06 Jun Take a Pie in the Face
For many years I had the opportunity to travel full time and lead worship for youth camps, discipleship weekends, college conferences, and retreats. Week after week I was constantly meeting new young faces that I was somehow supposed to persuade to sing with me and follow me into the presence of God. The problem was, they didn’t know me from Adam.
I quickly learned that people will rarely follow someone they don’t know, especially if it’s just you and a guitar on stage. Of course, you have the 7% of worship lovers in the crowd who will always quickly dive in no matter who’s on the mic. But what about the other 93%? They would just stare at me like, “who is this guy?” Sure, it certainly helped if the youth pastor gave me a warm introduction to help break the ice, but I didn’t always get that.
After a couple of brutal attempts early on to lead complete strangers in worship, it didn’t take long for me to realize something had to change. I didn’t have any worship mentors in my life at the time, so I began to ask THE Mentor, “God, how do I bring along these other 93%?” “How do I help them unfold their arms, get them beyond trying to figure out who I was, influence them to clap and lift their hands, and lift their eyes off of me and onto You, God?”
God showed me that I was going to have to connect with these students away from the mic. So I did. I didn’t really know what to do exactly, so I just began to be bold, introduce myself to students, and strike up conversations as best I could before the first service began. WOW! What a difference!
Fast forward a couple of years… Now I had a band with me at youth camps. I was constantly urging them to be on the recreation field with me in the afternoons for some fun with the students. “Guys, we can’t be above eating luke-warm Spam, crawling in the mud, getting mayonnaise in our hair, or taking a pie in the face. Do you want to have a real impact from the stage? You’ve gotta take a pie in the face.” My band begrudgingly complied, but after one day they saw the drastic difference.
Worship teams, we can never be haughty and say, “We’re the worship band. I’m sorry, we only do music.” Jesus, God in human form, could have said, “I’m sorry, I only preach.” Praise God He didn’t say that! He got down and washed the dirty and nasty feet of twelve disciples to show us the attitude of true servanthood. He didn’t just talk about it, He literally reached out into the deepest, darkest, and dirtiest places to find us, save us, and wash us clean.
We can never find ourselves content to be unavailable to those we are claiming to lead. We can never be above letting peanut butter be rubbed on our face. If they don’t know us, they won’t hear us. If they don’t hear us, they may not meet with God. If they don’t meet with God, they will not be transformed.
So, do I need to let someone rub peanut butter on my face before each service on Sundays? Well, hypothetically, yes… If “peanut butter” is a problem or trial someone is going through. We as worship leaders must be intentional about building relationships with our people. If you can’t be available to get out and talk with people, you probably need to step off the stage.
I love the quote from Jad Gillies of Hillsong, “influence on the platform is built off the platform.”
John C. Maxwell says, “leaders walk slowly through the crowd.” If people can connect with us, they will find it easier to trust and therefore follow us.
So, get out and engage with people. Even if you are an introvert like me, it’s something we must commit to if we want to make an impact! We need to think, “How can I connect with 72 year old Mabel today so she will experience God?” “How can I connect with 17 year old Logan so that his heart will soften to realize that church is cool?”
Leading worship begins with shaking hands, connecting with, and listening to those who you desire to lead.