, and how they apply to us. Then we ask everyone to pray about taking an additional step in the way they worship God in a practical way based on what they just learned.

That way we're not attacking a person or their personality, or asking them to fake it. Instead, we're showing them through God's Word ways that we can all grow and lead others in moving outside of their comfort zones, especially as those that are charged with leading worship. We general don't ask for specific things except when the worship leader cues something like clapping or the lifting of hands. Then we expect every team member to do it, just as we would like to see the congregation do. Helping people to realize that worship is not about them or their "style", but rather about what God has commanded us to do really broadens perspectives. Hope that helps!
That's the rub I always run into. I push my team very hard to be authentic in worship but I also make sure everyone understands it's not all about us. Each of us can worship from the congregation if that's our only purpose. Leading worship sometimes means putting our personal preferences aside to do what will best serve our congregation. But it must still be real, not fake. Seems at times like mutually exclusive goals and I completely understand both sides of the issue.
i see the major point......sure your singer can have a reverent view of God, and it affects her walk. but when she worships, does she get excited? and if she gets excited about worshiping God, why does she not let it show......not for the sake of show......but why would she not let her inward emotion be allowed to become visible on her physical person?

of course you wouldnt want her just to start swaying around, that would most definitely be fake. we dont want fake, and neither does God.

but our relationship with Jesus should excite us......so is she excited about her relationship with Him? if so.....why is she not allowing that excitement to become part of her expression, instead....she is keeping it bottled up inside, apparently. im just sayin.
It's not about her relationship and how she worships in my opinion. This is public worship and having a serious aloof demeanor is a downer if you have to put up with it from the pews on Sunday morning. I try to encourage my singers to be upbeat and bright on Sunday morning because it's not about them. That being said, if conflict is avoided and everything is otherwise ok, no need to bring it up again. It's kind of like pictures - I hate forced smiles - but people are more attractive when they smile. Me - I like the old civil war photos where everyone had that frozen custard scowl on their face. But on Sunday morning, it's a different story.
Interesting analogy. I know there's no right or wrong answer and many shades of gray between the two extremes. That actually gave me an idea. I wonder how it would go over if I had our tech crew do a video capture of our service for us to review as a team. For all of us to see how we come across to the congregation as a whole. See if as a group we can look for distracting behaviors we may not be conscious of. I know I probably have a few too.
Good idea, and be sure to point out all your own issues first, even if you have to stretch things a bit. It will make it safe territory for the others to look at themselves.
And be sure to point out positive behaviors as well. Utilize the well known, "Sandwich Principle".


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