This weekend, something will happen.
It happens every weekend in multiple locations all over the world.
What will happen, you ask?
Worship leaders will place huge pressures on themselves.
Pressures to play well.
Pressures to sing well.
Pressures to lead well.
It’s not bad to want to do those things well, but worship leaders often think that how “well” we do those things will directly affect how “well” people worship.
We will place pressures on ourselves because we think it is our responsibility to make people worship. By saying the right thing, picking the right song, and putting them in the right order.
And when people don’t seem to be worshiping, we blame ourselves. We think it is our fault.
I know, I’ve placed those pressures on myself. Even to the point of agonizing over the right “worship phrase” to make people open themselves to God.
Silly, I know.
When we place those pressures on ourselves, we aren’t honoring God. We aren’t depending on God. We are focusing on ourselves.
When we gather together to worship, it is the choice of each individual present whether or not to participate. To come ready and prepared. To show up fully. And there are a lot of factors that influence that choice.
Obviously, we want to offer, as worship leaders, an appropriate environment conducive to worship. But we can’t force people to do so.
But, each of us wants to see the congregation we serve worshiping and engaging. Is there anything we can do?
Here’s what I’ve learned.
The most important thing I can do to help people be worshipers is to pray for them. Pray that they would open their hearts and minds to the truth and presence of God and that the Holy Spirit would be free to work.
Then to be a part of teaching, modeling, and discipling people in worship. To be in relationship. As people grow in following Christ and understanding worship, they will step in to the opportunities that we create and provide.
When I finally learned this lesson, it was such a relief. To realize that I didn’t have to carry the burden of making people worship. That I (as long as I had spiritually prepared and was depending on God in the midst of leading) wasn’t going to bear the responsibility for Bob from Row 4 when he didn’t worship.
So, this week, when you get up to lead worship, remember this: you can’t make people worship.
Simply point them to God, remind them of Christ, and pray that they would choose to respond. God will do the rest.
Have you struggled with this? What did you learn that helped you shake this pressure? Share your experience as a comment.