TENSIONS OF A WORSHIP LEADER
I've lead worship for many groups here at camp and at many different churches and events, all varying in size, backgrounds, and preferences. It is a privilege that I don't take lightly, because it's the only activity that we do on Earth that we'll do in Heaven as well. What a cool opportunity to participate and get to lead people in something that I'll get to do in Heaven. Over the years, as I've learned more about myself, my pride level decreasing as I recognize bad desires and wants, I've learned how I enjoy leading and the heart behind it.
I never want to be known as a good leader of music. Granted I don't want to be known as a bad one for sure, but my goal is never to impress people. I want to be as out of the way as possible. I know I have the responsibility to take people somewhere, but I'm going first where I'm taking them, straight up to the presence of God, not any attention on me.
I want people to thank for me that time of worship, not tell me good job. I'll know I did a good job if people heard from and experienced God in a fresh way, my encouragement comes from that. I've learned also to never gauge a worship experience or lead out of a place that it dictated by how much a group "engages" in worship. I used to get discouraged after a set when no one raised their hands or closed their eyes, but over time, I've seen people experience God in the own way and in times that I thought I was off, and they weren't feeling it. If I dictated my leadership from my perceived involvement of the crowd, I'd always be off focus, at the mercy of my feelings and insecurities, and not taking them anywhere, I turn into the follower.
If you're a worship leader (the band, singers, production are all the worship leaders, leading people into the presence of God. What you do can distract people from or lead them to focus more on God), do it well, but never with the heart of just doing well, performing great or playing music. Do it with the heart of taking your people where you're going. They are at your threshold, the higher you go, the more room you create for them to go.