This is the question I received via email.

"Should we recruit experienced worship leaders and musicians who would like to join our worship team from another church which we know they possess arrogance and think that they are better than the leaders of our church?"

Looking at the question, I think the answer is simple: No. Have nothing to do with arrogant people, but rather avoid them. Truly arrogant people cause more damage than they are worth. But how would we recognize people who are arrogant?

What I experienced with my life is this: because I am confident in many things (or at least look confident) and can express my viewpoints strongly, insecure people find me threatening. And they therefore accuse me of being arrogant. That's OK, because it's less dangerous to me than the people who feel threatened by me and hide it until one day they just blow up at me out of nowhere.

That used to happen to me often at one of my previous day jobs. Even though I was so low in the company hierarchy that practically anyone else in the staff could get me fired, I intimidated my immediate manager unknowingly, not by arguing or threatening, but just by how I carried myself day-to-day. So my manager didn't give me the immediate feedback I needed to do better, he just held his feelings in check until he finally blew his top…

So, how do you tell if someone is confident or just arrogant? There are 3 signs to look out for.

1) How they talk to other people:

Psalm 73:6-8 (NIV) -Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

Arrogant people show their true colors in their words. Their words are threatening (as in the above passage) and boastful.

Psalm 75:4 (NIV) - To the arrogant I say, 'Boast no more,' and to the wicked, 'Do not lift up your horns.

The arrogant use their words to attack the righteous (Psalm 31:18) and mock them (Psalm 119:51). They would tell lies (Psalm 119:69) in order to falsely accuse the righteous (Psalm 119:78). In contrast, the confident feel no need to attack other people in order to make themselves look good.

2) How they treat other people:

Exodus 18:10-11 (NIV) - He said, "Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly."

This passage tells us that God sees the way Pharaoh treated the Israelites as arrogance. The Israelites were subjected to forced labour (Exo 1:11) and their newborn sons were mercilessly killed (Exo 1:22). Why were they so harshly abused? Probably because Pharaoh did not think the Israelites had a God that he was angering with his behaviour (Exo 5:2).

Arrogant people see others as resources to exploit or as threats to be neutralized (Exo 1:10-11), rather than people with the same needs and wants as they have. When you see someone treating others only as resources ("he has money to give me, she can help me get my dream job") or as threats ("I better make sure the boss won't give him MY promotion") you know you have an arrogant person right there.

3) How they respond to instruction and correction

Nehemiah 9:16 (NIV) - But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands.

Nehemiah 9:29 (NIV) - You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.

Sometimes arrogant people put on a façade to get what they want from others. That's why it can be hard to recognize them at times. Here is one more sign of an arrogant person: he or she does not accept teaching or correction.

Watch how a person behaves when given teaching or correction. If he or she accepts it humbly or expresses any disagreement with you in a peaceable way, you know this person is not arrogant. However, if this person despises your words or suggestions, or totally ignores them, you know you have a problem right there.


You do not need to have arrogant people in your worship team. In fact, it is better to keep them out. If you truly embrace worship ministry as participation, rather than performance (, you'll find that you do not need very musically skilled musicians to serve in your church. In my experience it is possible to prepare adults (with no music background) to play keyboards for church within 3-9 months. That's because worship music that works is not technically difficult.

But if you want to keep them out of your worship team, you'll need to be able to recognize them. You'll also need to make sure you don't reject confident people by mistake! Try these guidelines for recognizing arrogant people and let me know how they work for you?

Be blessed!

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Comment by ToryCreek on February 26, 2011 at 6:28pm
Using the scriptures in this way to support your points make your entry so authoritative - that's great! Arrogant people shouldn't be on the team, I agree. Worship and lead worshiping is not about us anyway. Good entry ~
Comment by David Straley on December 18, 2011 at 8:42pm

I like your ending point about how it's not such a big deal to train people for the worship ministry, anyway, and that with God's help they can do an adequate job.  Ha!  Althought I haven't found it to be the case that someone can come up  from ground zero that quickly (maybe you were referring to someone who already knew how to play or sing fairly well?) I do find it amusing to think about what you've said, because you're basically "pulling the carpet out from under the know-it-all-hotshots", in saying, "Ahh .... it's not so hard to be 'good' ... I don't think we'll use you."


Ideally, it would be nice if we could find a way to "break the news to them" that we're not going to use them ... and to do it in such a way so as to provide a "learning experience" for them.   After all, many of us (like me) were arrogant at one time (in my case it was on my secular job, and I was a newborn Christian), and people can indeed change and grow.   But until they do, perhaps they need a bit of a kick in the posterior to help them along?


Bless you,

David Straley

Worship of Heaven


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