According to Ephesians 4:12, God gave leadership to the Church to "equip the saints for the work of the ministry." So, if I do all the work myself, I blow it. I will have missed my most important job.
Yes, my job is to "lead", but it's not the "follow the leader" we played in elementary school. It's an equipping or empowering of others in order for them to be free in their worship. Why? Because they are free in Christ. My primary responsibility as a leader in the Church is to understand this and them empower them to worship freely. To get their light bulb to go off! For a worship leader, showing an example by being free and allowing others to see that example up close and personal is a way I lead. It's probably the most important way that I lead. So that I can see other light bulbs lighting.
But that should not stop with me.
In most churches it's the worship leader and the worship team on stage who do all this "leading". I tell our worship team members to remember they are "leading" worship even when they are out in the congregation on their "off" weeks. The fact is they are not off when they are "off". They are very much "on". And how they worship in the congregation on those weeks is just as important if not more important than when they are on the platform!
And it does not stop even there. You church pastors and elders and ministry leaders... you are leading worship as well.
Pastors, elders and ministry leaders: You're leadership does not stop when you are in the congregation worshiping. In everything you do you are showing an example to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). When you just sit there and think about the class you just led rather than engaging in worship, you lead by example. When you stand with your arms folded in worship, you lead by example. When you don't engage and don't sing with a joyous heart of praise for the King and Savior of your own soul, Jesus Christ, you lead by example.
And to be quite honest... some of your examples downright suck.
Okay, that's strong language. But it's true. I know it is. Because there are times when I myself have been in the congregation analyzing what is happening on stage, partly because that's my job, and realizing that people are watching me. They are watching how I worship in the congregation. And my example of how to worship in that moment sucks. Yep, me too. (Hence the reason for this post. I have seen in myself this poor worship engagement and it is a challenge to me which I believe all of us as leaders, worship team included, with which we should take heed.)
As leaders in the church... we are ALL worship leaders. So when you are in the congregation, don't suck at worshiping. I'll try to do the same. Remember that however you worship you are leading and equipping (or not equipping) people for worship.
We must do our best, but we won't always get it right. Sure. My saving grace... our saving grace is that we are not the focus. There is always a higher worship leader. The Holy Spirit. And highest of all Jesus himself as the high priest who is at the right hand of God serving in the sanctuary set up by the Lord, not by man (Hebrews 8:1-2).
Let's worship him well. In that others may do the same.
worship Him 24/7...
Addendum: I speak to all church leaders and worship team members at all times in all churches. I pick on no individuals with this post. In every church there are those who are engaged with God and those who are not. This blog is simply to challenge with this question: How are we to expect our congregations to be engaged in worship to God if we ourselves are not engaged?
For those of you engaged... keep rockin' it. If you aren't, God still loves you and so do I. Maybe we can both keep each other accountable.