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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blinded Worship

One of the projects I assign students a project to plan worship services in both contemporary and blended formats. Not long ago a student submitted one of these projects with a typo in the title: “Blinded Worship.” Of course the student intended to say, “Blended Worship,” but the error began to stick in my mind. How many times have we participated in a “blinded” worship service, that is, one in which no one knows where it is going, not even the one leading. No planning. No preparation, –just flying blind, throwing a bunch of songs together and seeing what happens. Things might end ok, but it was certainly not a result of the methodology of the leader of worship, rather the mercy and grace of God.

Blinded worship can come from more than just a lack of proper planning, it can be a result of the leaders being blind to what is going on around them. I was talking recently to a couple who were sharing about a particular disastrous worship service they had witnessed. The saddest part of the story was that one of the leaders was oblivious to the situation. Personally, one of the most difficult things for me to do on a Sunday is worship with all the other things that have to be done and coordinated just so everyone else can worship. This is not a complaint, just a reality. I have to really focus on worshiping. At the same time, I must be aware when things are deteriorating, I must know what to do to fix the situation before it causes problems for everyone. Blinded worship leaders never see it coming, don’t forsee the dangers and don’t plan ahead.

Blinded worship can come from more than just a lack of proper planning, or being blind to what is going on around them, it can also be a result of the leader being blind to his or her weaknesses. All of us must have quality personal time with God on a daily basis, but as leaders in worship we must constantly be trying to improve our technical skills as musicians, as well as our communication skills with others and in front of the congregation. A “blinded” worship leader is one who is blind to the need to keep growing in musical skills, and blind to learning how best to communicate effectively and concisely, so that the congregation doesn’t feel like they have stood through two or three mini-sermons before the pastor stands to speak. “Setting up” or introducing a song can quickly turn into something that sounds like a frustrated preacher wanting to get his opportunity to speak, rather than a preparation for the message of the song. I share with worship leaders “to look in the program and see if your name is down to preach the sermon, if it’s not there, then don’t.” A blinded leader is also one who refuses to admit personal issues. Many times this stems from a leader who is insecure on the inside, but outwardly portrays an attitude that they know how to handle everything. Unfortunately, this attitude prevents the person from being open to getting help they so desperately need.

One of the best solutions for these kinds of “blindness” is a spirit of honesty, humility and transparency as well as a trusted friend with whom you can confide, pray, and receive the feedback that is needed. I praise God for many pastors and friends God has sent my way through the years as well as a loving wife and children who helped so me some of my “blindness.” I pray that God will provide for this need for those that might be struggling with this now.

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