Worshiping through Discouragement: a discussion

August 21, 2007

I’m sure all of us have been there – if not yet, I trust you will be. You’re a ‘worship leader’, and as a ‘leader’ there is a certain degree of pressure on you to ‘lead by example’ because, face it – people tend not to follow us to where we’ve never been. What does a worship leader do, however, in the face of great personal tragedy (i.e. – the death of a loved one), or maybe not any one huge event, but the overwhelming nature of innumerable personal disappointments that build up to where one questions the goodness of God, not ‘doctrinally’, but in their heart? Or, even in the case of – as I have somewhat regularly, working two very different jobs – when you have a really rough day at work, and then suddenly have to ‘shift gears’ and lead a team, and then a whole room full of people, in ‘corporate worship’. How do you deal with such situations? How do you – as a worship leader – cope under such circumstances? What have you found helpful?

I know I’m not the only one who’s ever dealt with this, so I suspect this conversation can be helpful for a good many of us.

I appreciate your input…

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5 Responses to “Worshiping through Discouragement: a discussion”

  1. Peter Park said

    Hi Shannon,

    I’ve been leading worship for over 10 years. During that time I have had my share of hard days. When I was in high school all the youth leaders were gone and the I experience my second church split. I was the only worship leader left at the time. What I have found to be helpful is to be honest. Try and set aside a least a few minutes by yourself in a quiet place before the Lord and give Him glory. When Darlene Zschech lost her baby the Holy Spirit prompted her to praise God (while she was driving back in the car alone from the hospital). I know it isn’t the easiest thing to do, but praise Him.

  2. He deserves our worship whether we feel like it or not…..
    i used to think i was being “inauthentic” or flat out hypocritical… but, now, i think its not really about me. and if i’m effectively facilitating others’ worship experience, then i’m doing my “job”…… my goal as a worship leader is to help others worship.
    i’ve also learned that entering into worship when i don’t “feel” like it, usually stirs my heart to start to “feel” like it! so that’s a great blessing…..
    and He deserves our worship no matter what!

  3. saintlewis said

    Thank you, Peter – I agree that often choosing to ‘worship’ God when we don’t feel it will spark a surprising change in our spirit.

    Here’s a question to Mandy’s post, however – yes, ‘worship’ is not about you (or me), but is there not someone odd about ‘fake worshiping’? Let’s be honest, if we don’t FEEL God is worthy of worship, and yet we are speaking words of Worship, and leading other in that – well, that does sound hypocritical, and less than ideal. Don’t get me wrong, there have been occasions where I done that – and honestly, sometimes my heart has changed, but sometimes (very rare occasions, I admit) it has not, and I’ve limped through leading others in worship that, on my part, was essentially ‘fake’. I say fake because worship is proclaiming that God is ‘worthy’ with everything we are, and if our minds and hearts do not think and feel – for some messed up reason – that He is worthy, then is it too much to call that type of worship ‘fake’? I agree that He DESERVES it no matter what, and I catch much of your point. I’m just facilitating discussion because this would not only be helpful for me at times, but MANY others.

    Please, do continue to share!

    p.s. – one of the things I’ve found helpful, when I remember it, is Luther’s idea of ‘speaking truth to yourself’, but like in the Psalms where David speaks to his own soul. More on that later…

  4. Fred said

    Shannon,

    Thanks for posting this also on TheWorshipCommunity.Com … there are quite a few responses there already. I’ve just posted mine, but thought I’d post it here on your blog as well:

    Great topic, Shannon …

    I have often been there .. and I’ve often started out a service, or done a brief segue between songs and I’ve stood there and said “church, I’ve gotta tell ya – it’s been a rough week … everything possible has come against me this week .. but I choose to worship … I choose to lay it down …”.

    I’ve found that the people of God RESPOND to such authenticity. They don’t want a super-hero Worship Leader (hmm .. can we make a Real Men of Genius ad for that .. “mr. superhero worship leader guy?” ….)

    they want someone who is real .. authentic .. who relates to them, and whom they can relate TO.

    I also think of King David … how he had to “encourage himself in the Lord”. Sometimes, it’s quite the sacrifice.

    But specifically, your question is about how we manage to do this while being a leader … and hopefully, I’ve answered it, at least for me .. .be real .. be authentic … press in, but don’t be afraid to tell the people exactly where you are, and where you want to go. I GUARANTEE that there are folks out there who will identify and embrace your soul and run with you into the arms of Christ!

  5. Bridget said

    It is really difficult, I agree. Three years ago I miscarried, but I had to move forward. Perhaps the personal pain and disappointments I’ve had have shaped even the types of songs I choose.

    Having a 40-hr / week job and leading worship three times a week is a definite challenge.

    I’ve become much more dependent upon God for my daily living and ESPECIALLY for worship leading. Last night was a perfect example. I felt like a total failure (enemy’s lies) but I had to pretend, even, that no one was there and I was just singing these songs to God. That really helped.

    When I am discouraged, that is the EXACT time that I need to worship (whether I am leading or not)… that is the prescription I give others and myself.

    I’m often called the “ballad queen.” Maybe because I play keyboards (guitar songs are more rhythmic and difficult for me on piano)? Maybe because I’ve been through the hard times and those are the songs that rescue me (from myself)…

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