“Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.”
I’m leading worship alot over the next couple weeks, something I feel like I haven’t done a whole lot over the past six months. As I was practicing this morning I found myself experimenting with some new chord shapes, some fingerpicking, and some alternate tunings. As I was beginning to get frustrated about my complete lack of skill in these areas, the Lord gently reminded me that worship is not about awesome guitar skills. It’s not about superhuman vocal ranges. It’s not about modulating through 4 different keys in one seamless set. It’s about offering our lives up in thanksgiving.
I’m glad that worship music has found it’s way into contemporary christian music over the last few years. It’s wonderful to turn on the radio and hear songs of praise with lyrics lifted straight from the scriptures. However, there IS a danger to having worship leaders as celebrities. It’s easy for congregants to expect rock-star skills on the platform Sunday morning: “He didn’t do it nearly as well as David Crowder…” It’s easy for us as worship leaders to look to the next guy–the Chris Tomlins and Marty Sampsons– and feel a strange mixture of awe, respect, and covetousness: “Yeah, I could be that good if it was my full time job to play guitar…”
The Lord does deserve our skillful attention as worship leaders. We ought to work hard to bring our best offering when we stand before Him and His people. But, on the other hand, the Lord loves the faltering songs of His children– raspy, broken voices rising in melody, year old guitar strings horribly lost in tunelessness. Some of the most pleasing sounds I’ve heard offered to the Lord have come from some of the weakest voices heard before man. I don’t need to worry about how my skill measures up to man. I don’t need to learn 4 new chords to impress a congregation. I only desire to create beautiful, artful music for my Savior.
PS– some of my guitar-envy is undoubtedly inspired by this man. Sarah and I went with her mom to see him live at CSU Fresno last Wednesday. Amazing!