Performing is fine – if the focus is right

I just read some interesting blog posts by some worship leaders about “performancism:”

Both articles are good, and well-thought-out. But both, to me, miss something important about the worship leader and performance.

What do they miss? This – performing IS important if you are a worship leader (I include everyone in the worship band in this category).

How come? Well gee. As a worship leader, you are on a stage, in front of people, guitar in hand. You are, by definition, performing. Period.

But – the difference is in why you are performing, or where your focus lies in the midst of that performance. To figure this out, ask yourself this question – What’s the goal of your performance/worship time? Here are some potential answers:

  • to help people connect with God
  • To connect with God (yourself)
  • to help people worship God
  • To introduce seekers to God
  • etc.

Depending on your goal, your methods to achieve those goals might vary. You might use different songs, different mood elements like lighting or backdrops, different musicians, different levels of stage performance, etc., depending on your end goals.

If you can’t answer that question, you have a great place to start! Talk that question over with your pastor (who most likely hasn’t thought about it, either). Figure out some goals for your worship time, and see if you can reach those goals.

ps: if your end goal is to prepare people for the sermon, or to get people to sing … start over and come up with some better goals. Just sayin!

Pic of crazy kids by The Guardian

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Posted in Leading Worship
2 comments on “Performing is fine – if the focus is right
  1. Jim says:

    “If you can’t answer that question, you have a great place to start! Talk that question over with your pastor (who most likely hasn’t thought about it, either). Figure out some goals for your worship time, and see if you can reach those goals.”

    I think you are right about this. What is the purpose of the worship gathering? What are we trying to accomplish? What should we be trying to do? How has the church throughout history understood the gathering and how can that help shape our goals. How can we measure the results?

    I think that sometimes, perhaps often, worship leaders don’t know what the goal is. Why are we here? When we don’t know the answer to that question, we just throw 5-6 songs together and hope it all turns out!

    The longer I follow Christ and lead worship, the more I have come to believe that the true impact of a worship service is not to be measured by how well people respond in the service. Rather, it is how well the service helps the people respond to Christ OUTSIDE the service.

  2. Yep – agreed. I’m certainly guilty of throwing some songs together at the last minute! Good point on the true impact of a worship service – it’s what we should all strive for, I think. And thanks for reading!

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David Lee King

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