[Guest post from Dave Helmuth]
The worship leader stands on the stage, right?
Well, not exactly. The worship leader may be standing behind the mixer (hat tip to Chris Huff). What you do from the mixer affects…everything.
I don’t mean that you just have all the mics on when they need to be. I don’t just mean that your mix is musical and beautiful and inspiring. I don’t mean that there’s no feedback piercing our ears. I don’t mean that you’ve given the band what they need in their monitors. I don’t mean that you’ve stayed between your dB limits for the house mix. I don’t even mean that you showed up on time and smiled when the worship leader asked for more of the kick drum in the monitor. No. All of those are great and an important part of your role.
What do I mean? Well, you know those moments when you’re watching the electric guitar player on stage and you see a facial expression, a certain body language, a stage presence. And you wonder what’s going on inside, in the heart. Boredom? Narcissism? Worship? Intimacy? Joy? Showmanship? Relational distrust? Dryness? Anointing? It’s almost like even though the music may not sound different, you’re feeling something from this player. The person behind the guitar is bringing themselves to the moment.
The same is true for you.
The congregation (and the band) can feel what’s coming through your fingers as you slide faders, turn knobs, and tap tempos on the effects processor. Somehow, we can feel how your relationship with God and man is going. We might not realize it, but if we stop and wonder why things feel like they do (good or bad) we may point to something below the surface in your life.
You bring yourself to what you do. The whole package.
Here are three ways to lead worship by who you are as you do a stellar job behind the mixer.
- Lead yourself well.
- Consider others as more important than yourself.
- Develop a “highway to Zion” in your heart.
So here they are one at a time.
Lead yourself well
It’s way easier to do something than to become something. Rather than trying to “become a more disciplined person,” decide to lead yourself well. How would you serve if you were leading yourself well? Would you arrive early? With a cheerful attitude? Would you anticipate trouble? Would you do whatever necessary to make sure you are (as Tony Guyer says) the “best listener in the room”? How do you think the best sound tech you know leads themselves? Do that.
Consider others as more important than yourself.
Really? What does this even mean? You don’t have to get into the conversation about who wins – the band or you? Carry the attitude with you of “what does the congregation need?” and “how are we as a (music and tech) team going to do that?” This isn’t doormat theology. This is being a servant. Don’t worry, you’ll get to have more of a say when you’re watching the game later.
Develop a “highway to Zion” in your heart.
Psalm 84:5 reads “How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” Build your heart into a smooth, wide, fast road to God. Learn this way of thinking: “If I’m not connecting to the song because I don’t like the song, it’s ok…my heart is a highway to Zion. If the singers are out of tune, it’s ok…my heart is a highway to Zion. If the bass player and drummer don’t seem to be playing the same song, it’s ok…my heart is a highway to Zion. If I am stressed out about whatever, it’s ok…my heart is a highway to Zion.”
The bottom line is this: You are your own worship leader, no matter what’s happening. We can learn to lead ourselves in worship as we’re leading others in worship. I know we can’t engage in the same way we do when we’re just in the congregation, but what’s happening in our hearts will be noticed by those on the stage and in the congregation.
The band and pastors may be the only ones to make eye contact with you on a Sunday, but everyone feels who you are and the person you’re bringing to the mixer. So don’t stop with offering the best your ears and fingers can, bring your whole life and echo the Psalmist in #103: “All that is within me bless His holy Name!”
Today’s post is from guest contributor Dave Helmuth. Dave is a worship coach in Lancaster, PA where he help leaders, teams, and congregations grow in their worshiping lives. He launched Ad Lib Music in 2008 and ever since has been, “in simple love and pure devotion to Jesus, eradicating isolation and burnout so that leaders bear much fruit!” You can find him at Ad Lib Music and on Twitter @adlib247.