While there is much evidence of pride in a worship team, certain cases of it are more regular. How does pride manifest itself in most worship teams?
- Desiring Approval – Every single person is consumed with the longing for approval. In worship leading, we know that we are supposed to fight against that tendency, but it is a difficult position to achieve. You may seem like you are working for the approval of God but are actually seeking the approval of man (1 Cor 4:3). When complimented, you may point your finger towards the heavens and say, “It’s God,” but if those mannerisms are not reflective in your heart, people may think that you are humble, but God thinks that you are a liar (Prov 12:22; 19:9) and doesn’t want you in his house anymore (Ps 101:7). Seek the approval of God rather than man (Gal 1:10). Musical excellence impresses man; personal integrity impresses God.
- Craving for Prominence – The yearning for the solo, the hankering for the first chair, or the appetite for the front row are danger signs. Your gifts do need to be utilized for the building up of the Body of Christ (Eph 4:16), but your gifts don’t have to be on display for all the people in order for them to minister to some of the people. If you are craving for prominence, your heart reveals it through a growing desire to be first, noticed, and praised. In the kingdom, the first will be last (Matt 10:16). If all you are seeking is the praise of men, don’t expect to receive the praise of God (Matt 6:1). Too often, we love the glory from man more than the glory that can only come from God (John 12:43).
- Planning for Recognition – How you select songs and keys for worship says something about your intention. Most recorded worship music is arranged around a vocal soloist, and so the song’s tonal key highlights that particular individual’s awe-inspiring range. The majority of popular worship music is sung in a higher register than the average listener can sing. When a tenor worship leader leads a song in the original key, most of the men in the congregation can’t reach the higher notes, and most of the women have to sing those notes in the lower “gutter” part of their range. If you lower the key from the original, your singers won’t sound as jaw-dropping as the recording, but the congregation just might! The goal is to get the congregation to sing to the LORD (Ps 48:1) and to one another (Col 3:16) – not just to hear you sing. Prideful musical selections can actually rob the congregation of their ability to join in with the worship.
- Competition with Others – The craving for prominence naturally leads to competition with others on the team and creates disorder (James 3:16). Arrogance always leads to strife (Prov 13:10). You must learn how to put the desires of others before your own (Phil 2:3-4). Begrudgingly offering opportunities to others may appear as a humble sacrifice, but if it is done without love, it is considered worthless (1 Cor 13:3). If you can’t celebrate the contributions of others on the team because of your own jealousy (1 Cor 3:3), pride is taking over your soul. Do you honestly celebrate the contributions of your team members, or are you constantly thinking of how you could have done it better?
There are many other manifestations of pride on a worship team, and they can be ever so subtle and yet so dangerous. In some ways, pride is the greatest secret danger on a worship team because we can hide it so well. Since it is so subtle, is there anything we can do about it? Should we even try to address it or is it just an expected part of the environment?
You must realize this: God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, this he will reap (Gal 6:7). God will not allow pride to continue to go unchecked. Pride in your worship team will be addressed one way or the other.
If you don’t humble yourself, God will.
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