Maybe Fake It Just A Little Bit?

Okay, that title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not too far off from the balance we try to strike as worship leaders. We all have to straddle that line between worship and performance.

Neil Oldham wrote a post about this called Why I Ask My Team To Be A Little Disingenuous:

For years, the worship community has fought against anything that reeks of performance. We’re not to perform, we’re to worship. We want team members who are the real article: who they are on the stage matches who they are off the stage. Nice sentiment! And I whole-heartedly agree when it comes to the heart of the individual. However, this has carried over to the way worship is expressed on-stage versus off-stage. And I don’t whole-heartedly agree with that.

Neil gets into the differences between how we worship onstage and offstage, and concludes that it’s appropriate to have some differences between them. He uses this analogy:

We don’t question this in other arenas of life. Football players don’t run around smashing people in the streets and we never call them fakers for it. Motivational speakers aren’t that revved up around the dinner table at home but we wouldn’t label them phonies. Drill sergeants are unlikely to scream and berate their date the way they would their soldiers. Even in the church, we want our preachers to express themselves more artfully on stage than they would in everyday conversation. They’re just doing their jobs.

Sounds reasonable to me. There’s one woman on my worship team that I would keep onstage even if she lost her voice, just because of the presence that she brings. Don’t underestimate how much the team’s expression can encourage and influence the congregation.

Interesting post. Go check out the whole thing.

What are your thoughts? How do you strike that balance between performing and worshiping?

3 thoughts on “Maybe Fake It Just A Little Bit?”

  1. Sometimes the conversation can come off like that scene in Office Space about flair.

    Worship Leader: You should try worshiping a little more physically. Look at the people around to raising their hands.

    Band Member: Ok, so I should raise my hands?

    Worship Leader: No, no. I’m just saying you should be open to expressing yourself more “out loud.”

    Band Member: Sooo clap my hands? Raise them? What do you want?

    Worship Leader: Look around, some jump, some sing, some raise hands, some clap. I just want you to be an example, lead from the stage, you know?

    Band Member: But if I raise my hands and clap, how do I play my guitar….

    And on it goes 🙂

    I agree with the sentiment however. I grew up in a church where worship meant you stand to your feet and hold the hymnal with both hands. I am still in a bit of a shell when it comes to worship but I make an effort to worship outside of my comfort zone because there may be someone watching that is feeling the urge to worship in that way but afraid to be the first in the crowd. I see the role of the worship band as creating an atmosphere in which people are comfortable and encouraged to worship God. Sometimes that means doing something that isn’t really me because it may enable someone else.

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