I thank God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit; I don’t have to wear a suit every Sunday morning. I despise suits. I live in a sauna (Houston, TX). 10/12 months of the year it’s humid, sticky, sweaty…it’s hot. Last week it was 58 on a Sunday, and yesterday it was 82. I don’t like suits because they’re hot and they give the impression that you are really “together”, because you look “together”.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve accomplished, no one gets a pass on not being touchable. The suit doesn’t make a man just like a title doesn’t make you a pastor. We are just a bunch of empty suits walking around if we feel we’ve arrived because we have a title, a microphone, or a guitar string endorsement. We certainly can’t neglect the second Greatest Commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Your call goes beyond your title, far greater than the cool new song you introduce.
Here are some ways worship leaders can drop the celebrity status and just be down to earth:
Your job doesn’t end after the final song.
I understand the desire to retreat, carb-load, or update your Instagram between services backstage, but let it go. Your “fans” can wait. Please, don’t let years of time go by without knowing the people you are leading. We are not the Sunday morning entertainment. I am not a worship-robot: Bootup…Coffee…Shower…Drive…Rehearsal…Perform…Shutdown system…
What a terrible mistake to miss out on the joy of interacting with the people in our congregation. Proverbs 18:1 (The Voice) says, “Whoever pulls away from others to focus solely on his own desires disregards any sense of sound judgment.” Think of that verse in this context.
I have been guilty of all of the above. I have said, “I need ‘me’ time” and given myself a pass. And I regret it. Sit out and listen to your pastor teach. Make it part of the team culture if you haven’t already. Be invested in the life of your church. Serve in outside events that have nothing to do with worship. Stop and talk with people grabbing coffee. Roll down your window and thank the parking crew. Wave, shake hands, and introduce yourself. Be accessible.
Interpersonal Communication 101
Some people need to take a class. I am not an introvert. I am an extrovert. And the pot of coffee I drink before I hit the door in the morning doesn’t help. Maybe you are an introvert. Even so, I doubt that you are the most socially awkward person in your zip code.
If you feel like you aren’t good in interpersonal settings, ask someone to help you grow. There are some very basic principles that apply here. For example, learn people’s names. Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person’s name, is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. Look them in the eyes when you speak, learn their family names, their interests, and hobbies.
Pray for people. I’ve been guilty of saying, “Yeah dude, I’ll pray for you bro…” and never do. Around my church, it’s commonplace for someone to ask me how I’m doing and to pray for me on the spot. You don’t have to be weird and you don’t have to pray loud. (Dudes, you don’t have to awkwardly grab another guy’s hands in a coffee shop.) Prayer is one of the most amazing things we get to do with one another because Christ is there with us. “For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
Our worship community regularly prays together on Wednesdays. I try to meet individually with as many team members as possible once a month. If you’re not doing that yet, start there. However, I can’t spend all of my time with only this group. They aren’t the only people I should be meeting with.
We’ve been called to shepherd and invest in people in our community and within our congregation. I make this distinction because we should also be following Christ’s example by hanging out with people that don’t know Jesus yet. Discipleship isn’t someone else’s job on our staff team. It’s everyone’s job. I don’t get to throw Pastoral Care off onto someone else. It’s my job too. So, when someone’s kid gets sick enough to go to the hospital, we go, we pray, we offer to bring food and run errands. When a friend in the church loses his job, we can’t ignore it because it doesn’t fall in our “passion area”. Pastoring is everyone’s job.
If you’re walking through something, talk about it. Ask for prayer. Your marriage isn’t perfect, your children aren’t angels, you don’t know everything, and you’ll die trying to project the image of perfection. I struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s seasonal, and some of it is related to medical issues. When I’m going through a tough time mentally, I need others praying. I can’t go through it alone. It’s too painful and I tend to make it more difficult when I go at it solo.
Be open, transparent, authentic; whatever it takes, just be real. When you make a mistake, don’t play the blame game. Stop and ask forgiveness. Laugh at yourself, even. Ask for help. Everyone has the potential to teach us something. This simple act translates into so many areas of our leadership.
We are in the people business. We are in the service industry. The Gospel is the good news for all, and it’s our jobs to share. Be down to earth, don’t be the professional worship-for-hire. Don’t be a robot. Love like Jesus loves. If you want to know what the Father thinks, ask Him to show you areas where He wants you to grow. You’ll be amazed at what He’ll say.