2 Worship Leading Achilles’ Heels


AchillesThe legend is told that when Achilles was an infant, his mother dipped him into the river Styx to make him immortal. But since she held him by one heel, that spot didn’t touch the water so it remained mortal or vulnerable.

An Achilles’ heel is now idiomatic for a point of weakness or deficiency in spite of an overall strength. So if ignored or disregarded, that weak spot could potentially lead to failure.

As worship leaders, we’re not immune from our own Achilles’ heels. Relational instead of musical deficiencies seem to be at the root of most of those vulnerable places. And yet, we often invest the majority of our time and attention trying to improve musically only.

Arrogance and Aloofness are two of those Achilles’ heels that if ignored could lead to conflict or even failure.

Instead of a desire to be exalted, maybe our worship leading prayer should be instead, “Lord deliver us from ourselves.” Jorge Luis Borges wrote, “Arrogance is when the image of the Lord has been replaced by a mirror.”

The worship leader who leads from the impression that he/she alone has the ability and even right to be the sole proprietor of the worship service often cares more about elevating him/herself than helping the congregation participate in spirit and truth worship.

So if you alone are holding onto the worship process as an arrogant gatekeeper that receives all the credit when something works, just remember that you’ll also receive all the credit when something doesn’t.

Aloofness is a state of being distant, remote, withdrawn and even unapproachable. The word probably originated from the Dutch word loef, meaning “the weather side of a ship.” It was originally a nautical order to keep the ship’s head to the wind to stay clear of the shore or some other object. So the term has evolved to mean someone who is set-apart, cool, uninvolved, disinterested or indifferent.

Worship leader aloofness can give the impression we are more concerned with how we lead than whom we lead. So it’s difficult to convey a deeper worship understanding to our congregations if we are trying to lead them from that set-apart artistic zone. Taking time to invest in the lives of others, however, can model a level of worship leadership that song selection and platform presence may never achieve.

Worship leaders should spend more time thinking about how they lead off the platform than how they look on it.

4 Responses to “2 Worship Leading Achilles’ Heels”

  • David Manner Says:

    Yes I agree with you, Phyllis. Humility is one of those characteristics that should be foundational to everything we do in ministry.

  • Phyllis Calderon Says:

    Thank you for this insight. Lack of humility seems to be the key phrase I hear from your post. Worship leaders are to be the demonstration of “More of You, God, less of me,” in my opinion. They are to be an example to the congregation of how to usher in the presence of God, right? When this expression has been replaced with anything else, chaos and division is sure to be found.

  • 2 Worship Leader Achilles Heels Says:

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  • Kenneth Church Says:

    Pastor David,

    I believe you are spot on regarding the mindset and more importantly the “heartset” of anyone who leads worship. I have often thought that if all church members could have the opportunity to stand behind the pulpit on a Sunday morning service and look out on the faces of the congregation to see the alternating expressions of hope, sadness, spirituality, and loneliness represented in those faces, that they would have a much deeper understanding of what is meant by the term “The Body of Christ.” Leading the worship is a role that must be approached with fierce humility. Thanks for your inspired teaching and preaching.

    Ken Church

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