Dear Worship Leaders

Dear Worship Leaders,

I should have done this long ago. I’m sorry I didn’t.

I’m praying for you now.

Truth is, you told me how hard your job can be and I just didn’t get it. Or maybe I just didn’t sympathize. Either way. I’m sorry.

You told me it’s not the music making that’s hard for you. I mean, how hard can strumming G, C, D and E minor really be? OK, sure, strumming with a band of volunteers who have divergent tempo preferences and assorted skill levels can be a bit of a challenge at times, but that’s not your greatest challenge. Your biggest challenge is fear. Yours and theirs.

You told me so. I just didn’t understand. Until now.

In the last week, fear has surfaced from a tiny number of people in our church family. Friends. Wise and wonderful people.

“I fear worship is going to become a show.”

“I fear our volunteers won’t be good enough for you.”

“I fear you won’t sing any hymns.”

“I fear you’ll start singing hymns.”

“I fear you’ll make it louder.”

“I fear you don’t have the training for this.”

And I haven’t even sung yet!

I love my church family and I know they love me too. All transition, all change, is hard and can cause us stress and bring out nastiness we didn’t know we were capable of. But during this time of transition from “the way things have always been” to the unknown, no one – no one – has been unkind to me in the least. Not once. I’ve been encouraged plenty.

But fears have been expressed, through smiles, between hugs and hand shakes.

And fear is contagious. It creeps like kudzu and if left untreated can sap life and love from those it envelopes.

I fear that fear will spread in our church, in me, and turn us from a model shining selfless loving city on a hill into a petty music-obsessed average American church. Sounds paranoid right? Nonsensical even? I know. But, well, it’s what you say happened to you and your church family.

The one that split when you ticked off the bass player. The one that stopped giving out of protest when you switched from piano to keyboard. The one that told your kids you’re not as good of a singer as the last guy that had your job.

I can’t imagine our church family – these people I love – ever stooping to such levels. Ever. But you didn’t imagine it would happen to yours either. Fear does crazy things. So you say.

So I’m praying for you. I’m praying you listen well, weigh every decision in light of God’s Word, the Church’s purpose and your love of those you serve. I’m praying music never means more to you than people. I’m praying you are encouraged, that people tell you when you’re zipper’s up and not just when it’s down. I pray that through music God reveals something of Himself to you and your church family and that through music you are able to respond back to Him together with one voice.

I pray you’re wise, gentle, kind, patient, humble, confident, self-controlled, transparent, creative and submissive.

And I pray you’ll pray for me. Through my fears and theirs. Against the spread of both.

For His renown,