Dear Worship leader, I too am a worship leader. Actually, scratch that. I’m a redeemed child of God who He has called to lead worship.
I’m also queen of the hot mess express. I’m also a broken person. I’m also a warrior who doesn’t give up. I’m like a human cocktail of feelings and traits and characteristics, a walking contradiction some days.
But today, I’m convicted.
A lot of my life, the Lord has stepped out of the way to let me break and become empty. Every time it has unfolded into a beautiful testimony of drawing nearer to Him. Of Him winning, yet again, my love for Him.
I’ve been thinking and meditating on how God uses sometimes the most broken people to lead worship. But one night, I came to see it’s not just that He calls the broken to lead worship, but He requires those He has calls to lead worship to be broken before Him.
For a while thought, “I’m a messy broken person, here I am broken before you”. I almost cringe now at how wrong I was.
Being a broken person and being broken before Him are two totally different things.
He uses the broken because of grace. But as a worship leader especially, we cannot successfully, I believe, do our assignment without being broken before Him.
As worship leaders, we are called to create atmospheres. To call forth His presence. To lead the congregation into His presence so that the Holy Spirit can do the work that only He can do. And as mere flesh, we cannot bring that forth in pride.
We cannot lead His people where we are not and have not been. Thus, we cannot lead the congregation into His presence if we have prevented our own selves from being there.
Reading through Isaiah 57 and 66, the Lord gives us the direction to enter for this as worship leaders. That He dwells in the high and holy place and also with the one of a contrite and lowly spirit. That the one who He looks to is humble and contrite and trembles at His word. In order to be in His presence, we must be humble taking a step back to hide ourselves behind the cross. We must be contrite, being remorseful and deeply effected by our transgression.
This whole time here I had been caught up basking in the comfort of His grace so flippantly that I’d forgotten the weight of what He called me to do for His kingdom. I confused repentance with a brush off and walked back onto those platforms assuming I was good to go and it was all enough. I didn’t even see the pride or that by ignoring the gravity of my errors when I walked back onto those platforms, I was creating a possible stumbling block between the congregation and His presence.
"The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts."
Contrite is the key word here for me.
Did God love me and forgiven me in those moments? Absolutely. That never ever changes. Ever.
But by refusing myself to feel the remorse and coming in humility genuinely understanding I’ve done nothing to deserve what He has asked me to do, I prevented myself from being fully in His presence. And while I was there in lala land instead, I was leading these people God trusted me with nowhere.
I was broken, but not broken before Him. I didn’t understand that a contrite spirit isn’t an encouragement, but a beautiful requirement. And I thought, “What have I done…”.
Today I think of the draw towards repentance as a cross to bear for the worship leader.
I don't nail this 100%. I think we're all still growing and learning. This is why grace grows more beautiful the longer you walk with Jesus. Because it never runs out, no matter how much you use.
If I could encourage you to do anything as a worship leader, just for a second, it would be to discover the gravity of the assignment He's given us and the gravity of its requirements.
As worship leaders, we lead worship. Therefore, personally understanding worship as an offering, and deeply experiencing that an offering, is a sacrifice.
Sacrificing ourselves, our ambitions, our aspirations, because it’s not about us, in even the smallest ways. It’s becoming so broken before Him, encountering His presence, so that our brothers and sisters, whom He loves so deeply, can follow us there.