Why Creative Control Is Killing Your Worship


Tapping into the creative abilities of others in the planning, preparation, and implementation of worship does not diminish your worship leadership influence it actually elevates it.  When leaders leverage all available resources it is a sign of leadership strength, not weakness.  Asking for help in the creative worship process is a sign of mature confidence and leadership wisdom.  Anne Wilson Schaef wrote, “Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent.  It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”

controlNo individual worship leader has enough creativity, insight, or endurance to plan, prepare, rehearse, and lead multigenerational, multisensory, and multicultural worship services in multiple styles week after week, year after year, with the same level of spiritual depth and creative tenacity each and every time.  Attempting it will eventually kill you and the worship of your congregation.  Both may be slow deaths, but still terminal.

Enlisting various artistic and administrative creatives to serve with you on a Worship Design Team or Creative Worship Team or whatever you choose to call it provides your congregation a unique worship voice far beyond the voice you could have offered individually.  Those enlisted creatives can also serve as liaisons for and with the various generations and cultures of your congregation.

This team can serve as…

A Filter – That sifts through the various ideas to allow the usable materials to surface and the ineffectual materials to be discarded.

A Buffer – That lessens or moderates confusion or conflict by representing not only the team but also the various cultures and contexts of your congregation.

A Promoter – That expands the level of communication to and encourages buy-in from numerous circles of influence.

An Encourager – That inspires and emboldens you as the worship leader, each other as collaborators, and your congregation as participants.

An Evaluator – That celebrates and reassesses after each service from an environment of brutal honesty but also profound trust.

The worship leader who leads from the impression that he/she alone has the ability, creativity, and even right to be the sole creator of the worship service often cares more about guarding territory than helping the congregation participate in spirit and truth worship.  If you alone are holding onto the worship process as a creative gatekeeper in order to receive the credit when something works…just remember that you alone will also receive the credit when something doesn’t.  Worship leadership is not what you do for or to your congregation it is what you do with them.



5 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David Baroni on 11.11.12 at 8:42 pm

    Well said! Thank you!

  2. Posted by Dave Williamson on 11.11.12 at 8:42 pm

    David: Right on, as we used to say!

    One of the most frequent things I see in church after church is, unfortunately, the very syndrome you describe. Worship leaders, for whatever reason, are threatened either by time constraints, procrastination tendencies, or insecurity into hoarding ministry, when in so many situations they would find their job made so much better and easier by sharing it.

    In my own experience, I have had my own bad ideas tempered by a loving ‘what if we…’ comment by a team member.

    I love all of your suggestions. Thank you!

  3. Posted by Danny Sammons on 11.11.12 at 8:42 pm

    Great insights! As an older worship leader who has the unfortunate insights of experiencing “worship wars” firsthand… bravo! This wisdom would have saved me a lot of heartache 20 years ago. It’s a great reminder today. Thanks. Peace.

  4. Posted by Anne Noelle Bailly on 11.11.12 at 8:42 pm

    Thank you for your posts! They are very encouraging and force me to reflect on what I do as a worship leader.
    And I thank the Lord for inspiring you too!

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