Holy Ground, Sinful Hearts

Last week I had a friend request some advice on what to do when you are leading people in worship, yet internally distracted over external issues and conflict.

Essentially, what occurred was that prior to coming to our p.m. corporate gathering to help lead in worship through song, he had a pretty intense argument with his wife (another reason to have services in the morning, so you can get out of the house before anyone wakes up!). And though he was able to apologize via text, he still felt disengaged and hypocritical over leading people in this holy moment, when just moments before he had said some very unholy things.

As we later discussed this issue further over the phone, our first exchange occurred through e-mail.  Here was my response:

I think a lot of this is the paradox of God using sinful people to lead his divine, holy plan.  In some ways it is reassuring to know that it is much bigger than us, as he can take anything and make it work for His pleasure.

So, I think this is a natural feeling…and in many ways a good one to have  (I would be more worried if you always thought you were “the worship wonderman” up there, showing a lack of humility and not truly recognizing your position vs. God’s). You never want to think that the response of those you are leading in worship comes down to you and your “pure heart”…it always comes down to God and what he chooses…but obviously doing it with a pure heart is a good thing for other reasons.

There are times we just suck a living a Spirit-filled life and then are asked to lead others into such a life.   I would say if these times are fairly consistent, then that may be a problem, and cause you to rethink being a consistent leader of worshippers.

I don’t see that as being you.

I think if you felt no dissonance up there on stage, that would be a problem.  It wouldn’t show a true integration of your faith, life, and worship.

So maybe you “not feeling” like worshipping, but still serving Him through the playing of your instrument to invite others into worship was the greatest act of worship you have ever given to God on stage before?  (no matter how unauthentic it felt)

Yet, it still feels you are going through the motions to some degree…we have all been there.  And again, I think that is due to the tainted nature we have, and won’t be overcome in this lifetime…but we can definitely strive to allow him to sharpen it for us.

There are times I just screamed at my son for doing something that didn’t deserve a fraction of my anger and then tell them it’s time to pray for the meal, and I think, “what the hell am I doing?”  I hate that.  I am glad I still hate that, I always want to, as well as work on my anger and father more like Him and less like me.

Let’s talk more on the phone.

There is no question those that spiritually lead their families, community groups, or churches have felt this tension.  How do you wrestle with it?  Where does the demand of consistent purity come in to play here for church leaders?  How does 1 Timothy 3:1-7 speak to this situation?  Is my response theologically inaccurate, incomplete, or in question? Further thoughts welcome!


~ by Dave Smith on June 24, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: