I wish Worship Leaders and Pastors were perfect, but truth is; we’re not. Is it an act of hypocrisy when we lead songs declaring an unwavering commitment to God’s call and purpose, when we know in our hearts that we have failed to be obedient? Is it right that we should proclaim God’s goodness and at the same time struggle to acknowledge his goodness within a specific circumstance or personal trial? How many times have you tried to lead worship and in the middle of a song remembered that you have unconfessed sin? Or is it the case that you have confessed your sin to God, but have not yet forgiven yourself?
Worship leaders don’t get the same opportunity to cease our singing and go to the altar and “lay it down.” I’m not saying that it would be inappropriate, but I think that in the spirit of preparedness worship leaders should deal with our “stuff” before we take the platform. But what about the times we fail to prepare? What if – in the middle of leading a song – we sing a phrase only to realize that it doesn’t line up with the way we have been living?
It’s important for us to lead and sing songs of commitment when we worship such as the song, Everyday, in which the lyrics speak;
It’s You I’ll live for
I’ll follow after You
I’ll walk with You my Lord
Let’s say I am leading this song and the epiphany strikes me that last Tuesday I made a decision that was clearly opposite from living for Christ. Personally, in light of my conviction, I now feel like a liar singing this song. My sung testimony is nothing but a lie and I’m standing and singing it in front of God and everybody as if it were true. Too harsh? Perhaps, but I don’t think so.
3 things you probably shouldn’t do.
- Don’t dismiss it or take it lightly – Our Lord is not silent about hypocritical worship, nor does he take lightly the Pharisees ”the show must go on” attitude. Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 to the Pharisees in Mark 7:6; Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’
- Don’t stop the song and the service and deal publicly with it. Just as it would be unhelpful for someone to walk up from the back row, take a mic and begin to confess each sin from their previous week, worship is also not the place for you to catch up on your quiet time.
- Don’t beat yourself up or believe that there’s nothing you can do.
3 things you can and should do.
- Even as you are leading worship, this is your time for corporate worship too. If you are dealing with something that you have already confessed and the enemy is seeking to remind you of your failures, then remind yourself and your congregation of the truth about which you sing; that Christ has redeemed you and made you new; that his blood has washed away every stain and “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
- Pray as you sing. You do it all the time. Confess in your prayer how you’ve messed up and seek for God to realign your heart and actions back to Him. “Father, as I sing these words, I recognize that there have been times that I haven’t lived like it. -Like last Tuesday. Remember that, Lord. Yeah, I’m sorry. Please forgive me and help me to live in you and trust you more. I really want to live for you everyday and walk with you everyday.”
- If you have sinned against someone else, seek that person as soon as you can. Apologize and confess that you were wrong. Seek to restore that broken relationship. Oh, how sweet it will be to worship with them the next time you gather. That’s what his grace can do!
You’re not a qualified worship leader because you have it all together. You are a qualified worship leader because you have come to the Father by the way of Christ’s cross. And as a worship leader you get to point others to the Savior, who is worthy of spirit and truth worship.