Monday, August 21, 2006

On Leading Worship

The music pastor of the church I go to has been out of town for a couple of weeks, and so, a couple of weeks back, he asked me to lead worship. I said that that would be fine.

Unrelatedly, last Sunday, a letter was read at the end of the service which included the head pastor's resignation.

Many people were surprised at this, myself included. Pastor Mark is a thoroughly reasonable, level-headed guy. While it seems out of character for him to resign, he had explained a few weeks ago that he was dealilng with some personal issues with his extended family, and so I can only assume that these were weighing on him heavily.

While I do not know of all the ins and outs of whatever prompted him to make that decision, yesterday morning I caught a glimpse of what I believe may have been part of it.

As I was up in front of the congregation leading the singing and playing the guitar, I couldn't help but feel like a phony. Now, while I have my various issues that I deal with, it's not like there's some big "sin" monkey on my back, hurling feces at everyone.

I felt that way because, though I may have been the most qualified musically, I can't believe that I was the most qualified spiritually.

And for a religion that, ideally, firmly believes the idea that it's not the outside of the cup that makes it clean, but the inside, I couldn't help but feel that I was doing a disservice to my fellow Christians, to the church, and to God.

What's my point? I can only imagine that for someone who is in charge of providing spiritual guidance to people every week that this feeling that I just had a taste of could have proved overwhelming.

Our pastor is not inadequate or fake or phony or any other synonym you want to throw in there. He has proved himself to be steadfast and strong both spiritually and personally, and I wish that he would continue being the pastor. All I am saying is that self-doubt can happen to anyone, and I think it affects those in ministry service more heatedly than it affects other people.

I don't know the real reason why the pastor left, and, frankly, I'm not really sure that I want to know. However, I do feel for him as what he must be going through is so intense that I can barely fathom it.

Good luck, Pastor Mark. You're in my prayers.


Red Riding Hood said...

Ah yes, but here is the rub. If you do feel most qualified spiritually, you shouldn't be up there either. You can't win.

Analyst Catalyst said...

So true, so true. :)

Thany said...

I totally understand AC.

I am often called to lead worship at our church. It is such an honor but I approach it with a great responsibility. I have found when I don't keep myself in check and simply throw songs together in a set list, run through rehearsal and two services that things often seem to go wrong.

The one thing I can take comfort in is the fact that God can use you regardless of where your heart is. That is not to say that your heart's state is not important, but God can still use you to minister to others. Offer yourself up as his vessel and He will take the morning where He wants it to go.

God isn't looking for perfect blameless people-He wants those who are seeking Him. And I believe you are.

Anonymous said...

You need to read the latest post on my blog. As you know, AC, I am a pastor of a small church... and while I definitely hear everything you're saying... I hold the hope that true spiritual leadership does not mean that we must "project a false reality" and pretend to have everything together; but rather that we lead others to the only place where we can get it together. On the other hand, do we expect our leaders to be somewhere "ahead of us" in spiritual maturity? Well, yes is the answer... but 'no' is as well. The truth is the 82 year old member in my church ought to be a stronger christians than I am... he's got a 50 year edge! But as a young pastor I should be leading the way in spiritual authenticity... I should demonstrate a thirst for God that's revealed in my actions and attitudes.

Okay, I've rambled far, far too much here! You just struck a chord close to home! You're thoughts here are great... I appreciate your humble heart.

Analyst Catalyst said...

Thanks for the encouragement, you guys.

I just, I mean, I've thought about it, and been in front of people at church before, but for some reason, Sunday just really hit me.