As worship leaders, we love compliments. We love to be validated for what we do.
While we don't lead for the validation, it's always nice when others confirm God's call and say we're going in the right direction. A few weeks ago was one of those moments.
Following the service, an older man approached me. No offense to older people, but it does make me nervous at times to think of what they're going to say. I've heard quite a few people say, "It's too loud," "I don't like the songs," or "I can't even be in the room during worship."
But even that negative feedback over the years has helped me. It's helped me be a better leader. It's helped me bend not just toward the next generation but the older generation as well. It's helped me realize that worship isn't just about being cool; it's about being compassionate to all generations and helping give voice to the people, not just myself.
So back to the approaching older man.
I braced myself for the worst. I smiled on the outside but inwardly I was prepared for the worst. I could feel the sweat building.
But with tears in his eyes, this man approached me and said, "Thank you. I really felt a part of that."
OK, I know that was simple. But in that moment, it was the kindest compliment he could have given me as a worship leader. He felt a part of it.
Do you know why your congregation might not be responding the way you want them to? Because they don't feel a part of the worship experience.
Do you know why you haven't seen the breakthrough in worship you've been praying for? Because your people don't feel a part of the gathering.
What You Don't Need
Oftentimes we get so immersed with being progressive that we leave people in the wake of our creativity. We haven't brought them with us. And that is a problem.
You know what you don't need?
- You don't need more passion.
- You don't even need better songs.
- You don't need a better band.
- You don't need a bigger budget.
- You don't need pad loops, click tracks, skinny jeans and a single origin chemex pour over in the green room.
You need to help people feel a part of it. Stand with them. Cry with them. Listen to their stories. Smile at them. Help them find the song they need for their season of life.
Because that's what we're supposed to be doing anyway, right? Worship ministry isn't just about us finding our voice as worship leaders but helping others find theirs.
If you don't change anything else in 2018, change this: Help your church feel a part of those corporate moments.
Prioritize their voice. Encourage them to sing. Be inviting.
In so many churches, all I see is a band playing music in front of a room full of people who haven't been invited into the experience. Their voices haven't been prioritized. They haven't been told what to do.
So what would it take to increase engagement?
What are you willing to change?
Let's talk about it in the comments below.
David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This article originally appeared at davidsantistevan.com.
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