Scenario 1: The air is thick. You feel electric. The entire worship band is ON. Most of the people in the room have their hands raised, and from your spot on stage you can see some tears streaming down faces. As the worship set comes to a close and you start to pack up, several churchgoers come up to you and thank you for leading on such a powerful morning. You graciously accept their thanks and deflect all praise to the sky (God apparently already left the building and retreated skyward. I hear the wait at Chili’s can get pretty long up there on Sunday afternoon).
Scenario 2: The air is… what air? It seems like it’s all been sucked out of the room. Wrong note after wrong note flops off the stage, and despite everyone’s best efforts to prepare throughout the week, the gap between each song is ridiculously awkward. Nothing is going right. No one in the room seems engaged. You just want this to be over. It finally ends. You and the other musicians talk about the wrong notes you each hit, how the room felt dead, and how you wish every Sunday was like last Sunday. You pack up your gear and quickly escape before anyone can make eye contact.
I’ve experienced both scenarios probably hundreds of times by this point in my life. The contrast between different sets of worship songs becomes really apparent when I’m on tour. Instead of comparing one Sunday to the next, I can compare tonight to last night, (and the night before, and the one before that!)
But what are we really called to do as worship leaders?
Are we called to obtain a certain tangible response from the people we’re leading?
Are we obligated by our calling to have things “go” a certain way during a worship set, (above being faithful stewards and preparing)?
Are we called to gauge on our own the work God is doing in the hearts of everyone else in the room? And if we don’t “feel” it, does that really mean God didn’t show up? And if He didn’t show up, was it our fault?
Are we called to lead others in worship?
Do we serve a sovereign God, who, at the end of the day, does what He chooses?
Can He still do a great work in the hearts of people despite our wrong notes?
Honestly, it seems to me that a majority of the time that I end up hearing about someone finding restoration through the music on a Sunday, or God speaking to someone on a tour date, it turns out to be a night where we didn’t really “feel” it from the stage.
All of this to say:
Our job is to lead worship.
God’s job is to work on the hearts of people.
We can’t be discouraged when things don’t go as we hope. We’re still following our calling, and God is still in control!