But today, I am particularly thankful for those who unequivocally oppose me.
‘Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2)’.
One person recently berated me about how I led worship. They were bullying and manipulative. Among other things, they accused me of being selfish and told me that I was losing my way as a worship leader. Now I’m accustomed to brushing off unhelpful criticism, but this was totally unjustified and it made me livid. Rage welled up within me and I completely exploded. Looking back, I can see that my behaviour could not have been further from Christ-like. Where had all this anger accumulated from? If I’m honest, I was angry because my insecurities were under attack. Which got me thinking, “What are some of our worship leader insecurities and what impact do they have?”
Our worship leader insecurities...
I’m not a proficient musician
I’m not a strong leader
I’m not great at arranging songs
I make bad decisions
No one here likes to worship like I do
People will judge me by the way I lead worship
I just want people to like me
I’m not good in front of people
I’m not that sensitive to the Spirit
I’m not good at crafting a set-list
I’m unqualified to lead the band
The leadership do not have confidence in me
People do not care about sung worship
I'm never going to see God break in
God's not interested in our worship
Our worship does not compare to the worship at the church down the road
The songs I write are never any good
These insecurities can lead to...
A reluctance to lead worship
An inability to take risks
Delaying making decisions
A dependency on a formula
Jealousy, gossip, comparison
A critical spirit
Not trusting others
Not developing others
Being success driven
A fear of authority
Jesus’ humility was a bold humility. No one has ever been more humble, yet more secure in who they are. Jesus demonstrated that true humility requires confidence in who God is and who he has made us to be. Have you ever noticed how Jesus washed his friend's dirty feet because he knew that the Father had put all things under his power (John 13:3-4)?
Last summer, I sat down with my mentor to process something that had been prophesied over my life. We agreed that it was biblical, relevant and encouraging. I had actually had received the prophetic word a number of times previously and he knew the details. Yet, I was struggling to entertain the idea of it and I was too embarrassed to talk about it. He looked at me and said firmly, “James, I’m not interested in weak humility.”
Such premium is placed on worship leaders exercising humility that our insecurities can so easily become submerged under the guise of modesty. We can struggle to identify them and fail to deal with them. Insecurity is the result of misplaced worship. It is the devil’s stronghold; it is the place from which he does battle, the lynchpin to his army-paralysing-plan. I know firsthand that leading worship is a costly privilege (and that’s how it should be). However, every single unnecessary insecurity increases the cost of leading worship tenfold. We end up fighting negative thoughts when we should be living God-given dreams.
A few days ago, I sat down with my worship leaders. I wanted to do was encourage them and to tell them how much the church loves and trusts them. So this is what I said...
You are on the platform because we know and love you
You are on the platform because we trust you to lead
You are on the platform because of your character
You are on the platform because of your God-given gifting
You are on the platform because you love this church
You are on the platform because you are committed to this church
You are on the platform because of your passion to see worship flourish in the church
You are on the platform because we want to see your God-given full-potential flourish
You are on the platform because God has put you there
You are on the platform by God’s grace
You are on the platform because God’s strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9)
You are on the platform because God has a part for you to play
You are on the platform because you raise up othersYou are on the platform because you allow God to take His rightful place
I share this list with you now in the hope that it will hearten and confront you. Sadly, these words do not all ring true in every church nor for every worship leader. Thankfully, as I sat with our worship leaders, I could share this list in full confidence of its validity. If I could not genuinely make these claims, then there is something seriously wrong with how we discern, raise up and release worship leaders.
If you're fighting insecurity today, I pray that you would know the full measure of God's love (Ephesians 3:14-20). It's a love that eclipses insecurity (1 John 4:18) and breeds true, bold humility.
'I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:14-20, NLT).'