The Temptation Every Worship Leader Faces On Sunday

by Kristen Gilles

in Worship Leading

We are all tempted to seek our own glory and fame.  Most of us enjoy the sound of applause in our honor.  But we Christians have been saved from our sinful selves and purchased by God. We are now trophies of His grace.

In our corporate worship services, this means we care about the overall shape of the service — a faithful witness and celebration of the gospel. We should always ask ourselves if our own desires are getting in the way:

  • Vocal team members, do we care more about how many songs we’re leading?
  • Musicians, do we care more about how many instrumental solos we get to play?

As we’re planning our set lists and lead vocal assignments, we should be seeking to serve our congregations well by structuring the entire service in a way that clearly conveys the gospel and stirs hearts to exalt the name of Christ.  Our goal is not to entertain or gain the applause of men.  It is to applaud the Lord and declare the wonders of His love and salvation in the presence of all who gather in His name.

No matter what your role is on your church’s worship team, you are a leader.  You are being followed as you play your instrument and sing before your congregations each week.  As a leader, do you care more about serving your congregation than you do about serving yourself?  Are you eager to be applauded or are you determined to lead the applause of our great God?  Are you willing to give up a vocal or instrumental solo if it would better serve the overall shape of the service?

These are questions we need to ask as we allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and convict us of any idolatry and apathy.

Jesus is a great Savior and as we confess our sins and shortcomings to Him we find unfathomable depths of mercy.  He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Holy Spirit is a perfect Counselor and will readily stir our affections for Christ as we rely on His help.

And our Father accepts our worship based on the merits of Jesus, His unblemished Son who intercedes perfectly on our behalf before the Father’s throne of grace.  He deserves the applause! He deserves the glory and fame! He is our strength, our salvation and our song!  We have nothing to boast about in ourselves.  We must boast in Christ alone who has saved and robed us with His perfect righteousness.

Our lives should be lived in praise of the One who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.  Our goal as worship leaders should be to point everyone in our congregations (and lives) to Christ who alone deserves all praise, glory and honor.  God did not gift us with the ability to sing and play skillfully so that we might boast in ourselves.  We are HIS instruments for HIS praise and glory.


Aaron Reefman August 4, 2013 at 8:31 am

Great! I think we can take a step further though? Along the lines of St Paul: are we willing to fall short of perfect performance and musicianship to serve his glory? (2 Cor 12:9)

Kristen Gilles August 22, 2013 at 10:34 am

Aaron, thank you for your thought-provoking comment 🙂 This is certainly something we need to consider as we remember that our goal in serving is to glorify God and make His name great. I’m thankful that His grace abounds to help us in our performance and musical imperfections (and to keep us from pursuing perfection as our goal).

Aaron Reefman August 23, 2013 at 1:05 am

Two of the most exuberant worshippers I know would describe themselves as tone deaf. And yet I would consider it more beautiful a sound than many trained musicians around, and I’m sure God sees it similarly.

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