Worship Leader, Don’t Take Yourself too seriously

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A big lesson I’m learning is not to take myself too seriously. Nothing is ever going to come out perfect, so why work myself into a tizzy about it?

Lean on God, the Rock. He will get you through.

Laugh at yourself. I don’t mean: beat yourself up or become the brunt of every joke. Just always come prepared; but: if you mess up, laugh about it! People don’t want a perfect leader… they want a human who draws in the same air they do.

Last weekend at my church, I spent the time to make those “seamless transitions” we all drool over as worship leaders. My pianist who plays keyboard needed some more interesting parts to play, and we had no second keyboard to fill it in on pads, or electric to swell between songs and make those sticky key-transitions work.

So, I improvised! I recorded 4 measures in each song up in my office, at the beginning and end of every song, and added a “transition” track to all the beginnings and endings of songs. That way, when I clicked the midi controller for the next song, no one heard the song stop. The momentum in worship this created was gorgeous!
I was pretty worked up and excited about it.
I even faded out before the bridge our invitation song, so that by the time the ministers sat down, we had the ability to end the song when we wanted- because the backing tracks gradually faded out (we have some tracks that play through the house alongside our live band).
I told the band, “Don’t worry! We can use backing tracks this week during the invitation!” (We usually don’t due to the abrupt sound it creates ending the tracks in the house.)

THEN, as is the way in “church world”… we ran out of time to practice the invitation. But it’s all good… after all, I saved it, right? it faded out, right? The band knows it, right?

Well that last one is true. The band is awesome and nailed it. I, however…

So it gets all quiet, the preacher ends the sermon by beckonong people to come and pray. I say a word, and we sing. And sing. And sing. I don’t hear my tracks fading. Oh well, I think, it’s coming here in a sec... The ministers all sit. We finish the chorus, and instead of a fadeout… when I hit the “stop” click– to my dismay, the tracks blaze on to the first chord of the bridge of “My Heart Is Yours”. You know the one. On K-Love. With the full drive on electric guitars, plus distortion, 45 different keyboards, auxiliary tracks, bass, (B3 organ?!)… you name it. One chord: and then BAM. Silence.

I smile. Gots’ ta move on in the service. Talk about breaking an awkward silence! 

Later I laughed and told the band, “I guess I didn’t save my fade out under the proper name. We’ll try again next week.” But they didn’t look so sure!

When I heard the chorus did NOT fade, I immediately knew it was headed toward a train wreck. People noticed… but it wasn’t like they all lined up against a wall and took turns laughing and spitting at me!

You see, worship really happened that day. And although people noticed the abrupt song, they don’t remember that! They remember the worship and the sermon!

But guess what? I’m human! It happens. Someone will always need you at the last second before a service and you don’t get that final check.

No use beating yourself up about it.

Failures aren’t forever failures.

The following week, I tried the fade out again (why do I do this to myself?! I’m stubborn I guess).

And guess what? It was awesome. It was the best invitation yet– because we still had full band with backing tracks like the higher quality of the rest of the service. And I tested and saved it- under a new name so I KNEW it would work.

Fellow worship leaders… God’s grace IS new every single day for us. Don’t waste time mucking around depressed about yesterday.

Next week always comes, and there’s no way you can get worse if you practice & pray. God is on your side. You can only get better.{Tweet!}

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6 thoughts on “Worship Leader, Don’t Take Yourself too seriously

  1. Pingback: Living To Fail Another Day | Worship Links

  2. Thank you for this! I screwed up some lyrics today (and didn’t cover it very well) and felt horrible about it. I felt like I ruined the entire song and the entire set. I’m very hard on myself and beat myself up when I make a mistake. Thanks for sharing this and letting us know that we’re not alone.

    • Melissa! I’ve so been there. (And still go to that place often!)
      I’ll be praying that you receive the Peace of God… knowing that He not only delivers you from bad situations, and supplies all your needs… but that He loves and ADORES you… just how you are! That He sees the thoughts and intents of your heart, and knows that they are good.
      I’m sure no one sees these minor “blips” as failures.
      Artists are the hardest on themselves! We’re our worst critic! 🙂
      Bless you, sister in Christ! Keep serving Him!
      -B

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