Hey you, worship leader guy, remember that you are not a rock star.

I wanted to pass on a good article entitled “You Are Not a Rock Star, and Other Nuggets for Worship Leaders” written by Clint Archer:

I use “worship leader” in the vernacular sense of the guy who leads the music. Of course, musical worship is only a smidgen of the worship that happens on Sunday. It’s one candle arrayed alongside the worship of preaching, fellowship, serving, giving, and parking far away so that the elderly can park closer.

But when people talk about liking “the worship” they generally mean “the band.” One congregant who should avoid this is the worship leader. Here are four tips for the leader of a worship band…

Continue reading here.

14 thoughts on “Hey you, worship leader guy, remember that you are not a rock star.

  1. Music should only be a smigden of worship , but in many cases it has morphed into a monster. I used to be the worship leader guy until one day i realised i was leading the church down a dangerous path . Regrettably , worship is now identified as a musical offering , and not the
    biblical ethos of dying to self and humbling ourselves before Christ. I guess the crunch came when it finally dawned on me that many of the so called worship songs , are written by folks who are profiting financially from the said material , as well as lauding , and being lauded as supremo’s in the christian community. Now I ask , where is the worship in all that.


  2. Love the post at Cripplegate – thanks for the pointer! It is right and honorable for the people of God to worship Him with voice – and be able to hear themselves and their neighbors; guided by the music but not drowned out by it.


  3. I admit, this is a big “bone of contention” for me. I guess it would be accurate to say that I am, by conviction, a very conservative person (theologically, politically, culturally, personally), and I guess my self-described conservatism has carried-over into my church convictions as well.

    Bear with me here…

    Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve had the opportunity (challenge?) to move around our fine land quite a bit. As part of my moves, I’ve been pretty much in a constant state of identifying local bodies of believers with which to worship, serve, and fellowship. I’ve utilized many tools, prior to moving, to identify solid, Biblical churches (i.e. founders.org, 9marks.org, farese.com, etc.), and have some degree of confidence arriving in a new location that there will be a good church in which to become integrated.

    I have, however, been disappointed, times without number, after attending many of these churches. You know the scenario: arrive at their building, be greeted by a hip 30-something, become informed of their coffee/mocha bar, enter into the “auditorium” with lowered lighting and some “strange fire” music playing in the background, watch and listen to the people around me carry-on about myriad subjects having nothing to do with worship, church, Almighty God, His Son, or anything remotely Christian, take-in the “pulpit area” (which looks like a band stage), and generally attempt to prepare my mind and heart to enter into worship.

    Then the music really starts. Mind you, there was no real beginning to the “worship time,” the music just transitions from background to a full-on “jam session” with people comprising the “worship team” arriving on-stage at different times. People around the auditorium stand and sit and talk and laugh. Some sing. Some sway to the tunes. Most of the “gray-hairs” in attendance don’t though. They observe. Well, at least I think they observe. Perhaps they cry on the inside about how the church they’ve been a part of for 40+ years has been hijacked.

    I listen to the music that I’ve never heard. I don’t know the words to this chorus. I can read the words on the 20-foot screen in front of me, but I don’t know this song. I think to myself, “Where’s ‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God?’ Where’s ‘Come Thou Almighty King?’ Where’s ‘Our God, Our Help, In Ages Past?’ Where’s ‘Abide With Me?'” Of course, to codify the “old-timers” there, they might sing one stanza of one hymn during the “worship time,” but that’d be the exception, not the rule.

    It’s sad to me. Hymnody of the past 800 years is so rich, so solid. It’s a shame it’s been pushed to the edges (i.e. refused) in favor of the more “contemporary” expressions of “accepted” church music. There’s such a dearth of theological precision, doctrinal boldness, man-abasedness, in today’s “worship” music. It really is, to repeat the idiom, “7/11 music” (7 phrases repeated 11 times). Take a look around next time you find yourself in one of these places (shouldn’t be too hard, since that’s about all there are now). Look at how many people are singing. Most are observing the “performers” on the stage. It’s so sad to me.

    Perhaps, dear reader, you say I’m just being old-fashioned. I don’t think I am. Perhaps you’re saying, “that’s YOUR preference.” Well, perhaps you’re correct, and perhaps it IS my preference. I also believe God is displeased with today’s modern church and today’s form of worship. It reeks of post-modernism, it reeks of feeling/emotional/man-centeredness, it reeks of syncrotizing secular styles with sacred sacrifice. Sad.



  4. i love all kinds of music, except rap. 😉 I love praise music and listen to it all day long. It pulls me out of myself and to focus on Him all day. I don’t look at other people, the band, the lights. I just focus on Him. It’s joyful to praise Him, with hymns, with psalms, with upbeat music. I happen to like the newer songs, but I enjoy quiet hymns too.

    Just as a side note. Remember the oldies were once considered “radical and too rock star” to that era too.


  5. Here’s my big pet peeve when it comes to discussing Christian music – there is an assumption, that too many people make, that a good song is the same thing as a good Sunday morning worship song. Therefore, the argument becomes two arguments happening at the same time, using the same terms: on the CCM side is “This is a good song.” On the anti-CCM side is “This is not a Sunday morning worship song.” People are not taking into consideration that a particular song can be a good Christian song AND not be a Sunday morning worship song.

    For example, the Skillet song “Awake and Alive” is a good Christian song, (even though it is a hard rock song) but not a Sunday morning worship song.

    (fleebabylon, I thought of you when typing this next part) I think a lot of the monotone=holy attitude is a hold-over from the Roman Catholic services of old, with the mentality of “quick, look depressed before the bishop strikes us down for not being somber.”


  6. for me personally as a Christian I love the old hymns. I usually don’t get into most of the christian music nowadays. The reason why is because before I was saved when I was growing up back in 70’s -all the music till the year 2000, I imersed myself in secular music and even knew most all the words verbatum etc. That played upon my sensual side greatly. Even if I didn’t like the words because they were bad I enjoyed the music of the guitar or drumbs etc.
    When I became a Christian, the records I had collected over the years I burned in a bon fire.

    So now as a Christian songs that have an emphasis on the “musical” rather than the words that praise God, I cannot listen to them because the drums, the guitars or whatever instrument used always plays upon my sensual side. I know because my skin always gets those hot and cold sensual type sensations.

    I don’t have that kind of reaction to Good ole Christian classical hymns sang in Church. It’s the words and how they are so close to the word of God and worshiping the Lord and not the music itsself trying to arouse me. Worshiping the Lord is pure and holy and with a heart full of thankfulness


  7. @Linda,
    I agree with your last post. Well-thought, and well-written.

    @072591 and @sueliz1
    I don’t believe most Christian people anymore do discern between a “good song” and a good “Sunday morning worship song.” Largely because there’s not much difference anymore, nor has there been for 20+ years. Just because a song has theologically acceptable lyrics does NOT it an acceptable song for use in corporate worship (which this post addresses). Example: Would you find it acceptable to put the God-honoring lyrics of “Amazing Grace” to the tune of, say, AC/DC’s “Back In Black?” or would you think most modern-day church-attenders would deem it acceptable to sing, corporately, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” to the tune of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters?” The point is: where do we draw the line? Church music, used for worship, should be sacred, seperate, sanctified, special. NOT in a secular style. The blending of the two is a term known as “syncrotism” – which means blending idolatry with true worship.

    I don’t have any problem whatsoever with people listening to whatever music they select for themselves. I do have opinions as to what types/styles of music are better than others, but as far as for corporate worship, where the gathered people of God are there for the express purpose to offer the sacrifice of praise to their Creator, it’s not the people participating who determine what “flavor” of worship they will offer – but God alone! He is the one Who prescribes the “WHAT to do in worship and the HOW” His Word is crystal clear as to what is expected. Those things/criteria which must be included are: Prayer, Reading of the Scriptures, Preaching of the Word, and Singing. That’s all.

    My question would be: Isn’t the Church of Jesus Christ to be ‘in the world’ but not ‘of it?’



  8. Todd:

    A lot of good points you bring up, and it seems that we generally agree. That being said, I do have to ask: which music style is sacred, and why? I’m not asking what is wrong with rock music; I know the arguments already. What I am asking is which music style is sacred and why it is.


  9. Without answering the above question directly, consider the following:

    Music, without any text, communicates general moods universally (Job 30.31, Isa 16.11, 30.19, Jer 48.36). It can, therefore, communicate moods that affect people morally or immorally. In the mind of God, there is a definite line between music that is pleasing to Him and music that is not pleasing to Him. Because we are finite, however, and because Scripture does not explicitly tell us what pleases God in this area, that line is difficult to determine. Every decision in life should be an act of worship (responding to truth; John 4.19-24). We must, therefore, make decisions in this regard just as we make any other decisions in the Christian life.

    Does the music risk failing to bring God glory (1 Corinthians 10.31)? True, dedicated believers will more concerned with the glory of God than their personal tastes, and will not see how close to the “line” they can get.

    Does this music offend others (1 Cor 8.9, 10.32-33)? True, dedicated believers will be willing to give up what may be their legitimate right for the sake of weaker brothers.

    Does the music control me (1 Cor 6.12, 9.27)? Does it ‘play’ to my carnal or sensuous side? True, dedicated believers will not allow their tastes to control them. They will be willing to give up that which is taking the place of God in their lives.

    Is the music beneficial for sanctification (1 Cor 10.23-24)? True, dedicated believers will actively pursue holiness and godliness in their lives (Eph 5.9-10, Phil 1.9-10, Col 3.10-14, James 3.17-18, 2 Pet 1.3-11), and only chose that which is beneficial for their spiritual growth. The question is not, “What is wrong with this?” but, “What is right with this?”


  10. There is so much that could be said, but I just want to say one thing for now. It has to do with Linda’s post above.

    You may be convinced a song is profitable, the music is acceptable, and you like it. You may be right or you may be wrong — but it means NOTHING, if your brother or sister cannot listen because it appeals to their sensual side. In that case, it doesn’t matter how good you think it is, it is horrible to bring it into corporate worship.

    Our churches are full of people for whom some styles of music have strong identifications with days of rebellion. The purpose of corporate worship is NOT to drag them back into those thought patterns and those feelings, just because someone else likes a particular style of music.

    Are we charitable to our brothers and sisters, or do I just like my music and want to have it?


  11. I would also add to this thread that, as Christians, we are to, as the Psalmist instructs us, “Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 29:2). When one contemplates what the phrase “beauty of holiness” encompasses, many things may come to mind.

    Arthur.W. Pink (Christian scholar, Pastor, Author) commented:
    “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” This is the only kind of beauty which the Lord cares for in our devotions. “Godliness is to the soul as the light is to the world, to illustrate and adorn it. It is not greatness which sets us off before God, but goodness” (Thomas Watson). Ornate architecture and expensive apparel God delights not in. It is the loveliness of inward purity and outward sanctity that pleases the thrice Holy One. Sincerity of heart, fervour of spirit, reverence of demeanour, the exercise of faith, the outgoings of love, are some of the elements which comprise the “beauty of holiness” in our worship.

    Dear reader, did you catch these character qualities as related to worship: inward purity, outward sanctity, reverence in demeanor? It’s quite a stretch to correlate these qualities with most of today’s “church music.” The music which has woefully become “mainstream” for use in corporate worship rarely complements these qualities. Rather, it tends toward “testimony” or “storytime” or focusing on the creature or the creation rather than the Creator – Who is blessed forever, amen! The vast majority of modern-day corporate ‘worship’ is horizontally-focused; not vertically-directed, and I firmly believe that music is, by and large, the main culprit of that fact.



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