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?