Is it really ok not to be ok for worship leaders? 

Why do I feel pressured to look happy even though I really am not? Sometimes I get so sad that I just want to let everything go, forget about everything, go to the mountains and meditate. But I can't. And even though I can't, I probably would not want to. I'd rather sing my lungs out to the Lord than cry in one little corner by myself. But sometimes, I don't want to do either.

Sometimes I feel like I just want to run away from it all. Then a kind thought would enter my mind, telling me that everything's gonna be ok. And it's such a happy thought, I believe it with all my heart. Then when things are not getting better, I ask that happy thought - "Is everything really gonna be ok?". Then it tells me "Yes". Then I believe it again. 

Is it ok to be sad? To show people that you are sad? 

Views: 110

Comment by Wulf Forrester-Barker on February 23, 2012 at 12:10pm

It is better to be honest than to put on a pretend face. It is better to meet people where they are than for you all to put on masks before you gather together.

However, if you find you are struggling to lead from the place that you are into the place of praise and worship of God, it might be time to step back a bit and ask others to take up the slack. Don't pretend to be happy but don't pretend to lead, either.

Recently our main worship leader took a term out; that actually created opportunities for myself and some others in the church and, now that he has taken up the reins again, it is still a bit more shared round than it was before, to the benefit of all. If you are finding the yoke difficult and the burden heavy, maybe it is time to let others shared the load?


Comment by Stevo on February 23, 2012 at 4:52pm

Why are you sad?

And yes, it's OK to be sad, especially if the reason for it is right. "Blessed Are Those Who Mourn". But maybe you're just in need of applying some Biblical perspective to the events that surround you. Again, it would be nice to have some idea of where it comes from. 

And actually, I've learned that happy and sad can exist at the same time in us. It's like we have this set of emotions and they're all sitting there making their contribution to the various events in our lives. 

BTW - this is a very common affliction among ministry people.

Comment by Elaine Rose S. Caras on February 24, 2012 at 4:20pm

It's just that recently, I have decided that I will act according to what is pleasing to the eyes of God, and not to the eyes of men. And people whom I expected to be displeased by the actions were indeed displeased. I thought I was ready for it, but I guess I wasn't really.

I just feel so misunderstood by now. And the only thing I could do is be very honest about things, and VERY VERY VERY patiently wait on the Lord....

Comment by Lorraine Doswell on February 24, 2012 at 6:32pm

Your honesty is a beautiful thing Elaine. I am so sorry that you are feeling sad, but sad is OK.  I have been in that place many, many times. There are times when I feel I am no earthly use to man nor beast and feel as though I may as well be invisible. Hark at me, who's been honest now?


Hang on in there Elaine, the Lord in His infinite goodness will bring you through the sadness. You are His little child and He loves you more than words can ever say. And hey, remember you are amongst friends here, and I'll bet we all have a tale to tell.


Lots of love.



Comment by Stevo on February 24, 2012 at 8:23pm

What actions have you done that are "pleasing in the eyes of God" that have left people displeased?

Comment by Elaine Rose S. Caras on February 24, 2012 at 9:13pm

It's about not giving everyone a chance to sing on stage. It's related to my posts on the forum - Noob in worship leading. 

Comment by Stevo on February 25, 2012 at 5:33pm

Yea, now I remember. So it might be that you're questioning your decision.  Just because people are complaining, it doesn't mean you made the wrong decision. However, it's never a bad thing to consider a different course - privately or shared with one or two people you can trust. In ministry, there are rarely perfect decisions, this is a dilemma that God wants us to learn from.

We want everything perfectly black and white. But we live in a fallen world with imperfect people around us and the main thing is to love them and encourage each other in Christ and the rest is just noise. If you keep feeling a conflict or sadness inside, it's possible that you would do well to change your mind a bit - maybe not from black to white, just from black to dark grey. But if you keep believing that you did the right thing no matter how you feel - that is something you have to learn to live with. That's one of the first hard things you have to learn in leadership.

As an example of darker shades of grey, I have one singer who can't sing very well and I wanted to reject her from being on the team. However, one of my other singers who knows her well explained how much it meant to her - she has few friends and is slow of learning. Being on the  team would encourage her spirit a lot, so I've limited her times and made sure she's only scheduled when there are strong singers around her. What does it hurt? Nothing. What does it help? A lot.

Comment by Greg Moore on February 28, 2012 at 7:13am

Wulf, Lorraine and Stevo have all given you excellent, thoughtful counsel, full of possibilities.  I myself struggle with melancholy, especially when I'm dealing with criticism or conflict.  There have been a lot of Monday mornings I've wanted to find a church in Antarctica.  The worst times have been when I have been asked to reject a less-capable singer who had a good heart.  That kills me, it makes me feel like the world is backward (which it is).

But I want to examine another aspect of being a leader in conflict with others (and onesself).  I think there is a time for putting on a leader's face.  Jesus advises us that, when we fast, to wash and comb our hair and not let anyone know of the hunger pangs, the weakness (Sermon on the Mount).  Instead of the reward of sympathy from others, we gain a reward from God himself.

An example of this sort of leadership might be seen in General Eisenhower (World War II), a decidedly moody person by nature, who refused to let on the grimness of the mid-war situations, and came to wear a constant smile, an encouragement to everyone who saw his face -- the smile became part of him, and encouraged "Ike" himself! 

God is good at bringing people through things, through valleys of the shadow of death, through narrow places, through pain of all sorts.  And, trusting Him, He will bring you through, to a more effective ministry than you would have thought possible.

Comment by Toni on February 29, 2012 at 10:32am

There is nothing at all wrong with being real, but we also need to consider the effects of our actions on others - I appreciate both sides of that argument. There are certainly times when even the strongest Christian can feel crushed: certainly Paul did, and he didn't choose to hide it, even writing about it in some of his letters. Also as a leader, showing vulnerability and walking in reality before people will usually result in far greater respect than being the one who always looks perfect, feels perfect and acts as though they're floating on a cloud - we all know they're pretending!

But some people won't be able to cope. In another church a long time ago things had been quite tough for us, and when one of the guys who was both a good friend and elder asked me how I was I said "Dave, I'm really struggling and feeling down right now". He just walked away without a word! It's funny in retrospect, but was a bit of a shock at the time.

Stevo's last paragraph is an excellent one, when it comes to dealing with people in that situation. I'm more of a pastor than anything, and my heart is always to build up people for the kingdom, so I'd look at people and see how I can help them grow and become stronger: closer to Jesus and understanding more about Him. That doesn't always mean that you do the things they want you to do for them, but it does give you a solid set of reasons and objectives to help make decisions about how you handle those in your care. When you've made decisions on that basis then you can sleep easier, even when you'll draw fire from those who want perfection in the externals.


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