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One of the more influential moments
in my life thus far, as a worship leader at least,
happened in 2002 when my church was hosting a Pastor’s
Conference and I was asked to lead worship for the 300 in
attendance. Our sanctuary held 2,100 so only having 300
people in the room had me a little nervous about how it
was going to feel.
Evidently these pastors were hungry to worship,
because never has that auditorium been so LOUD! We had
absolutely incredible times of worship. I felt free to sing
louder, to smile, to laugh, to interject spontaneous words
of praise in between songs and even within the songs.
I raised my hands in worship when my acoustic didn’t
need to be strummed, and sometimes when I probably
should have been strumming. We were truly in God’s
Throne Room. Afterward someone in charge smiled at
me, placed his hand on my shoulder and offered a word
of encouragement; “You got it, kid. You have what it takes.”
And for a moment I believed him.
Then the Spirit stepped in and whispered to my heart,
“You didn’t lead those pastors to the Throne, they led you.”
I was convicted. Those pastors were actually the worship
leaders leading me in worship. They led. I followed. I
didn’t feel like much of a worship leader. I knew that the
next morning, Sunday, I would stand on that same stage
with the same musicians and lead a packed house full of
regular church attendees who, in many cases would only
be there because it was Sunday morning. Many of them
with their arms folded, standing only because I asked
them to, but anxious to sit down again. Many with no
intention to sing…
It can be easy to become discouraged when a crowd does
not appear to engage in worship. As leaders, we can become
hesitant and disengaged ourselves, never truly worshiping
but simply playing and singing. (At that point the people
once again lead our worship, but in the wrong direction.
The challenge, as a leader from the stage, is to worship
our Lord in spirit and truth. To keep Him as the object of
our attention and efforts and invite the congregation to
follow us into His presence… Whether or not they do is
between them and God.
For me, it is a matter of integrity. Can I worship on
stage in front of a disengaged crowd the same way I would
worship in front of a vibrant one?
By Aaron Shust
FolloWing the leader