I've not visited for a while. I hope you are all well. This group seems to have been a bit quiet lately. My husband and I have been leading worship for the last few years but have stepped down from that for a while. We have loads of other stuff going on, so I probably won't miss it. At first, at least.
I've been encountering a lot of resistance to the term Worship Leader lately. Setting aside the obvious point that worship doesn't just occur during music (please let's not go back over that, it's something I KNOW!), is WL a term which is common in your area/tradition?
I'm asking this in the UK group because I want British responses. How is the term WL used in the UK now? Does everyone know what it means? Does everyone have the same understanding of what it means?
I'm starting a course run by the Baptist Union in Sept and from the look of the course materials, they obviously think that leading worship is the responsibility of what I'd call the Service Leader.
Sorry Dorothy, I've seen a few unfortunately.
You are quite right in saying that the same criteria should be applied to those 'doing the flowers' or 'the tea' or 'the bible reading' etc.
All ministry's should be done from a servants heart.
I agree totally with you in terms of being on the recieving end of casual and frequently unwarranted criticism, as a WL , we are easy targets.
I just wanted to express what I find personally discouraging in some WL's I've seen in action and it's only been more discouraging when i've found a similar attitude in myself.
Best Worship Album Ever? I don't think we need a sidetrack on this thread but, if you decide to start another, I'm right behind you ;-)
'I think that the term Worship leader has become somewhat tainted'
I've often heard that view expressed on this forum, and on the UK one before its demise, but I am not sure I understand what you mean. Do you mean that you don't like the fact that some WL's have become famous? Is it that you've belonged to or visited churches where the WL has lost a servant's heart?
'I think that I/we are all kind of guilty of buying into thinking that we are bigger and better than we are.'
I am sorry Phil, but I must gently take issue with you on this. I have NOT been guilty of that. I do think that you are only able to speak for yourself on that issue and not for others.
James, in his account below, describes some of the ways WL's and musicians/sound people serve their churches, often in ways that are more time-consuming, financially costly and physically demanding than the person on the flower/refreshment/cleaning rota with whom we are so often negatively compared.
Perhaps you could explain a little more about the 'whole 'worship leader' superstar thing' because I just don't get it.
Stained by the actions of some?
Who are you referring to? Okay, there has been the odd worship leader who has fallen into sin. And there might be the odd worship leader, choirmaster, organist, or lead singer who is a bit of a prima donna. Is there in general a bad attitude in worship leading? I haven't seen any evidence of a big or widespread problem.
As I think you've said elsewhere, there are plenty of other problems common in worship teams, such as lack of preparation, poor communication, lack of consideration for other team members (e.g. this song is easy for me, therefore it is easy for you too!), lateness for rehearsals, lack of care for relationships between team members. I think we should be very concerned about these and many other things.As for pride and such, most of us who take any sort of leading role (e.g. me mainly leading in small groups) are acutely aware of pride and are wanting to give God all the glory for anything good that happened whilst we were "leading" worship.
Ian, are you replying to my post, or Toni's?
I'm not referring to anyone. I don't believe there's anything wrong with the term WL and I have explained that I don't understand why people think WL's are such a problem. I was just attempting to paraphrase what I thought *other* people were saying and suggesting another thread.
I'd suggest that the tainting is not by one or 2 individuals, but by the way image of the WORSHIP LEADER has become synonymous with the hip musical product that has created commercial success. Being cool, slick, sharp, streetwise and apparently making a nice living off a product based on worship of God doesn't sit well with many who don't embrace consumer culture and pop fashion. And there is the issue of personality cult too, though that's much more likely the marketing machine at work than most of the individual worship leaders themselves - it's hard to see the man (or woman) behind the caricature.
I appreciate that doesn't particularly reflect reality in most smaller local UK churches, but it does reflect a lot of advertising and presentation of the worship band as a 'righteous gig' lead by a star performer.
There's a lot of other stuff running round in my head about it right now, but that's not thought through and firmed up enough to discuss here. Yet.
Mind you, what title hasn't been tainted by some of those who wear it? Even coming up with new titles to try and create some distance from one that has been tarnished has got a bit spotty (who, after all, wants to be politically correct any more?).
I think there are some grounds for suggesting the title isn't perfect - after all, our whole lives are meant to be offered as a living sacrifice (Romans 12) and the person who picks and leads some songs in a weekly service only affects a portion of that. Mind you, even the word church has seen better days and that comes with the extra confusion that it can be the building OR the people OR a demonination (whoops, typo! ;-) ).
Oh dear, I know you are being very serious, Toni, but I sort of laughed when I read your description of the kind of WL you dislike. I can't think of any WL I know, or whom I've ever observed, who is 'cool, slick, sharp, streetwise'. Most are dorky, bumbling, forgetful, mistake-prone and very, very humble. And I love them for all their faults as well as all their qualities which include being passionate, wholehearted and sincere.
So, I'm still none the wiser, I'm afraid. You are going to have to name names. The fact that you refer to 'making a nice living' indicates you might be thinking of song-writers rather than WL's. If you mean the people who have come up through Soul Survivor, then that's what they are now, song-writers. They give concerts. Matt Redman 'led worship' at SS last week, but it wasn't really worship, it was a concert. He was doing a gig. He's a song-writer. People enjoy his gigs on that level.
If you don't mean famous names like that, then I'm not sure what you are talking about. The WL's I know are all fab. And a bit useless. And called by God. And daft. And brilliant. And they love God way more than their guitars. And being upfront is a wee bit painful for them. LOL!